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The Great Game of Business, Expanded and Updated: The Only Sensible Way to Run a Company Paperback – July 16, 2013
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“The Great Game of Business is one of the top 10 most important business books for all growth-minded company leaders to read. Why? It details how to create the critically important “line of sight” every employee needs to be fully engaged and driving toward a common goal. And Jack’s book details how to get everyone in your company focused with one eye on the financial impact of their decisions. Then watch profits and cash soar.” -Verne Harnish, CEO of Gazelles and author of The Greatest Business Decisions of All Time
"This is the brilliant story of the most radical act committed by a businessman in this century. You can't run or manage your business the old way once you read The Great Game." -Paul Hawken
About the Author
A pioneer of the leadership model known as Open Book Management, Stack is the author of two books on the subject, The Great Game of Business and A Stake in the Outcome. His expertise in using the open book model has helped SRC Holdings Corporation start, acquire, and own over 60 small and medium size businesses and created thousands of jobs since 1983. In addition, SRC Holdings Corporation has increased its stock value 292,000% since 1983.
Jack has been called the “smartest strategist in America” by Inc. Magazine and one of the “top 10 minds in small business” by Fortune Small Business Magazine. Jack is a contributing editor for Inc. Magazine and contributing business writer for The New York Times.
He is a popular public speaker and a practitioner of the open book model. SRC Holdings Corporation has received international recognition because of its success, including the Top 100 Companies to Work for in America, WorldBlu Most Democratic Workplaces, the National Business Ethics Award and the Business Enterprise Trust Award.
Jack has served as a world judge for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Institute and as an advisor for this group since 1998. Jack designed the first ever United Way Entrepreneurial Fund to encourage innovation within the non-profit community. He is the father of five children and grandfather of six.
BO BURLINGHAM is editor-at-large—and former executive editor—of Inc. magazine and chairman of the Small Giants Community (www.smallgiants.org). His book Small Giants: Companies That Choose To Be Great Instead of Big was a finalist for the 2006 Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year award. His most recent book, co-authored with Norm Brodsky, is Street Smarts: An All-Purpose Tool Kit for Entrepreneurs.
He has also written two books with Jack Stack. The first, The Great Game of Business, was named one of 100 best business books of all time. The second, A Stake in the Outcome, has been called “the first management classic of the new millennium.” Burlingham is currently working on a book about exits. He lives in Oakland, CA, with his wife of 41 years, Lisa. They have two children and three grandchildren.
RICH ARMSTRONG is the president of The Great Game of Business, Inc. and a 20+ year veteran of SRC Holdings Corporation. Rich has been instrumental in the ongoing design and development of the GGOB methodology because of his practical, “first-hand” experience running businesses at SRC. Known for his engaging, down to earth and authentic style, Rich is a popular, versatile speaker and business coach. Rich serves on the board of Court Appointed Special Advocates for children (CASA) and the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO). Combined with the love and enjoyment of his family, including two wonderful children, Ryan and Rylee, Rich is an avid musician and will often be found enjoying music in his home studio.
STEVE BAKER is Vice President of The Great Game of Business, Inc., a division of employee-owned SRC Holdings Corporation. Known for his high-energy and engaging message, he has become a top-rated and sought-after speaker, author and coach on topics of Open-Book Management, Strategy & Execution, Business Literacy and Employee Engagement. Steve serves on the Board of the National Center for Employee Ownership as well as the Steering Committee for SRC’s Ownership Culture Initiative. Steve is a career marketing and branding professional and is an award-winning designer. He lives in Springfield, Missouri with his wife, JoAnn, and their three children.
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1. This book was written from the author’s real experiences in SRC by bringing a small and almost bankrupted business into a healthy and growing company.
2. Jack Stack really poured heart into it rather than copy & paste. He has many great examples, cases, tools for readers to learn.
3. I like the philosophy of the book - open book management, which has been successfully used by many companies like Netflix. Some other great business leaders like Jack Welch, Howard Schulz - they all focused on the essence of open book management (candor and transparency)
4. Last but not least, the book offered implementation guide. The GGOB is not a rocket science but rather something that every manager can learn and use.
I would recommend the book to other readers and the book is definitely worthy of your time!
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
To now watch the second generation of Jack's staff lead their organizations and observe thousands of companies using the cultural philosophy that has lead to the term open book management is simply amazing. This book is a staple and I continue to be inspired by it and gift it to leaders who get the value of empowering staff and rewarding for results.
Not every chapter is great, some were dry and too much like a self-help book, but enough good chapters to make this book successful. The chapter on setting standards had good information about thinking how to control your costs and generate cash. I liked the advice of "Don't accept any number at face value". Meaning explore your metrics and make sure the right areas are being measured, numbers are not sacred.
The other chapter I liked was Skip the Praise-Give us the Raise. This wasn't so much about giving a bonus, but thinking about how to give a bonus and understanding what needs to be accomplished to earn a bonus. I liked the advice of setting a goal based on the balance sheet and protecting your equity. Nice explanation in the book on how to do this.
The book is fantastic for entrepreneurs or for owners of small companies that are growing or need to diversify. The book has many great tips on how to run a business and take care of your employees at the same time. Read this book in combination with "Managing by the Numbers" by Kremer, Rizzuto, and Case.
Top international reviews
Stack illustrates his own companies fully open-book approach to business that calls for strong leadership, managerial daring and considerable stamina. Much of what is written appears to be teaching business managers ‘how-to-suck-eggs’, in that a great deal of the content prescribes fundamental business principles, yet holding this thought detracts from the reality of his business model. And while many business leaders might extol the principles of an open-book philosophy, the perseverance and staying power required to deliver, I suggest, would exhaust many a budding open-book advocate.
Throughout Stack demonstrates a business ethic that allows his frontline team to investment in their own success by benchmarking personal success as sufficient equity to purchase their own property. Everyone is a winner as stock price increases, margins are protected and efficiency encouraged. I would guess it is would be difficult to assess if a different, more autocratic management style would have brought about a higher stock price, but even if it did, I would like to think, the local communities economy would be more sustainable and at a higher level because of it.