All-Star Case Studies

Learn from the "Best of the Best" - the Great Game All-Stars

GUY Engineering Services, Inc.

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Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma

2017 Revenues: $4.9 million

Employees: 40

The Critical Number™: Gross Margin

Organization Background

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 water distribution and sanitary sewer improvements throughout the state of Oklahoma.

Challenge 

Educate the employee-owners in the company’s ESOP on how to think and act like owners when it came to running their business.

Solution 

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 High-Involvement Planning™ (HIP).

Results

For 2017, the GUY team reported its highest revenue month, highest revenue year, second highest net income year, and highest bonus payouts—all in spite of the facts that the company moved to a new building, faced uncertain government funding of its projects, and continued reducing its debt.

“Our ability to focus and generate revenue in an atmosphere of constant change demonstrates how playing the Great Game of Business has benefited the company,” says CEO John Blickensderfer. “Without our knowledge and understanding of the business and finances, we would not have fared so well amongst all these disruptions.”

 


“I think GGOB has made a monumental impact on our company. When we decided to become an ESOP, thus allowing all of GUY’s employees to become owners in our success, GGOB was the way to educate them in how business functions. I have seen the transformation over the last 4 years of employees who cared about their jobs and their work, but really didn’t understand business finances and overall business practices. We now have employees who ask questions about expenses, billable hours, profit, cash flow, etc. The questions about where we are and where are we going don’t just come from management anymore. Our employees are invested in how GUY Engineering performs.” ~ Aaron Peck, Vice President


 

MiniGame™ Spotlight

Thanks to playing MiniGames, the company increased its gross margin 3%, which helped employees earn a Level 7 bonus.

One successful MiniGame the team played was called “All Aboard”. Its focus was to help improve fourth quarter revenue—which is typically slow for the business. Thanks to the focus brought by playing the MiniGame, project revenue increased 20% in the fourth quarter of 2017. By comparison, revenue dropped in the fourth quarter of 2015 by 1%—and decreased by 5% in 2016.

The company’s goal is to play up to three company-wide MiniGames each year, focused on such diverse topics as financial literacy, productivity, culture, and personal health. Their 2018 strategic plan also requires each department or team to participate in at least one “microgame”—what they call a department-level MiniGame—each year as a way to address their specific issues or problems.

“Every MiniGame takes us one notch higher in being effective,” says Blickensderfer.

 


“I am intrigued by how playing games significantly boosts productivity and enthusiasm within the company. I am enjoying being part of a GGOB company!” ~ Mary Clare, Office Coordinator


 

What's Next

In 2018, the GUY team rolled out a new committee called the “GO Team” which had a specific mandate to keep the GGOB fresh and active inside the company. The four members of the GO team have all attended The Gathering of Games and are deeply committed to GGOB. They help plan MiniGames, facilitate company Huddles, and provide support to departments and teams with their Huddles and microgames.

“The business operates more smoothly because everyone knows how the business works,” says Blickensderfer. “This has greatly reduced misunderstandings, confusion, and criticism by and between teams. Everyone knows the rules and works diligently to improve the future instead of dwelling on the past.”