Ricardo Semler’s Top 10 Rules for Success

04 May, 2016

He’s the CEO and majority owner of Semco Partners, a Brazilian company best known for its radical form of industrial democracy.

Under his ownership, revenue has grown from 4 million US dollars in 1982 to 212 million US dollars in 2003.

His innovative business management policies have attracted widespread interest around the world.

He’s Ricardo Semler and here are his Top 10 Rules for Success:

1. Free yourself

He went to work for his father’s company, originally called Semler & Company, then a mixer and agitator supplier in São Paulo.

2. Manage the issue of ego

He clashed with his father, who supported a traditional autocratic style of management whereas young Semler favored a decentralized style.

3. Find your definition of success

His father resigned as CEO and vested majority ownership in his son in 1980 when Ricardo was 21 years old.

4. Share as you go

On his first day as CEO, Ricardo Semler fired sixty percent of all top managers.

5. Let go of the past

As of 2003, Semco had annual revenue of $212 million, and it employed 3,000 workers, as opposed to 90 in 1982.

6. Do the things that interest you

He was named Brazilian businessman of the year in 1990 and in 1992.

7. Have the courage now

The World Economic Forum named him as one of the Global Leaders of Tomorrow.

8. Give up control

He wrote a book Maverick on his experience at Semco which became a worldwide bestseller in 1993.

9. Know your limitations

He has been Vice President of the Federation of Industries of Brazil.

10. Ask three whys in a row

He founded the Lumiar School, a democratic school where children from 0 to 14 years old engage in projects of their interest.

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