One of the biggest problems that most organizations face is the lack of accountability. No one ever wants to be at fault or take responsibility for their mistakes.
Ownership doesn’t mean physical ownership by the team. The ownership mindset refers to psychological ownership of business outcomes and feeling empowered to make decisions that lead to those outcomes. Team members with this quality are as much a part of celebrating wins as planning for future success. Ownership-driven teams also take responsibility for tasks as they arise — versus the alternative, where people need to be assigned responsibility. Fostering this mindset can be a significant contributor to company success.
Fortunately, under good leadership, the ownership mindset can be cultivated in any team.
Ownership-driven teams also take responsibility for tasks as they arise — versus the alternative, where people need to be assigned responsibility.
Conditions For Creating An Ownership Mindset
An ownership mindset comes from promoting team equality. When team members feel they’re essential and have an equal role in creating the company’s successes, they want to put forth the effort to realize those successes.
When you inspire this mindset, your team is better guided by values over rules. Team members can more clearly see the impact they have on the future of the business, which creates a feeling of ownership in the company’s outcome.
Team members are free to be more creative and involved in the organization. They feel responsible for the business outcomes and want the day-to-day to run smoothly. As a result, clients receive better care and are more satisfied.
Benefits Of The Ownership Culture
When the ownership mindset is established, things change for the better. When the entire team takes ownership of the outcome, they’re more productive overall.
Because success belongs to them as well, they make more independent decisions and take more active roles in completing tasks. They also coordinate and collaborate more directly with other departments and teams. Your team is empowered to be more creative and innovative, allowing them to take more calculated risks. The entire team feels heard and included. Because team members see their role in the bigger picture, they feel they have more influence over business outcomes and show more passion and dedication to success.
All of this employee morale doesn’t go unnoticed. After adopting this mindset, recruiting becomes easier. Because who doesn’t want to work in a positive environment? On the flip side, team retention also improves. No one wants to leave an environment where they feel appreciated and valued, especially when they’re invested in the company’s success.
Cultivating The Culture
Instilling this mindset into your team isn’t brain surgery, but it does come with its challenges and legwork. As the leader, you can take steps to make this change easier for your team.
To start, you need to build team accountability. Start by ensuring every team member has a clear sense of their role and responsibilities (written down) and has the tools they need to meet those demands. Next, you need quarterly key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs are objective (not subjective) and measure how a team member performs.
If possible, your team members should identify their own quarterly KPIs based on their written responsibilities. Some might need help the first time, but by the second and third quarter, it shouldn’t take the manager any time. But, the manager plays a very important role in this. They must review each KPI and answer two important questions: Do the KPIs properly address the priorities of the role, and are the KPIs meaningful to the business? This isn’t micromanaging — it’s creating an atmosphere that encourages responsibility for tasks and how those tasks contribute to the project or company goals.
Because KPIs are objective, whether they are met — or not — is not going to be based on the manager’s perception, but rather reality. There are only three possible results. The KPI is met (offer congratulations), the KPI was not met due to a third party or change in priorities (understand the lesson learned) or the KPI was not met due to the team member’s performance (an opportunity for learning and training). The most effective way to communicate is by creating a safe space for growth and an “open-door” policy that encourages two-way conversations.
To cultivate this culture, the entire organizational mindset must change. Meaning it’s time to abandon the project mindset. The project mindset is a temporary approach to tasks and work. In this mindset, business continuity is lost and we forget the “big picture.” Conversely, an ownership mindset is focused on the eventual goals of the organization, instead of short-term goals and objectives. With this mindset, teams have more responsibility for the final outcome, instead of just focusing on timelines, budgets, etc. An ownership mindset encourages your team to focus on the larger organizational goals, rather than just completing the task at hand, earning a paycheck and moving forward. Team members can consult with metrics to see what worked, what didn’t and how they can improve in the future. They also have a sense of pride when dealing with your customers.
Owning Your Mindset
Adopting an ownership mindset has numerous benefits for both your organization and your team. By encouraging a culture of accountability, communication, and empowerment, you can realize more satisfied employees, better morale and collaboration, improved productivity and better bottom-line performance. The key to unlocking this new mindset is empowering your team to take responsibility for the outcomes and the decisions that lead to these outcomes. Your team is vital to the bigger picture, but it’s up to you to instill that passion and accountability.