The Great Game of Business Blog

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

Gathering Highlights | How Having Hope Helps

Apr 4, 2018 by Steve Baker 0 Comments

Gathering highlights  how having hope helps blogs

This is the first in our series of weekly blogs on the Annual Gathering of Games, the world's largest conference on open-book management.  This year marks the 26th anniversary of the event, which attracts business leaders from companies of all sizes, in all industries, from all over the world, who recognize that they can transform their businesses by valuing and elevating their greatest resource: their employees. 

These articles are written by Great Game employees to highlight some of the highest rated sessions at the 2017 conference.  We hope to give you a flavor of the content-rich sessions that can be found at The Gathering of Games.  Click the link below to hear the entire audio recording from this breakout session. 


Ari Zingerman“Everybody in our companies is capable of brilliance. Our job is to help get it out of them. Hope is one of the best ways.”
-Ari Weinzweig, co-founder of Zingerman’s

As part of the Great Game Team, I spend a lot of time helping to put ON the annual conference on open-book management, rather than getting to participate IN it. We have so many amazing speakers and inspiring practitioners that I sometimes miss just being an attendee.

2017 was no exception. I missed one of our favorite people, Ari Weinzwieg, conducting an hour-long session on Hope, inspired by his book The Power of Beliefs in Business. Today I was able to listen to the recording of his session, and wanted to share what I learned.

“As plants grow in the direction of the sun”, Ari says, “people grow in the direction of hope.” Whoa.

So, where does hope come from? Hopefulness is environmental. We learn it from our families, friends and surroundings. Social scientists and psychologists have discovered that hopelessness needs to be learned. Further, there is research that shows people with hope perform and cope better in life, even beyond their talent and natural ability. How can we put hope to work?

Ari encourages us to do 6 things to foster hope in our organizations; and if we do these 6 things everyday…hope will grow. He organizes them in a Six-Pointed Hope Star:

  • Help people see a better future

Ari is famous for visioning – painting a picture of the future in such detail that everyone in the organization can see it; then, help to make that vision a reality. Zingerman’s helps people see a better future by sitting with employees one-on-one.

  • Help them see how they might get there

Teach people the practical steps to make things happen. Avoid ‘magical thinking’; Having a gym membership does not get you in shape. Also, people with high hope create multiple paths to get there. So, if something knocks them down, they get back up and get going. (How many of you do Contingency Planning?)

  • Show people how much they matter

Honor who your people are. Know their name. (I’ve seen Jack Stack walk through a factory full of hundreds of employees and stop someone on a machine and ask how their mother is doing. How does he do that?)  It’s about humanization; show them they matter as people. This is not tied to their work.

  • Help them see how much their work matters

Show them they are not just laying stone, they are building a cathedral. Everything matters, but in the hubbub of daily work, we often forget to recognize how it fits into the big picture.

  • Help them see how small steps are key to success

At GGOB, we say small wins add up to big wins. Ari points out that success is built on small steps; again, big magical things are not what we are shooting for. Put away 4 bucks a day at 20, and you’ll be a millionaire at retirement.

  • Show them how they fit into a larger whole

Create a sense of belonging to something bigger than yourself. There’s a natural tension between being part of a group and being an individual. Ari says, “I want both”. He’s looking for a caring community full of strong, hopeful individuals.

He goes on to challenge us, saying there’s no reason we cannot do these every single day. Keep track! Scoreboard it!

As a pretty simple person, one of my favorite ways to learn is to know how I might screw things up before I even get started. You know, a list of things NOT to do. Ari did not disappoint.

Things not to do

  • Don’t ignore people
  • Don’t dump your anxiety on everyone around you
  • Don’t dismiss people’s ideas out of hand
  • Don’t have mood swings-people will withdraw
  • Don’t be cynical or sarcastic – you’ll diminish hope


Other things to consider

  • Teach hope – your people will do better
  • Actively provide hope by recognizing the little things
  • Ask questions that cultivate hope
  • What’s the best complement you‘ve gotten lately
  • What makes you feel like you matter?
  • Watch for moments of hope


I loved listening to this session. Ari is one of the best in the OBM Community. I was really struck by one thing he said. “This conference is a massive beacon of hope - OBM is all about hope.”

What’s not to love about a Community that’s all about hope?

New call-to-action

Topics: Employee Engagement, The Annual Gathering of Games, All-Star Team

Steve Baker
Written by Steve Baker

Steve Baker is vice president of The Great Game of Business, Inc. Steve coauthored Get in the Game as well as the update of the number one bestseller, The Great Game of Business—20th Anniversary Edition. Known for his engaging and irreverent style, Steve is a top-rated, sought-after speaker and coach on open-book management, strategy and execution, leadership, and employee engagement. His audiences range from Harvard University to the Department of Defense, and he is a regular at Inc. magazine’s Inc. 5000 Conference. He has served on the Board of the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) and SRC Holding’s Ownership Culture Initiative. Steve is an award-winning artist and lives in Springfield, Missouri, with his trophy wife, JoAnn, and three above-average children.

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.