Paul Eric Morse

Morse Constructions

Somerville, Mass.

Big50 2003

My style as a manager has always been an open one, where I share my business numbers with at least my key employees. Jack Stack, in his book The Great Game of Business, has shown me how to use that style to build a more profitable business with a team that is intent on "winning" the game.

The book is a study of Open Book Management (OBM) and how to use it to build a motivated and profitable organization. It describes the fears (what happens if competitors or employees see my real numbers?); discusses education (how you and your employees can divide your income statement into understandable parts); and lays out implementation (how to incorporate OBM in a way that almost guarantees profitability). Stack states: "It takes the whole element of direct supervision out of managing. You can communicate by pointing to the opportunities that are out there rather than by using threats and intimidation."

Tom Kelly

Neil Kelly Co.

Portland, Ore.

Big50 1986

We just had one of our monthly sales meetings. During the meeting we had a book discussion about How to Close Every Sale, by car salesman Joe Girard. Two or three people were asked to "report" on various sections of the book. Because we tend to be so "soft sell" in our company, we thought it would be good to review a book from an industry that sells a little harder than we do. One of our sales managers, Chuck Schermerhorn, says the group chose the book because of the practical techniques for selling. The discussions were great, and I think people got a lot out of it.

C. Mason Hearn

McGuire, Hearn & Toms

Manakin-Sabot, Va.

Big50 2003

I recommend Built to Last -- Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras. This book studies the making of a visionary company through well-known examples such as Nordstrom, Boeing, and Wal-Mart. By contrasting the performance of those firms to other companies, we learn about such topics as associate and customer loyalty, market share, corporate value, and longevity. These ideas have helped me focus on the importance and value of providing leadership and vision above all else.