Open-Book Management

Literally, the act of giving employees access to company financial data. Typically provided in a review format.

What is Open-Book Management?

In its simplest form, open-book management is a way of running a company that gets everyone focused on building a better business – helping the business be more successful. It teaches all employees the goals of the company and how they can make a difference – both individually and as part of a team. Open-Book Management works because employees get a chance to act – to take responsibility rather that just ‘doing their job’. Each employee knows enough about the company to understand how their actions will affect their stake in the outcome.

There are many misconceptions of what open-book management is and what it means to practice open-book management. Many believe it’s about simply sharing financial information with employees and maybe teaching what that information means. However, companies that experience the real power behind open-book management go far beyond simply ‘opening the books’, by building a business of business people.

Recent Articles Around The Web

Get Workers to Track Numbers that Drive Growth

With open-book management, you enable employees to think like CEOs. Educate them about key numbers that drive bottom-line results and they’ll take more ownership of their work. But which key numbers matter most? Business owners typically review reams of data every week. They may wonder which numbers to focus on.

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Why Your Business Should be an Open Book

Most small-business owners have an open-door policy. When you’ve only got a few employees, holing up alone in an executive suite isn’t an option. But being truly open about the state of the business is another matter, and when it comes to sensitive financial information — such as how much your company made (or lost) […]

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Going Public with Open Book Management

The last time we counted, we found that more than a million people have been touched by open-book management through the SRC family. While that’s an impressive number, it’s far short of, say, the 300 million people living in the United States. One way that we could bump up the number would be to get […]

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So Why Aren’t You Opening Your Books, Jay?

I think it’s fair to say that most business owners think that open-book management makes sense for their business — at least at some level. Sure, there will always be skeptics, but it’s tough to argue with the 30 years of results that we’ve seen at SRC. At the risk of repeating myself, I believe […]

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Stake in Outcome Inspires Wokers

Jack Stack is an open book – or at least, his management style is. In 1983, Stack led 118 co-workers in an employee buyout of Springfield Remanufacturing Corp. from its parent company, International Harvester. SRC stock was worth 10 cents per share at the time. Now, with 840 SRC Holdings Corp. shareholders, the stock is […]

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Winning the Game

Stack has developed an innovative style of business management, and since founding SRC Holdings Corp. in 1983, he’s also built up 22 different subsidiaries that employ 1,200 people and generate combined annual revenue of $230 million.

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Top Small Workplaces 2009

Companies with low turnover and high employee satisfaction and engagement are better positioned to save money and devise innovative ways to navigate the crisis. And they set up the company to do even better when the economy turns around.

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Entrepreneurs Smell Opportunity

American entrepreneurs are optimists by definition. It was not surprising, then, that a record number of almost 1,800 gathered in late September for Inc. magazine’s annual conference honoring the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.

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Open-Book Management

Open-book management has been called the most important management trend in the country. Definitions of open-book management vary, but it is generally accepted to include the following components: Sharing the income statement and balance sheet with most employees; Sharing other data with employees (such as productivity and plant utilization/quality data); Encouraging employees to use the […]

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Opinion: Stack and Friends Knock Around Business Tips

That financial statement you hold in your hands is 556 years old. The formula and presentation was developed in 1453.Jack Stack laughs when he proclaims this business nugget. Why? He shredded traditional financial documentations years ago and built a business around each employee managing a share of the expenses and revenues.

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Open-Book Management’s Lessons for Detroit

When the United Automobile Workers union was granted a 55 percent ownership stake in Chrysler as part of the company’s plan to save itself under a bankruptcy filing, more than a few eyebrows went up. In Detroit, after all, there has long been a distinct line between owners and workers.

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Editor’s letter: The House that Jack Built

This month, with everyone’s mind on the recession and a lot of company owners (and employees) concerned about the future, we decided to find out how Jack has managed to avoid layoffs at his company even in the worst of times.

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Open-Book Management can be Effective in a Small Business

QUESTION: What is open-book management and what advantages would it have in my business?ANSWER: Open-book management is a new name for a practice that has been around for a long time. The idea is for a business to shares its operational and financial results with employees with the expectation that employees might be more able […]

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How’s Your Leadership Report Card?

Jack Stack led an employee buyout of International Harvester’s remanufacturing division in 1982 and grew the company to 22 subsidiaries and sales of $150 million by 2000. He laid out his ideas in The Great Game of Business and A Stake in the Outcome, his manifestos for open-book management.

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The Ultimate Business Tune-up for Times like These

In a tough economy with credit extremely tight, big investments are not an option for most companies. Yet no business can afford to stand still. We asked our favorite entrepreneurs for the tips and tricks they have used to pilot their businesses through difficult times. The result: 23 things you can do right now to […]

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An Open Book

When companies share their financial data with employees, the results can be dramatic. The installation technicians at Pool Covers Inc. could literally see the writing on the wall. At the company’s monthly meeting in September, employees reviewed financials together, projecting the numbers on the wall.

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5 Unexpected Benefits of Opening your Books

In the early 1980’s , when Jack Stack led a management buyout of his Springfield, Missouri, factory, he faced steep odds: the economy was in the tank, profits were uncertain, and the 116-employee engine re-manufacturer had 89 times more debt than equity.

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Revisiting ‘open book’ Management

Jack Stack wrote “The Great Game of Business” 22 years ago. Probably the most revolutionary concept of the book was the idea that if a company’s management shares the historically secret financial data with all employees, those employees would make better decisions and the organization would thrive far better.

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We Spent What on Paper Clips?

Some owners or managers might be reluctant to share numbers with employees. One concern is that workers might leak information to competitors. But if employees have been sufficiently motivated by equity stakes or bonuses that are entwined with company performance, the last thing they’ll want to do is harm the company by aiding a rival.

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Bestselling Books On
Open-Book Management

The Great Game of Business

The Great Game of Business

By Jack Stack

In 1983 along with 12 other managers, Jack Stack scraped together $100,000 in cash, borrowed $8.9 million and transformed a failing division of International Harvester into one of the most successful and competitive companies in America.

Open-Book Management

Open-Book Management: The Coming Business Revolution

By John Case

Case clearly and carefully explains the principles of Open-Book Management: timely sharing of crucial financial information with employees; educating the employees to understand and apply the information; empowering employees to apply the information to their own work; and offering employees a stake in the successful implementation of their ideas.

A Stake in the Outcome

A Stake In The Outcome

By Jack Stack

In A Stake In The Outcome, Jack Stack offers a masters class in creating a culture of ownership, presenting the hard-won lessons of his own twenty-year journey and explaining what it really takes to build long-term success.

The Open-Book Experience

The Open-Book Experience

By John Case

Revealing the hands-on, "how-to" techniques of businesses that thrive by teaching their employees to think--and act--like owners, "The Open-Book Experience" describes how companies--both large and small--have actually implemented Open-Book Management and how they have taught employees to understand the business.