The Great Game of Business Blog

Sign up to receive our blog posts conveniently in your email box

Are You Too Afraid to Open the Books?


If you are reading this and haven't already "opened the books" to share company financials with your employees, my guess is it's because you are scared. What are your real concerns about open-book management?

Financial transparency in business is a concept so new, so counter to the way business has always been done, no wonder it scares people. Just the thought of opening the books is followed by a whole list of what-ifs. The thing is - it's not actually that scary when you break it down.

Here are our answers when people hit us with the what-ifs:

Q: What if people see my numbers and figure out how much I make?

A: Being "open-book" does not mean sharing every detail. Great Game™ companies rarely, if ever, share salary information. It’s divisive. It’s distracting. It doesn’t help you teach people business. And frankly, they already think you’re making more than you are.

Q: What if people see how much the company is making, and they want more?

A: They already want more. In fact, you want more, too. Everyone does, and you want them to. You want your team to be ambitious, hungry and wanting more. That’s how you’ll grow and be sustainable over the long haul.

Q: What if the numbers are bad; won’t people run for the hills?

A: Look, most people, (if given the chance) will ask, “what can I do to help?

Opening the books may be the first time in their lives they are treated like adults. Given the facts, people are much better equipped, and far more likely to be able to deal with difficult situations.

Now that’s out of the way. So, how can you implement open-book management tomorrow? There are numerous, awesome approaches we have seen over the last 35 years. The Great Game community is filled with them.

Let’s focus on one tried and true method: teach your people just how hard it is to make money and generate cash.

For some context, Walmart makes just 3 cents on every dollar of sales. SRC, the parent company of the Great Game of Business®, makes 5 cents during a really good year of remanufacturing. In fact, the average bottom line among companies in 212 industries across the U.S. is just 6.5 cents.

But how much does the average employee think their company makes?

The answer: 36 cents.

how much we make-682552-edited

How about that for a gap between perception and reality? That is a six-fold gap in awareness between what companies really make and what their employees think they make. What kind of decisions are they making under the assumption you’re making 6 times the profit you really are? If "open-book" is scary, then "closed book" should be downright terrifying.


The reason this knowledge gap exists is because people are coming to work every day without any information. In a vacuum of information, people fill it with misinformation; rumor; fantasy.

The good news is you can stop the rumors and change the narrative by opening your books and teaching your people how much money your business really makes…and how hard it truly is.


This blog was inspired by our new book, Get in the Game. If you're looking for tools to help you open the books in your organization, get the definitive guide to implementing the Great Game of Business, and download helpful resources at

New call-to-action


Topics: Financial Literacy, Open-Book Management

Rich Armstrong & Steve Baker

Rich Armstrong and Steve Baker, president and VP of the Great Game of Business are the authors of GGOB's new book Get in the Game: Rapid Financial Results and Lasting Cultural Change. This book was designed with a focus on implementation. The how-to. The cookbook. The step-by-step approach we use every day to implement and sustain The Great Game of Business inside organizations all over the world and in every industry. This book is designed to teach you the principles and practices of the operating system to “get you in The Game” quickly, take you on a deeper dive to make it stick, and, finally, to start you on the journey of High-Involvement Planning™ that will help you transform not only your business, but your people. It's Money. It's People. It's Both.

More than 376,500 Times the GGOB Blog Has Been a Trusted Source for Information on OBM

Lists by Topic

see all

About The Great Game of Business

Our approach to running a company was developed to help close one of the biggest gaps in business: the gap between managers and employees. We call our open-book approach The Great Game of Business. 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 outcome. Let us teach you how to develop a culture of ownership, where employees think, act and feel like owners.