The Ownership Dilema

Commanding Driving Force

Ownership.

You hear the term in organizations.

We want people in our organizations to have more Ownership.

Ownership of their work, their deliverables, their customers.

We want Ownership of new initiatives, projects, and ideas.

Ownership means taking the responsibility and leadership to create something and move it forward.

But there is another side of Ownership.

Ownership can mean holding on so tightly that others are not allowed to participate.

Ownership can mean simple edits or suggestions cause an overreaction and are rejected.

Ownership can create narrowly crafted solutions that didn’t consider other needs and perspectives.

These two sides of Ownership create the Ownership Dilemma.

Ownership can stem from the need to control.

But Ownership will take control when needed and move the project forward.

Ownership can stem from the need for power, status, and recognition.

But Ownership is not afraid to step into positional authority and lead.

Ownership can be ego-centric, not letting others views or ideas into the mix.

But Ownership takes pride in their accomplishments and achievements.

The Ownership Dilemma can disrupt your organization, and we have a few tools that can help.

One way to measure Ownership is through an assessment of “driving forces” or what motivates us. One area measured is “Commanding.” This “Commanding” score can identify for you and your employees the healthy levels of Ownership, or if Ownership may become too overbearing and controlling. We can also learn where Ownership is under-developed and how your team can work to improve their Ownership of their work, projects, and customers.

Are you struggling with the Ownership Dilemma with your team? Are you wondering why your Ownership seems to manifest as control? Are you hiring and wrestling with getting the right fit and the right level of Ownership?

Understanding your own style, and your collective team styles can help you move past the Ownership Dilemma, to a healthy level of ownership. We are here to help, contact us today about how we can help you and your team better understand their styles, including their level of Ownership.

The Leadership Crockpot

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(Images courtesy of Family Fresh Meals)

“Leadership is a lot like cooking in a crockpot.”

“What do you mean?”

“You put all these little things together, but it takes time for them to connect and combine. Eventually you have something.”

The Leadership Recipe is not a quick stir fry.

You don’t become a great leader by reading one book.

You don’t become a great leader by applying one principle.

You don’t become a great leader by learning a little about yourself.

You don’t become a great leader because you own a business.

You don’t become a great leader when you have people to supervise.

crockpot-step-2

Leadership is a long slow process.

Becoming a great leader is the result of many individual items, when combined over time creates something new.

Below is a partial Leadership ingredient list:

  1. Continual reflection on your style: when does it work, and when does it need to be modified.
  2. BPTT even when, or especially when you are busy.
  3. Overcoming Fear and overcoming Fear.
  4. Combating your Narrator.
  5. Understanding differences between people.
  6. Daily discipline.

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As these items simmer, you add a few more.

Eventually you have something.

But unlike soup, the Leadership Recipe continually requires additional ingredients.

A dash of understanding.

A pinch of flexibility.

A little spice – to make it interesting.

A healthy few cups of feedback.

Do you want to be a great leader?

Be prepared for a lifetime in the Leadership Crockpot.

P.S. Leave a comment on the key ingredients in your Leadership Crockpot.

BPTT

BPTT

You are good at what you do. You have been successful. That success creates opportunities to grow and develop. You may even get promoted. You may be running that business or acquire a new one. You have a knack for getting stuff done.

As you move up in organizations, an interesting thing happens. The work begins to shift. You used to be closer to the work. You used to do the tasks at hand.

Now you have a team. They do some of the tasks. 

And the organization, the team, the business will require something more.

More strategy.

More direction.

More reflection.

More time spent on thinking about larger things.

In other words: BPTT.

Big Picture Thinking Time.

BPTT slows you down from the hectic pace of reacting.

BPTT allows you to develop the overall direction and goals of the business.

BPTT reflects on your style, your team, and what they need most from you.

But BPTT doesn’t come naturally.

We got used to doing tasks or getting it done.

We were successful and liked the connection with the actual work.

We get stressed, and default back to doing the tasks.

Leaders need BPTT.

