Monday, 26 September 2011

Tom Sawyer The Maverick

“You see, Aunt Polly’s awful particular about this fence - right here on the street, you know - but if it was the back fence, I wouldn’t mind, and she wouldn’t. Yes, she’s awful particular about this fence; it’s got to be done very careful; I recon there aren’t one boy in a thousand, maybe two thousand, that can do it the way it’s got to be done” Tom Sawyer

When I just started my ACCA years ago, I got an opportunity to hear a talk from Dato’ Khalid Ahmad who was the President ACCA Malaysia Advisory Committee during that time. One of my favourite topics was about adding value and how he related it to Tom Sawyer story. He was fascinated by the story how Tom Sawyer adds value to painting the fences until his friends not only help him but “paid” him to do the “honour” of doing the work.  

Recently, I read about an article regarding creating world class organisation. The article stated that organisation can be successful when employee started each day with a sense of purpose and end the day with a sense of accomplishment.

Tom Sawyer is a maverick so is Ricardo Semler. He is a strong advocate of workplace democracy, and a true master of harnessing the wisdom of people to build a great company.
Semler discovered that work-life balance for his employees and improving his family fortune are not alternative goals. The more freedom he gave his staff to set their own schedules, the more versatile, productive and loyal they became, and the better Semco performed.

At Semco workers choose their managers by vote and evaluate them regularly, with the results posted publicly. A lot of leaders are sceptical about Semler’s approaches. But these are some facts. Semco has in reserve 2,000 resumes and hundreds of people want to work there at any position. When Semco prints a want ad, there are 1,400 responses.

Ricardo took over the relatively small manufacturing company from his father. Semco had peaked at $4 million in revenues during his father's tenure. Ricardo immediately began asking questions about how and why things were done a certain way, and completely shook things up over the next two decades. Not only did Semco average 40% growth per year in a very unstable Brazilian economy, but in 1993 Semco revenues grew to $212 million. And Semco still enjoys great success, while fiercely protecting a democratic work environment with less than 1% employee turnover. It is considered one of the best companies in the world to work for, with literally thousands of applicants at any one time.

In any sport related movie, coach always give an inspirational speech to motivate the team (usually underdog) that give them sense of purpose to win the before the final game. Manager should create sense of value and purpose for the employee so they are highly motivated in contributing their resources towards the company goal. Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them. 

Note:- Hoping someday working in Semco with all the Brazilian beauty.

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