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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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Top 6 Great Game No-Nos

Oct 14, 2021 by The Great Game Team 1 Comment
      Top Six Great Game No-Nos: What NOT to do if you (really) want to play The Game During the time that we’ve been helping others implement The Great Game of Business, we’ve seen the ups and downs and are often surprised by the number of people who are “fair-weather Great Gamers”, meaning they have passion and intent to play The Great Game of Business®, but are missing the mark in one or more areas. Here are the top six (because five just wasn’t enough) Great Game No-nos:
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To Overcome The Growing Skills Gap, Build A Business of Businesspeople

Oct 12, 2021 by Darren Dahl 1 Comment
The real crisis organizations face is a shortage of employees capable of thinking critically and making tough decisions. The writing was on the wall for everyone to see. There’s a mass exodus underway in the workforce as some 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every single day. The result is that the number of Boomers in the workforce has dropped by 2.2 million every year since 2010—or an average of 5,900 people a day. That leak won’t stop anytime soon since by 2030, all Baby Boomers will be 65. The problem is that plenty of people missed the signs of this trend—and now they’re paying the price as the number of openings exceeds the number of available workers willing to apply for new jobs. The challenge is exacerbated for those companies looking to hire for specific skillsets.
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Why You Need to Connect Your People To Your Strategy

Oct 7, 2021 by Darren Dahl 0 Comments
In 2018, the executives at banking giant Wells Fargo issued a new strategy for their business: the overall goal was to create long-term banking relationships with their customers. And to measure how well the company was executing on that strategy, they began tracking “cross-selling.” In other words, employees would be measured, and rewarded, based on the number of different accounts—from deposits and credit cards to auto loans and mortgages—a customer opened with the bank. The CEO at the time even coined a slogan: “eight is great” to illustrate the optimum number of accounts a customer might have with the bank.  On paper, you could argue that the more accounts a customer had would likely equate with a longer-term relationship with the bank. But, if you’ve been paying attention to the news for the past few years, you know that things went spectacularly wrong. 
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Ten Steps to Strategic Planning Success

Oct 5, 2021 by Great Game Team 0 Comments
For nearly four decades, SRC has been perfecting its approach to strategic planning, and every year it keeps getting better. Here’s the proven step-by-step approach to building good, accurate plans employees love to execute. People Support what they help to create. That is why at SRC and The Great Game of Business®, building a strategic plan is about involving ALL employees in the planning process. That means planning is a year-round event, and it begins with what’s happening in the real world. Twice a year, in June and October, SRC brings the marketplace to its people so they can accomplish two goals: Develop business-growth plans they can own. Help employees answer the questions: Are we confident and energized about the direction of the company? Having a strategic plan is more than putting on paper what you plan on doing over the next year. It is about setting a strategy, building a plan, dealing with market changes, and most importantly, enabling everybody to contribute. This is what we at The Great Game of Business call High-Involvement Planning™. Big picture — High-Involvement Planning can be broke down into clarifying your strategy and building your plan. If you zoom in, you will see that there are really ten steps to having a successful strategic plan.
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What Are We Teaching Entrepreneurs These Days?

  Unfortunately, it’s not just decades-old companies that hoard information or run out of cash. It happens to companies of all shapes and sizes every day. And sometimes they’re even being told it’s good for their business. If that sounds crazy to you, you’re right. It’s crazy. And what about schools and innovation centers that teach a generation of young entrepreneurs what they need to do to succeed but don’t include classes on managing cash?
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4 Types of Planning for Sustainable Business Success

May 13, 2021 by The Great Game Team 1 Comment
  Planning is the pinnacle for any business. Without goals and plans to attain those goals, your company will struggle to grow and improve. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Management Studies stated that although businesses can find success without planning, companies with a plan grow 30 times faster than those who do not have one.  Springfield Remanufacturing Corporation (SRC) is well-known for its High-Involvement Planning™ structure. Using this structure, all SRC divisions develop their strategic plans and come together as a collective organization—involving everyone in the company, from hourly employees to management, in the planning process.     While it might seem extensive, this process proves an integral component of our open-book management structure. Over the years, educating, empowering, and engaging everyone at all levels in the business has repeatedly generated positive results. SRC uses four types of planning that translate directly into our sustainable business success. Let’s dig deeper into each of these four key types of planning:
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Why You Need a 10-year Plan

Feb 2, 2021 by Darren Dahl 0 Comments
  Right from their rocky start in 1983 (who else starts a business with an 89-to-1 debt-to-equity ratio in the middle of a recession?), Jack Stack and the team at SRC started planning ahead. Not just for the next day, week, or month. Or even for the next year. For their entire history as a business—which has grown from a single factory into a collection of ten businesses and 1,800 associates—SRC has been planning ahead for a decade at a time.
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The Common-Sense Business Planning Checklist to Jump-Start Planning

Dec 22, 2020 by Bill Collier 0 Comments
Now that you are ready to start business planning for next year? Here’s a checklist for jump-starting the process. Start with a Vision Think about the business - where you came from, where you are, and where you want to be. Pick an appropriate time-frame, maybe 3-5 years out and think, "How will the business look?" Think of revenues, people, locations and lines of business.
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Are You Planning For The Next Recession?

Dec 1, 2020 by Darren Dahl 0 Comments
Recessions are painful. They cause businesses to close—and billions of dollars in capital to melt away. Recessions are also about more than just a dip in economic activity. They get personal. People lose their jobs and a way to support their family. Recessions strain our social safety net and put lives at risk. The only good thing about a recession is when it ends. But there’s another ugly truth about recessions—there’s always another one right around the corner. Historically, recessions hit the U.S. economy about every 10 years or so. That means even as we struggle to get through the current recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, we can also start the clock on when the next recession will hit. Recognizing that 2020 has been a heckuva year, the question becomes: What are you doing today to plan for the next recession?
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Can Your Company Stand the Test of Time?

Oct 27, 2020 by Jack Stack 1 Comment
    Every October, we conduct our second sales-and-marketing meeting of the year (the first is held in June)—a ritual we’ve continued every year since 1983. The sales teams from each of our divisions make presentations to everyone inside the company—including our board of directors—and we ask our people to vote on their confidence in those plans. For us, this process—what we call High-Involvement Planning—is the lynchpin of how we build a true culture of engagement inside our business.
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Greatness Comes from Looking Ahead

Jul 28, 2020 by Jack Stack 3 Comments
What a 9-year-old Can Teach Us About Life One Saturday morning, I found myself standing and watching a Little League baseball game. I had a mask on my face and was safely isolated away from anyone else. It was so weird. But I enjoyed being outside in the sun, hearing the familiar sounds of a ball popping into leather and the pings of the bat when hitters made contact. It almost felt like the start of something new.
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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.