5 hours and 247 pages: The Seven Day Weekend

5 hours and 247 pages: The Seven Day Weekend

Business team with hands together - teamwork concepts, isolated

 

Last night I opened a book and 5 hours and 247 pages later, the book had broadened my thinking. That book was titled – “The Seven Day Weekend”, authored by Mr. Ricardo Semler.

The best part of reading a good book is that the horizons of the reader’s mind get broadened and he becomes wiser than he was before opening the book. What I realised post this mini-readathon was – 1) I was ready for the scheduled book review session. 2) I got something to read which was insightful not just in terms of business perspective, but also helped me to focus on what I actually want from my professional life and 3) the approach I have had with me actually does exist in the business world and firms do exist and make good profit by implementing the same approach.

The primary reason as to why this piece of work is admirable and inspirational is that the author talks of having chosen employee happiness and satisfaction as the driving force of his business, unlike the more bottom-line obsessed business workplaces.

The author shares his experience of working at Semco (the company headquartered at Sao Paulo, Brazil), where he wants not just him (the CEO), but also his employees, customers, suppliers and community to be happy. The real motivation or the driving force behind a successful company is not growth, not profits, not power, not status, but Happiness.

Along the way, he asked himself, “If the workweek is going to slop over into the weekend, then why can’t the weekend, with its precious restorative moments of playtime, my time, and our time, spill over into the workweek?” The author then provides a roadmap to achieve personal and professional success.

The stressful and many a times overloaded workweek robs us of our passion and pleasure, it destroys family and community stability, and sets up businesses to fail once they have burned out their employees and burned through ever more manipulative and oppressive strategies.

The book describes how managers can turn the repetition, boredom and aggravation of the usual workweek into an environment that is filled with joy, inspiration and freedom.

I do believe that the old way of doing business is sprinting towards its deathbed, and the time has come to re-invent and re-engineer the way of doing business which could be more or less like the Semco’s way, aimed at fulfilling the central purpose of business. Thus, a satisfactory and rewarding life can be made possible for the entire workforce for their hard work. In order to achieve that, it is important to treat co-workers like intelligent mature adults by allowing them to manage themselves. This, as a business model, has worked like a charm for Semco and could possibly be put to use at any organization, anywhere in the so business world that wants to move beyond traditional thinking to a more democratic realm.

While highlighting how flexibility in work time and self-management by employees can work wonders to improve a company’s bottom line, it also narrates how self-organized employee groups can harness extra potential to bring about change in productivity just by eliminating time lags. The book supports encouraging employees to rely on their own intuition and use it in the workplace with a combination of reasoning and experience to reach a decision.

The book is full of stories from Semco’s everyday existence and is a joy to read. Time and again these stories illustrate that one must not opt for the easy way out.

On one hand, it is a thought-provoking guidebook that reveals how freedom and happiness can lead a business to success. On the other, it is an easy, fun to read book as it shares the day to day experiences at the workplace. Also, it is 100% free of MBA-jargons.

Author : Kinshuk Chaturvedi

PGPM Class of 2017, Great Lakes

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Chairman Emeritus Reconnect 48 “Self-Management”

My dear friends,

I wish to share with you all a ‘Mantra’ that I shared with the graduands during GLIM’s Convocation on 18 May 2016. It is a tiny mantra against “The Bhagavad Gita” which has become a compulsory core course for every student in Seton Hall University in New Jersey, USA having > 10,800 students. The mantra is that “All the external managements have to be preceded by Self-Management.

After joining their jobs, many of the entrants are sent for corporate training programs some of which are grossly misnomered. For instance, Time Management. Time is an irretrievable resource and there can be no inventory management in it. You can only ‘self-manage’ to be punctual and to be time bound. Another example is Stress Management. Can you manage stress after it is created? You have to depend only on doctors from headache to cancer. According to an authority on stress-related diseases, cancer is the end product of non-forgiveness. The secret is to ‘self-manage’ so as not to create stress, anger or hurt by you, within you. How do you do this? Foremost is the awareness that you are the creator of all these emotions.

