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The 4 C's of Long-Term Business Planning

Nov 1, 2019 by Jack Stack 1 Comment
As you likely know, forecasting is an integral part of what we do at SRC Holdings Corporation. We come together twice a year to create a plan of what our organization will look like one year out, five years out, and even 10 years into the future. This is where our organization can, according to the legendary business writer Jim Collins, identify its BHAGs – or big hairy audacious goals. Whenever we wrap these meetings, there’s almost always a sense of euphoria among us: “Wow! We are going to accomplish some great things together!”  It's incredible to see everyone excited about where we’re headed together and what we plan to accomplish. But I want to push the pause button here for a minute because this is where a lot of organizations get tripped up. Putting your targets out there isn’t the conclusion. It’s just the beginning. 
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Jack Stack: Why I Wrote a New Book

Sep 3, 2019 by Jack Stack 0 Comments
Making the decision to write a book isn’t for the faint of heart. For most people, it takes a significant investment of time and sometimes money to pull it off. There’s also the question of why you would ever write a book in the first place. At times, it can seem like a very egocentric exercise: Look at me and what I wrote! And don’t get me started on what happens when people actually read and remember what you wrote – down to the page number and paragraph. They hold you accountable for it. To be honest, I never figured I would ever write another book after Bo Burlingham and I wrote two of them, The Great Game of Business and A Stake in the Outcome back in the 1990s. I had already experienced my moment in the spotlight. What more could I possibly have to say?
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The Four Pillars of Leadership

May 20, 2019 by Jack Stack 0 Comments
As I was growing up on the shop floors of manufacturing plants, I was constantly bombarded with best practices that had names like total quality management, management by objectives and lean manufacturing. The idea was that the company’s management was trying to make us more productive and efficient. If one person could run a machine and still have time to stand around, we would give him two more machines to run. That was breakthrough thinking, essentially operating those two extra machines for free since we increased the productivity of this worker.
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Overcoming Your Fear of Disclosure: Part II

May 13, 2019 by Jack Stack 0 Comments
  Excerpted from The Great Game of Business. The Great Fear #2 Is It Competitors You Fear—Or Your Own Employees?  Sad to say, a lot of companies hide their financials not because they're afraid of their competitors, but because they're afraid of their employees. They don't think people will understand the numbers, and there's some truth to that. If you don't show employees how to use financial information as a tool to help the company, they might well use it as a weapon against the company.
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Overcoming Your Fear of Disclosure: Part I

May 6, 2019 by Jack Stack 0 Comments
 Excerpted from The Great Game of Business. How do you get to the point where you can even think about democratizing the workplace—about being a transparent business that gives people access to the numbers and therewith the means to control their destiny? Not by swallowing your pride and admitting that you don't have all the answers and can't make all the decisions. No, it's by swallowing your fear. The Great Fear #1 What If Competitors Get Hold of Your Numbers?
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Don't Worry About the Big Issues, Just Do Your Job

May 1, 2019 by Jack Stack 0 Comments
Excerpted from The Great Game of Business. Like most American companies, International Harvester operated on the principle that everybody should focus on doing the specific job he or she was assigned. The corollary was that you should only give people the information required to do their specific jobs; everything else should be treated as some kind of corporate secret. Somehow it had become common wisdom that this was a good way to run a business—in fact, the only right way to run a business. That is the biggest myth of all.
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It's a Big Mistake to Promote People Too Quickly

Apr 24, 2019 by Jack Stack 0 Comments
Excerpted from The Great Game of Business. The common wisdom is that people should prove themselves before they get promoted. I always promoted people as fast as I could. Sometimes I promoted them right out of my department. I liked giving people opportunities, and I didn't want them to get bored and stale, but I had an ulterior motive as well: it made my job a lot easier to have friends all over the company.
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A Manager's Job Is to Come Up with Answers

Apr 17, 2019 by Jack Stack 0 Comments
Excerpted from The Great Game of Business. It's very common for managers, especially new managers, to think they're supposed to have solutions for any problems that arise on their watch. That kind of thinking can get you into deep trouble. For one thing, it sets you up to fail because no one has all the answers. For another, it undermines your credibility because everyone knows that no one has all the answers. It also isolates you from people. A big pitfall of managers at all levels is the notion they have to be perfect. I know supervisors who can't hold a meeting because they're afraid someone might ask a question they can't answer. As I mentioned earlier, I know CEOs who can't leave their offices unless their ties are straight and every hair is in place. Managers like that wind up hating their jobs. They feel they have to live up to an image, to be an idol, to be a representative of a position.
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Nice Guys Finish Last

Apr 10, 2019 by Jack Stack 0 Comments
Excerpted from The Great Game of Business. We've all heard how you have to be an S.O.B. to succeed in business. How you have to step on other people to get results. How it's okay to throw your weight around because it's a tough world and you win through intimidation. It's all a crock. I've worked on the shop floor. Believe me, nobody there wants to hear a guy telling you to bust your butt if he's rolling around in a Mercedes and beating up the people he works with. When you flaunt what you've got, when you intimidate, when you treat people badly, you lose power. I've watched guys like that throughout my life. I've learned it's just a matter of time before they get theirs.
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Don't Tell People the Truth—They'll Screw You

Mar 30, 2019 by Jack Stack 0 Comments
Excerpted from The Great Game of Business. You may wonder if it's possible to play the Great Game of Business anywhere-in a division of a giant conglomerate, say, or in a factory with a dominant union, or in a company that doesn't share equity with employees or have an intelligent bonus system. In fact, The Game started in a place exactly like that, in a very small department at the huge International Harvester plant in Melrose Park, Illinois. It was there that I learned most of what I know about managing, and everything I've tried to forget about leadership.
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Remembering Herb Kelleher

Jan 4, 2019 by Jack Stack 2 Comments
I was saddened to hear about the loss of Herb Kelleher, the founder of Southwest Airlines. I’ll never forget the time back in the early 1990s when I was invited to Texas to talk about the Great Game of Business with Herb and his team at Southwest. After I gave my talk, I figured everything I had shared about our open-book story wasn’t worth much given how big Southwest was and how many locations they operated out of. I wasn’t sure our Great Game system would work in a big company. Then Herb stood up. He took over the podium and told his leaders that there were only five things that could take out their company: their five unions. I admit I was shocked because I didn’t know they were a union company. But Herb then told his team that the only way their airline was going to make it was if they could teach everyone, all ninety thousand people—including every union employee—how the company made money and generated cash.
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Why “People” Is Our New Critical Number

Oct 18, 2018 by Jack Stack 5 Comments
I might have raised a few eyebrows this past September when I gave my speech at the 26th Gathering of Games in Dallas. I talked about how we were now fighting a war for talent and that, thanks to retiring Baby Boomers and a hot economy, we now face a critical shortage of people. Without people, we will not be able to keep growing the business by taking advantage of the opportunities ahead of us. It’s our belief that by the year 2020, the companies with the best people will dominate their markets. In my speech, I explained that the Critical Number™ for our business for 2019 was going to be “people.” I thought that some members of the audience started to think they were at the wrong conference. (Was this some kind of HR seminar?)
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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.