Ever have a problem with a rental car? Did you take a taxi to the local auto parts and hardware stores, buy parts and tools, and go back to fix it? No, you just gave the car back for a new one because you don’t OWN it. What happens when your team doesn’t OWN what you are asking them to achieve? They are probably passing the problem between themselves or just bringing it back to you.
Here are 6 ways to build more Team Ownership in your team by…
1. Providing a Shared Outcome (It’s Our Focus)
There is a great old saying “You cannot hit a target you do not have”. This applies to your team too, as you cannot get a team to take Ownership for an outcome they do not share. Teams need common goals and outcomes that help them to feel both individual and team ownership for making them happen. Therefore, a leader’s role is to continually reinforce the team’s outcomes so that everyone has a clear shared target.
In which ways do you continually communicate and reinforce your team’s shared outcomes? Keep the team’s outcomes front and center in your people’s minds.
2. Making It Personal to Them (It’s My Responsibility)
Team ownership starts with personal ownership first, so your people will never feel team ownership unless there is something in it for them (meaning: personally relevant to them). Everyone these days talks about the WHY, and this is what personally relevant is all about. Your people don’t always need the big why, and in fact, their why might change as their own roles at work and home change too.
Successful leaders find the most important why for each of their people, and then tailor their communications to reinforce this why; keeping it alive and strong.
Do you know the most important why for your key people in the team? Reinforce it and align it to the team’s goals and team why and your people will take more ownership.
3. Letting Them Decide the How (It’s Our Way)
How do you feel if you have no choice? Powerful or powerless? Right, powerless. Powerless people do not take ownership for what the are doing. So, if you want your people to take more ownership, you can’t be telling them what to do all the time. Think NIFO (Nose In, Fingers Out)! Let your people determine the how, as they will take more ownership for their own how than yours. Also, instead of giving your people the answers to their questions, just ask your people a few more questions so that they can see the answer on the own.
In team meetings, do you facilitate the discussion for the team to find their own answers and solutions? Their way drives your people to take more ownership than your way.
4. Making Commitments Visible (It’s My and Our Reputation)
There is something powerful about your name. You can hear it across a crowded room and when your name is listed next to a goal or commitment, you take it far more seriously. You get more ownership in the team when you make the goals and commitments visible and put names next to them. Everyone feels more accountable for the results, because if they don’t deliver; they will look bad in front of their team members…and that’s creating a positive peer pressure between the team. If they don’t deliver their personal reputation will take a hit, and good people will fight to keep their reputation. Make your team’s goals and results and visible outside the team, and you get more overall team ownership too, as not delivering hurts the team’s reputation.
Are you confident enough to make your team’s goals and results visible both within your team and outside your team? Visibility is a great way to drive more ownership and accountability.
5. Helping Them Help Each Other (It’s Our Team)
Do people in your team help each other to achieve the team’s goals? You can create work in ways that drives your team to help each other. It’s call interdependence, and when you structure work in ways where your people need each other to achieve their own personal success; they will help each other more too. The reason, to get the help of others; they will have to help others too. Therefore, creating interdependence makes it very personal to help others in the team, and you can do this very easy by giving people in the team some individual projects that supports the team’s operations. They will all need the help of others to deliver their own individual projects.
In what ways could you create more interdependence within your team? When your people help each other they become closer too.
6. Making Change Feel Normal (It’s Our Future)
They say no one likes change, but personal development and growth is all about change. So, ownership is not just about delivering the results, but always changing in order to deliver even better results in the future. Successful teams just don’t own the results, they own the changes too.
A leader can make change feel normal for their team by driving small, medium and large changes all the time in the team.
This means that something will be changing all the time, and that everyone can take more personal ownership for the changes. You can get the younger people in the team to drive the smaller changes too. Remember, future success is driven by what we are changing today.
Do your people feel change is normal in your team? Feeling positive about change is really a way of feeling positive about the future.
The Sign of Ownership
You can see if your people are taking team ownership by the language they are using with each other and others outside the team. The word “them” is not a word that is showing ownership. Successful teams with strong team ownership use the words “we”, “us”, and “our”; and they are enabled when everyone honors their personal commitments with a humble “I”.
Take notice of the language your people are using with your team.
The 6 Ways to Build Team Ownership from your Team’s Perspective:
1. Our Team’s Focus (Provide a Shared Outcome)
2. My Responsibility (Make It Personal to Them)
3. Our Way (Let Them Decide the How)
4. My and Our Reputation (Make Commitments Visible)
5. Our Team (Help Them Help Each Other)
6. Our Future (Make Change Feel Normal)
Mark Fritz is an internationally recognized leadership speaker, mentor, and professor, and has spoken in more than 50 countries worldwide. He is the author of the new Daily Thoughts Collections (Volume 1), The Truth about Getting Things Done, and Lead & Influence: Get More Ownership, Commitment, and Achievement from Your Team.