Ricardo Semler, one of the greatest examples of good leadership and wisdom..

Dear All, I'm asking you to finalize your TOTEM during our next Discovery Camp. When you think you miss time to accomplish what you have to do, remember what Ricardo Semler said in his excellent speech. Conference of RS 

The best way to ACT is to have short deadlines. Semco never do plan over a frame time of six months. Enjoy!

If you do not already know Ricardo Semler (I talked about him in the City of Intelligences), I encourage you to take the time to listen to him about how he came to his reflexions… it's very interesting and inspirational. This man is more than wise and he accomplished a lot in his life.  He is the perfect example of how success, human values and social innovations could  be the answer for the next century.


A full interview with Ricardo Semler by the Dutch TV-show Backlight. In the episode 'The capital power of hapiness' they made a portrait of this Brasilian business man. Here you can watch the full interview of one hour and a half. Mostly unedited, but divided in chapters.

I also add, for you, this article from The Guardian in 2011.

Ricardo Semler with his wife Fernanda Photograph: Coen Wubbels

Ricardo Semler with his wife Fernanda Photograph: Coen Wubbels

"When Ricardo Semler was 21, he was put in charge of the family firm that made pumps and propellers. One of the young Brazilian's first moves was to fire two-thirds of his managers. "I'd come from having fun in rock bands," he says, "and I'd seen that there were ways to make people enthusiastic if they were involved entirely."

The result was Semco, one of the most revolutionary and counterintuitive companies in the world, where employees choose everything from their dress code to their salaries. Critics said it would never work – yet it became one of South America's most successful conglomerates and, 25 years later, Semler is applying his principles to the classroom.

Semler realised that "the young adults who joined our company were awaiting direction. Tracing this back made it evident that schools, from an early age, were torturing kids with useless formats." He and his wife Fernanda, above, gathered a group of education experts to imagine a new school, removed from structures that were "created to make life easier for adults". The concept is Synapses, a "self-driven" system now being offered to children in São Paulo.

At his "Lumiar" schools, the masters are rarely trained teachers, but have a passion about a particular subject; pupils choose their own courses, from basketball to planets, Star Wars to fashion and meet weekly to make decisions on all aspects of the running of the school, from discipline to class outings. The schools' results have been astonishing, scoring 96.15% in government tests, "even in rural areas," says Semler, "where one third have no electricity at home, and the average income of the parents is £170 per month"."

Synapses projects are already in development in the UK and India, although this is defiantly not a programme to be rolled out: for Semler, the whole point is in taking control away from "authority" and giving greater freedom to pupils just as he did to his employees."  Gordon Roddick's big ideas, The Guardian, The Observer

Blog en français sur l'expérience de Semco et complément d'infos.

Books of Ricardo Semler: 

The Seven-day Weekend.