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Background

Financial Stability Committeegreat game logo

When Dr. Alan Marble was appointed interim President of MSSU in the summer of 2013, he faced a budget deficit of $2.3 million for the '13-'14 fiscal year. Understanding that our reserves were being depleted and Southern was on a non-sustainable financial course, he formed the Financial Stability Committee. This committee was made up of two representatives from the following groups: Board of Governors, Administration, Faculty, and Staff. This committee was charged with putting MSSU's finances on a sustainable path. After analyzing our financial situation and considering a number of alternatives, the idea of The Great Game of Business came about. It turns out that two members of the Financial Stability Committee, Alan Marble and Scott Cragin, had been to the same seminar in Joplin in 1989 where Jack Stack made a presentation about The Great Game of Business. We contacted GGOB in December of 2013 at which point a variety of meetings and visits started, culminating in the GGOE initiative at Southern.

GGOB's President, Rich Armstrong and his associate Rhonda Alexander, have been very instrumental in helping MSSU adapt the GGOB system to the context of higher education. We have received extensive training and consulting while paying only GGOB's out-of-pocket expenses. We are very grateful to GGOB, Rich and Rhonda for their assistance in implementing this groundbreaking initiative. We are the first and only institution of higher education that has attempted to implement GGOB and they have a vested interest in seeing us succeed.

The Great Game of Education

Dr. Marble has committed to this initiative and will provide the support needed to make it a success. The Right Leadership is the first step in implementing the Great Game and Dr. Marble will provide that leadership. We are "all in" on this. We continue to work to develop and implement our training programs and huddle rhythm. You can learn more about these under Learning Resources.

Financial transparency is one of the fundamental concepts in GGOE and we have worked hard to translate MSSU's official, state-required financial reporting into something that all employees can understand and that allows them to achieve "line-of-sight" to our Critical Number (operating cash). This has involved developing a University Scoreboard showing the critical number and what drives it, as well as scoreboards for each unit on campus, both academic and support. These scoreboards are now available to all employees online (see link to left). Following the Action and Keeping Score helps ensure that each employee understands not only our finances, but how what they do every day impacts those finances. This is where minigames come in. Each area on campus is empowered to determine how they can improve the critical number and develop minigames and scoreboards that track their progress toward achieving that goal. Those who achieve their goals and improve the Critical Number will receive recognition and/or rewards. We have developed a minigame application process that allows individual units to seek advice on minigame design and apply for reward funding. Each area determines, on their own, what they can do, how they can do it, and how they want to be rewarded. When we have everyone on campus working to improve our critical number, great things will happen, including employee raises tied to such improvements.