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74 of 76 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
All games have rules. When the score is kept, there are winners and losers. Business is no different. The concept of open-book management has been around since some company owner in the distant past gathered employees and attempted to explain to them why it is so important to produce quality work, on time and without waste. No doubt at least one of those employees wondered "What's in it for me?" Good question.
With contributions by Bo Burlingham, Stack wrote this book (first published in 1992) partly in response to that question. He introduces "The Higher Laws of Business":
1. You get what you give.
2. Its easy to stop one guy, but it's pretty hard to stop 100.
3. What goes around comes around.
4. You do what you gotta do.
5. You gotta wanna.
6. You can sometimes fool the fans, but you can never fool the players.
7. When you raise the bottom, the top rises.
8. When people set their own targets, they usually hit them.
9. If nobody pays attention, people stop caring.
10. As they say in Missouri: Shit rolls downhill. By which we mean change begins at the top.
To these Stack adds "The Ultimate Higher Law": When you appeal to the highest level of thinking, you get the highest level of performance. These are the eleven laws on which Stack's system of open-book management is based. He explains each in thorough detail. Let's say that you agree that these laws make sense, that they are relevant to your own organization. Now what?
Pretend that you have entered "Stack's Open-Book Management Store." He greets you at the door. For the next several hours, he guides you through an abundance of strategies, tactics, measurement instruments, communication devices, policies, procedures, etc. He answers all of your questions. He offers a number of caveats. He shares his own successes and failures. He directs you to the latest "newer and better" but also to "what still works really well." At the end of your visit, you are fully prepared to pick and choose from among all the options. Then he assists you with formulation of a plan to design and then implement your own open-book management program, one which is specifically appropriate to the needs of your own organization. In effect, this what happens as you read the book. I recommend it highly. Even if an open-book management program is not what your organization currently needs, the issues Stack addresses and the questions he raises are still worthy of your thoughtful consideration.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
Employers are increasingly challenged to find ways to engage their people, to inspire and motivate them, and to encourage them to stay with the organization for an extended period of time. Employers who can be successful in attaining these lofty goals can dominate their markets, drive more money to the bottom line, and enjoy a stable, productive, and happy workforce.
Jack Stack and his associates at Springfield Remanufacturing Corporation learned how to do this. It was a fascinating, educational, and sometimes painful journey, with benefits that exceeded the wildest dreams of those who put the plan together and made it work. The secret? Share numbers with your employees. All the numbers that have meaning-from profit and loss to balance sheet, from sales projections to costing standards. The concept is that the more employees know-and understand, the more they will partner and support the company's mission and goals (which they also help set).
The most vital issue here, I think, is that every employee becomes more educated, more involved, more committed, and-end result-more loyal. They become a part of a team, rather than just workers. No longer is their relationship with the employer "just a job." It's now considerably more, as they participate in the decisions that drive the company's success. When employees are motivated this way and have so much more control over vital aspects of their employment lives, they will stay longer with their employer. There are more reasons to stay than to leave. Result: a substantially more stable, dedicated, and effective workforce.
The book begins with a "Players Guide," a chapter-by-chapter outline of what will be covered. By itself, this guide is a valuable tool to stimulate thinking. The questions are thought-provoking, creating a hunger in the reader's mind for more information. The answers are presented in the chapters that follow.
Stack makes it clear from the outset that he's writing for an audience of doubters and the curious and suspicious. The front matter includes a presentation entitled, "Does it really work or is it a bunch of hype?" Right to the point. The reader gets the sense, even before getting into the meat of the book, that this author will tell it like it is. And he does.
The author's higher laws of business are presented to place things in perspective. Consider the premise that Stack's design is to get people involved, committed, and supportive, and these postulates make sense. 1. you get what you give 2. it's easy to stop one guy, but it's pretty hard to stop 100 3. what goes around comes around 4. you gotta do what you gotta do 5. you gotta wanna 6. you can sometimes fool the fans, but you can never fool the players. 7. when you raise the bottom, the top rises 8. when people set their own targets, they usually hit them 9. if nobody pays attention, people stop caring 10. change begins at the top.
Is your mind asking for more details? What is this all about? Sure got my attention, then we dove into the real message, the powerful concept of open book management. A listing of the chapters of the book will demonstrate the level of content covered: Why We Teach People How to Make Money, Myths of Management, The Feeling of a Winner, The Big Picture, Open Book Management, Setting Standards, Skip the Praise-Give Us the Raise, Coming up with the Game Plan, The Great Huddle, A Company of Owners, The Highest Level of Thinking, The Ultimate Higher Law: A Message to Middle Managers.
This is a powerful book that, if properly applied, can change the way a company does business. Substantially. Profitably. Permanently. Read it, then if you're inspired, follow the directions so well-presented by Jack Stack, a man who has "been there, done that."
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
We have been a GGOB practitioner for 18 years. And it was one of our companies top 5 best discoveries.