BPTT may feel awkward at first. And you may feel guilty for taking time to yourself.

You are worth it, and BPTT is not a waste.

BPTT is where big ideas come from.

You need BPTT, and so does your team, your organization, and your business.

But if you wait until there is time for BPTT it will not happen.

BPTT should be on the calendar so it can be planned with, not around.

Schedule an appointment with yourself for some BPTT.

Start today.

We all want to hear the amazing things you do as a result.

Affirmation or Revelation

“I didn’t need it, they don’t need it!”

Usually said loudly and with passion.

Usually said with a negative and sometimes angry tone.

Usually as a response to the idea of coaching, encouraging, or recognizing employees.

Usually while being critical and perhaps judgmental of perceived generational or work-ethic differences.

“I didn’t need someone to tell me I was doing a good job!”

“I didn’t need a trophy just for showing up!”

“I didn’t need to be coached, I just worked hard!”

“I didn’t need a reward, it was my job!”

When these statements enter the room or conversation, pause and watch what happens.

These statements tend to weave their way through the crowd.

There are usually two responses to these statements that you can visibly witness.

  1. Affirmation 
  2. Revelation

Affirmation: people who have experienced similar treatment, management, or upbringing that nod and agree. This is what they were given, and they continue to give the same back to others.

Revelation: people who may have experienced similar treatment, management, or upbringing, but disagree with the past. They are making a decision to give to others in a different way than what as given to them.

After the short silence, typically one of the Revelation responders will speak up.

“I understand that you didn’t receive the affirmation, coaching, or reward along the way in life. I didn’t receive it either, but I realized how much of a negative impact it had on me. Was there a time when you wanted to hear something positive, a simple word of encouragement, or a little coaching?”

With a few simple questions, Affirmation may turn into Revelation.

They did need to be recognized.

They did need some coaching and encouragement.

They did need a reward for the sacrifice they were making.

The lack of what they needed made them hardened.

Instead of Revelation, the result was Affirmation of the very treatment, management, or upbringing that caused the negative impact.

Which response will you have?

Affirmation or Revelation?

The Shirt, the Challenge, and the Surprise

Coach T-Shirt

The Shirt

When teaching a class on coaching, I joke with the class about having shirts made up that say “COACH” and threaten to hand them out and make them wear them in their workplace.

 “What if I gave you a shirt like this and made you wear it in your workplace when you get back on Monday? Who here would want to wear it? What would your employees say?”

A few replies to my questions from a recent group of leaders during a class on coaching appear below.

“Not a chance.”

“They would ask me if I started coaching one of my kid’s teams.”

“I would be laughed out of the place.”

I pressed a little further to find the root of the hesitation on being labeled the “COACH” in their workplace. Each was a leader in their organization. Each had a title and at least a few employees. But something was stopping them from coaching.

As the conversation progressed, the obstacles became more clear. There wasn’t enough time to coach (and get their own work done). The culture would be critical of this approach. They were not coached as employees, and the list went on and on until an even more revealing answer came to light.

“Because when a team is failing, they fire the Coach!”

There it was, the real fear behind the hesitation. Being the focus of performance may result in the owners switching leaders if the organization is not performing. With the fear out in the open we could move towards agreeing on why coaching is essential to the team’s success.

Coaching goes beyond holding people accountable for task completion. Coaching is about developing people as individuals, stretching them, and helping them achieve more both individually and collectively. Coaching requires a combination of encouragement and accountability. Coaching is needed for teams.

The Challenge

Beyond a mere threat, I actually had these shirts made up and hand them out at the end of the class. Periodically, I would get an email about how wearing the shirt in the workplace helped the leader focus on coaching their employees, despite the initial awkwardness. I even heard from a leader who must wear a uniform each day at work, but wears the “COACH” shirt underneath once a week as a reminder to coach their employees.

A few months ago, I changed my strategy. In addition to having them take a shirt, I issued a challenge. The first leader to email me a picture of them in their workplace wearing the shirt would win a prize.

