Best Place to Work

Is it possible to create a company that doesn’t treat employees as ’employees’? Is it possible to gain employee trust and actually make coming to work a pleasant, happy and creative experience?

Well, 2 things struck me this week.

Let me tell you about the first.

I was reading a book on “The Seven Day Weekend: A Better Way to Work in the 21st Century” by Ricardo Semler. Ricardo is the president and second generation owner of Semco, a huge group of companies in Latin America.

He explains how he transformed his father’s company into a highly profitable powerhouse of manufacturing, services and hi-tech with some highly unusual and not-your-usual-MBA practices.

He does it by challenging conventional approaches to work and business.

He asks in Part One:

Why are we able to answer emails on Sundays but unable to go to the movies on Monday afternoons?

Why can’t we take the kids to work if we can take work home?

Why do we think the opposite of work is leisure, when in fact it is idleness?

Ah.

You know with such questions, this book is going to mangle everything. It does, and more. It will kill MBA types to know that Semco has no organisation chart, no business plan, no HR department.

Semler says, “Yet, the seven-day weekend is more than permission to play hooky. It’s about creating an atmosphere and culture that grants permission to employees to be men and women in full for seven days a week. Why should the fun, fulfillment, and freedom stop first thing Monday morning and be on hold until Friday night? And that’s one why that we will revisit as the book moves forward because I believe no one can afford, can endure, or can stomach leaving half a life in the parking lot when she or he goes to work. It’s a lousy way to live and a lousy way to work.”

I enjoy books that make me think. I think you know that by now.

But let’s not spoil the book for you. Read a sample chapter and you’ll see that even if you don’t agree with his ideas, you probably want to know how he runs his company so darn well in such an unstructured way.

And now let me tell you about the second thing. Google.

Yes, we’ve heard news reports of how fab this company is. But no real descriptions or photos right? You should go read what Avinash Kaushik, a Google analytics evangelist, has to say about Google.

But duh. Isn’t he an evangelist? Shouldn’t he gush about the place?

But hold your criticism until you read his blog post.

I believe companies of the future should emulate after ones worth emulating.

And until Google or Semco came along, we didn’t have a model to follow.

And now we have. 😉

To better workplaces of the future,

Nic

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