Learn from the "Best of the Best" - the Great Game™ All-Stars
Location: Tulsa, OK
2021 Revenues: $5.8 million
Profit Before Tax & Cash
Coach: Alia Stowers
GUY Engineering is a consulting firm with extensive experience in civil engineering and land surveying. Since 1987, GUY has been providing quality design work on hundreds of projects ranging from roadway and bridge designs to bridge inspection to water distribution and sanitary sewer improvements throughout the state of Oklahoma.
The original challenge for the GUY team back in 2014 was to educate the employee-owners about the company’s ESOP and how to think and act like owners when it comes to running their business. More recently, the business went through an ownership transition and leadership was looking for ways to rebuild a more transparent and trusting culture.
Implement weekly huddles to update scoreboards and assign ownership of every line item to an employee-owner who is responsible for learning about and tracking that line item for six months. Also conduct company-wide financial literacy training and encourage employee-owners to begin forecasting their numbers and think years ahead through the High-Involvement Planning™ (HIP) process. The company also played MiniGames to build trust while leadership was more transparent by using their weekly huddles to share more context on why key decisions were made.
The Great Game of Business® (GGOB) became a framework and a process to help the GUY team adapt to changes in the transportation industry, to explore ways to keep revenue high during challenging times, and to seek continuous improvement—while also earning regular bonuses, higher revenue, and lowering their debt. The team even celebrated paying out a bonus in 2021 for the first time in several years. “GGOB has helped us develop a culture of fun and camaraderie,” says Rebecca Alvarez, GUY’s president. “We work hard and learn hard, but we also take time to celebrate our wins and to enjoy time together. We’re here to help each other out.”
“With GGOB, employees are very engaged in all aspects of the business. People are eager to ‘own’ Huddle lines and they take time to research so they can give the most accurate forecasting numbers. They are also excited by company growth and give suggestions for improvement. There is a culture of teamwork and acceptance.”
The War for Talent is particularly fierce in the civil engineering world. The same goes for experienced surveyors. That challenge is only exacerbated for GUY in that they’re looking for talented individuals with those skills who live in or near Oklahoma where they do business on state and government contracts. “Everyone is looking for experienced people,” says Alvarez. “But they are few and far between.” GUY is using its GGOB- and ESOP-powered culture to attract new talent, including young people who they might be able to train up over time—especially as they continue to develop succession plans for some of their more senior employee owners.
“When I first joined GUY, we were going through a rough patch. With the help of GGOB, we’ve turned things around financially and developed a really healthy and strong team. Even as we went through an ownership transition, we all banded together. GGOB has really helped us develop an ownership mentality that ties well to our ESOP. Transparency and teaching financial literacy means we all know what’s going on and how we can help each other.”
~ Michael Twyman, VP Finance and Human Resources
The GUY team plays two to three MiniGames a year, where company-wide games are typically culture-based so that everyone can fully participate. One of the games the team played in 2021 was called “BEE SAFE” and it was aimed at building and reinforcing safety and security habits both in the office and in the field. The game included five elements: wearing protective equipment and safety vests, wearing seatbelts, not using phones while driving, locking computers when stepping away, and restarting computers each day. Most departments also played “microgames” focused on needs specific to that department. For example, the Admin group played a cross-training game to help them prepare for two upcoming retirements, while the Design team played a Star Trek themed game aimed at improving the quality in their work.
Alvarez says the GUY team is always looking for areas they can improve. They’ve already begun by revamping their Culture Committee, resetting their organizational vision and values, and looking for ways to keep the GGOB fresh and exciting, especially for newer employee owners who weren’t part of the initial kick-off of GGOB at GUY in 2014.
“The constant education and discussion GGOB brings us has helped push us forward, even through the pandemic. It was a reminder of how important the repetition of our financial and training huddles are. The funny thing is that GGOB has become so ingrained in our culture you can’t take them apart anymore. It’s just become GUY’s culture.”
For nearly 40 years, The Great Game of Business™ has helped organizations reach their highest potential and value.
Tapping into the universal human need to win, GGOB educates your people in the rules of business, rallies them around a common goal, empowers them to see and improve the score, and engages them by giving them a stake in the outcome.