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Asking Questions ...
LEADING BY OMISSION - ACTIVELY DOING NOTHING [45:50]
If successful business depends on innovation, wonders Ricardo
Semler, why are automobiles made essentially the same way
today as they were in Ford’s first assembly line 100 years ago?
The problem, Ricardo Semler figures, is that there’s “something
fundamental about organizations and … leadership that makes it
almost impossible for people inside a business to change their
own industry.” Industries are based on “formats that are basically
legacies of military hierarchies,” says Semler, which neglect or
deny the power of human intuition and democratic participation.
In Semler’s own firm, there are no five-year business plans (which
he views as wishful thinking), but rather “a rolling rationale about
numbers.” A project takes off only if a critical mass of employees
decides to get involved. Staff determine when they need a leader,
and then choose their own bosses in a process akin to courtship,
says Semler, resulting in a corporate turnover rate of 2% over 25
“We’ll send our sons anywhere in the world to die for democracy,”
says Semler, but don’t seem to apply the concept to the
workplace. This is a tragic error, because “people on their own
developing their own solutions will develop something different.