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This image still makes me laugh. A patron had spilled two ounces of coffee on the floor … and the staff had put up a warning sign! What’s your first thought? Mine was, How ’bout just wiping it up? Isn’t that what you’d do at home?
Truth be told, the barista team behind the counter was busy exchanging views on their past and present romantic relationships.
Yep, they could be overheard.
Not spoken, but clearly voiced through lack of action, were three statements that can destroy any organization:
“Not my department.”
“Not my problem.”
“Not my job.”
I hope you never hear those words, much less say them. ?
Who Wants Ownership?
In 25 years of teaching “Personal Accountability and the QBQ!” I’ve noticed a real frustration by leaders and managers. From CEOs to lead pastors to longterm care administrators to home-owning parents.
CEO: “I just want someone on my team to run with the ball.”
Administrator: “I’m the only one who seems to see the Kleenex on the hallway floor.”
Pastor: “I’ve had to ask staff walking through a messy lobby on Sunday to stop and clean it up. It’s like they don’t even see it!”
Parent: “Am I the only one who knows the garbage needs to be taken out!?!”
We received a humongous QBQ! book order of 5,000 copies from Hudson’s Bay Company of Canada. At some point in the sales process, I learned the driver behind the purchase was billionaire CEO and owner of Hudson’s, Jerry Zucker.
His reasoning for buying the QBQ! books?
“I want everyone to pry the gum up that’s stuck to the store floor!”
Now that’s ownership.
As we write in Flipping the Switch (the companion book to QBQ!), “Ownership does not require having an equity stake in the organization or holding an official position of leadership. It simply means facing problems head on instead of blaming, complaining, procrastinating, or making excuses. Ownership is personal accountability in its purest form. It’s also an idea each of us can commit to in every area of our lives.”
Ownership: A commitment of the head, heart, and hands to fix the problem and never again affix the blame.
Making Ownership Happen
I believe …
Ownership can be modeled by managers, leaders, and parents. Remember, “modeling is the greatest of all teachers.”
Ownership can be expected. Meaning, it’s simply part of one’s job. Want to work here? See stuff that needs doing and just do it.
Ownership can be requested. People want to serve, contribute, and make a difference. If those around you aren’t practicing ownership, well—have you asked them to?
Ownership can be rewarded. The message: get stuff done and you’ll get stuff!
Ownership can be trained—and that’s exactly what the QBQ! training system helps organizations do. QBQ! is all about people saying, “It is my job to solve problems, contribute, and improve the place—and I will do so today!”
In the end, ownership is not an elusive, mystical phenomenon that only occurs when the stars are aligned. It can be made to happen.
Have you created ownership in the hearts and minds of people or do you still hear, “Not my job”? If you have, share a comment on how you’ve done so. We’d love to read all about it!
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