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// PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS  (subject to change)

These pre-conference workshops are included with any conference registration and do not require additional registration.

The workshops are also available a la carte.  To register for pre-conference workshops only, use this link.  

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August 18th (Tuesday) // 11am to 1pm CDT ($99 or included with conference registration)

// Human Motivation in the 21st Century //

Skip Weisman (Great Game Certified Coach, Your Championship Company)

This session explores the most up-to-date motivational theories for a 21st Century workforce, including how the traditional “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” meshes with Anthony Robbins' dynamic "Human Needs Psychology," and Daniel Pink's Motivation 3.0.

Understanding these human motivational theories, along with Skip’s own proprietary “Employee Motivation Equation,” shows how your Great Game of Business® initiative is perfectly aligned to create a framework to motivate a 21st Century multi-generational workforce. 

Leave this session knowing exactly how you can communicate to motivate each player on your Great Game of Business team.

Recommended for: anyone wanting a better understanding of human motivation; Great Game practitioners who want to leverage their GGOB disciplines to drive engagement


August 19th (Wednesday) // 10am to 12pm CDT (open to all)

// The Bridge Between Open-Book Management and ESOP //


Stephanie Klingzell Carlin & Tom DeSimone (Prairie Capital Advisors) + Great Game practitioners

Liquidity options are plentiful for business owners: strategic sale, private equity, management buyout, family transfer and leveraged recapitalization. Which path should you take? The Game teaches employees to think and act like owners, which is powerful when preparing your company for transition – whichever path is chosen. We know that 19% of the 2019 Great Game™ All-Star companies and many others walked a different path—implementing an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), which is a desirable exit strategy for open-book companies. 

Join Prairie Capital Advisors’ Stephanie Carlin and Tom DeSimone as they discuss the synergies for open-book management companies to implement an ESOP. Two Great Game companies will also contribute to the discussion to share their thoughts on employee-ownership.

Recommended for: leaders of companies who practice GGOB and are considering ownership transition strategies, including an ESOP; leaders of companies who have an ESOP and are considering implementing the Great Game


August 19th (Wednesday) // 1pm to 3pm CDT ($99 or included with conference registration)

// Building High-Performing Teams //

Alia Stowers (Great Game Certified Coach, Tarath Assoc.)

Every team has some dysfunction, but did you know that dysfunction can put a full halt to successful program implementation? Utilizing various team concepts, this workshop takes a fresh look at team dynamics and what can make or break a team project.

Participants will use the team life cycle to apply important takeaway lessons that will guide them throughout their design team planning and program implementation. Using Patrick Lencioni’s work, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” the group will take a fresh look at their teams (especially their Great Game of Business Design Team/Culture Committee) to identify its level of dysfunction.

Most teams react defensively to the idea that they have some dysfunction; however, all teams start at the beginning. This workshop uses activities and small and large group discussions to help participants discover how to systematically work through team dysfunction to achieve high performance. Most leaders are undertrained in leadership, especially in the area of team-building, so a focus on this area could transform the implementation of the Great Game of Business in your company!

Recommended for: anyone who leads teams, whether practicing The Great Game of Business or not


August 20th (Thursday) // 11am to 12:30pm CDT (open to all)

// 20 Reasons NOT to Open Your Books to Employees //

Loren Feldman (21 Hats) + a panel of certified OBM skeptics and Great Game All-Stars

Perhaps you’ve heard the hype about open-book management. Perhaps you’ve been intrigued by the notion that teaching employees what drives the business will improve engagement. Who wouldn’t want their employees to act more like owners?


But you’ve got questions. You’ve got concerns. What if your employees figure out how much money you’re taking out? Will everyone leave if the numbers turn south? Will everyone demand raises if the number turn north? Will my employees even understand the financials they’re looking at? What if my employees already have enough to do? What if I don’t want the whole company looking over my shoulder? Will it breed resentment between departments that are performing well and those that aren’t?


Well, guess what? You’re not the first smart CEO to consider opening the books, and you’re not the first smart CEO to have questions. But if you’re interested enough to still be reading this, we have the conversation for you. This pre-conference session will feature a moderated discussion among three business owners who have thought about opening their books but haven’t pulled the trigger and three business owners who have gone ahead and taken the leap.


Wherever you are in your journey, you do NOT want to miss this!


Recommended for: anyone who is thinking about opening their books, but not quite sure + anyone who would like to be part of the lively discussion


August 25th (Tuesday) // 11am to 12:30pm CDT (open to all)

// Leadership for a Modern Workforce //

Adam Weber (Emplify), Verne Harnish (Scaling Up), and Rich Armstrong (The Great Game of Business)

Since the turn of the millennium, the workforce has changed drastically. New generations have brought a shift in values with them—ranking cultural values far more important than compensation and benefits. In this workshop, author and Emplify Chief People Officer and Co-Founder, Adam Weber is joined by Great Game President, Rich Armstrong, and Founder of Scaling Up, Verne Harnish. They’ll be discussing the evolution of leadership, tactics for building engagement, and what it means to lead like a human.


