CEO BrainFood

021 The Great Game Interview with Rich Armstrong and Steve Baker

Episode Summary

Welcome to CEO Brain Food, a show aimed at providing key insights, fresh perspectives, and proven tools that CEOs can apply to build enterprise value, generate higher profits and develop the talent needed to succeed in their businesses. In this episode of CEO Brain Food, Michael invites Rich Armstrong and Steve Baker on to discuss their respective roles as President and Vice President at The Great Game of Business. Rich and Steve address the concept of open-book management, one that is at the core of The Great Game of Business. They speak to the importance of investing in hiring a dominant workforce, engaging employees to become better business thinkers, and the concept of self-funded bonuses. Finally, Rich and Steve discuss the value of curating a healthy culture within an organization.

Episode Notes

00:58 – Michael introduces today’s guests, Rich Armstrong and Steve Baker

01:41 – Michael promotes Rich and Steve’s latest book, Get In The Game
03:41 – The origin story of The Great Game of Business

08:48 – How Jack Stack began the process of teaching the language of business to his team

12:08 – Steve addresses the concept of open-book management

15:31 – Jack’s philosophy of lifetime hiring

18:16 – Building a dominant workforce

20:49 – How to engage employees to become better business thinkers

24:24 – How scorecarding works

27:39 – Benefits of a company getting into The Great Game

31:58 – Key principles and elements of The Great Game of Business

38:52 – The concept of a self-funded bonus

44:02 – The importance of a healthy culture

51:03 – Why Michael loves to highlight The Great Game of Business

52:06 – Michael thanks Rich and Steve for joining the show and praises the work they’ve done

52:17 – Michael encourages the audience to visit The Great Game of Business website

53:08 – Michael promotes the upcoming Great Game of Business Conference

54:01 – Where to find Michael’s Functional Team Scorecard


“It [The Great Game of Business] was all about productivity. It was about quality. It was about building a solid product, but not necessarily building a company.” (06:38) (Rich)

“The dominant companies in the next ten years will be those who are dominant with their workforce.” (18:25) (Steve)

“People want to be in the know, and they want to know what they can do to contribute.” (22:55) (Rich)

“If you would have invested a thousand dollars, if you were brave enough to invest a thousand dollars back in 1983, that thousand dollar investment is worth close to eight million dollars in value today.” (29:06) (Rich)

“Business is like a game. To play any game, you gotta know what the goal is. That’s the critical number. And then you have to know what game you’re in so you gotta know and teach the rules. You’ve got to follow the action and keep score.” (34:46) (Rich)

“Let the slackers and the dead weight go work for your competitors.” (46:30) (Steve)

“The company is the product. And, if that’s the case, if the company is indeed the product, building a great company, you will have the best quality, the best service, the best of everything. And that’s a great place to work if you ask me.” (50:03) (Steve)


Michael’s LinkedIn

Michael’s Website

The Functional Team Scorecard

Rich’s LinkedIn

Steve’s LinkedIn

The Great Game of Business Website


The Great Game of Business, Expanded and Updated: The Only Sensible Way to Run a Company

Get In The Game

Change The Game