Jack Stack's Company is in the business of re-manufacturing engines (they sell a product). My concern was how could we make Open Book Management principles work in a service business. In the early months, we adopted Jack's three cornerstones: 1) Know the rules of the game: Create a written business plan, and involve all employees in the annual business planning process. 2) Keep score: Produce monthly financial statements, and teach all employee how to read the P&L. 3) What's in it for me: When the company wins, pay employees Gainsharing checks each quarter. Plus we adopted Jacks meeting schedule: Managers attend weekly Great Huddle Meetings, and all employees attend Chalk Talk meetings. These meetings are designed to inform and keep the team on track with our business plan.

Results? We found Open Book Management works very well in a service business. In fact, it completely changed our culture and our employees love it. Over the years, we have had a few employee leave and take jobs with other companies. But after a few months, some of them return saying they missed our culture and playing the GGOB. I strongly recommend and endorse the GGOB.

It changed our organization... Who knows... It might change yours too!

Daryl Flood, President & CEO
Daryl Flood Relocation & Logistics

The Great Game of Business, Expanded and Updated: The Only Sensible Way to Run a Company
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
which is still "management."
This book ignited the "Responsible Revolution" in American business.
Historically, American management worked along the lines of the organization that won World War II. This is called "Theory X," and assumes people are not to be trusted.
The Boomer Generation came along, and can be led; it can not be bullied, and ordered about like a PFC before Patton, and does not like being "mananged," at all.
"Open Books" to the rescue.
With "Open Books," everyone can finally understand what The Great Game of Business really is at a level they can understand
The greatest single problem - and there are many, as the sequel, "A Stake In The Outcome" documents - is that most middle management is largely superfluous in an "Open Books" environment, particularly as the people grow in knowledge about the Great Game.
If you decide to implement Great Game ideas, know that (1) they have a website, and (2) it REALLY helps if you have a working knowledge of Economic Value Added accounting.
With the clear understanding EVA allows, and the empowerment an "Open Books" environment provides, a lot of the swamp is drained, and a path to Victory can be clearly defined, and accepted, by all parties.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
Stack believed in telling the employees the truth and letting employees protect their jobs by increasing production. In the early stages of the company, Stack put up a sign that said, "Our Goal: 800 tractors" in one month and every thought he was crazy; they were shipping 5 to 6 tractors a day; at that rate they would 700 tractors short. As they looked closer at the problem, they began to find ways to improve production. They discovered some part were being delivered but not making it to assembly in time. They figured out that some tractors were missing only a few key parts. They took a large problem and broke it up into a series of smaller problems. Stack keep the big picture infront of the workers, supervisor, and managers eyes. Stack began the culture of working numbers, balance sheet numbers, income statement numbers, and cash flow. The group jumped to 55 tractors in one day. Scheduling improved, part arrival per tractor improved, and workers time was more efficiently managed. Once they hit 300 tractors the company noticed something important was happening and focus intensified. Five days before the deadline 662 tractors had been shipped, everybody was involved. On Halloween Oct 31, 808 tractors had been shipped, everyone celebrated, balloon went up around the sign and pizza was ordered; everyone had a party. "Everyone wanted to come to work everyday".
The first step to success is to create small successes and build on them. Nothing drives a person to work harder than success. Fear is the antithesis of success. Success builds confidence. People don't want to be pressured or harassed. They want to be a part of something exciting. Managers needs to provide opportunity and build on the positive accomplishments.
Sales is the most important part of a business. Without sales there would be no money to pay the bills.

