A sense of ownership in its members is at the core of every successful organization. All people understand ownership as it’s a fundamental part of our nature. With ownership comes responsibility. For example the owner of a car understands that the responsibility of keeping the vehicle maintained and in good running condition is in their own best interest. But as any repair shop owner can attest some people grasp this concept better than others. Applying the concept of ownership to the outcome of actions works the same way. Sometimes people readily understand that a sense of ownership concerning the success of the business they’re a member of is in their own best interests while others may not recognize this as easily. Instilling a sense of ownership in business associates can be one of the most important keys to success in any organization. It requires that people understand ownership, know that the positive outcome of the company’s deliverables equates to a positive outcome for them, and that for an individual to succeed the team must succeed.
What Constitutes Ownership
People equate ownership with investment. If money is spent on an item the person made an investment and therefore owns the item. Although it’s the most recognizable form of investment money is not the only type of commitment people make in anticipation of a desired result. There are many expressions that relate to a feeling of investment. ‘I put my heart and soul into it’, ‘I paid for it in sweat and blood’ and so on. These feelings are the most powerful influences in sensing ownership. When people invest of themselves the outcome becomes more important.
Encouraging Positive Feelings
So how are feelings that drive a sense of ownership instilled in members of the organization? Any kind of investment involves risk and reward. An investor weighs risk versus reward when making decisions. When a person invests psychologically or emotionally a risk is taken. They must feel that their investment is safe. Encouraging a sense of ownership requires giving people a sense of assurance that they won’t incur a loss and that their investment will be worthwhile. When people feel that they belong and their contributions are appreciated they identify more and more with the organization and its success. And the greater the investment the greater the feeling of ownership will be.
Encouraging contributions above and beyond day to day responsibilities will instill a growing sense of ownership in people. If people are given a goal or objective and are asked to derive a way to accomplish it the idea is theirs and so is the outcome. If the investment results in a positive return the person will be interested in more similar opportunities. The positive return can take a number of forms but there always should be one.
Ownership and Unity
When people feel a sense of ownership in the success of the organization they have a greater sense of unity. The success of the team becomes their primary motivating factor. This can make the difference between a good company and a great company.