Open-Book Management: The Coming Business Revolution

Overview

"Read even the first chapter of this extraordinary book and you'll find yourself cheering, screaming, jumping up and down with excitement. The companies described in this book are decades ahead of the reengineers — and you don't need to be a Bill Gates or a Jack Welch to put their ideas into practice today." — George Gendron, editor in chief, Inc.

"Companies that practice open-book management seem to have captured some sort of lightning in a ...

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Overview

"Read even the first chapter of this extraordinary book and you'll find yourself cheering, screaming, jumping up and down with excitement. The companies described in this book are decades ahead of the reengineers — and you don't need to be a Bill Gates or a Jack Welch to put their ideas into practice today." — George Gendron, editor in chief, Inc.

"Companies that practice open-book management seem to have captured some sort of lightning in a bottle." — Chris Lee, Training

"This book should be required reading in corporate America." — Chicago Tribune

"If you want to give your preconceived notions a good kick in the you-know-where, give Case the opportunity to articulate the merits of open-book management." — Entrepreneur

Open-book management is not so much a technique as a way of thinking, a process that actively involves employees in the financial life of the company. Numerous companies have already found that employees who are informed and aware of the company's financial situation are motivated to seek solutions to problems and assume a greater degree of responsibility for its performance. John Case begins by examining the current competitive climate and the history of established management techniques. He shows how the traditional treatment of workers as "hired hands" with little involvement or responsibility beyond their own area is no longer effective in today's ever more competitive global environment.

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. Open-book management will take different forms at every company, Case notes, but he offers a wide range of suggestions and guidelines for implementing these principles. He concludes with a series of in-depth case studies, featuring companies of various sizes and financial situations that have successfully implemented open-book management. Open-Book Management is the indispensable guide to teaching employees how to think and act like owners.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
"Case can illuminate business strategies with a single piercing sentence."
Chicago Tribune
"This book should be required reading in corporate America."
Entrepreneur
"If you want to give your preconceived notions a good kick in the you-know-where, give Case the opportunity to articulate the merits of open-book management."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780887308024
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/1996
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 912,904
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

John Case is a veteran observer and interpreter of the business world. A senior writer at Inc. magazine, he writes the popular syndicated newspaper column "The Inc. Report," as well as numerous feature articles for the magazine itself. He is the author of three books, including From the Ground Up: The Resurgence of Entrepreneurship in America, described by The New York Times as "lively, sensible, swiftly paced," and by Tom Peters as "an important book at an important moment."

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Read an Excerpt

Foreword

An Idea That Works

This book is about a new idea--a new way of running a business. It's called open-book management.

After you read the book, I hope you think the idea is a good one. But the real test of a new idea, in business as in any other endeavor, isn't how it looks on paper. It's whether the idea works in practice.

Open-book management works.

Don't take my word for it; listen to the people who are using it, every day, in their companies.

"When employees understand the economics of business, they feel, think, and act like owners."
--Jim Schreiber, vice president forcustomer assurance andcorporate controller, Herman Miller

"Our commitment to open-book management is unwavering. It's the key to our competitive advantage in the market."
--Leslie Fishbein, president,Kacey Fine Furniture

"It allowed us to involve all our associates in the (previously) mystical world of financials. Now our people know what's at stake--and how they can make a real impact on the numbers."
--John D. Callahan, president,Allstate Business Insurance

"After years of being a skeptic, I would never manage any other way again."
--Eric Paulsen, president, Engines Plus

"The fundamental result of open-book management is this: Our people have become financial managers who understand how their day-to-day decisions affect the bottom line."
--David Zapatka, president, Z-Tech Companies

"By sharing our financial condition as well as our stock, we've greatly increased the bond between line workers and top management. The result: measurably increased owners' equity."
--Ed Zimmer,president,ECCO (Electronic Controls Co.)

"If business is truly a game, how can you expect to win when only a handful of players know the rules?"
--David R. Dwinell,Dwinell's Visual Systems

"Before, problems were the responsibility of me or my management team. Now, the responsibility is spread out over our entire organization."
--Bill Palmer, president,Commercial Casework

"Employees are more apt to concentrate on the numbers that will produce a small victory for them--and that will improve the likelihood of a big victory for everyone."
--Robert Woblesky, production department,Commercial Casework

"By opening the books and sharing financial information--both the good and the bad--we found that employees spend less time worrying about job security and more time helping the company grow and be profitable."
--Emma Lou Brent, president andemployee-owner, Phelps County Bank

"Open-book management has eliminated our company's self-imposed limitations."
--Samuel H. Smith, president,Smith & Company, Engineers

"We are looking at the future here. Ten years from now the majority of successful businesses will be using some form of open-book management."
--Joe E. Jenkins, co-owner,Jenkins Diesel Power

"Open-book management and all of its implications have provided the opportunity for our corporation to transform the health, the wealth, the lives of our people."
--Chuck Mayhew,president, Foldcraft Open-Book Management: The Coming Business Revolution. Copyright © by John Case. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Book for any manager, or anyone at any level of a company.

    I've written another article revolving about this book at my blog, http://LearnBuildPlay.BlogSpot.com.

    This book gives clear examples of how to improve virtually any company, both through story's of other company's successes and also by providing steps to help apply to other company's. The basis of the whole thing is to give employees an incentive to make the company succeed. And not just giving them stock options or profit sharing, but Showing them the finances, training them to understand it, atleast what applies to them, and then having them figure out how to improve in their area.

    I thought I already had some concepts about open-book amanagement, but this book really opened my eyes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2004

    This is THE KEY to successful management!

    What do TQM, reengineering, empowerment, teaming, and even six sigma have in common? They all implement parts of open-book management. And that's the reason they all have spotty records- they were successful when they, accidentally, incorporated enough of the rest of open-book management. <br><br> The principle here is very simple- instead of your company or division relying on only the handful of minds at the top of the organization to improve the company, it treats all the employees as adults with brains and encourages everyone to work for the company's benefit. This also has the effect of reducing or eliminating office politics since everyone's pulling in the same direction. <br><br> How? Fortunately the process is pretty simple, though it needs to be tailored to each business. The pieces are: <br> 1. Giving employees all relevant financial information, <br> 2. Giving employees training to understand the financial information, <br> 3. Giving employees appropriate responsibility for the numbers under their control, and <br> 4. Giving employees appropriate stakes in the outcomes (through bonuses, stock, options, etc.).

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