March 2006 – Thouvenot, Wade & Moerchen was recently recognized for “Extraordinary Business Practices and Performance” by the Great Game of Business at the annual National Gathering of Games in St. Louis, Mo. The civil engineering and surveying firm was named as one of ten 2006 All Star Finalists, based upon business performance in 2005.
“The Great Game of Business” has become a philosophy for open-book management, the practice of teaching employees to think like owners. But it was first a book published in 1992 by Jack Stack, as President of Springfield Remanufacturing Corporation. In the early 1980s, Stack and a few of his coworkers bought the plant where they worked in Springfield, Mo., from International Harvester. Their division was on the verge of bankruptcy and the company was looking to unload its assets. Investing just $100,000, the new owners borrowed $9 million to purchase the facility and try to preserve the jobs of the people who worked there. At 89-1, it is the highest leveraged buyout in corporate America to date. Against those odds, Stack began to teach his employees about business and the way that business operates, creating a culture of people who think like owners. He did so using the analogy of business as a game.
SRC’s success was so phenomenal that it became known worldwide. Other business leaders flocked to southwestern Missouri to observe SRC’s operations and learn its methods. From that grew “The Great Game of Business” as a practice and as an opportunity to teach others and share in ideas and best practices. Now, practitioners come to St. Louis each year from all over the world, for the “National Gathering of Games.” It too is an opportunity to learn, to exchange ideas, and to recognize those who have excelled in implementing the concepts of the Game.
TWM first became interested in the Game after the firm began its Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Representatives of the firm attended the National Gathering of Games in 2004, spent a few days in Springfield at SRC, and then began to develop a game plan specific to TWM. The firm implemented the plan in 2005, with exceptional results in terms of business growth and rewards to employees. It was that success that earned TWM the title All Star Finalist in the Rookie of the Year category at the National Gathering of Games.
Among the other nominees for 2006 were MD International of Miami, Fla., Stellar Call Center Solutions of North Sydney, Australia, 1-800-Got-Junk? of Vancouver, British Columbia, and New Belgium Brewing Company of Fort Collins, Co.