On his first day in office as President, when Abraham Lincoln entered to deliver his inaugural address, a fellow stood up and said “Mr. Lincoln, you should not forget that your father used to make shoes for me and my family” The whole Senate laughed. Lincoln said “Sir, I know that and I also know that there was never ever any complaint from any of his clients including your family. He was a genius and he used to pour his heart and soul in to his job. I am so proud of him. “Let me see to what extent I can reach his creativity and perfection while presiding over the United States.” No one can hurt you without your consent.

Buddha was known to be beyond hurt. One day one visitor took up the challenge and started hurling abuses at him till he was himself totally tired. Finally he said Oh! Buddha you are still smiling, you have no self-respect. Buddha replied with the same smile “It is like this. If you offer me an apple and I don’t accept, where will the apple go? The visitor replied “obviously it would remain with me.” Buddha said “it is exactly the same with abuses; they have all remained with you”

The Blame Game

Unfortunately, we are all caught up in a blame game. We make some body responsible for our hurt, anger and stress. This starts from early childhood. Can you imagine a 2-1/2 year old child telling her grandfather “Nani has hurt me inside. She says she will not give me ice-cream until I finish my food”. We smile it off. We also help the child nurture a ‘belief system’ of blaming others for any hurt caused. Whenever she falls down and gets hurt, we go and hit the floor or the obstacle to console her. We never explain her that she fell down due to her own lack of attention.

If we don’t find a person or an object, we start blaming the circumstances. Do we really have to? Let me give you an example. Recently, in an award function where a renowned doctor was being felicitated, he shared his life story. He said he grew up in an extremely poor family who were not sure of the next day meal. He had an elder brother who was always blaming his father and turned alcoholic. His younger brother went into depression losing all hopes from life. This man thought the only way for him was to study hard and become a doctor, if possible, not only to get over the poverty but also to treat both of his brothers one day. He used to borrow books from his friends when they were playing or enjoying their picnics. He studied under the lamp-posts and struggled through. He attributed full credit of his success to the extreme poverty. The wind may blow from any direction, but the direction in which you go depends on how you set the sails. Setting the sails is Self-management or more precisely the Thoughts-management.

Egolessness

Egolessness is one issue which confuses the youngsters as well as the grown-ups. Should they not be proud of their higher qualifications, superior skills, long and rich experience etc? Should they compromise on their self-esteem in order to avoid ego clashes? These doubts arise out of the ignorance of a fine line between ego and self-esteem. If you are contributing in a meeting and if you say “This is the best idea” it is ego. But if you say “This is my best idea” it is self-esteem. You can keep your self-esteem intact by giving space to others’ self-esteem.

Willpower

At times you start feeling that you lack “Willpower”. You lack determination, resolve and strength of will. In order to explore this, you should start examining your own daily routine. You want to get up at 6. You put an alarm and the bell rings. You choose to close it and sleep for another half an hour, 45 min. or more. You finally get up and it is time to brush and go for a morning walk. You compromise on a bed tea. Now the daily newspaper arrives. You get tempted to see at least the headlines and the sidelines and the interesting lines. Morning walk gets postponed to the next day and you somehow reach office 15 min. late even after skipping the shave. You think 15 min. late is allowed, and you are still in the comfort zone! Now pause and look back, wherefrom the “power of will” can emerge and cultivate, if you go on ignoring the inner voice? So, if you want to be powerfully self-managed, you will have to:

  1. Revisit your ‘belief-systems’ and alter them to the extent necessary.
  2. Revisit your ‘so called’ comfort zones and see if their shells can crack under the resonance of your own Inner Voice.
  3. And have a better control on your ‘thought factory’ which is generating 25 thoughts/min. or 36,000 thoughts /day.

 

Best wishes and Regards,

Dr. B.S.K.Naidu

BE(Hons), M.Tech., Ph.D., CBI-Scholar, D.Engg. (Calif.), FNAE, Hon.D.WRE (USA)
Chairman Emeritus, Great Lakes, Gurgaon, NCR, New Delhi, INDIA
Former Director General (NPTI & CPRI) Govt. of India

No job is small or big, the way in which you do, makes it small or big (c)