The Great Game of Business for Startups

Earlier today an entrepreneur reminded me of an excellent business book that doesn’t get mentioned often enough: The Great Game of Business – Unlocking the Power and Profitability of Open-Book Management by Jack Stack. The author shares his stories of growing a successful business and emphasizes how educating team members on all aspects of the business (not just their area of focus), combined with transparency and open book management, results in a more aligned and committed team. Of course this makes sense, yet too many CEOs think it’s beneath them to spend so much time on these “softer” aspects of the business.

At Pardot, we worked hard to educate our team and provide an open book environment. Here are some of the things we did:

  • Paid for financial literacy programs for our employees
  • Mounted an LED Scoreboard on the wall for everyone to see our current revenue and other critical metrics (even guests in our lobby could see all our data)
  • Rolled out our updated Simplified One Page Strategic Plan every quarter so that goals and priority projects were clear and documented
  • Constantly refined our meeting rhythm and worked hard to over communicate

While open book management makes many leaders uncomfortable, we found tremendous success empowering our employees with as much information and communication as possible. For entrepreneurs interested in learning more, check out the The Great Game of Business.

What else? What are some more thoughts on extensive transparency and employee education in a startup?

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