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on August 5, 2013
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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on May 7, 2017
In 1995 Tom Peters mentioned Jack's company at a leadership conference. He said you can't forget the name Jack Stack, sounds like something you would order at IHOP. Shortly thereafter I had a turning moment when Jack's book was staring me in the face at Audrey's Bookstore in Edmonton Alberta Canada. The narrative was so intriguing that I had a hard time getting back to meetings I was attending that day. To say it was an affirmation that what I believed businesses should be and operate as was truly conformational, I wasn't nuts. I had the good fortune of bringing GGOB coaches Sydney Moore and David Lough into my former business and our transformation began. In short order, our organization changed its culture to one of transparency, open communication, and a planning forward approach. I have had the chance to attend a number of the GGOB teams conferences over the years and I make a point of going now every September to their Annual Conference, this year it will be their 25th.
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.
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on December 10, 2017
Great book on how to get your staff involved and care about how your business is doing. It is a guideline to help you teach your staff what it takes to run a business and what the goals are. How do they know what to do and why if you don't tell them. There are practice exercises to do with staff.
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on December 20, 2016
Jack Stack completely blew my mind with this book. While I subconciously knew a lot of what he talked about, this book built a bridge between theory and practicality. This book is relevant for small business owners, middle managers, and CEO's of global companies alike. In a business environment where labor costs are only going to get higher, The Great Game of Business gives concrete steps to getting more from what you are paying for.
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on February 18, 2014
In my work I engage organizations who seek ways to increase the level of associate engagement.

Engaged employees deliver higher quality products. Engaged employees deliver superior customer services. Ultimately, engaged employees lead to greater profitability.

The challenge organizations face in seeking increased associate engagement comes in deciding which levers to pull. What systems make sense? What incentives motivate?

Jack Stack's book is good because he lays out in detail the approach an organization can take to prepare for the Digital Age. The appendix offers a playbook to follow.
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on February 8, 2011
I am reading the book 16 years later, but the message is relevant. The basis of the book is Open-Book Management or sharing the critical numbers and the financials with your employees. I know the United States was in a recession when this book was written so I took seriously his explanations about not laying off people to be "lean and mean", but helping to create new opportunities and jobs.

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.
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on March 19, 2009
I have gotten a lot of good information from this book in building my consulting business. The author discusses his own experiences on building a business and how things might not go exactly the way we want them to if they do at all. In the world of business, nothing is a guarantee but what can be a guarantee is to wake up in the morning and tell yourself, "I can do what it takes to make it happen!" Just saying that will get you through the day because you are not opening yourself to high expectations. It is important to remember, when having high expectations they may not always be there and that will cause a downward spiral that just damages everything you have worked so hard to build. This book is what you need to get you through the day of building your business one step at a time.
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on November 26, 2017
Only read the first 5 chapters. They are good. If the book didn’t go on and on from chapter 6 to the end about the same things in the beginning I would give the book 5 stars.
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on January 19, 2008
Easy to read, concise, and well written. Main points are well organized and put into a story fashion to keep your attention. It provides good insight into how to run a business openly to fully utilize every employees' talents. It makes a good case for not keeping people in the dark. It has good insights into the motivation of employees. Caution, these principles would be very hard to implement in a large corporation, unless top management "buys in". The book shows the value in making work challenging and fun and more like a "game" with healthy competition. It identifies what "healthy" competition looks like, as opposed to keeping secrets, deception, threats, or games where nobody understands the real rules, which is destructive.
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on June 2, 2012
Through this book Jack outlines his open-book management framework - which he calls "The Game" - while at SRC. As he states: "What lies at the heart of the Game is a very simple proposition: The best, most efficient, most profitable way to operate a business is to give everybody in the company a voice in saying how the company is run and a stake in the financial outcome, good or bad." The ensuing chapters discuss the various aspects of this framework, covering a breadth of topics such as vision, goals, compensation etc. Below is an outline of these topics:

"1- Why teach people how to make money: On profit in general, On your company's profits, On making money and generating cash, On jobs and job security, On wealth and wealth creation.

2- Myths of management: On the danger of telling the truth, On the danger of being a "nice guy", On the role of the manager, On motivation.

3- The feeling of a winner: On the credibility of management, On the attitude of employees, On pride and ownership, On starting games, On celebrating wins.

