As I have mentioned numerous times, I have been spending a lot of time studying what make some businesses succeed and what makes some people great. Our company builds a lot of tools that measure, forecast and analyze personal and business information to make better decisions.

So far if anyone has a magic formula for wealth, I haven't found it. Lots of great ideas for increasing your chances though.

Every once in a while it is good to go back and read some of the classics instead of just the "new" ideas found in more recent publications.

The Great Game of Business (Jack Stack, 1992) is one of those classics. It is one of the first compelling business books on the benefits of employee share ownership plans (ESOP) and more importantly, open book management.

It really makes you think that if a small re-manufacturing company can make it work, then just about any business could.

Essentially it is about making business into a game. Not a silly game but a game with rules, a scorecard, a way to win (or lose) and a reward for winning. The scorecard are the business numbers; not just quotas, targets and goals but the real numbers… income and expense and balance sheet.

Of course you need to train people to:

  1. Understand the numbers,
  2. Understand how they impact the numbers.

Essentially you teach them to play the game of business so that they understand how what they do in the business impacts the business results. Hundreds of people focused on a common goal are much more effective than a few top down controllers.

There are lots of other ideas and guiding principles for how to set up the game of business YOUR way for YOUR business. It is fascinating that a book written in the dark ages of 1992 has at its heart, many of the same things that authors are talking about today.

In many ways, people and business have not changed. Technology changes. Products and services change. But the game is still inherently the same.

Know the rules, plan to win, keep score and play hard to win.