Can you think of a situation in life when something didn't go as planned and the person had every reason possible to tell you why it wasn't their fault? Has that person ever been you?
I was having a conversation with a friend who shared a story about a project that went completely off track. Milestones were missed, deliverables weren't fully completed, and the project's scope continued to increase months after it was started. The long and short of the story is that my friend spoke with the project manager, then the project sponsor and when that was also unsuccessful, she raised it at an executive meeting with the PM and PS present. Her concerns were once again dismissed and the PM and PS remained steadfast in their confidence in the project's feasibility. Fast forward several months and the project was a disaster as my friend predicted and informed them before it happened.
Do you know what's most interesting about this story?
It isn't that the project failed. Despite best effort and expertise, projects don't always go according to plan. And besides, you have to be comfortable taking smart risks and be willing to fail knowing that the opportunity in trying is innovation, growth, and gaining significant market value. What's most interesting about this story is how the PM, PS and other key decision makers on the project responded. What was their response? They said it was an external factor or that someone else was responsible the outcome. It was everyone else's fault but their own.
What allows this type of response to occur in organizations?
That's a multifaceted answer but one of the biggest reasons is that employees do not feel a sense of ownership in the organization's success at the level to which it is needed. Many years ago, I was a server in a restaurant just like some of you at some point in your life. It was hard work! It was also very rewarding. We won an award or two for customer service and financial performance, which I was proud to have played a role in us winning. Every one of my colleagues and leaders took ownership in the restaurant's performance. We didn't walk by a customer that wasn't in our section of the restaurant without checking in, there wasn't a spilled drink that we walked away from, and there wasn't a dirty washroom on the premises. We all rolled up our sleeves and pitched in even if, arguably, one could say it 'wasn't in our job description'.
In my friend's situation, there was a lack of ownership from the PM, PS, and other leaders. The dynamics of her company's culture is for another discussion, but the heart of the 'it's not my fault' response will be their Achilles' heel.
How do you instill a sense of ownership with your team members so that they treat the organization and its money as if it were their own? Here are five ways I encourage you to practice:
Are you looking to level up your leadership so you can naturally create ownership in your team members? Connect with me. We'll set up a quick Discovery Call to determine how I can support you.
Remember to download Your Guide to Building Confidence & Living Fearlessly! Visit this link and go to Free Resources to get the download.
Remember, you're in the driver's seat of your life - grab the wheel and get going!