"Growth and profit are a product of how people work together."
- Ricardo Semler
About Ricardo Semler
Ricardo Semler is a champion of the radical, employee-friendly corporate democracy. It’s a vision that he successfully transformed into reality during his 40 years as CEO of Semco Partners. Ricardo believes we can create better workplaces by fostering a culture that encourages people to question why we do things the way we do and by devolving power to employees. In short, that’s how we create companies where productivity and employee satisfaction go hand-in-hand.
It’s this groundbreaking, alternative approach to management and organization that earned Ricardo and Semco international recognition.
Ricardo built the Semco Style Institution (SSI) upon this solid foundation and has since shared it with companies across the world. The best-selling author of Maverick and The Seven-Day Weekend has also shared his learnings with the next generation through his roles as Professor of Leadership at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School.
Ricardo is also working towards taking his model of radical corporate democracy into the field of education through the Lumiar School.
Let Ricardo inspire you! Click through this collection of interviews, TED-talks and documentaries.
Semco Style Talks #1 with Ricardo Semler
The first episode of Semco Style Institutes new interview series
It’s Semco Style Institutes 5th birthday and that calls for the launch of a special interview series — The Semco Style Talks! Featuring the people behind Semco Style as well as those that apply it everyday, the series aims to give you a fresh perspective on the Semco Style philosophy.
And, the first to take a seat in the virtual studio with Semco Style Institute founder Farouk El Kodady is Ricardo Semler. Check out the sneak peek here – or watch the full episode via the button below – enjoy!
Ricardo at TEDGlobal 2014
Imagine a world where your job didn’t control your life. Ricardo Semler practices a revolutionary form of corporate democracy, which involves a rethinking of everything — from board meetings to how employees report their vacation days. His vision rewards employee wisdom, promotes work-life balance, and leads to deep insight about who we are and what we do.
Still a Long Way to New Work
A keynote by Ricardo from the NWX event in Hamburg 2019
In this 30-minute keynote from the NWX event in Hamburg, Germany, Ricardo Semler speaks about the future of work. While accepting the reality that it will be a long time before the power of these new practices are understood, Ricardo discusses ways in which we can move forward with bringing about real organizational change. That speaks to you? Enjoy watching!
In this full interview to “The New Wisdom of Ricardo Semler,” you get insights into the mind of a maverick.
The New Wisdom of Ricardo
We are smarter than ever, but have we become wiser? From his impressive estate, he shows us a new great view.
The Power of Happiness
This full 1,5 hour interview by VPRO Tegenlicht features a nice portrait of Ricardo Semler.
10 Rules for Success
Check this video & learn about Ricardo’s way to success, a radical form of industrial democracy.
Leadership & Exploitation
More insights into Ricardo’s mind and his perspective on the educational system? Check this video!
Learnings from the pandemic
The world is now working in ways that resemble what Ricardo already proposed. But what lessons should we be learning now?
Listen to Ricardo
Do you want to hear more about Ricardo’s philosophy? Listen to him on Spotify!
New on Spotify
The Official Podcast Channel
Ricardo Semler, CEO, author, and TED presenter, invites you to join his conversations with change-makers who challenge assumptions and dare to do things differently in work and in life. Ricardo shares his own insights and experiences while exchanging ideas with some of the leading business thinkers of our time. You will learn, laugh, and leave feeling inspired to bring about change in your world.
Latest Podcast of Adam Grant
Why it Pays to Raise Pay
‘When employees are paid more, they give more’. In this podcast, Adam Grant and his guests Ricardo Semler, Zeynep Ton and Rosita Barlow talk about workplaces that have reinvented their pay structures to pay employees their worth and more. They explore the science behind how this can benefit everyone in the long run. Sounds interesting? Sit back, listen and enjoy!
Browse through this playlist
Spotify Podcast Selection
This collection of podcasts and interviews where Ricardo Semler shares his experiences and philosophies will leave you feeling inspired. Enjoy!
