The Open-book Experience: Lessons from over 100 Companies Who Successfully Transformed Themselves

Author: Case, John
Source: Basic Books
Year: 1998

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Abstract:

Over the last decade companies have struggled to balance the human dimension of business with the need to be aggressive, competitive, and profitable. Of all the management solutions considered, one philosophy, open-book management, has proven its power to transform organizations and enhance morale and productivity again and again.But what was it about a seemingly risky philosophy, in which all of a company’s financial numbers are revealed to every employee, that compelled companies as dissimilar as multibillion-dollar RR Donnelley and modest-sized Crisp publications, to undertake such a drastic rethinking of company management? Was it the increased profits other companies, such as Amoco Canada, were experiencing due to their employees’ new financial involvement in the company? Or was it he improved production that Bagel Works, Inc., and Dixie Ironworks, Inc., realized through employee joint accountability? Perhaps it was the enhanced employee morale that still other companies were achieving now that their employees were partners who designed their own bonus packages. Likely, it was all these reasons and dozens more that convinced hundreds of companies to adopt open-book management to help reduce costs, improve quality, and boost sales, all while creating an environment that reinvented and revitalized the role of the employee.In this practical and highly accessible book, John Case, the leading authority and foremost chronicler of open-book management, shows how to put the open-book philosophy to work. The Open-Book Experience explains how to identify critical numbers, how to bring the corporate financials down to earth, and how to set up a system that gets everyone in the business working to improve performance. It describes how companies both large and small have actually implemented open-book management—how they got started, how they overcame obstacles, and how they taught employees to understand the business. Using a step-by-step methodology gleaned from the experiences of more than 100 successful companies, and revealing tools and techniques such as electronic scoreboards and collaborative “games,” Case shows how open-book management can work for any company wanting to bridge the age-old gap between concern for people and the need for rigorous performance measurement and improvement.


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