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A Stake in the Business Outcome

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Do your employees have a stake in the outcome in your business? Have you ever imagined having employees who acted as if they were also owners in the business? Do you think this would help drive better results?

Many smaller organizations keep all of the economic performance data limited to a small group of people, or perhaps just the owners of the business. I don’t think that’s a good idea… We have worked hard for years to place “ownership thinking” at the center of our organization. We believe that it’s a powerful motivator for employees to have management share not only the economic performance with employees, but economic rewards tied directly to that performance as well.

What would happen if you went to a sporting event, and no one explained any of the rules of the game to you? If your fellow fans were jumping up and down with excitement, and you had no idea why, how interesting would that be? If you don’t really understand what’s going on, could you feel engaged in any significant way to that activity? That’s what often happens in business. Without giving people the full economic data and news, employees are usually just told things are going well, or not going well. But there is no real understanding of what that means in the business, nor any real calibration as to how good, or how bad things really are.

Jack Stack, in his book “The Great Game of Business”, explains in detail how (and why) you should share as much of the economic performance of the business with the employees as you can. Besides the fact that on some level most people truly want to know how the organization is doing, it will dramatically improve their ability to help the company achieve its goals, and raise their personal satisfaction level. There’s also a level of trust and mutual respect that is built up by being straight with the people of the organization, and telling them the economic reality in the business. Treating people as intelligent and capable human beings is not only good practice — it’s good for business.

Inside our organization, we share the economic news with the employees every month. We believe that our employees are better equipped to understand the ups and downs of business, as well as being able to engage their hearts and brains to help contribute to our continued success if we give them the whole picture. We believe it has helped our company be more successful in the marketplace, and helps our team make better decisions every day.

If you’re thinking of ways to raise the engagement level of your team, one thing you could do to start is go read Jack’s book. We think it really works. It also fits for any size or type of organization, including yours.

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By Mark J. Olson

President and CEO
APG Cash Drawer
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