Ricardo Semler

THE NOT KNOWING RIGHT NOW CASE – The Strategy of Waiting

I Just Don’t Know Right Now.

Ricardo Semler, owner of Semco SA, masters the skills of The Strategy of Waiting like no other. Semler is perfectly equipped in “not knowing it right now” and letting the situation sit for a while.

In his book The Weekend of Seven Days he describes his secretary who has stopped performing her job successfully. She argues with co-workers, gossips about everything and is consistently negative. Any attempts to get her to communicate fail miserably. Nobody really knows what her problem is.

What kind of action does Semler decide to take? None. None at all. He deliberately chooses to wait.

The result? After a while, her motivation returned and she did her job properly again.

Was this a change he could have predicted? No. Nobody would have bet on such a positive outcome. In fact nobody even understood why the situation improved. The secretary most possibly couldn’t even understand it herself. But what does it matter?

Sometimes letting people be is the best strategy.

Photo: TED Conference