4- The big picture: On defining the big picture, On Sharing the big picture, On moving people around the company, On sending mixed messages, On Connecting with communities outside the company.

5- Open-book management: On taking the emotions out of the business, On being the least-cost producer, On the fear of competitors, On the fear of employees, On sharing compensation figures.

6- Setting Standards: On critical numbers, On the purpose of standard costs, On setting up a standard cost system, On absorbing overhead.

7- Skip the praise - give us the raise: On designing the bonus program, On the effectiveness of the bonus program, On the size of the potential bonuses, On the issue of equal payouts, On educating with bonuses.

8- Coming up with the game plan: On budgets and game plans, On the sales forecast, On getting people to buy in, On changing the plan as the year goes along.

9- The great huddle: On staff meetings, On putting names on the numbers, On the timing of meetings, On the role of the Leader, On writing the numbers down.

10- A company of owners: On equity in general, On long-term thinking, On playing the game in employee-owned companies, On playing the game without the equity tool, On participation versus democracy in business.

11- The highest level of thinking: On the cost of health care and other benefits, On creating new opportunities for people, On cash-flow generators and overhead absorbers, On the hunger for ownership.

12- The ultimate higher law: a message to middle managers: On getting your boss to play the game, On playing the game without the boss, On having fun."

A great educative book on management, that promotes openness, transparency and effectiveness!

Below are excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- "The only way to be secure is to make money and generate cash. Everything else is a means to that end. Those simple rules apply to every business. And yet, at most companies, people are never told that the survival of the company depends on doing those two things...most important, no one tells people how to make money and generate cash.

2- "People only get beyond work when their motivation is coming from the inside...Management is all about instilling that desire to win. It's about instilling self-esteem and pride, that special glow you get when you know you're a winner. Nobody has to tell you. You just feel it. You know it."

3- "Along the way, we learned some lessons about the kind of games and goals that work best: 1) Business is a team sport - choose games that build a team. 2) Be positive, build confidence. 3) Celebrate every win. 4) It's got to be a game. 5) Give everyone the same set of goals. 6) Don't use goals to tell people everything you want them to do."

4- "I found out that people who had worked in two or more jobs had a whole different attitude about business. Cooperation was great. They were much better at seeing the other guy's perspective. They understood how different functions fit together, how the depended on each other."

5- "The best argument for open-book management is this: the more educated your work force is about the company, the more capable it is of doing the little things required to get better."

6- "When you use financial statements as management tools, you have to adapt to your purposes...How you do that depends entirely on your business, but here are some general rules to follow: 1) Start with the income statement. 2) Highlight the categories where you spend most money. 3) Break down categories into controllable elements. 4) Use the income statement to educate people about the balance sheet."

7- "The real power of the bonus program lies in its ability to educate people about business. Once they understand the math, they see how everything fits together, and how business can be a tool for getting them what they want. And it all does fit together. The system really works. You can't criticize it because it is simply a reflection of reality. You can criticize individuals. You can take people to task for the way they do business. You can go after the ones who are greedy, who only want to help themselves, who exploit other people for personal gain. But the fault lies in those individuals, not in the nature of capitalism."

8- "That's because a company of owners will outperform a company of employees any day of the week..When you think like an owner, you do all the little things necessary to win...But people will only thing like owners if they have a larger purpose, if they are not just working for a paycheck...People have to see the Big Picture. They have to know what they are doing, why it's important, where they are going, and how business is helping them get there. Only then will they have the desire to go out and use the tools you provide and play the Great Game of Business to win."

9- "..."Everyone who comes fishin' here gits the same number of bites. The only difference between thems that catch the fish and thems that don't is preparation and concentration. You gotta make sure your hook is sharp and your line don't have no nicks. Then you gotta watch that line. You pay attention to them little things, and you'll catch all the fish you kin handle." I think of that story whenever I run into people who don't know what to do with their lives because there just aren't enough opportunities around. I also think of it when I hear about companies laying people off because their services aren't needed, because there isn't enough work for them, because the opportunities have all dried up. What a waste. There are opportunities everywhere - opportunities to grow, opportunities to start new businesses, opportunities to create jobs and absorb overhead. Everybody gets the same number of bites. You catch the fish when you're prepared and ready to respond."
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