Begin with the Right Leadership

Is leadership different in an open-book company? Through all of our work with companies implementing the principles of The Game, we have learned quickly that it begins with the right workplace leadership. In other words, critical leadership beliefs and characteristics are present in all great OBM leaders—leadership characteristics that support the leadership system and give it authenticity and momentum. If these characteristics are not present in your leaders of The Game, the system may not reach its full potential and may be at risk of failing.

If you are not prepared to learn, teach, share, and be involved, The Game will not work for you. However, if you’re interested in improving results and the lives of the people who help you drive those results, then The Game might be a great fit for you and your organization.

It’s a powerful leadership system, but it isn’t for everyone. The Game is not a quick-fix remedy.

Your leadership team must understand and embrace the reality that this is a continuous learning process that requires:

    • a sincere commitment from leadership, and
    • the right leadership approach.

It all begins with a genuine belief in people and in fostering mutual respect and trust. Regardless of how you currently lead, going “open-book” requires you to reflect on not only your style of leadership but also on how you will develop others as your organization grows. Through the years, we’ve identified core beliefs and characteristics shared by the most successful Great Game leaders.

If you have something to hide or want to use the numbers and information to manipulate and control people, find another approach.

Great Game leaders believe the following:

    • If I don’t inform my people, someone else will.
    • Given the opportunity, people want to learn the business.
    • Provided the education, people can learn the business.
    • Given the trust, people will make the right decisions for the business.
    • Given respect, people will contribute to the success of the business.
    • People should share in the rewards they help create.

When we work with organizations, we always ask the question, “What characteristics do open-book leaders need to possess?” In all the years of workshops, conferences, and coaching sessions we’ve facilitated and out of all the traits we’ve captured, we have found four to be common in leaders that were truly successful in an open-book environment.

Great Game leaders share these characteristics:

    • Humility—“I don’t have all the answers.”
    • Vulnerability—“I’m willing to ask for help.”
    • Servant leadership—“I’m focused on the needs of the team and the company, not my own.”
    • Courage—“I’m ready to open up and release control.”

Is The Great Game of Business Right for You?

If you’re not prepared to learn, teach, share, and be involved, The Game will not work for you.

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Don't Go It Alone ... Build A Team


Experience shows that the most effective way to apply the principles of The Great Game of Business is to simply get in The Game. As with any game, the best way to learn and improve is to step in and start competing.

People learn by doing, so we recommend you jump right in. Don’t just plan, plan, plan, train, train, train—do something! If you become paralyzed in the preparation, you may never see the benefits before people get bored, become tired, and give up. We saw a utility company do this in the 1990s, having spent two years in education and training before they ever held a Huddle (what we call our weekly staff meetings) or played a MiniGame (a 90-day challenge designed to implement a lasting change). When you learn any game, the real learning (and improving) comes by jumping in and playing. We suggest you implement The Great Game of Business with the same approach in mind. Think ready, fire, aim.If you become paralyzed in the preparation,

The implementation team, or what we call the Design Team, is charged with literally “designing” the key Great Game of Business practices for an organization. From defining the first Critical Number to creating the first Scoreboard, to designing the initial bonus plan, the Design Team leads the way.

The Design Team is made up of senior management team members, potentially alongside two to three key employee champions.
They may include managers, supervisors, or hourly employees who have “it”—a keen understanding of the organization and a desire to see it succeed. Having influencers like this on the Design Team not only gives you insights throughout layers of the company but also street credibility. Later, they will be instrumental in helping form the first “Culture Committees” and other important functions to keep your Game fresh and engaging over the long haul.

The primary role of the Design Team is to become the agent of change within the organization. They will build awareness of the
need for change, create the desire to participate in the change, develop the knowledge and skills to make the change, and provide the reinforcement to sustain the change.

They will also improve their own financial and business literacy so they can help others understand more about the business. They will become the leaders and champions but also the teachers to develop the next level in the organization.

The first assignment of the Design Team is to build awareness and a desire for change by “Sharing the Why before the How.”

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