Be an Eagle. As one of our core values at Center for Victory, we strive to fill our company with eagles. There are a number of characteristics that fall under this core value, including, but not limited to, maturity, accountability, and continuously striving for self-improvement. But one characteristic that seems to get overlooked in a lot of other organizations is having an ownership mentality.
When employees have an ownership mentality versus an employee mentality they are able to see the bigger picture and understand that some of the best rewards come down the road as the company grows and thrives. They are dedicated, selfless, happy, and don’t need their hands held.
If you’re the owner of the organization, thinking like an owner comes naturally, so it may be difficult to understand why your employees don’t naturally think that way too. Often, employees have to learn how to think this way because they have to shift their mindset. So how can you go about fostering an ownership mentality among your employees? Below are three steps you can take.
Start the conversation
Take time to meet with employees individually and let them know you could use some help in cultivating a different culture. Find out what motivates them, listen to their feedback, and see if they would be willing to act as an “ambassador” as you move forward with creating this new culture. Giving them the option to help lead the change already gives them a sense of ownership within the organization.
Once the initial research has been done, work with your leadership team to develop a plan. Everyone must have a reason for wanting to make the change so you need to look at it from the employees’ perspective. What incentive do they have to want to think like a business owner?
Micromanaging is the opposite of ownership. Instead, empower your employees to make their own decisions. By allowing your employees to have the ability to make their own decisions you’re helping instill an ownership mentality within them. They get to own both their success and mistakes.
You can also look into creating a reward system for anyone who contributes ideas that you implement. This encourages employees to always be on the lookout for new and better ways of doing things. You could also allow employees to shadow you for an afternoon so they get the chance to see what it’s like to run the business. This also gives you a chance to provide some mentoring, which is often seen as an important benefit to many employees.
Make it public
Once the plan has been set, formally announce it to the organization. Explain how it benefits everyone and ask for their support during the transition. Adjust any employee reviews, meetings, and discussions to include discussions about the big picture items so they are exposed to the same (or similar) data you are.
By including employees in the big picture discussions, they feel a stronger connection to the organization. The goal is to get them looking outside of their own roles. Be as transparent as you comfortably can be about your growth, numbers, and progress. Connecting them to the progress and status of the organization keeps everyone engaged and vested in the greater good.
Implement and follow through
Change isn’t going to happen overnight. Your employees need to be taught and encouraged to adopt this new mindset. Consider doing weekly or monthly lunch and learn seminars where you go over the new principles you are implementing or other aspects of business ownership. You could also consider bringing in an outside consultant to help train your employees on the benefits of thinking like a business owner. There are a lot of advantages to bringing in an outside consultant. They bring a fresh perspective and energy and are positioned as an expert on the topic so your staff is more likely to listen. They also help take some of the burden off of you.
Creating this new ownership culture will not be easy, but as your company culture begins to pivot, those stuck in the old mindset will naturally opt out of the organization, or will need to be let go. Whatever you do, keep it on your agendas, discuss it regularly, and really adopt it wholeheartedly into the organization. The last thing you want is to announce a new program and not follow through with it. With some patience and persistence your company culture can be turned around.