10 Ways to Create a Sense of Ownership

“Act like you own the place,” is a silly slogan when people are treated like expendable cogs in machines.

Hypocritical leaders expect people to act like owners while being treated like employees. Everyone knows its sleazy manipulation.

compelling mission and manipulation

Employees don’t take ownership when they are treated like employees.

Central concern:

Owners run the place.

Compliance is easier and simpler than dealing with people who feel a sense of ownership. Leaders who emphasize control want compliance.

Ownership declines where people feel controlled.

Where taking ownership prevails:

  1. Organizational mission feels right. Compelling mission drives organizations where taking ownership rises above sleazy manipulation. But, where mission is obscure, people just go through the motions.
  2. Information flows freely. It’s unethical to keep information from owners. Organizations that reject transparency hide inequities.
  3. People do what they love and love what they do. How can you get people doing more of what they love?
  4. People feel valued. Cogs in a machine feel used. People who feel valued, value the organization. Forcing people into conformity destroys ownership.
  5. People feel powerful. Ask, On a scale of 1 to 10, how much control do you feel over your work? How much control should you feel? How can we more fully align those numbers?
  6. Goals are agreements not declarations.
  7. Equity prevails. Perks, favoritism, and tolerating freeloaders undermines a sense of ownership. Why should anyone be an owner when others take advantage of the system?
  8. Drifters are eliminated. Tolerating drifters makes others question their commitment. Why should they act like an owner when dead weight is ignored?
  9. Bureaucracy goes down. Standards go up.
  10. Accountability flows up and down the organizational chart.

Bonus: Those who act in isolation or with disregard for others, lose the rights of ownership.

How can leaders create a sense of ownership within organizations?