Strategy

1st June 2017

Ownership

Where does the ownership lie in your business? And no, I am not talking about the shareholding and I am not referring to the financial arrangements. Who owns what in your business?

Let me ask it another way. If you are a business owner or a business leader, I wonder, who owns the month end numbers other than you? Who cares whether you make a profit or a loss, other than you?  Who cares, other than you, what your customer satisfaction rating (hopefully your NPS score) is? You do have one don’t you? Who cares about what the overdraft is, other than you? Does anyone other than you care whether the customer got his delivery on time and in full?

From my experience, in any business there may be one or two people who are bothered but that will be it. The majority could care less about things like the month end, NPS scores or the overdraft.

Why? Why should that be? Well you might say that it isn’t their job or they aren’t paid to give thought to such things or it is nothing to do with them and that may be true but many people care about things that are beyond their immediate sphere.

When we employ somebody, at best all we do is to buy 8 hours of their time every day. Whether they choose to bring their flair, their initiative, their inventiveness, their creativity or their best self to work every day is exactly that. It is their choice and I would argue that part of the leadership role is to motivate and inspire people to make that positive choice.

A leader will inspire the people she leads to care about the performance of the team of which they are a part. And a great leader will provoke that level of caring n the majority and across a wide spectrum of measurements. Remember businesses are not simple structures. One measure is never sufficient to judge a business. There are many which are relevant.

If you answered the opening questions with the realisation that, in your business, no one other than the leader (you) cares about the month end figure, the customer satisfaction scores or the overdraft, then I suggest you turn the spotlight on yourself and ask yourself how successfully have you engaged your team, individually or collectively? What have you done to help them to care about the results? Do they know what they are, for example? Do they understand what an NPS score is and why it is important? Do they know what an overdraft means and what can be done to minimise or eliminate it and why that would be a good thing to do?

If they don’t either understand or know the numbers then they can neither know nor care. If they neither know nor care then they will never take ownership. If you are the only one that owns some of the most important metrics in your business, it shouldn’t come as so much of a surprise that you probably feel tired and overburdened.

Just for fun, imagine that everyone in your business really owned the results. Imagine that everyone, not just you, were shooting for the month end figure, with all their combined skill and collective passion. Imagine everyone genuinely cared about the NPS score and therefore owned their actions and the reaction of every customer, of every ‘moment of truth’.

What a different world that would be! Great leaders create such worlds, I believe. Great leaders inspire their team members to care so much about the important metrics that they are never alone. The burden is shared. Being able to engender that level of engagement in teams is a good measure of great leadership. How are you and your business measuring up?