Area high school students received a lesson in an open business plan taught by the man who wrote the books.
Springfield businessman Jack Stack laid out his rules for success with the Leadership Springfield Academy Class Wednesday, December 2 at the Springfield Chamber of Commerce. The presentation as part of the business program day for the class.
The CEO of Springfield Remanufacturing Corporation shared his secret to running an open book operation. The idea is still a new concept in the business world. One that Stack made his own when he arrived in Springfield more than 32 years ago.
“Open book was a heresy in the 1980s,” Stack explained to the class. “You didn’t share financial information anywhere in the country.”
Stack came to Springfield to work with the plant when it was owned by International Harvester. At the time, farm equipment giant was in the process of closing plants across the country. When employees feared the company would shut down their plant, Stack had the idea to buy it. He shared his early struggles to talk those employees into the idea. He realized they could do it together. His message to the class focused on teaching those employees the metrics of business. That was considered at the time ‘thinking outside the box.'
"It’s the marketplace that sets the rules, it’s not a CEO,” said Stack. “It's what the dogs eat. The marketplace establishes the rules of the game, you bring the rules to the people.”
Stack says he went back to his business roots, treating his business like a game. He made sure his employees knew the rules, knew the scorecard and knew the rewards at all time.
The CEO offered the students a chance to pick his business mind too during the presentation. The students asked everything from his legacy in the community to why he turned to the open book model.
The presentation was part of the business program day for the class. The students also toured Springfield’s eFactory and Askinosie Chocolate. The class also participated in a strengths activity led by Caitlin Kissee and mock interviews led by Jill Wiggins. The Whitlock Company sponsored the day.