The Origin of Open-Book Management

What makes open-book management (OBM) unique is that unlike most other business practices, OBM wasn’t born in a New York think-tank or some Ivy League business school…it wasn’t dreamt up by consultants, but forged on the factory floors of an engine shop in Springfield, Missouri called SRC.

Inc Magazine calls Jack Stack, CEO of SRC Holdings Corporation (SRC), the ‘Father of Open-Book Management’. The concept was born in 1983 when Stack was battling to turn around a dying division of International Harvester and save 119 jobs. He shared the company financials with his employees, but needed a way to help them understand how they could affect those financials. Stack’s open-book approach to managing the company grew from simply sharing financials to actually teaching his employees the “rules” of business. Stack’s approach to managing the company became known The Great Game of Business.

The Great Game of Business is not a system. It is not a methodology. It is not a philosophy, or an attitude, or a set of techniques. It is all of those things and more.

BusinessWeek labeled SRC Holdings Corporation a “Management Mecca” for their innovative business practices. You can still visit SRC today and see The Game firsthand. You’ll find a growing, living laboratory of 1,200 engaged employee owners who continue to practice The Game and improve the formula every day. Beyond Open-Book Management

When practicing The Great Game of Business, the breakthrough comes when companies go beyond simply “opening the books” to using The Game as an operating system to run their organization. If you want to fully leverage the power of The Game, you must treat it as a system and persistently work it.

One of the many misconceptions about The Great Game of Business is that playing The Game is synonymous with being financially transparent. While transparency is important, sharing financials is only a small fraction of the entire process that makes up The Game.

Learn about Our Process for implementing The Game