Common sense at Semco

CIO insight has a truly excellent interview with Ricardo Semler, the CEO of Semco. Here’s my favourite bit from the interview:

When you want somebody hired, let’s say it’s for a leadership position of some kind, you go to the system and you advertise that you think someone is needed. Then on a given day – say, Wednesday at 4 o’clock, meeting room 11 – you say we’re going to discuss this, whoever’s interested. Because of the fundamental tenet that we don’t want anyone involved in anything that they really don’t want to do, all of our meetings are on a voluntary basis, meaning that the meetings are known, and then whoever is interested can and will show up, and should also leave the moment they become uninterested. It is a bit unnerving to watch these things, because people come in, plunk their things down, and then 15 minutes later somebody else says “Bye bye, see you.” But the fact is that whoever is left there has a stake in the decision being made, and the decision is final in the sense that it’s going to be implemented after the meeting.

All meetings are voluntary. How cool is that? Read the interview, it’s great! Also, for those of us who know Open Space Technology: That’s the law of two feet right there!

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