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I Am This Big!

Growing up I played sports. When you are obsessed with a game(basketball for me), you pay attention to the nuances that others overlook. How the ball is moved, how to create distance off the drive, what the team does when I pass the ball over there. The same is true when you approach leadership as a professional. If you are trying to grow here, you watch how others do it. What works, what doesn't, what to borrow, what to throw away. Through observation, I observed a few consistencies amongst the best leaders. They loved their people, they had vision and perspective, they were effective, and they "owned it".

OWN IT!! Is aggressive. It doesn't receive, and it shouldn't be reacting. It is greedy and can be selfish. It is big. Really big. Bigger than what others think it is. When another person thinks you own the letter "X", ownership says "X" touches "W" and "Y". So those are also mine(similar to property law with a toddler). And since "X" comes before "Z", the outcome of "Z" is also mine. That is ownership.

Ownership isn't accountability. Its more than that. Accountability is there for when "X" went wrong, and thus made "Z" happen incorrectly. And saying I messed up, I'll do better next time. This upsets ownership. Ownership looks (more likely angrily glares) at the apathetic accountability and knows- If I had been more involved, I could have impacted "V". By doing this my "W" wouldn't have gone off wrong, which resulted in "X" completely falling apart. I will track "V" better so I can be more intrusive next time. So next time, this is exactly what I will do to make sure "V" is correct, and what I expect my "W" to look like. The trip wires for action are well before self-accountability.

If you want to see how big the leader is, see how much they hold themselves accountable. See if its more and before others do. Casting blame on others diminishes the size of the leader. You see, sometimes it may seem someone else's fault. However, that someone is your person. You are responsible for the training, professionalism, product from that person, and the environment that the product is made in. When a leader says its someone else's fault, they aren't acknowledging their charge as the leader. They put it all on the person, and none on themselves. That is a small leader thing to do.

I do not think that ownership should replace holding others accountable. It does however set the example for others to follow. Because you own it so much, you can expect others to own it as well. The weight of ownership is an uneven scale. When done right, the weight of ownership always outweighs the blame placed on others. After all, the leader is responsible for it all. In order to be effective, and to develop our teams, they must also be accountable.

Ownership is autonomy. If you want autonomy then dig in, and lay claim to more outcomes than what is expected of you. Others will see you do this and realize that the self driving vehicle doesn't need an intrusive driver.

There are unfortunately drawbacks to ownership.

The first is that you must be a master of your craft. Trying to have ownership over things you have not mastered is like trying to make a house of cards in a wind tunnel, with similarly messy results.

The second is ownership can alienate others. I don't recommend a hostile takeover of other people's swim lanes. When their swim lane impacts yours working with others is better than engaging in a giant mud wrestling match. Coaching, volunteering, and teamwork is the best way to engage in ownership on a larger scale.

The third is that it is difficult and stressful. It can be very stressful. So you must create systems in your team and organization to manage the "more before" mentality. When this is mastered it can be much less burdensome. Great processes can do this for you.

How big are you? How big do you want to be treated?

-Look at what you are responsible for. Expand it just a bit. Look at what is before and after your responsibility. Those are the places you can grow.

BE BIG!!!!

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