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Success through organisational democracy – CIPD 2001


Giving up excessive control at the top boosts creativity and morale and helps retain staff, according to Ricardo Semler, author of the best-seller Maverick and president of Semco S/A.

Semler's own innovations have included putting hammocks in the workplace and giving staff Wednesday afternoons off to allow semi-retired employees to work just one afternoon a week. In his speech on "Motivating your Team: Maverick Style", he noted that the increase in flexibility and autonomy have led directly to better results and greater worker satisfaction, citing an annual staff turnover of 0.85% over 5 years against an industry average of 20%.

Semler attributed his company's 900% growth rate in ten years - in a volatile market - to a high level of enjoyment and involvement alongside an absence of formal planning. "If everybody looks forward to coming to work the problems tend to look after themselves". He stressed the need to question assumptions about management in order to get the best contribution from staff.


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