The Seven Day Weekend
by Ricardo Semler
Grade: A (a quick and entertaining read)
Semler, the Brazil-based CEO of Semco, believes corporations and employees can become successful by bucking tradition and thinking wildly outside the box. He attempts to explain Semco’s success (a company with $212 million in annual revenue and “no official structure… no organizational chart… no business plan or company strategy”) and how its principles can be applied in other companies to make working environments more appealing and opportunities for growth and achievement limitless.
Nine chapters (one for each day of the week, as well as one for “Any Day” and one for “Every Day”) explore the ways in which the traditional workweek stifles creativity and fosters distaste for working days.
But Semler also looks at how to shake things up. The Wednesday chapter leads off with the following to-do list: attend a board of director’s meeting; dump a deal rather than pay a bribe; tell the company it stinks.
While Semler’s ideas often seem counter-intuitive, the idea is not to provide specific guidelines but rather to encourage readers to view their organization and professional lives in a new way. The book’s premise is promising, but the actual steps to achieving a seven-day weekend still seem unattainable to the average worker.
According to Ricardo Semler, author of The Seven Day Weekend, “Change works well only if it is a nonissue. An organization that constantly, and artificially, coaches its people to change (accept change! Recognize change!) is like a Darwinist standing next to a giraffe shouting: “Stretch that neck! Stretch that neck!”
“Change also means that a company must be willing to shed or undo elements of itself that no longer have a future. It must be ready to unilaterally sell, spin off, or close units—it must be ready to cannibalize itself.”