The Great Game of Business Blog

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What Makes Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For" so Great?

      Each year, Fortune partners with the Great Place to Work Institute to survey employees at hundreds of corporate America’s top firms to determine which companies will be named as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. The most recent list, released in 2022, included Great Game Hall of Fame winner, Hilcorp Energy.
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Planning Leads To Stability

  Tom DeSimone, Director at Prairie Capital Advisors, Inc, joins to share the shifts his team witnessed during the pandemic, and how focusing on 2021 and not 2020 to ensure stability in your company.
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How ESOPs Could Solve Your Employee Turnover Problem

Jul 26, 2022 by Keith Davenport 0 Comments
Employee-owned businesses have experienced significantly fewer issues with employee retention than their non-employee-owned counterparts. I can’t remember a time in my career when employee retention was talked about more often than it is now. Even personally, I’m one of those Great Resignation statistics. In late 2021, I resigned from my position in local government to take on the role of Executive Director of Missouri Center for Employee Ownership, Inc. (MOCEO). Like many members of the American workforce, the pandemic pushed me to reevaluate my personal and professional priorities. So, when I joined MOCEO, I was very interested to learn what effect employee ownership had on employee retention. So, as soon as my second week of work, I began asking every executive of an employee-owned business I met, how their business model impacted retention. With very few exceptions, the general response was that retention wasn’t a significant issue.
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How to Create a Safe Environment for Employee Involvement

The best, most successful companies feature highly participatory cultures in which employees routinely identify problems and share and implement ideas. High engagement cultures take a lot of work—the right information, the right team structure, management commitment, training time, and more. But a key factor that is often overlooked is the need to create a safe environment in which people feel comfortable dealing with conflict, taking risks, and trying new ideas. This blog talks about why this matters and how to get there. 
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Five Reasons Open-Book Companies Should Consider an ESOP

Oct 21, 2021 by Victor Aspengren 1 Comment
Liquidity options are plentiful for business owners: strategic sale, private equity, management buyout, family transfer, and leveraged recapitalization. Which path should you take? We know that 42% of the 2021 Great Game™ All-Star companies and many others walked a different path—implementing an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Apart from the fact that ESOPs can be a great exit strategy for open-book companies, here are the top five reasons why open-book management companies should consider an ESOP.
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Are ESOPs Really More Complex and Costly Than Other Ways to Sell a Business?

Using an ESOP for Business Transition Can Be Complicated, But Selling to an Outside Buyer Is Often Uncertain and Even More Complicated with Less Flexibility and Fewer Tax Benefits When people describe the pros and cons of ESOPs, often they note that the plans are complex. ESOPs are somewhat more complex than 401(k) and similar retirement plans and do cost substantially more to install and somewhat more to operate, mostly because an annual appraisal is required for closely held companies. But ESOPs are not more complex than selling to a third party. The table below compares what issues come up in the sale of a company to an ESOP compared to a sale to a third party. It was prepared with the advice of professionals who have done both kinds of transactions. The table indicates that the overall level of complexity is similar, but ESOPs are much less risky in terms of the likelihood of finding a buyer. They are also considerably less costly, mostly because in the case of a sale to a third party, in addition to substantial legal, accounting, and sometimes other fees, the price paid to the seller is usually reduced by brokerage commissions paid by the buyer.  Sales to third parties also do not qualify for special tax benefits, as is the case with ESOPs.
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How One SRC Associate Pursued His Version of the American Dream

Aug 4, 2021 by Darren Dahl 0 Comments
    In October 2019, Rick Hedden retired from SRC after 36 years. He was 59 years old. At the time, his shares in the company’s ESOP plan were worth seven figures. But the lessons he learned from playing the Great Game of Business over his career at SRC might be even more valuable. It helped him live his version of the American Dream. Here is his story.
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It’s Going To Take More Than Sign-On Bonuses To Win The War For Talent

Jul 13, 2021 by Darren Dahl 0 Comments
The War for Talent is now in full swing. As the economy continues to reopen, companies have begun hiring again in earnest—driving the unemployment rate closer to pre-pandemic levels. At the same time, the number of open jobs in the U.S.—an estimated 9.2 million—is now breaking records. It’s one of those rare times in recent history where the number of job openings exceeds the number of unemployed people actually looking for a job.
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How Ownership Can Power The Pursuit Of The American Dream

  The Company's Largest Shareholder Think about how most people you encounter daily don’t really enjoy waking up and going to work every day if they go at all. When many (or most) people reach a certain age, they find it more comforting to think ahead to retirement than focus on what they might need to do that day at work. And yet there is an associate at our company, SRC, who still chooses to come to work even though he’s seventy-one. His job on the factory floor pays him about $31,000 a year. He doesn’t continue working for the pay; he shows up every day because he sincerely loves his job.
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What is Democracy in Business?

We run SRC with a lot of participation, but it is not a democracy in the political sense of the word. A political democracy derives its authority from the consent of the governed. A company derives its authority from the consent of the marketplace. The people who work for a company may think it’s just terrific, but they’ll have to work somewhere else if the company doesn’t make money or runs out of cash. So the market tells us what a lot of our decisions have to be. Often the trick is to recognize what it’s saying.
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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.