Monday, September 27, 2010

Do it like you own it.

I have a friend who is an employee at a company that is struggling.  In a conversation with him today, he commented on some of the dysfunctional activities of a few of his colleagues.  As he spoke particularly of one of the management team, I shared a thought that hit a chord within me as I said it.  I told him that in order for a struggling company to have the best chance at success, the entire group must work as though they own it.

Upon reflection, I realized that past team efforts that I've been a part of were successful in large part because the entire group bought into and "owned" the opportunity to win.  To me, the difference bertween an owner and a a 'regular joe' is that the owner will do whatever it takes to give life to an opportunity, while 'joe' simply does what he perceives as his job, and leaves the rest to "everyone else"--not caring terribly much about the ultimate result.

The problem with the 'not my job' mentality at any level (but especially in a team struggling to accomplish their objectives) is that it leaves the important parts of the plan to "someone else", when really there is no one else.  . . .or even if there were someone else, timing is critical to successful performance.

So, how do you "do it like you own it"?  I think the key is believing in success.  An owner feels the lifeblood of his opportunity because he owns it.  He cares at a level that a non-owner usually doesn't get.  Giving that kind of care takes effort, belief, and passion.  It's not easy to get there if you're not an owner, but if you want success, you have to find a way.

The much tougher question is how to help those on your team with 'regular joe' mentalities to change their views to that of an owner.  It's espcially tough when it's a manager who, rather than looking for what he can do to help, looks around for what's "not his job".  How to help?  For me, the answer is to be an example of an "owner" work ethic.  Give all you've got to make good things happen, and simply expect the same performance of those around you. 

Like a wise advice-giving loved one at wedding time once commented:  marriage is not a 50/50 relationship.  If each of you only gives 50%, there will always be an expectation that the other gives something more; and that expectation will often go unmet.  No, marriage is a 100/100 relationship.  The only way it works is if both parties are fully committed.

While a company, project, or objective doesn't include similar vows as a marriage, the commitment necessary for success is similar in nature:  unless the whole team really gives a full effort, it may never produce the success it otherwise could.  I hope to do my best at giving 100% at all that's mine to do.


Andrea said...

I have some kids that I would like to "get" this someday.

Christine said...

That possum was really committed!

Lhone said...

that reminds me of the picture your mom has on her computer desk where they drew shoulder lane lines around a fallen branch. Seriously, that is how people are a LOT of times these days. just sitting around doing as little as possible, but demanding great rewards for their little efforts. The "greates generation" worked great things, for little reward. it is the trick to get people to change their views.