Top Five Takeaways
1. Come in open-minded.
When Alesha Gonzales from Penn Enterprises, Inc. first introduced The Great Game of Small Business to her employees, one staff member wanted no part in its implementation. Loretta Roney, from Volt Credit Union, was in the same position and said some of her tellers were doubtful they could impact the big picture.
Every manager, executive and employee must buy in to the process. When they dedicate themselves to learning about the company’s financial statements, they begin asking questions about where the money is going. When that happens, there is a universal understanding, and everyone begins thinking of how they can contribute to the company’s Critical Number™.
As Gonzales continued to lead her team through the 16-week process, her doubtful employee began to realize The Game’s impact on the company. She described how that staff member now tells other locations about the program and its benefit to their Rolla location. During their financial literacy courses, Roney witnessed her staff comprehending what the company’s statements meant and how their actions could contribute to the business.
2. Don’t be afraid to fail.
As Jack Stack points out, “most wins come from a result of your failures.” Not all of the MiniGame launches were successful, and all of them had hiccups during their 16-week course. Shelley and Matt Wehner from Cabinet Concepts by Design struggled to rally their staff for weekly huddles. Jeff Schrag from Mother’s Brewing Company said his business had just adopted a new accounting system before playing. But that’s not to say these companies weren’t successful. The Wehners decided that they would budget their time differently to alleviate the stress of holding huddles during the workday. They learned from their mistakes, which will produce better results in the future.
3. Learn from your mistakes.
The point of a MiniGame is to change a behavior that leads to engaged employees and overall increased profits. However, if a MiniGame fails, coach Katie Davis says that's okay, and that the experience can provide takeaways for next time.
This situation happened to a few of the panelists, including Gonzales. Just as her team was launching their MiniGame, they received a work order that required the company to undergo a large hiring process. Because of the increase, they weren’t producing the results they were originally working toward. With the help of coach Katie Davis, the design team changed the rules and began working toward a new goal.
4. Sharing the financials gets people involved.
Matt Wehner said the largest behavior change he’s seen since playing is the increase in questions his employees ask about Cabinet Concepts’ financial statements. Now that they understand where the money is going, and how they can make an impact, they can produce solutions to problems that formerly fell on the Wehners’ shoulders. Schrag agreed, and said his employees are taking the initiative to learn about Mother’s financials and how they can get information that was previously unknown.
5. It will never be the right time to implement The Game.
Jack Stack pointed out that in business, new situations constantly arise which might throw a wrench in your plans. Penn received a large order, Mother’s implemented a new accounting system, Volt was wrapping up construction project and Cabinet Concepts was still collecting data. Yet each of them decided to implement The Game. It wasn’t easy, and it certainly wasn’t convenient, but they knew what potential gains their companies could reap and reward their employees could see. They just had to take the first step.