The Great Game of Business

BY JACK STACK & BO BURLINGHAM

 

SYNOPSIS

The laws of business this book teaches are basic, common sense rules that most readers will have heard either from a boss or maybe even a parent! The laws apply not only to business managers but to anyone that cares about running an honest and fair organization. These laws are relevant from the bottom of an organization to the top.

 

SUMMARY

The First Law:

“You get what you give”

Hard work pays off. By rewarding employees in a way that is equivalent to what they put into their job, they will be happier and more productive. They will also feel like they are part of a team and an important part of a company's success.

 

The Second Law:

“It’s easy to stop one guy, but it’s pretty hard to stop 100”

This law emphasizes the power of teamwork. Readers will learn how the power of a group cooperating towards a common goal is so much greater than individual contributions. This law also reflects the benefits of the first law by building a team atmosphere with happy employees.

 

The Third Law:

“What goes around comes around”

By understanding this age-old law, readers can begin to create a work environment where everyone is more aware of the impact they have. Whether it's through words or actions, everything an employee expresses has consequences. Make sure they are good ones.

 

The Fourth Law:

“You do what you gotta do”

As the author states, the fourth law is all about “taking the hill.” It teaches the lesson that by creating an atmosphere of not only getting things done, but also an atmosphere of looking at things in creative ways. Moving forward in the midst of challenges or mistakes, and simply doing what has to be done to reach a goal is a mindset that reveals potential and provides empowerment. 

 

The Fifth Law:

“You gotta wanna”

If someone doesn't want to do something, they won't do it. Nothing new there, but readers can find practical advice for motivating employees to “wanna.” To make people want to do something, you have to show them how their stake in the game is valuable and important and convince them that their contributions will be good for them and the organization.

 

The Sixth Law:

 “You can sometimes fool the fans, but you can never fool the players”

Just like anyone reading this book, the people on the inside always know more about the state of things than the people on the outside. The sixth law means that even when things are in turmoil within an organization, everyone needs to have their game face on. Employees know all about the strengths and weakness of a company, but the customer should only know the strengths.

 

The Seventh Law:

“When you raise the bottom, the top rises”

This one is all about understanding how important each role is within a company, even the seemingly small ones. Readers will learn that by recognizing the efforts of the lowest employees, they can elevate the entire organization. Happy, confident employees make for happy, confident bosses.

 

The Eighth Law:

“When people set their own targets, they usually hit them”

This law ties right into the fifth law. It's hard for a person to set a goal and then say they don't “wanna.” It's all about getting an employee to buy in by creating a climate where employees set their own targets based on a clear outcome. Most readers already know the time and energy it takes to micro-manage, so stepping back and letting employees take the reigns for a bit may be a welcome change.

 

The Ninth Law:

“If nobody pays attention, people stop caring”

The ninth law teaches readers a very basic law of human nature and how it relates to business. Acknowledging and recognizing how each and every employee contributes to a company is one of the best ways to let employees know that they matter. If the boss doesn't pay attention to the efforts of an employee, then that's the same as not paying attention to the employee. If the boss doesn't care, then why should the employee?

 

The Tenth Law:

“As they say in Missouri: ‘Shit rolls downhill.” By which we mean change begins at the top”

The power in most organizations is at the top, so any real change must come from there. But readers will learn that change may come from the top, but it begins with honest feedback from the field and from other managers. If the person at the top cares about creating a healthy, profitable work environment, then it's up to the rest of the organization to make sure the concerns and issues reach the top.

 

The Ultimate Higher Law:

“When you appeal to the highest level of thinking, you get the highest level of performance.”

This really makes 11 laws, but this one is important. Readers will understand this law best by reading what the author has to say in his own words:

“I don’t want people just to do a job. I want them to have a purpose in what the Hell they’re doing. I want them to be going somewhere. I want them to be excited about getting up in the morning, to look forward to what they’re going to do that day.”

That means treating employees with respect. It means respecting their efforts, their intelligence, and their creativity. This is the essence of all the laws and readers who take these lessons to heart and start using these principles will see a new and better culture arise in their own organization.