The Seven-day Weekend
13 August 2003
When I first started at Fry-IT they gave me Maverick! by the same author as this book and they said: "Read this. This is how we work". This book is the sequal to the Maverick! book. The first book tells the story of Semco, an industry manufacturer in Brazil that is run by the employees with the CEO Ricardo Semler as "catalyst". Employees come and go as they please, dress as they please, recruit their own bosses, no secretaries, no dedicated desks and even set their own salaries! Employees are given more or less total freedom to do what they want or to do what they have to do how they want to do it.
The core principle in both books is: He who is given responsibility takes responsibility.
It's mostly about moral trust. For example, they abandoned having a security check when people left the plant. Sure, a couple of people stole some tools and stationary. But showing respect to the majority of people boosts their confidence and hence perform better. Besides, the people who stole things were soon kick out (or persuaded otherwise) by their own collegues because it was counteractive for them when tools were missing. I must add that the employees all have generous bonus schemes.
Read the first book for more explainations and examples, but you don't have to have read the first book to read this second one. In this book Ricardo Semler talks about several things such as:
- Why can employees check their work-email on a Sunday but not go to the movies on a Tuesday afternoon?
- Question everything! Ask "why?" at least three times to all things that you think about.
- Working is not only about making money. Considering the amount of time you spend at work, you'd better make it worthwhile.
- Managers that don't care. Why should a manager get involved in things that his staff can solve better themselfs if they're unafraid of making misstakes?
- Aligning your interests. Employees can develop their own ideas into business and take the lead.
Ricardo constantly surprises me with his unconventional ideas. I thought I was "modern" in my views of worklife but constantly I get reminded of being old-fashioned. This book has given me many new ideas to adopt when I work. One such idea is to go play golf during the day and make up for that in the evening.
One major idea I've learnt from reading this book is that about Aligning your interests. Suppose I have an idea for something our company can make money on, then with my collegues acceptance and guidance I can enthusiasticly develop this idea from within the company. This is what a lot of people do. They leave their job to instead start up a company and work with their idea. That comes with risks, and if your company instead can allow you to develop your idea within the company, the employee is more secure and the company gets yet another product to sell.
I recommend that you buy this book and read it if you want to learn about how to make worklife more interesting. It's one of those books that makes you think and re-evaluate your ideas. I like books like that!