On Ownership

Ownership is one of the most important elements of staff and new hires as a company scales and grows, especially in the beginning.

The challenge is that both the organization and the staff have to come to agreement about what the looks like, not just strategically but also tactically and pragmatically.

It’s easy to say at a top-level: “Yes, we want our employees and staff to feel empowered and to feel like they have a sense of ownership around their work!” but to actually create an environment (through great leadership) that allows this can be very difficult.

Trust is the bedrock of any good organization, any team, and any relationship. By trusting your staff to do their jobs and by providing them the resources and guidance necessary to do their jobs well you will continue to reap the rewards of ownership.

If you feel like you have to hand-hold your team or you feel like you can’t “let go” of the responsibilities that you’ve tasked your team to perform and fulfill, there will be no room and no opportunity for your staff to build and to grow a sense of ownership.

Great hires, as you build and scale your team, will also have a history of ownership in their stories and narratives and work. Great questions to ask when you’re hiring people that might suss out some of these stories and narratives might be:

  • Ask them about their recent projects, products. Listen about how they talk about them, the emotions that they share with you.
  • Do you get a sense that they were proud of their work and their team and their contributions? Or was it just another “job” to them?
  • Ask them directly about their feelings about ownership and how they create that for themselves and their experiences with teams and organizations who did this well (or not).
  • Ask them about having to hand off their projects or even leave their previous companies. How they handle these transitions (and their emotions) can be very telling.

Find ownership, hire for ownership, and you’ll build an amazing company.