“There are a lot of new insights, and there are a lot of new ways of doing things, running away from the clichés and really building contemporary organizations.”
- Ricardo Semler
Read more about Ricardo
When Ricardo put his unique, groundbreaking approach to management and organization out there, the world took note.
Read some of the articles published in leading global publications here.
How it all started
Ricardo’s revolutionary principles are more relevant now than ever before. Years of successful deployment of these practices at Semco has led to the formulation of a theoretical framework. SSI invokes this framework while training, educating and facilitating companies to start their own transformational journeys towards self-organization and democracy.
Ricardo’s ideas strongly resonate in all the programs offered at the institute. The co-founder of SSI envisioned bringing autonomy not only to companies, but to schools as well. Thus, the Lumiar School was born. This unique education system fosters “autonomous students who are capable of collaborating actively in a democratic society”. Hold on — that’s not all! Scroll through the timeline to learn more about Ricardo’s story.
Ricardo’s success story dates back to the 80s when he took over Semco, his father’s company. He transformed the traditional, hierarchy-driven system into a true trailblazer.
1980 - 2000
The transformation definitely didn’t happen overnight. So, how long did it take and what exactly happened along the way? In short, over the next two decades, Ricardo scaled the company from 90 employees to 5,000 employees. He also raised the company’s annual revenue from $4 million to $212 million, with an average growth rate of 47 percent.
The pioneer shared his vision with the world by publishing his first book Maverick.
Ricardo published The Seven-Day Weekend, his next book, where he compiled everything he learned over the last decade.
Ricardo created the ‘Lumiar methodology’ to transform education around the world along with a group of leading educators. The first such school was founded in 1993 in Sao Paulo, with the framework being adopted in Brazil, USA and the Netherlands too.
2002 - 2007
To really understand what Ricardo and Semco’s journey has been like, we need to go back in time. This video shows you what life and work looked like at Semco in the early 2000s, and provides some authentic insights into Semco, the Lumiar School and the Botanique Hotel!
The Semco Style Institute (SSI) began operations in the Netherlands in May 2016. Since then, SSI has been shaping the future of work by helping organizations create more impact and perform better, with happier, engaged employees.
Today, SSI is a global network with country partners in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, South Africa, Brazil, USA, Australia, Japan, China and India. It also has certified consultants around the globe.
More about Semco Style Institute
Curious to learn more about SSI? Click through the content and join this international community of like-minded folk who exchange knowledge and experiences around people-centric models!
Become part of our global network
‘Theory to practice’ is the typical management style. Semco Style, however, flipped this model on its head to go from ‘practice to theory’. It’s not a static methodology, but rather a live framework that is constantly updated with new practices and practical examples from companies all over the world. What further enriches this framework is the melting pot of examples from the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, Belgium, South Africa, Brazil, USA, Australia, Japan, China, Switzerland and India.
The plan is to keep this community growing and collect more intercultural examples of people-centric models.
Sounds interesting? Join our global network and community of consultants, coaches and companies. Our engaging webinars and unique training programs and certifications are bound to leave you feeling inspired!
What about Semco today?
A lot has changed at the Semco Group since its famous transformation. In the 90s and 2000s, the company expanded into diverse markets within the manufacturing and services realms. The Botanique Hotel & Spa that was launched in 2013 is one such diversification. The renowned luxury hotel chain, Six Senses, got on board to give rise to the Six Senses Botanique.
Six Senses Botaniques soon became one of the top three luxury hotels in Brazil. This pushed Semco to develop an innovative real estate project surrounding the hotel, called MellosHabitat.
From 2014 onwards, the group shifted its main focus to kick-starting new businesses. Today, Semco & Partner is a holding company, but with a difference. Rather than acting like a traditional holding company that merely makes investments, oversees them and gives opinions at board meetings, Semco & Partner likes getting its hands dirty. Just like they did back in the 80s, the team at Semco & Partner engages with people from the companies to truly support their development.
