“A sense of ownership is the most powerful thing a person, team, or organization can have.”
How can I get our guys on the Darby hoops team to buy in more? How can I get my students to create quality work that they value? How do I get other teachers excited about new initiatives? How can I raise my daughter to value what she has, be passionate, and take massive action?
I would assume that you have similar questions as a parent, coach, or coworker. I used to think leadership was just a personality trait that certain people are born with. If I was lucky and had a class with a good group of leaders, I was in good shape for the year. If I had a team with guys that possessed leadership qualities, than our team would do well. After 9 years of teaching and 7 years of coaching I've come to a realization. Some people have a natural inclination to be better leaders but ultimately ownership is what makes the difference.
Once I realized this, my question shifted from, “where are all the leaders?” to “how can we create opportunities for our players, students, and coworkers to develop more ownership?” When you own something, you invest more time into it, you’re less likely to give up when things get difficult, and you bring enthusiasm that affects everyone around you. Google is famous for their idea of “20% time”. Employees were allowed to use 20% of their work week to explore projects of their choosing, as long as it benefited the company. Gmail, Adsense, Google News, Google Glass and other innovations were created as a result of this self-directed research time. You would think spending less time on “work” wouldn’t be profitable but when Google gave employees more ownership of their work day, agenda, and passions, they were able to produce ideas and profits that far exceeded expectations.
This week I created two bookshelves for my future baby girl. I could have bought some for around $50. Instead, I decided to build them. The ownership meter (if there is such a thing) went through the roof and with it went my energy for the project, creativity, the time committed, and the craftsmanship that went into the shelves. Are they perfect? Heck no. Do I value them more than the $250 changing table we bought? Heck yes! My wife didn’t realize it but the next day as I was making my coffee she made a comment I know she would not have made if we bought those bookshelves. She said, “I love those bookshelves in her room”. Those words mattered to me!
My challenge to us all. Take an ownership inventory. What is your current level of ownership with your job, relationships, and passions? Don’t just tip your toe in the water, cannonball in! Find a way to increase your ownership in things that matter to you. Go to your boss with a new idea you have been thinking about and see it through. Invest more time into your relationships. Use your personal resources of time, money, actions and emotions to double down on what matters to you most.