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Great Game of Business [Hardcover]

Jack Stack
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

1 Jan 1980
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 created his own style of management --  open-book management. The key is to let everyone in on  financial decisions. At SRC, everyone learns how to  read a P&L -- even those without a high school  education know how much the toilet paper they use  cuts into profits. SRC people have a piece of the  action and a vote in company matters. Imagine  having a vote on your bonus and on what businesses the  company should be in. SRC restored the dignity of  economic freedom to its people. Stack's  "open-book management" is the key -- a system  which, as he describes it here, is literally  a game, and one so simple anyone can use  it. As part of the Currency paperback line, the  book includes a "User's Guide" -- an  introduction and discussion guide created for the  paperback by the author -- to help readers make  practical use of the book's ideas. Jack Stack is the  president and CEO of the Springfield Remanufacturing  Corporation, in Springfield, Missouri. The recipient  of the 1993 Business Enterprise Trust Award, Jack  speaks throughout the country on The  Great Game Of Business and Open  Book Management.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Random House South Africa (1 Jan 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038542230X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385422307
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,732,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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It's amazing what you can come up with when you have no money, zero outside resources, and 119 people all depending on you for their jobs, their homes, even their prospects of dinner for the foreseeable future. Read the first page
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great value 18 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great easy to read book. Good price.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  53 reviews
72 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Can't Manage What You Don't Measure 2 May 2000
By Robert Morris - Published on Amazon.com
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.
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring 2 Jan 2001
By Roger E. Herman - Published on Amazon.com
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."
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the top 5 BEST discoveries we ever made for our company 5 Aug 2013
By Daryl Flood - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified 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
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a great way of looking at business! 29 July 2004
By Eric Kassan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a great book, particularly for business owners/leaders. Jack Stack shows how and why getting all employees to think and act like owners gives a company an incredible advantage against its competitors. And one can't argue with the author's success. I would also recommend John Case's "Open-Book Management" for a slightly more "big-picture" view of the same topic. On related topics I would recommend Ayn Rand's "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal" and L. B. M. Serven's "The End of Office Politics as Usual".
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Old Testament of Open Books management.... 1 May 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
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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