Work, Not Business

This is not a business book. It is a book about work, and how it can be changed for the better. Ricardo Semler in Maverick, 1993, in a statement following the acknowledgements. Maverick was originally published in Portuguese as Turning the Tables in 1988.

Democracy Is a Lot of Work

Democracy is a lot of work, I kept telling myself and anyone else who would listen. It needs to be exercised with conviction and without subterfuge or exception. And it begins with the little things, like neckties, time clocks, parking spaces, and petroleum blue uniforms. Ricardo Semler in Maverick, 1993, p. 136. Maverick was originally published in Portuguese as Turning the Tables in 1988.

How Can Everyone Make Decisions?

How could it be possible for everyone in a company to be making decisions? There is too much information. People would be in meetings all day and most people don’t want all that information and won’t listen anyway. In the sociocratic structure of interconnected decision-making circles, everyone participates in the decisions that directly affect their daily work, but only in those decisions. Unless they are the elected representative or the operational leader they don’t participate… Read More . . . “How Can Everyone Make Decisions?”

Maverick by Riccardo Semler

This is a wonderful little book by the CEO of Semco, a corporation in Brazil. His father started the company and in 1980s passed it along to his rather young son who built a new kind of corporation using “open management” and advocating a “natural” and “democratic” workplace for “industrial citizens.” In 1984, Semco acquired a Brazilian subsidiary of Hobart and Semler describes how he began changing the structure of management. It began with lunch… Read More . . . “Maverick by Riccardo Semler”

Terra Viva, São Paulo, Brazil

Terra Viva is an agribusiness centered in São Paulo, Brazil begin by the Schoenmaker family in 1959 to grow gladiolas. Though not mentioned on their website, Gerard Endenburg consulted with the owner in the 1970s to develop the company using sociocracy. They now have more than a thousand workers and focus on bulbs and plants for flowers and vegetables. Their website includes a discussion of the company’s philosophy including an organizational chart, but does not… Read More . . . “Terra Viva, São Paulo, Brazil”

The Spirit of Democracy

The Spirit of Democracy by Larry Diamond is a very readable analysis of the growth and deficiencies of democratic governments around the world. In 1974, only 25% chose their governments in free elections. By the mid-1980s, two of every five states were democratic. By the mid-1990s, the Berlin Wall had collapsed and three of five states were democratic. Further, Diamond notes, democracy had become a zeitgeist, a spirit of the time. It had also shown… Read More . . . “The Spirit of Democracy”