Want a little more 1:1 time? During the last 30 minutes of the workshop, Adam will go in depth on two of his steps for building engaged teams. Interact with Adam on screen and walk away with resources to help activate these ideas in your company. 

Recommended for: anyone who wants to be a better leader or drive engagement in their organization


August 26th (Wednesday) // 10am to 2pm CDT ($198 or included with conference registration)

// Experience the Game: An Overview of The Great Game of Business //

Michele Bridges (The Great Game of Business)

If you've read The Great Game of Business, you're probably asking yourself, "Is The Game for real? Can it really produce rapid financial results and lasting cultural change?"

The answer is yes; and for more than 25 years, we've been sharing our proven operating system for educating, empowering and engaging employees at all levels of the company with businesspeople all over the world.

In this session, you'll get:

        • An overview of The Great Game of Business Methodology - the philosophy, principles and practices.
        • A vision of how Game play creates long-term business success for an organization and long-term personal success for its employees.
        • The opportunity to experience the impact of The Game first-hand through a question & answer session with employees from practitioner companies.
        • The information needed to make an intelligent, informed decision to embrace The Game.

The Game can be adapted to fit any organization. Come see for yourself.

Recommended for: attendees from companies considering or just beginning GGOB implementation; employees new to the GGOB concepts (new hires at current practitioners, for example)


August 27th (Thursday) // 11am to 1pm CDT ($99 or included with conference registration)

// Design the Game: The GGOB 10-Step Implementation Process //

Dave Scholten (Great Game Certified Coach)

The Great Game of Business is simple, but not always easy. The process demands a commitment to the sequential 10-step journey. You will learn the fundamentals of each step, including:

        • the most effective process for determining your Critical Number
        • how to create a consistent Huddle rhythm and build scoreboards that help your teams learn and understand winning and success
        • the best practices and strategies for a spectacular MiniGame practice
        • how to build a motivating and behavior-changing communication process for a Stake in the Outcome®bonus plan that engages the employees at all levels throughout the year

This session will give participants valuable tools and practical planning tips to help kick off the GGOB journey.

Recommended for: all individuals from companies ready to implement, or at the beginning stages of implementing, the Great Game of Business; anyone who wants to review these basic concepts


September 1st (Tuesday) // 11am to 1pm CDT ($99 or included with conference registration)

// Play the Game: Using Scoreboards, Huddles and Rewards & Recognition to Drive Engagement //

Kevin Walter (Great Game Certified Coach + Tasty Catering)

Whether you are new to the Game or a long-time practitioner, Huddles can become stale or just routine—which can lead to lackluster employee engagement in playing your Game. Sound familiar?

This session will engage participants with a variety of best practices and tools to create line-of-site to the financials and get your employees engaged and focused through interactive Huddles, scoreboards, rewards & recognition, and team celebrations. Kevin will share his time-tested techniques to make your Huddles the “can’t miss” highlight of the workweek, and discuss how to use these tools effectively.

If you're looking to learn more about or just improve upon these key GGOB practices, this practitioner coach will provide the valuable insights, tried-and-true techniques and practical tools you need.

Recommended for: supervisors at all levels of companies practicing GGOB (beginners to advanced)


September 2nd (Wednesday) // 11am to 1pm CDT ($99 or included with conference registration)

// Sustain the Game: High-Involvement Planning™ //

Jack O’Riley (Great Game Certified Coach, The Coaching House)

Most business failures are planning failures. Even if your team works well together, it's tough to win at any game without a well-communicated strategy—an informed, research-based approach to reaching the stated objective. When that strategy is created with broad participation, it creates a level of commitment and alignment that just can't be matched.

This session will demonstrate some of the tools the Great Game of Business uses to help companies transform their planning process from an annual, time-consuming ritual to a highly informative, educational journey that involves everyone in the organization.

Recommended for: executives and their teams who are involved with the company's annual planning process; members of the sales & marketing team charged with developing and delivering on the annual plan and those charged with creating financial plans


September 3rd (Thursday) // 11am to 1pm CDT ($99 or included with conference registration)

// Great Game for Social Sectors //

Katie Davis (Great Game Certified Coach, Dream Big Consulting)

Want to learn more about playing the Great Game within a nonprofit or civic organization? In this session former CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks explains how her team adapted the proven principles of open-book management to become greater stewards and enhance the sustainability of their organizations. Examples will be shared from practitioners in 25 different non-profit, education and government organizations. 

Practitioner stories will be shared on a wide variety of organizations from a large children’s charity with 160 employees and 5 different locations to a small start-up nonprofit whose board started playing the Game in order to set a long range plan and hire full-time staff.

Recommended for: leaders of non-profit and public organizations (incl. staff, board members, volunteers and donors)