Originally founded in 2001 as a video production company, AMP Creative has evolved and expanded into designing, developing, and delivering innovative learning strategies and solutions that help enterprise clients prepare for the challenges of the future.
As a small professional services business, the owners of AMP Creative had long faced the challenge of finding ways to grow and scale the business. By 2019, the owners began researching the world of ESOPs and employee ownership as a potential succession plan. But they wondered how they could get the employees to adopt the mindset of stakeholders who would then be interested in buying the business.
When the leadership team at AMP Creative learned about the The Great Game of Business® (GGOB), they saw an immediate connection. Since AMP operates in the digital learning space, the idea of gamification resonated with their employees—which made it a great potential cultural fit for the team. They also saw GGOB as a way to get the entire team, and not just the owners, to focus on growing the business.
With help from their coach, John Lacy, AMP began implementing GGOB in 2019—and saw immediate financial results. Revenue grew by 18% in one year alone—and once they hit their Critical Number, net profits were then shared equally among the team as a bonus. But the most profound impact of GGOB has been on AMP’s culture. “It changed the way we thought about doing business,” says Lisa Warner, AMP’s president. “It took the fear out of it. We now have a workforce that is happier and more engaged. We spend less time resolving conflict because team members better understand management decisions and know that they are helping to direct the vision and strategy of our organization.” AMP also remains on track to become employee-owned in 2021.
“The Great Game of Business has created transparency in the running of the business. All of the employees that I speak with often feel more engaged, but moreover, there's a lower level of anxiety about the health of the business, because we know what's coming and why certain actions are being taken.”
~ Travis Johnson, Senior Producer
Spotlight on the Pandemic
The needs of organizations across the globe spiked for the kinds of remote learning and education tools that AMP provides. The team was able to pivot seamlessly to working remotely and their weekly Huddles—shifting from physical scoreboards to spreadsheets—which gave every team member an accurate picture of where the company’s financials stood at every turn. In an effort to keep up, AMP doubled the size of its team—and even that wasn’t enough. “I couldn’t hire people fast enough,” says Warner, noting the company’s revenue could even have been higher last year.
The first MiniGame the AMP team played, called “Beat The Clock,” was designed to drive a behavioral change around reporting hours—which employees weren’t doing consistently or properly. The fear was that the company was leaving unbilled money on the table as a result. After three months, the team beat their goals—and celebrated with gelato. Another successful MiniGame they played, “AMP University,” was aimed at encouraging employees to upskill and take on new revenue generating skills. As the team logged hours of training time to earn certificates, diplomas, and graduate with new skills, they earned some sweet swag as their prize.
“Overall, this system of management has led to greater accountability, transparency, and a stronger work culture. Employees understand that we are working toward a collective goal. Not only do we strive for the success of ourselves, but we also care about the success of the company.”
~ Elena Piech, Producer
One of the areas Warner would love to improve in the coming year is to find ways for the team to generate more MiniGames that tie directly to the company’s Critical Number. She plans on relying on the newly created Design Team for help with that. The AMP team has also begun laying the foundation for High-Involvement Planning™ —which will tie closely to the firm’s shift into employee ownership. “We’re a team of super accomplished people who have made movies and written books and now we’re moving in a direction where we are creating a shared organizational identity together,” says Warner. “That’s a big transformation that happened as a result of playing the Great Game."
“Transparency of the numbers gives employees more insight into the bottom line and health of the company. Also, the bonus payout being the same for all shows that everyone is a valued part of the team.”
~ Valda Macready, Project Manager