The Great Game of Business at GeekHive
October 18, 2016
We recently attended the Annual Gathering of Games Conference in Dallas and came back energized with new ideas to try and things we wanted to change here at home. It was clear to us right away that we wanted to share our experiences on our blog, and it occurred to us that there’s a large piece of GeekHive culture that we haven’t shared with the world! We’ve been running on an open book management system for two years. Wild, I know!
The Great Game of Business
The Great Game of Business (GGOB) is the way we practice open book management. We started GGOB because it aligns nicely with our core values. It creates clarity, transparency and a culture of entrepreneurship. It provides a platform so that everyone in the company, managers and team members alike, all know how we’re doing and how to improve. We’re all incentivized to win together and recognized for hard work. This all adds up to a tremendous employee experience.
The adoption of GGOB, aside from the financial aspects, has also led to some interesting operational benefits. More accurate tracking and monitoring of projects gives our entire team more clarity on our process and helps us identify bottlenecks. Of course, this ultimately benefits our partners, helping us deliver on time and budget while also passing that project clarity along as part of the overall customer experience.
How GeekHive Applies GGOB Principles
There’s a lot of great resources available online, (like this one from Jack Stack himself: https://goo.gl/qQF7yb) so we won’t dive too deeply into it here, but it’s worth reviewing the primary principles of GGOB, and how we apply them here, at a high level.
Know and Teach the Rules – Every geek is given basic financial literacy training which provides them the knowledge to understand how we measure business success.
Follow the Action and Keep Score – Every geek, now armed with additional business intelligence, is expected and enabled to act and improve the score.
Provide a Stake in the Outcome – Every geek has a direct stake in the company’s success and shares the risk of failure.
In practice, those principles are carried out in a variety of ways.
- Financial literacy is taught up-front in the onboarding process. Continuing education is provided to always keep us money-savvy.
- Mini Games allow teams to target specific weaknesses or opportunities to make a change, and are typically rewarded with some fun Buzz-worthy swag!
- Huddles replace boring company status meetings. It’s the time the full hive gets together to look at the score and assess how we’re doing.
- Implementation of a bonus program which rewards the entire company for its successes. Show me the money!
Gathering of Games Conference Takeaway
The Annual Gathering of Games Conference is attended by GGOB practitioners – experts and newcomers. There are multiple concurrent sessions which explore the three principles and best practices supporting them. Needless to say, it’s a lot of helpful information. Some thoughts are large sweeping changes while others are small enhancements.
One easy take away from the Idea Xchange session at the conference was the Straight Talk Zone. Some geeks might be uncomfortable speaking up and asking his or her question during the huddle. So we created a question box with a simple Google Form that collects questions between huddles. Now, every huddle the question box is cleared out and addressed during the huddle with candid responses. No question can be ignored! It’s already led to some spirited conversation about the bonus program and compensation.
We’re going to continue to improve upon our existing GGOB practice and we want to share that with you as we take those steps. Stay tuned!
Check out other blog posts by David Campbell like this one: A Crash Course in Earned Value Management.
*Photo credit: Great Game of Business
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