Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How to Give Ownership

My last post talked about the value of making your employees 'owners'. It's clear why this is good for everyone, but how do you give ownership?

Agree on the tasks/functions to be passed off. Hire smart people and maintain real connections with them. Find areas of their work and of their interest and officially relinquish 'authority' in that area. Give them real guidelines for what you consider them responsible for. Don't fake giving ownership. Pass along real concerns, real parameters and authority to control the situation.

Demonstrate commitment and support. Create a simple owner board in the office or use an online tool. Direct others to these owners - until people go to them on their own. Defer to the 'owners' - listen and consult with owners who make it happen. Don't get involved in making it happen. Finally, deliver the resources necessary to be successful, like budgets and new hires.

Regular feedback. Meet regularly to hear the plans of your owners, to guide and to ensure their activities are connected to company goals and priorities. Give them feedback and suggestions. This takes work - planning, time and real thought, but should pay for itself many times over. Follow up again, encourage and correct. Ask for regular progress reports and ask for impediments to their success. Intervene and arrange for training where it is needed and wanted.

Hold these owners accountable. Have time frames and expectations for your owners and stick to your guns. If an owner doesn't get the job done, move them out of ownership gracefully. When your employees demonstrate successful ownership, reward them with praise publicly and financially wherever appropriate.

BOOM. I think that sounds easy. People thrive when they have a sense of purpose in their job and a feeling of accomplishment. Giving employees true responsibility and ownership lifts them, and ultimately helps you get things done, too! Have you been successful at wholeheartedly delegating? Had any trouble with it?

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