Recently I have had several clients ask me about how to create more of an “ownership” mentality among their staff. Although there are a number of factors involved, I believe that there are three key elements that are essential to getting your staff to think and act more like owners instead of just employees.
1. Transparency. In order for people to get involved in the business, they need to understand what is actually going on in the business. Here is a hard-and-fast rule: People without access to information do not have to take accountability for their actions. If you do not share critical business information with your team, there is no way they can contribute to thinking like an owner in making critical business decisions. It is my feeling that short of actual salary numbers and truly proprietary business secrets, you should share as much information as possible with everyone that works with you. Information IS power, and the more you share it the more power you give to your staff in helping to make the business successful.
2. Clear and Quantifiable Goals. It is impossible for an employee to take an ownership mentality for the success of the company, if they do not clearly understand what “success’ looks like and precisely how it will be measured. The single most important factor in building a “culture of accountability” is making sure that every employee has specific, detailed and measurable performance objectives.
3. A Stake in the Outcome. If you want an employee to act like and owner, you have to treat them like one, and the best way to do that is to tie their compensation directly to their performance and the overall performance of the company. It is very simple: what gets measured – and paid for- gets done.
So let’s figure out where your firm stands on these three important factors. Please answer the following questions on a scale of 1 -10; with 10 being “We are excellent at this – truly world-class” all the way down to a score of 1 which equals “We are terrible at this – we do not do it at all.”
We openly share all critical business information with our entire team/organization_________
Everyone in our organization has very clear, specific and measurable performance objectives ______
We generously reward (both in money and praise) those employees who have a true “ownership mentality” and consistently meet or exceed their performance objectives _______
We deal decisively with any employee who is mediocre and consistently does not meet their performance objectives. _______
Any score below a 7 is cause for concern. A score lower than a 5 is probably a major issue in your organization.
It is my strong belief that if you are open and honest with your team, share as much information as possible with them, set very clear and specific performance objects, and reward them for achieving and exceeding those objectives… you will have built a solid foundation for creating a high-performance team that thinks like owners and takes personal accountability for the success of the business. Exactly what every company needs more of right now!
Hope that helps – I look forward to your replies – John