The reporter states that there was a Brazilian crisis in the1980s that hit Semler & Company particularly hard. Its core business had been severely affected that it threatened the existence of the company. in the 1990s, there was a hyperinflation that struck the economy and Brazilian President Collor’s administration placed a restriction on access to liquidity…
No. The older Semler, Antonio was already culturally rooted in his management ways of being too bureaucratic and autocratic. He also cannot separate his personal affairs to business and this made Semler & Company under his leadership a moribund. Moreso, he did not have the modern business perspective of the time to change his style of leadership unlike the younger Semler, Ricardo who went to Harvard business school.
Yes, the transformation and change of the company would have still come even if things were going well. The external factors cannot change the trajectory of the company when Ricardo Semler assumed leadership of Semco because he really intended to change the autocratic leadership of the company. The crisis only highlighted how effective the change to the company.
In a way the change was drastic. Upon assumption as the new CEO, Ricardo Semler fired two-thirds of the top management of Semler & Company and that included many close friends of his father. This would not have been possible under his father because Antonio Semler did not separate work from his personal relationships.
The new set up of the company was also a total departure of the old autocratic style of leadership of the company. The young Semler felt that the old autocratic leadership thwarted people’s motivation and creativity. Thus, he decided that the authority to make decisions at Semco to be more evenly distributed. In the process, he dismantled the rigid bureaucracy and structure of the company to make it more flexible based on the new three values of the company – employee participation, profit sharing and free flow of information.
To emphasize the change, even the name of the company was changed from Semler & Company to Semco. There were a lot of changes that can be considered drastic if it will be compared to the old leadership. Strategy wise, among them product was product diversification and the creation of Nucleus of Technological Innovation (NTI). Leadership style also changed to democratic and participatory to the point that employees can already direct themselves- set their own budget, even their own salaries and even the hiring and firing decision of both employees and managers. ...
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