The 30 Fundamentals that make up the “ConnectSMART Way” describe how we want to run our business – the way we treat our clients, the way we work with each other, and even the way we relate to our vendors and suppliers. They’re who we are and they’re the foundation of our success. They drive everything we do, every day. Each week we focus on a different fundamental and discuss in depth.[/content_box]
Fundamental #3: Take Ownership
See what needs to be done and do it. Be resourceful and show initiative. Take the next step to solve the problem. Even if it takes doing something that’s not in your job description, it’s the extra mile that separates the average person from the superstar. Be a superstar.
The term “ownership” or “own it” gets bandied about a lot. Often it is coming as a form of chastisement (“you need to take ownership of xyz …”) or as an encouragement to take more initiative. Taking ownership isn’t just a missive from management but is a reminder to each of us. What does it really mean to take ownership?
Most people’s idea of ownership is pretty much summed up in this picture. The idea of ‘do your own thing’, ‘no one tells you what to do’, ‘work your own hours, at your own pace’ – it’s only a fraction of the reality. Although it sells a lot of pyramid schemes and franchises the truth is a little more complex. One of the hardest truths of ‘owning it’? There is no one coming to save you. Many times we don’t want to take ownership of a situation, or a project because if it goes badly there is no one to share the blame. Like it or not we enjoy taking credit for successes but really despise having to take responsibility for failures. There is an interesting relationship between delegation and taking ownership. Delegation is something that I have struggled with a lot. I think managers can delegate and then hold someone accountable, but a leader inspires a team of owners. That is really what is at the heart of the Great Game of Business – empowering each employee to think and act like owners. Not to hold others to be accountable, but to hold myself accountable. Omer caught me a couple of weeks ago regarding our 2015 Marketing Plan for ConnectSMART and how we are going to be executing it. He stated that the most difficult part of what I am expecting of him to do is that there are certain content areas that currently I am the only one who can deliver, and how can I as the owner be held accountable? Just because I have a title of ownership doesn’t mean that I don’t still have to ‘own it’ myself.
Each one of us has a responsibility to take ownership in our personal relationships, our work, our family, and our country. I attached a great article from the Harvard Business Review on exactly this subject. It is well worth spending a few minutes reading it. There is no silver bullet. The realization that if we live our life as if there is no one coming to save us changes our perspective from one of a victim mentality to a leadership mentality. What are yours and my responsibilities? Am I complaining about my environment or changing it? Do I pity the homeless or help? Do I accept corrupt politicians as the way it will always be or do I vote? Am I taking the risk of taking ownership or am I satisfied with being a cog in the wheel, with letting ‘life’ dictate the outcome?
I tell my children every day that they can’t control anyone but themselves, but often we forget this truth ourselves. I can only control what I have taken ownership of. Do you want to be a participator or a bystander? Only those who play the game can actually win. I don’t know who said “If you don’t own your actions, your actions will own you” but whoever it was must have been important and they were definitely right!
Over the long history of Connections we have had successes and failures. Thirty weeks ago David related the story of Dennis Walker taking initiative for moving us from Act to GoldMine and how we eventually built that into a practice area with a GoldMine Consulting division. What he left out was that I spearheaded the CRM group. We became highly respected in the GoldMine community as one of the best, and the custom add-ons that we created for GoldMine (PowerGold) were way ahead of their time. In fact, there are many applications that we created for GoldMine that are far better than what is available today in ConnectWise ten years later! However, ultimately we could consider it a failure. Yes, we provided jobs, did great work for our clients, and made a little bit of money but in the end “my baby” failed. Why? There was never truly an ownership of success. I was great building the better mouse trap, but not at building the team that could own the mouse extermination business. What makes an idea, a project, or a division successful? It isn’t Dave or myself. It is you. Dave and I can only “own” so much. Each of you can take ownership in your own area. That which has ownership has success, that which doesn’t fails. I encourage each of you to see how you can “own it” this week. Don’t wait for someone else to change, don’t wait for a ‘silver bullet’, don’t wait for the lottery. YOU make it happen today! In the words of Richard Branson who is probably one of the greatest serial entrepreneurs of all time “Screw it, let’s just do it!”