Learn from the "Best of the Best" - the Great Game™ All-Stars
Total Solutions Group
Location: Orlando, FL
2021 Revenues: $13.9 million
Training & Development
Total Solutions Group (TSG) began as an architectural firm called Keesee Associates in 1992. In 2002, they started their sister company, FDS Engineering, to provide a solution approach to their clients, who include many of the major home building companies in the U.S. The two companies merged to form Total Solutions Group in 2018.
Founder, Mike Keesee, and partner, Carl Brown, were looking for a way to reboot the company’s culture in a way that would instill a sense of ownership among all their associates. “I didn’t want to have management running around the office to see if we had scope-creep or hunting for jobs to be invoiced,” Keesee says.
Keesee and Brown first made the trek to Springfield, MO, in 2014 to see The Great Game of Business® (GGOB) in action. Then, in 2015, they committed to rolling out The Game with MiniGames™, scoreboards, and huddles along with a commitment to a theory of “Winning Often.”
Since the TSG team implemented GGOB, they’ve seen sales increase substantially year after year—while profit before tax leaped by 75% from 2020 to 2021 alone. The company has also recently become 100% employee-owned after Keesee and Brown sold the business to an ESOP—a year ahead of schedule. “GGOB has meant everything to us,” says Keesee. “First by giving our employees a sense of security knowing the numbers. Secondly, by bringing the team together through huddles, MiniGames, and rewards. And finally, by giving the employees a sense of purpose that they have A Stake in the Outcome®. We now have a team that truly thinks and acts like owners.”
“GGOB creates an environment that fosters collective work habits that benefit both the company at large, our clients, and our fellow employees. The role of each employee in affecting the outcome, and the benefits of their performance, is well articulated and gives us a proverbial ‘Stake in the Outcome’ of the company. I believe GGOB has helped, in part, to create a culture that allows us to work together to achieve our goals, knowing it is for all of our benefit, not just for those in ‘management’ or faceless shareholders.”
~ Michael N., Performance Team
Pain Points and Opportunities
As the Florida housing market has boomed, so has TSG—to a point. “Finding new talent and keeping our existing people has become our main constraint to growth,” says Brown. Both he and Keesee say that their GGOB-powered culture is a tool they use in recruiting and retention—as well as to further cement the connection of how to think and act like an owner in the business. “Our GGOB culture helps us stand out from our competitors,” says Brown. “We’ve even had cases of boomerangs where people who left us came back and asked for their jobs back. People come to realize that the grass isn’t always greener.”
“The Great Game has positively affected the culture here. MiniGames and camaraderie is a major focus here at TSG. Every team member knows the ins and outs of the Open Book Management style and we all celebrate as we get closer to our goals.”
~ Forrest Davis, Performance Team
Keesee says that MiniGames have played an important role in building TSG’s GGOB culture. “Who would have thought you could play a game to fix an issue in the company or to help get more money in?” he asks. Keesee says the team has played MiniGames to fix ongoing issues within the company, such as helping a specific department offload work and then even to earn rewards such as an afternoon getaway. “At first what motivated everyone was mostly the rewards, such as free lunch or gift cards,” says Keesee. “But then they realized there was much more to MiniGames. There was a sense of community, a sense of unity and that helped make MiniGames more worthwhile. It really contributes to making this a fun place to work.”
One of the areas Keesee and Brown would like to improve upon is their High-Involvement Planning™ process—especially in how it will help the new employee owners of the business plot their future strategic choices. “GGOB has also been critical in helping us transition successfully into the ESOP,” says Brown. “We had to get our people to understand how to make decisions like an owner would. We had a hard time building that kind of interest before because people had a hard time visualizing what the ESOP would mean as a retirement nest egg. GGOB helped us cross that barrier.”
“Everyone understands the end game goals and works hard to achieve them.”
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.