As a businessperson, manager, executive, or entrepreneur you have likely heard of the word ownership. This word has various definitions, and many throw the word around. The actual concept and behavior never really permeate an organization.
Let me share a personal experience that I believe demonstrates ownership.
I went to the dentist recently. I am petrified of the dentist, so making the appointment and showing up was a feat in and of itself. I was greeted by a staff member and instead of just taking me to the chair leaving me to panic, this staff member demonstrated a tremendous amount of ownership. She explained procedures, introduced the hygienist, the dentist and walked me through the treatment process. During my extensive appointment that same staff member checked in, brought me water (unprompted), explained the billing processes, insurance coverage and generally made sure I was comfortable. At the end of the appointment this staff member assisted in checking me out, setting a future appointment and walked me to my car. When I got home, I had a personalized email from the same staff member ensuring I was satisfied with my visit and encouraging me to give them any feedback to make future visits even better. The day after my appointment I got a call from the staff member again checking to see if I need anything and if I was feeling ok. During my visit I witnessed different staff doing the same thing with other patients.
WOW. Let me tell you, I never expected this type of service at a dentist. Not only have I gone back, I have also referred at least 5 people to that dentist office.
The ownership demonstrated by this employee made the experience completely different from the negative expectations I had. This employee took responsibility for my experience and for the time I was in the office, she took personal responsibility for my care.
This type of service and demonstration of ownership doesn’t happen automatically. You must foster an environment where all the employees operate with the same mindset. How do you begin to plant the seeds of ownership in your organization?
Initially, the behavior that you want in your direct reports or your staff must be demonstrated by you. As a manager, department head or CEO, your clarity, transparency, and commitment to owning your victories and your failures is the first step.
Other ways to instill a sense of ownership throughout your organization includes the following:
- Share your vision
- Involve your employees in goal setting
- Be clear on the “whys”
- Give your employees the freedom to choose “how” they achieve the goals
- Delegate authority not just tasks
- Trust your team to execute and support the positive behaviors
- Encourage problem solving and critical thinking
- Encourage risk taking, view problems as opportunities
- Facilitate efficient and focused meetings
- Ensure there is clear accountability and consequences for behavior
- Ask for feedback from your staff and your clientele
- Acknowledge and reward ownership behaviors
Managing staff and employees is a noble and important role. “As a manager, you have a unique opportunity to create value for your firm, your team, and for yourself by pursuing your activities with the passion described above and by exhibiting the commitment necessary to move your organization closer to achieving key objectives. As a manager, you engage team members, colleagues, and customers, and you are engaged in a great many process activities” (Reh, 2019).
As a leader, you must have a passion for your job. You should be teaching, sharing knowledge, and making sure that your teams work experience and environment are positive and productive. “Great leaders are values-driven. They identify with, share, live, and lead by core values, whether they are the firm’s or their own” (Reh, 2019).
It was clear to me that the owner of the dentist office has instilled a great sense of ownership in the practice. Every aspect of the customer and employee experience was exemplary and cultivates a positive and energized workplace.
At ActionCOACH, the world’s largest and most successful business coaching franchise, there are 14 points of culture that drives everything they do. From the CEO, the global office staff, the franchise partners, and their team, ensure that ownership is demonstrated at every level.
ActionCOACH says this about Ownership- Culture Point 2.
“I am truly responsible for my actions and outcomes and own everything that takes place in my work and life. I am accountable for my results and I know that for things to change, I must change first.”