Ownership means that you are accountable for your work. You make sure to understand the requirements, and commit the necessary effort and resources to deliver on time, within budget, and to the customer’s satisfaction. You understand that your work will help the organization meets its current and long-term goals.
Those lacking the ownership mentality are heard making the following comments:
- “I do what I’m told and nothing more.”
- “I’m not going to kill myself working weekends so that our owners get paid the big bonuses.”
- “If only the customers knew the poor quality of products we produce here.”
- “The problem is marketing. They need to do a better job creating a brand. Until they do that, there is nothing we can do on our side.”
- “That training was worthless! Instead of training, we need a pay raise.”
Passing the buck is a troubling sign. You must go beyond the work you are assigned to do. To develop an ownership mentality, you must know how the different components affect each other.
Here are three ways you can develop the ownership mentality:
#1: Become an owner of problems.
You are hired by organizations to solve problems. In fact, you are a professional problem solver. The bigger problems you solve, the more you are compensated. Once you identify a problem, you must do whatever possible to own it. The issue will only be resolved when someone assumes full control.
For example, the sales manager is concerned that the sales team is successful in scheduling appointments with prospects, but the closure rate is declining. Upon spotting this trend, the sales manager hires an external consultant to train the team on how to focus on expressing the value of the products and services to the customer. Once the problem is identified, the sales manager assumed ownership, and provided an immediate solution.
#2: Avoid blaming others… for anything.
Ownership assumes that you are in control of the problem. You will undoubtedly run across slackers, and even those who avoid the work altogether. When you own the problem, you focus on the individuals who get the work done, and not on those who are just along for the ride.
As a leader, avoid blaming others, especially as an excuse for work that went undone. Instead, inform your leadership team that you are working to identify the quality resources necessary to meet the objectives. This attitude alone sets you apart from the majority of employees.
#3: Finish what you start.
One notable sign of the ownership mentality is finishing the work assigned to you. Many people are gung-ho at the beginning of assignments, but that enthusiasm wanes within a week or so. You must be different. As the owner of a problem or issue, you keep your foot on the gas pedal until the requirements are met. Even when the work intensifies or loses its glamour, you keep going. Your focus remains strong.
The majority of people lack the interest or desire to develop the ownership mentality. These same people complain about politics, and other reasons why they are stuck in a rut.
You are different. You understand that success in your organization comes to those who are willing to assume accountability for the work that matters most. As a big thinker, you not only understand what must be done, but you are also committed to doing the work, even when praise is scarce.