The Second Annual Gathering of Games, held in September in St. Louis, brought together more than 250 people from 140 companies working on the critical design flaw of business I discussed in November's FYI column. Most striking was the range of companies practicing the Great Game of Business or some form of open-book management. The participants included fast-food chains, telemarketers, computer manufacturers, nursing-home operators, specialty retailers, and furniture makers. Among the participants familiar to Inc. readers were former #1 Inc. 500 company ABC Supply, now the world's largest wholesaler-distributor of roofing materials; and another Inc. 500 veteran, Physician Sales & Service, the nation's leading provider of medical supplies to doctors' offices.

But the attendee who undoubtedly attracted the most attention was Pius H. Maambo, director of operations (the equivalent of our CEO) of Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM), based in Kalulushi, Zambia. At one session, participants were asked to say a few words about themselves and their businesses. Maambo said that ZCCM, the fifth-largest copper-mining company in the world, has 50,000 employees and accounts for 95% of the foreign currency that comes into his country. He told the group that he is using the Great Game of Business to turn ZCCM around after decades of stagnation, and he expressed his gratitude at being able to share experiences with other game players, something he does not have the opportunity to do in Zambia.

As Maambo spoke, "you could hear a pin drop in the room," one of the forum participants later commented. "It kind of put everything into perspective."