Aug 30, 2017
Summary & Ideas for Action
Bo Burlingham is the author of Small Giants: Companies that
Choose to Be Great Instead of Big, and co-authored with Jack
Stack, The Great Game of Business, on open-book
management. Bo says the question is how to accomplish
business in a way that is highly productive, allows for the
creation of great things, and enhances the lives of the people in
the business, and those whom the business touches.
[2:51] Bo is not sure he’s a thought leader, but he is a
journalist. In 1982, writing at Fidelity Investments, he started
learning about business; shortly after, he was invited to write for
Inc. That was his introduction to the entrepreneurial
economy, and to many of the leaders of companies that have since
become household names.
[7:11] Bo captures the essence of leadership and stewardship in
his books. There is a theme of ownership, and engagement with the
entire company. Bo starts with the essential concept of capitalist
business: a group of people working together to create something
that other people want to buy.
[10:13] The question is how to accomplish business in a way that
is highly productive, allows for the creation of great things, and
enhances the lives of the people in the business, and those whom
the business touches. A leader is someone who educates people on
what they are doing together, and how they are creating value and
making the world better. A leader helps people learn and grow.
[13:04] Bo observes that great entrepreneurs live a life of
value. Entrepreneurs are idealists and dreamers, and are driven to
change the world for the better. The great entrepreneurs are
primarily motivated by vision, not by gain.
[20:09] A business gets to a certain size and complexity, and
the numbers become very important. Entrepreneurs are generally not
accountants, and they need to learn that aspect of business to see
how the enterprise is creating value. This was the basis of The
Great Game of Business, with Jack Stack.
[24:40] There is a trend among young professionals to reject
capitalism, while taking its benefits for granted. There is
ignorance about how business works, while the media focuses on the
problematic aspects of business. Business is a tool to use to meet
[28:49] There has always been tension between the numbers side
and the people side of business.
Jack Stack said that’s only a problem when the numbers are not in
the hands of the people themselves. When the people know the
numbers, it becomes a matter of figuring out together what to do to
create a more successful business.
[44:15] Be careful about choosing your employer.
Website: Small Giants
Conference: Gathering of Games