Morning, one of the over hyped topics in large organizations and traditional management courses is learning ‘new ways’ of leadership: leading ‘Semco-style’. In this blog Tony de Bree explaines why you should not spend your valuable time and money on those books, seminars and courses.

Every morning after waking up, I look at social media and at the different media. And often I am really surprised. About what? About the influence hypes can have on the behavior of people and how people, especially in traditional large organizations, my old world, believe in everything that is written down or said by self-proclaimed gurus.

A nice example is the hype around Ricardo Semler and learning how to manage ‘Semler-style’ and a phonecall I received some time ago.

Last year, I received a call from the director of one of the largest management training institutes in The Netherlands. He offered me a ‘free ticket’ to one of the very popular new leadership and management courses at his institute: ‘Managing Semler-style’. Everybody (in large organizations that is) is talking about it, everybody buys the Dutch books and everybody spends a lot of money (mostly paid by their company…) on expensive seminars and courses on ‘Semler-style’ leading and managing. He said ‘Dutch executives and managers have to change their behavior. They have to learn how to manage & lead ‘Semler-style’, because the way they are doing it now is all wrong’.

‘They have to learn how to manage ‘Semler-style’, because the way they are doing it now is all wrong’.

Mmm. Ok. I thought a bit about what he said and then I asked him ‘But I do not understand. Most of these managers and executives have gone through very expensive training and courses to learn how to manage at your institute and now they have to go through expensive training to unlearn all that? That’s a nice earnings model!’.

‘And by the way’, I continued, ‘we had to study and learn about Ricardo Semler…. in 1993 during my European Executive MBA (the year ‘Maverick’ was published, see the picture) in the U.S. That’s 35 years ago!. So what’s ‘innovative’ about his ideas?’

“We had to learn about leading ‘Semler-style’ in 1993….that’s 35 years ago!”

In this way you can talk with your colleagues when you are working in a large, traditional organization and you do not look like a fool and at the same time, you can spend your valuable time, energy and money on other things. We call that ‘opportunity costs’. Nice….

My personal tips for you today.

Here are two tips from me for you today. And it does not matter if your company pays for these books, events or courses or if you have to pay for them yourself. As an entrepreneur or during your outplacement for instance.

Tip 1: don’t go to all these traditional expensive training & courses and stop wasting your valuable time, energy and money on these type of hypes.

Tip 2: buy ‘Maverick’ 2nd hand and read it. And while other people are going to these expensive seminars and training sessions on ‘Semler-style’ leadership, take care of your customers and employees….really….in practice.

Have a nice day.
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