The Great Game of Business (GGOB) is an open book management philosophy and organization that helps educate employees about the rules of business and rallies them around a common goal. Each year, the organization names All-Star Award winners based on employee engagement in the process, financial results and the story behind the numbers. This year, Intrust IT won a coveted All-Star Champion Award in a competition that pitted Intrust against much larger and more established companies from around the world.
Through GGOB, employees experience empowerment and engagement as they develop more “skin in the game.” By presenting employers and employees with the opportunity to win as a team, the philosophy taps into the universal drive to excel that inspires teams.
"Before I was at a company that practiced GGOB finance seemed like a mysterious black hole of money and numbers going in and out, but now it's a set of systems that I can understand." --GGOB survey response from Intrust employee
Intrust IT and the Great Game of Business
When Intrust IT founder Tim Rettig was looking for a business model to empower and motivate employees, he came across the Great Game of Business by Jack Stack. Inspired by the book, Rettig set about implementing this radical management strategy, and in 2016 Intrust started using the methods.
“The GGOB without a doubt has had the biggest impact on our financials as any other program we’ve done in the 27-year history of the company,” Rettig says. “Each quarter we continue to set new records in both percent and dollar amount of net profit. More than that though, I feel like everyone is pulling in the same direction.” An Intrust IT case study can be found on the GGOB website.
"It makes coming to work more fun for me: we are a cohesive team, all interested in getting to the same goal. Also, last year our bonuses were double what we had in the plan!"--GGOB survey response from IT employee
Open and transparent financials are now central to how Intrust operates. Intrust shares all financial information about the company with all employees. Intrust staff members also receive financial literacy training so they understand what the numbers mean.The strategy is called the Great Game of Business because there are rules to follow, a score is kept and everyone has a stake in the outcome. Employees report feeling empowered both at work and at home with their finances.
Most interesting of all, because of open books, Intrust IT employees were able to participate in an employee stock ownership program (ESOP) ahead of schedule and are on track to become owners of the business in 2019.
"Since implementing GGOB, I have learned to budget my own personal finance and save money and I ultimately feel more secure with my future."--GGOB survey response from Intrust employee
What are the All-Star Awards?
In 2019, Intrust IT was ready to compete with teams from the US and other countries. The Great Game of Business All-Star Awards recognize and celebrate the achievements of companies that have fully embraced the principles of open-book management and the Great Game of Business.
The All-Star Awards recognition program was created in 2001 to highlight the companies on the leading edge of this innovative management practice. But GGOB practitioners note it’s not just about generating profits, cash and wealth, but also about distributing it for the good of everyone involved.
In September, at the annual Gathering of Games conference in Dallas, Intrust IT was honored by the open-book management community along with six other businesses. Awards are also presented to an outstanding GGOB rookie and social enterprise company. All participants in the program have discovered the management practice has transformed the way they do business.
“I talk to a lot of other business owners who think it’s interesting that we have open book management,” Rettig said, “but they have all kinds of concerns. In reality, the benefits far outweigh the perceived risks.”