Sunday, March 8, 2009

Open Book Management - Brian Healy - Kindermusik

Over the weekend, our MgmtAcct course was enhanced through a visit by Brian Healy (SVP/GM) of Kindermusik International. One of the topics that we've explored in class is Open Book Management, and how it may be a model that students should consider implementing in portions of their companies.

Mr.Healy was also a co-founder of Hooked-on-Phonics, so his perspective on managing a start-up and a global company addedOBM breadth to the discussion.

Some of the topics that interested me were:
  • OBM isn't just a management style (process), it must be ingrained in the culture to be successful. People need to be trained, encouraged, and reminded how it helps impact the business.
  • OBM requires investment by the company in $$ (training) and time. We spoke quite a bit about how mentoring and listening are needed to make this successful.
  • OBM makes each person accountable for their area, on a weekly (or monthly) basis. It forces people to know their role/area, and be accountable for not only that area, but the other areas of the business it impacts. Some people strive in those environments, while others can't handle the visibility. OBM requires the right type of people (see "culture" above).
  • As difficult as it might sound, it is possible to find a "critical number" for each group (and person) in the company. OBM forces a company to go through that thought process, and I suspect that the result is it forces everyone to think very hard about what value they bring to the company.
There was much more to the discussion, but those are the key points I'l take way with me. In addition to being a very honest and candid speaker, Mr. Healy clearly showed that he enjoyed making an impact on the world in ways that make people better. This was inspiring. It's about making money to pay the bills and satisfy shareholders, but it's even better if you leave behind something better than you started with. It's obvious that Mr.Healy and the good folks at Kindermusik are doing that. Sounds like it would be a fun place to work.

Thanks also to Dr.Beatty for arranging the visit.

Below is a segment of the presentation that was given in addition to the discussion.