Teaching people how a company makes money and generates cash is essential to reducing waste and fraud. Accountability drives competition and improves quality and reduces waste. Employee are responsible to protect their jobs. The way to protect their job is reduce costs or increase production. An employee may go to his boss and suggest buying a robot that would speed up a bottle neck in the process or he may be able to demonstrate manual labor is more cost effective; either way, the employee is responsible to protect his job

You can either "go where the action" is and see "what is causing the slow down" or "you can let workers tell you". Often time production delays are caused by assembly of delayed parts arrival or labor shortage due to excessive demand. Management needs to understand how goals are impacting workers and workers need to want to perform to save their job and capitalize on bonus incentives.

What drivers are important to watch in a company?

a. Sales projects are an early warning system. If sales projection suggest a decline in sale then money will be tight. If sales projection indicate a surge in order than production capacity may need to be expanded. Business is about the strategy of knowing how to balance owners equity against liabilities. Profits can be added to owner equity for future growth of the company or it can be used to reduce liabilities and improve the financial health of a company. Assets should be twice the amount of liabilities.

b. Sales should deduct order that have come back. An accurate sales amount subtracts behind schedule orders

c. Standard Cost-Of-Goods-Sold is used to determine "How much it costs to produce the goods".

d. Gross Standard Income equals Net Sales Shipped less Standard Cost of Goods Sold. The Gross Income should be high enough to cover all "non production expenses"

e. Inventory Receipts are used in the cash-flow statement. A receipt is a ticket tracking an inventory item. When receiving gets a part, a receipt is generated and associated with the part.

f. Manufacturing variance is the difference between the actual cost and the standard cost of the product. The author does not use average cost. Most companies use average cost because it is easier to determine a product expenditure.

g. Contribution margin is the actual gross profit made on the product by deducting the "total manufacturing variances" from the Gross standard income.

h. Expenses are the operating expenses

i. Operation income equals Contribution margin less expenses

j. Most of these financials can be assembled rather quickly using a query tool like "Insight Software".
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 1997
Format: Paperback
I have read several other popular business books i.e. The
Goal, World Class Mfg., Re-Engineering America, etc. and this
is by far the most useful book I have read. This book shows
you how to get all of your employees motivated to a COMMON
GOAL, and that goal has two parts. #1) Pre-tax Profits and
#2) Equity in Stock. Jack Stack shows you how to get ALL of
your employees to focus on and really understand where these two
two numbers come from and how each employee contributes to these
numbers. Implementing JIT, Total Quality Mgmnt, Preventive
maintenance, etc. will always meet with limited success in a company
if its employees don't understand how they contribute to
or benefit from improving items #1 and #2 above.
This book shows you exactly how to do that.

I am just beginning to start my own manufacturing company
and plan to implement MANY of the ideas from this book.
I will use it as our company bible.......or at least until
Jack Stack writes a second edition.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
When I first read this book (several years ago), I knew it would become important to my consulting business. It has become a book I purchase for my clients, especially (but not exclusively) those who own their own businesses.

Employee retention has become a significant problem for most businesses. Stack's solution is real, and can be varied depending on the situation. It is not for everyone, but the story itself is worth the time for any student of business.

Not that I have an opinion.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a must read for anyone interested in managing, even if you do not follow the advice, you have to know why your competition is beating you so badly in the marketplace.
Cannot wait for a web company to come up with the Intranet publishing tools to "web-cast" the Great Game of Business on companies' intranets!
The Game is well laid out and easy to follow, even without an MBA in finance. That's the whole key, the Game is business, and knowledge is truly powerful in an open-book enterprise!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
"Managing people" is one of the most difficult things facing business. This book gives you a way to not have to manage people and instead have them manage themselves in such a way that benefits the business as well as themselves.

Want to decrease your stress level, increase production, quality, and profits? Follow what Jack Stack did at SRC. Not an easy thing to do (we are only just beginning) - you will have push-back from some staff, and calculating exactly what the numbers for every facet of your business are is not necessarily easy, but it can be done and it will make you, the business owner or manager, much happier with your work while providing more opportunity to your employees.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Jack stack has become an entrepreneurial legend based on the wonderful work he has done at SRC and the fascinating story of that journey. Any business owner who wantS to turn on the dynamic energy of his/her workforce should surely consider the secrets Jack learned at SRC. This is a real American success story that transcends The normal bounds of business. I strongly recommend it.
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