The Surprise

The responses have been great. Within a day or two I start to receive photos of these leaders wearing their “COACH” shirt in the workplace. The challenge helped provide some incentive, but the results have been greater than just a prize. Many leaders have been surprised as they experience something more once the awkwardness fades: their employees have embraced the concept and are enjoying the coaching.

But that is not the only surprise.

Last week I taught the Coaching class in the morning, but then there was a break where the group had a few other instructors before concluding the day with me. I headed back in the room and started the session.

It was when I clicked to the second slide of the PowerPoint.

There it was. A photo appeared on the screen. It was a photo of the entire class wearing their “COACH” shirts in the lobby. They had managed to take the photo and put it into the presentation during the break.

“Technically, since we are all on the clock, this counts as working.”

I laughed. I was encouraged by their creativity. I was surprised.

After giving out prizes to all of them, I reminded them that now that they had gotten over their initial hesitation, they could all become better coaching in their workplace.

Over the next few days, other photos appeared in my inbox. Coaches were identifying themselves, and starting to do the work. They were making a difference.

How about you? Do you need a shirt as well?

Make a list of those in your workplace, circles, or life that need some coaching. Once the awkwardness fades, it may be just what they need.

Hard Choice Ahead

Hard Choice Ahead

(Images created on roadtrafficsigns.com)

The interview went well. They answered the questions. They were hired. After a few months their performance begins to fade.

You hear from a few people around the office that deadlines are missed. Others are covering the work that is not getting done.

RESENTMENT IS BUILDING

A few of your peers come and talk to you about the issues and what you are doing to correct the problems.

YOU ARE BEING QUESTIONED

Your boss sends you an email asking about your department’s performance.

YOUR TEAM IS UNDER SCRUTINY

There were signs.

Looking back you may be able to see them.

Unfortunately, signs don’t always show up along our journey with bright colors and with enough repetition so they cannot go unnoticed. Failing to see the earlier signs prevented corrective action.

Maybe it was a relationship. Maybe it was a project that has not taken off. The specifics are yours to fill in.

Missing the earlier signs tends to result in one final sign: Hard Choice Ahead.

The choice won’t be easy.

But it needs to be done.

The choice will have consequences.

But it will bring the resolution.

Maybe next time we will become more attuned to watching for those earlier signs.

 

Inspired Vision or Dictated Standard?

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(Image courtesy of my daughter who loves to snap photos while we drive.)

While working with a group of senior leaders they described some compliance issues especially with those further down within the organization. Procedures were not being followed, routine issues were on the rise, along with a rise in negative attitudes.

Many of these leaders have a behavioral bent towards adherence to and creation of rules, so I pushed in a little with some questions.

Were these particular procedures and rules important?

Yes. This is a high risk endeavor with lives on the line.

Okay, then why is there such pushback on these rules, procedures, and policies?

The culture below us seems to create this tension.

How do you communicate these procedures and rules?

Memos and operating procedures.

With a few more questions, a few additional clues were revealed. The memos, and operating procedures were then implemented by middle or front-line supervisors who didn’t always agree with or embrace the policies. 

Instead of seeing the importance of these procedures, the policies were viewed as a dictated standard instead of part of a larger inspired vision of keeping everyone safe.

Out of context, the constant emphasis on procedures can feed a negative culture. Those leaders needed to inspire a larger vision and continually explain why these small changes added to that overall vision.

As with all leaders, they needed to tell their own story and not always rely on others to explain their inspired vision.

Imagine how many times we try to get our employees, our organizations, our families, our kids, or our friends to follow some rule or procedure, yet it doesn’t resonate or create action. Instead we are left with the grumbling culture around us despite the fact that those rules would help keep everyone safe, ease some difficulty, or just make things run more smoothly.

Maybe we can all learn from these leaders.

Inspire a vision and provide the context for changes and rules. Stay on message about how these changes are important to the organization, the family or the relationship.

If not, simply dictating a standard may not be enough.