After meeting with a client yesterday, I was reminded of this quote:
“Semco has no official structure. It has no organizational chart. There’s no business plan or company strategy, no two-year or five-year plan, no goal or mission statement, no long-term budget. The company often does not have a fixed CEO. There are no vice presidents or chief officers for information technology or operations. There are no standards or practices. There’s no human resources department. There are no career plans, no job descriptions or employee contracts. No one approves reports or expense accounts. Supervision or monitoring of workers is rare indeed… Most important, success is not measured only in profit and growth.” – Ricardo Semler
This scares the hell out of everyone and so no one believes this is possible (it is). And because no one believes it, they will never try.
For those who are looking for a sustainable competitive advantage, doesn’t it occur to you that, compared to technology, it is more difficult to do and therefore copy, an innovation in management? While you’re fighting for patents, management innovators are fighting for the betterment of people. Guess who wins?
When will we see venture capitalists fund startups that operate by a different set of rules (not just business model but management model)? I’m not saying “let’s copy Semco”. I’m saying when will we start funding management innovations over technology? If this were to happen, we’ll see companies that are going to shape the human element of work: happiness and productivity at work.
And when this happens, purpose over profit will become a real principle that others strive for. A redefinition is in order…