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."