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6 Tips for Easing Managers into The Game

Feb 27, 2019 by Rich Armstrong 0 Comments

6 Tips for Easing Managers into The Game

When companies implement The Great Game of Business, the company's leadership are often expected to get up to speed quickly. They’re asked to teach things they may not know and share information they’ve always kept close to the vest. They’re also expected to change their personal management style, often abruptly.

In this situation, it shouldn’t be surprising if some managers leave and the rest feel threatened, confused or angry. Chances are they’re all asking themselves the same question: “As employees learn more about the business and take more responsibility for posting good results, then what’s my role?” Meanwhile, they're being peppered with questions from the front line: “What’s all this about, anyway? Do we really have to do this?” If your managers shrug or answer cynically, your program is over before it starts.

The truth is that savvy managers often make the difference between success and failure when it comes to implementing the Great Game. That’s why it should be a priority to help them, not just your front-line associates, understand the whole concept of the Great Game of Business®,

    • involve them in discussions about the process of change
    • and provide whatever training they need in financial literacy and other open-book skills. 

Here are six tips you can use to get—and keep— your key managers in The Game

1-1Demystify Open-Book Management

  1. Hold a casual retreat on the golf course or at a bowling alley to lay everything out, find common ground and create plans.
  2. Make sure everyone involved has a clear picture of the process and their role in opening the books.

2Prepare Managers for Their New Leadership Role

  1. Set up a learning center of GGOB resources (being part of the GGOB Community Site is a great place to send them)
  2. Create a list of FAQs
  3. Stage mock Huddles to get managers comfortable with the numbers.
  4. You can also create a reading list that includes classics such as Stephen Covey's The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and The Eight Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness, in addition to First, Break All the Rules and Now, Discover Your Strengths, by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, and of course, Get in the Game by Rich Armstrong and Steve Baker. 

3-1Visit Other GGOB Companies

  1. Attending the Great Game of Business Conferences to learn Great Game fundamentals, attend a Huddle, and network with other practitioners is the perfect way to get your leadership up to speed.
  2. Visiting other players of the Great Game also creates opportunities to create personal connections and mentor/mentee relationships for your managers.

4Walk the Talk

  1. GGOB managers teach, coach, facilitate discussion, and keep teams moving in the right direction. Sure, not every manager will make the transition to the new style, but most will, particularly if the CEO and senior executives model the new approach. 

5Give Managers New, Meaningful Tasks

  1. Once you’ve got The Game underway, ask managers to update the vision/values statement and any guiding principles and practices related to knowledge management, employee education and involvement, and great leadership development.
  2. Challenge them to come up with new programs that support the open-book effort and enhance the culture. 

6Develop New Opportunities for Personal Growth

  1. If managers are successful coaches, their people will be able to assume many responsibilities themselves. That frees up managers to take on special projects, learn new skills, or head up entrepreneurial spin-offs.
  2. Here, you might follow SRC’s advice:
    1. strengthen your performance-management system
    2. start a succession plan
    3. offer career planning and mentoring “services”
    4. maybe launch your own Leadership Academy
Just like employees, managers gain a lot from the learning and empowerment that takes place in an open-book environment. Make sure they understand how valuable that can be to their careers.


Topics: Leadership

Rich Armstrong
Written by Rich Armstrong

Rich Armstrong has nearly thirty years of experience in improving business performance and employee engagement through open-book management and employee ownership, with service as a business coach and as a current executive at SRC Holdings Corporation, a thirty-five-year old employee-owned company and one of the United States’ top one hundred largest majority employee-owned companies. Rich has been instrumental in the ongoing development of SRC Holdings’ open-book management and employee-ownership practices through practical, “firsthand” experience leading several of SRC’s business units. This experience has enabled him to successfully apply these practices in both small- and large-scale company implementations around the world. He coauthored "Get in the Game" as well as the update of the number one bestseller, "The Great Game of Business—20th Anniversary Edition". Rich is a graduate of Pittsburg State University and serves on the board of the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO). He cherishes his time with his wife, Alicia, and four children, Ryan, Ethan, Rylee, and Jackson. Rich’s guilty pleasure is making music in his home studio and playing in his ’90s rock tribute band.

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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.