What is Ownership?
I recently rewatched an animated version of Dan Pink's talk on what motivates people. One of the interesting findings he shares is that people perform better when they have autonomy. But the symptoms of autonomy—control and ownership—don't have to be real. Millions of Americans lease cars or take out long-term loans against a house, yet each one of them believes, without a shred of doubt, that the car or house is theirs. Ownership is a state of mind. So how do we get that into the workplace? Pink's lecture gives us the problem, but he doesn't leave us with a prescriptive solution. How do we get that magical point of perspective into even the most junior employee at a company? I don't actually have an answer, but I think there are a couple ways to root out ownership. Of those, this is my favorite: If shit hits the fan, are you the first person they come to? The first person who is looked at to solve a problem is the real owner of that area. I think it's important to let that responsibility fall on the shoulders of every employee at a company, so that each person has their area of ownership. That, by itself, probably isn't enough to motivate someone, but it's a start at identifying the hurdles of true ownership.