The Semco & Partner holding actively participates, and has shares in the following organizations:
Where it all started — the 40-year-old company in Brazil that changed the way we think about work.
The Lumiar School
The Lumiar School, co-founded by Ricardo, is changing education worldwide.
Six Senses Botanique
The consolidation of the Botanique Hotel & Spa and the hotel chain, Six Senses.
The Semco Style Institute
SSI focuses on spreading the word about self-organization through consultancy and executive training.
SmartHood Mora is focussed on construction work and smart-living solutions.
An innovative real estate project, that surrounds the Six Senses Botanique Hotel, was developed by the Semco holding company.
One day at Semco Partners
an interview with André Cicarelli
In 2012, Semco Partners transitioned into a partnership model featuring six directors who have worked together for many years — The Semco Partner holding.
Through this interview, we explore what it’s like to work at Semco Partners today, as ‘Semco Style’ has its roots here. We wanted to know how Ricardo and the team practice ‘Semco Style’ in their daily work routine, and thought a fresh face would be able to evaluate this the best. André Cicarelli, analyst at Semco Partners, joined the company a year ago, and was happy to share his experiences.
In this short chat, he shares great insight about the vibe at Semco Partners, as well as the personal development he has seen within him.
"We form autonomous students, capable of collaborating actively in a democratic society."
- Lumiar School
The Lumiar School was founded in 1993 in Sao Paulo. Since then, the same methodology has been adopted by more than 10 schools — both public and private — in Brazil, USA, and the Netherlands.
The methodology is based on six pillars: Tutors and Masters, Mosaic Curriculum, Participatory Management, Multi-age Groups, Active Learning, and Integrated Assessment. These pedagogical practices are the foundation upon which holistic development can be provided to individuals.
In the traditional sense, it is the teacher’s responsibility to keep track of the development of groups of students. Acting as a ‘knowledge detainer’, this person identifies the interests and abilities of each group, and offers tools and practices that enable the creation and execution of projects. The teacher also invites experts from outside the school to impart knowledge, which doesn’t necessarily always pertain to academics.
Lumiar Schools work differently. All decisions are made in assembly, involving all school stakeholders, so as to generate a sense of autonomy. These discussions help in finding the best ways to create projects, assignments, or just about any other decision regarding the school’s everyday functioning.
What lies at the heart of the Lumiar methodology?
It’s the Digital Mosaic — an innovative platform that contains planning modules and the curriculum, which is divided into skills and contents. The Digital Mosaic is a pioneering intellectual technology that guides the school through cycles, projects and continuous assessment of each and every student. The participatory management style enables active learning, as well as provides the opportunity for a student to assess their own development map.
Sounds interesting? Learn more about Lumiar Schools and its unique education system by clicking through the videos below. You can also check out Lumiar’s blog for current updates and news.
Though published quite some years ago, Ricardo’s books continue to serve as an
inspiration to people and organizations around the world.
Maverick takes you through the journey of how Ricardo turned his family’s business — the Semco corporation in Brazil — into the most revolutionary business success story of our time. Ricardo peeled off layers of hierarchy and allowed employees to enjoy unprecedented democracy at the workplace. This book chronicles how he challenged traditional practices to blaze the trail to success in an uncertain economy.
How did Semco become so successful despite breaking so many of the commonly accepted laws of business? Through The Seven-Day Weekend, Ricardo tells readers that if you really want to bring about change in your workplace, taking a chance is always worth it. He explains how the very same technology that was supposed to make life easier — laptops, cell phones, e-mail, pagers, etc. — has in fact robbed us of our precious ‘me’ time, and destroyed the traditional nine-to-five workday.
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Get in contact with Ricardo Semler
For speaking enquiries:
Oration Speakers is the exclusive agent for all Ricardo Semler’s speaking engagements.
You can write an e-mail to [email protected] or call Rachel at +35 31 699 1419 (GMT) if you require further information.