Thursday, April 23, 2015

Greene County Extension Begins Playing the Great Game of Business

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Beginning at the council meeting on April 24, 2015, the Greene County Extension Council and staff are going to begin playing the Great Game of Business (

According to David Burton, civic communication specialist with University of Missouri Extension and the county program director in Greene County, this will become the new management system for the local office and will guide efforts to get Greene County Extension operations back in the black.

“There are several great models for this style of management already in Greene County,” said Burton. “The council is going to be using this open-book system of management and learning from the Greene County Commission and county government, Big Brothers-Big Sisters in Springfield and some other practitioners, like SRC and Paul Mueller Company.”


In 2012, Burton received the University of Missouri Extension “Carl N. Scheneman Excellence in Teaching Award.” That honor came with $2,000 to be used exclusively for his professional development.  Since that time, Burton had been looking at various conferences but nothing fit with his schedule, budget or professional development needs.

“I was reading the Springfield Business Journal for March 9 and saw an article about a local non-profit using the Great Game of Business,” said Burton. He was familiar with the open-book management taught in the Great Game because he attended the first few sessions when the Greene County Commission began using it.

“Back at that time I talked with Patrick Carpenter (vice-president of the Great Game of Business) about the program. Greene County government was the first non-traditional business to look to the game for financial advice. I didn’t think it was the right time for our county extension program and we were working on other efforts things, including a business plan,” said Burton.

The cost of training with the Great Game of Business was prohibitive for the local extension budget according to Burton.

“I came to believe the time was right now to get started in The Game and I was willing to use my award monies to get training and help our council, staff and specialists, to begin playing the game,” said Burton.

Since taking the training in mid-April, Burton says he believes the Great Game of Business has several benefits for the local office: improved teamwork, engagement of staff and council members to raise funds and generate revenue, and team building.

“This goes beyond having a business plan. This gets all staff and volunteers involved with understanding our financials and making decisions that make financial sense,” said Burton.


The Great Game of Business, Inc. was established to help companies implement the open-book management practices outlined in the book The Great Game of Business. It is the educational wing of SRC Holdings Corporation in Springfield, where the business philosophy of open-book management was developed by its President and CEO, Jack Stack, more than 30 years ago.

Originally established to handle a high-demand for company tours and visits after the book’s release, The Great Game of Business, Inc. is now the largest and most well-known resource for open-book management training and education.

The Great Game of Business is not a system. It is not a methodology. It is not a philosophy, or an attitude, or a set of techniques. It is all of those things and more. One of the misconceptions about The Great Game of Business is that it is synonymous with being financially transparent. While transparency is important, sharing financials is only a small fraction of the entire process.


Keep up with what Greene County Extension is doing to implement The Great Game of Business online at under the tab “Great Game.”

Council has already kicked-off a mini-game as part of the Give Ozarks campaign and Burton says he anticipates another mini-game this summer.

“We also need a few months to develop a scorecard for our finances and to get council and staff trained in what we are doing,” said Burton. “I’m excited because I think this provides a real opportunity to engage our entire staff and council in working toward getting our office back in the black and moving forward.”

One-hundred percent of Greene County residents can benefit from the economically sound advice and unbiased, research-based information and education available from University of Missouri Extension programs in Greene County. Specialists with MU Extension offer educational programs that make lifelong learning fun and help people help themselves. More information is available at or by calling the MU Extension office in Greene County at (417) 881-8909.


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