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Paperback The Great Game of Business: Unlocking the Power and Profitability of Open-Book Management Book

ISBN: 038547525X

ISBN13: 9780385475259

The Great Game of Business: Unlocking the Power and Profitability of Open-Book Management

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Book Overview

In the early 1980s, Springfield Remanufacturing??Corporation (SRC) in Springfield, Missouri, was a??near bankrupt division of International Harvester.??That's when a green young manager, Jack Stack,??took over and turned it around. He didn't know how to??"manage" a company, but he did know about the??principal, of athletic competition and democracy:??keeping score, having fun, playing fair, providing??choice, and having a voice. With these principals??he...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Stack is Ahead of the Pack

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.

The Old Testament of Open Books management....

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 understandThe 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.


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 in

You Can't Manage What You Don't Measure

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.

Ownership = prosperity, The Great Game is key to ownership!

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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