Our most recent Storyline Webinar featured guest Steve Baker, a highly sought-after speaker and coach on open book management through The Great Game of Business. You can enjoy some webinar highlights below.

 How did a struggling artist become the public mouthpiece for an organization like the Great Game of Business? Steve Baker considers himself a poster child for the company, an example of the difference financial literacy can make in moving individuals out of meaningless drudgery and into meaningful, self-piloted work. In his opinion, there’s little that is more important than purposeful employment—especially given how little time we really have on this planet!


The story

When Steve left home for art school as a teenager, it began as an adventure. After a sheltered childhood, he dove into a new world and soon met Joanne, the speech pathology student who would later become his wife. In Steve’s opinion, that’s often how it goes. “You have a talent, you find love, and then you learn about life… and survival,” he laughs. “I don’t want other people to have to go through that particular step, the daily struggle for survival, for any longer than they have to. We all have to feel it and learn from it, but you don’t want to stay there.”

For Steve, the survival portion of his life arrived when his people skills and talent for art forced him into a career in sales. It wasn’t what he wanted, but for the sake of his bills he found his art relegated to freelance work in the evenings, while all day long he worked with companies whose goals were unclear beyond, “Sell more stuff people don’t really need!” And there he stayed until he was about 40, never quite building financial breathing room, and with the question always at the back of his ever-curious mind:

“What if there’s another way?”

Finally, he left the consumer goods market and started a consulting business, where he soon found himself in contact with Rich Armstrong at the Great Game of Business. In a lucky turn of events, he was quickly invited into the company and pulled into their mission of teaching others the secret language of money, that mysterious thing separating the haves and have-nots—a task Steve considered himself hugely underqualified for from the beginning. He quickly became a living, breathing example of the impact financial literacy education could have. 18 years later, Rich and Steve have formalized their gamified open book management methodology and written a book together, Steve has grown professionally and personally, and his greatest joy is in seeing how his own adult children are thriving financially and emotionally, with greater tools at their disposal than he ever had at their age.

The impact

Steve believes that money and knowledge are power, so he’s dedicated his life to doing the one thing he believes could help truly eliminate conflict and ease social woes around the world: teach others, and the next generation in particular, how money works and how to access the secret language and process of money management.

“It's not the government or academia or big non-profits that will change the world. It's what we do in our own small communities, where so much human potential is being wasted. We can help one another, and we can use money as a lever for good.”

In order to raise up and empower the next generation to tackle money in this way, Steve affirms, we have to treat them with respect and trust. Steve is enthusiastic about the entrepreneurial spirit he sees in so many millennials and Gen Zers, who aren't afraid to question systems, call for transparency and education, and break boundaries. He believes two steps are necessary to encourage promising members of the next generations as they move forward: 

1) Building their belief in calling - not just drudgery for the sake of a paycheck, not just "work," but a meaningful, world-changing calling that is personal to them and worth living into.

2) Giving them access to mentors who they can look up to and learn from.

What else makes a difference?

Steve is fueled and propelled forward by his love for his family, including the wife he is working hard to retire and the kids who are the most incredible legacy he could have imagined. He's also not shy about proclaiming the value of peer groups like Acumen, which he believes to be the single greatest catalyst for growth and learning when it comes to life and leadership. When you're looking for your "tribe," he asserts, it's less about finding a group that is like-minded and more about finding people who are like-hearted: driven by similar values and missions. While navigating life and seeking to lead in meaningful ways, nothing else makes quite as much of a difference as community. 

Want to dive in to Steve’s story more deeply? You can watch the full webinar recording here.