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The Ownership Mindset: The Most Powerful Effective Business Tool

Sure, we have all heard the saying, “I own that”. You hear about people “taking ownership”, but what does taking ownership actually mean? What does it mean to have an ownership mindset and how does that apply in today’s business world?

Even though ownership represents control, it is not always obvious in actions. It is possible to ‘own’ an idea, or even own a business, but without an ownership mindset, you will unlikely get the result you want. Ownership itself is driven by commitment and desire and can start at any level within the company.

Owners inside a company are transparent about responsibility and fostering and maintaining trust. They are aware that stepping up means carrying out commitments and making sure that quality is the priority. No matter where you sit on the organisational hierarchy, ownership is taking responsibility for the results.

The top tiers of the organisation must take the lead in establishing an ownership culture since it requires time and consistency. You can implement several strategies to create an ownership culture across the entire company:

Encourage Freedom and Responsibility

Empower staff members to implement change, be creative, and improve processes to build close relationships and loyalty from customers.

Change the Mindset

Encourage staff to offer value, knowledge, and innovation to the business by putting an emphasis on contribution rather than control.

Embrace Shared Values

Make it clear that the company's values, which govern the desired actions and behaviours of its personnel, are what determines its success.

Emphasise Positive Reinforcement

Encourage staff to make independent decisions to solve an issue or provide better service to clients and try to reward them for their efforts.

Support Entrepreneurial Thinking

Encourage transparency and a focus on increasing sales, cutting expenses, and finding new revenue sources.

The first step in getting a culture moving in the right path is to set the tone of ownership. If you and the other members of your leadership team actively practise what you teach, workers will comprehend their roles even better. Leaders cannot know everything, so you must operate ownership by giving up control.

Make sure everyone in the organisation, at all levels, is aware of your vision and knows the "WHY" behind your choices in terms of direction. Engage your teams in goal setting and planning so they feel like active participants rather than mere cogs in the machine.

Allowing for creative problem-solving methods can frequently lead to unexpected results for teams. When possible, let them choose their own path, establish procedures, and set goals. Task management is significantly less inclusive than encouraging inventive problem-solving in groups.

Give everyone in the organisation a sense of ownership by assigning and sharing the responsibility for resolving issues and developing solutions. Hold the team accountable, and reward good behaviour to perpetuate good behaviour. To show that you are dedicated to the process, provide frequent feedback, and follow up on the status.

“Bureaucracy is a construct designed to maximize the distance between a decision maker and the risks of the decision.” ~ Nassam Talib

Reducing bureaucracy in your organisation can foster an ownership mindset that spreads throughout the teams. Modelling the behaviours you want to instil in your teams is a great place to begin, so start by focusing on the following:

  • Make time for critical reflection

  • Communicate consistently but concisely

  • Manage in all directions within your organization using a variety of skills and different methods

  • Display time management skills

  • Take the time to learn and up-skill on your own

  • Anticipate what questions and obstacles there could be, and consider solutions

  • Learn from mistakes and failures and do not let either of them negatively affect your progress

To develop an ownership culture in your business, start by identifying the spark that will ignite it within your group. Determine which team members are eager for a challenge and taking on extra duties without being asked. Look for people who respond to challenges immediately and firmly. Recognize those that go above and beyond and harness their enthusiasm.

Encourage ownership by sharing it. It is not about what or how much you 'own,' but rather how much you are willing to give up to gain…

- Robin Olivier (ActionCURVE NZ)

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