How to Foster an Ownership Mindset Within Your Team 

Companies thrive when they give employees decision-making power and share the profits with them.
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Business owners think and act differently than employees. At Guild Consulting, we work with owners and top managers who are heavily invested in their organizations but would like more commitment from their employees.

When this “ownership mindset” is absent, we see:

  • Employees are busy “being busy” – too many meetings with too many people.
  • Employees see something bad, but no one volunteers to fix it.
  • Client feedback is either nonexistent or indicates poor service quality.
  • If the owner or CEO is away for a week, the operation starts to unravel.

Chris Zook, author of the book “The Founder’s Mentality,” breaks down the ownership mindset as a bias for action, distaste for bureaucracy and respect for cash.

Having employees who act like owners is the shortest path to sustained business performance and high employee engagement. The benefits include faster decisions, an enhanced ability to recruit and retain top talent, and innovations that are directly felt by customers. In short, more mature organizations are infused with the energy of startups.


How Can You Do It?

Owners should allow employees a greater say in decision-making and encourage flexibility in their work setups and schedules. Additionally, the financial upside created by employees should be shared with them. This fosters each employee’s sense of psychological ownership at work.

START WITH MANAGERS: Managers have an outsized impact on your firm’s performance. If your managers make the shift, their staff will follow in time.

TRANSFORM: You will need trust and transparency. Involve your managers in big decisions. They are closer to the problems and are likely to have better solutions.

DEFINE WINNING: Owners operate with more information and discretion than managers. To empower managers, define the goals, strategies, accountabilities and acceptable risks. Managers can then move faster without needing frequent approvals.

EXPECT MORE: Owners accustomed to micromanaging are surprised by how much more they achieve simply by raising expectations of their managers and getting out of the way.

SHARE THE WEALTH: Give your managers a stake in the firm’s value. There are many creative ways of designing incentives, including stock options and profit-sharing plans. In our work with growth-focused companies, we structure quarterly incentives based on year-over-year growth in the firm’s net income.

IT’S WORTH IT: Not everyone in your firm will accept these changes, and some may choose to leave. However, the long-term benefits of fostering an ownership mindset among employees far outweighs potential short-term challenges.



Categories: Biz Expert Advice