Every Tuesday we share with you a short review of a business book as our book recommendation of the week. Here is this week’s pick.

“To survive in modern times, a company must have an organizational structure that accepts change as its basic premise, lets tribal customs thrive, and fosters a power that is derived from respect, not rules. In other words, the successful companies will be the ones that put quality of life first.”

An international bestseller, Maverick is the story of how Ricardo Semler changed his father’s company Semco (a Brazilian ship-building supplies manufacturer) by turning it into an example for one of the most democratic work places. By completely transforming the way the business used to operate, Semler took the company’s management, work environment, and labour relations into a whole new, unusual direction. As a result he built the company’s philosophy on participation and involvement. Key changes that Semco undergoes include giving more rights to the workers and letting the employees set their own working hours, salaries and bonuses.

In Maverick all those ground-breaking changes are studied with a great detail and the principles of democracy can be found at the core of Semler’s company. For instance, there are factory committees representing the workers and for important decisions each employee has one direct vote. Some of the more radical ideas include profit sharing on a greater level (going down to factory floor level) instead of focusing on bonuses for senior management only. Furthermore, there are no dress codes, regulations on travels or internal auditing department – the company has fewer rules, but relies on the principle that each employee should use their common sense. According to Semler that is because “rules freeze companies inside a glacier; innovation lets them ride sleighs over it…” As for transparency, all corporate information (including statistics on salaries) is publically available, so employees are free to question their managers as well as talk to the media freely.

Maverick is a must-read for entrepreneurs who are looking for a major change in their business strategy by reducing stress on the work place and improving the work environment. The democratic plan that Semler suggests aims to increase the productivity of the workers and with that, the quality of the product as well. By learning how to allow your employees to have more contact with one another and introducing more flexibility into your business, you will ultimately have a new shape of your organisation.

If you are interested, you can get the book here!


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Lyubomira Kirilova

Lyubomira Kirilova

Mira is a new member of UWN team. She recently graduated in International Relations and Journalism at the University of the West of England, Bristol. She is interested in cinema, literature and environmental issues. Based in London, she is presently blogging about current affairs and issues relating to women entrepreneurs.
Lyubomira Kirilova


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