Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Talk at Advanta - Transferring Ownership

The one question that we started with but never got down to answering by the end of it all was this - how does the owner transfer / inculcate a spirit of ownership among his group?

This is easier said than done. But it can be done.

A Secure Leader
Firstly of course we must start with the owner. The owner must truly believe in the concept of sharing ownership. Which means that he must feel secure enough to share the ownership. Most owners feel threatened about this part - of sharing ownership. Since they are insecure themselves, they end up dictating terms of cribbing about how the employees or team members are not taking ownership.

The first job is to actually get secure about your own ownership issues. Do you really want growth or do you want control? Answer your basic questions first. If it is growth, then do you want to share this ownership with the others and make it a truly collaborative venture? If the answer is yes, then ask yourself what you are willing to sacrifice for this. Your ego fur sure. Admit that you need their help, that some of them could be better than you. But finally be secure that after all you are the owner and no one can take that away from you.

Find your conviction about where you see this venture going and why. Your clarity about what every single member is going to receive out of this joint venture and what is required of them. Your security as the leader who is still learning but who will learn if that is the last thing he will do.
Only after that much is clear must you move further.

Understanding Team Members' Aspirations and Expectations
Team members who are not the owners normally have little stake or commitment. They are not sure what they are getting in return for what they are giving. Should they give their best ideas here or hoard them up and work on them later? Should they hoard their effort for later too?

In this phase it is critical to understand that all team members who are not owners are here for their personal stake. They want to grow but they are not sure this is the right place where they will get rewarded. But they all want happy and secure lives, enriching and empowering careers and are willing to give everything once they are convinced that they will get their due and just reward in a transparent and well-thought of system of reward.
It is critical to understand their drivers and to know this, it might not be a bad idea to invest time to understand what their long term goals and aspirations are, their fears and anxieties.

Present Future Scenarios Honestly
Most importantly, present the 'why' you are doing what you are doing. What you think is the greater significance of it. How it can impact the world and how you see it making a difference to people around you. Let them connect at the thought level - at something bigger. This must be straight from the heart stuff.

Present likely scenarios of what would happen if the team works with commitment towards the goal. Present also the reward schemes and the incentives. Present to them the honest thought of how they can meet their career and personal aspirations through their stay here at the company. Present the intention first and then a clear method of how each one's effort and contribution will be recognised and rewarded. Present it to them and let them discuss and ponder over it.
Present them only the possibilities and not the actual way to achieve it.

Transfer The Ownership When Everyone Is Ready
When you are convinced that the story is well and truly bought by the team, and that the team is now willing to give it a good, long shot, transfer the ownership. Let them come up with the overall structure, the plan, the mechanics of it. they normally do a better job of it. But be around to guide and share, to nudge and prod.

Grow your resources and empower them
Use your creativity to see how their energies are flowing, to grow them and make them even better as people and professionals by constantly challenging them and providing them with opportunities. As they understand and trust this difficult process, as they cross this chasm, they will slowly start to trust and believe, both in themselves and  in others.

A great way to seal each bit of growth is to celebrate so e sure to celebrate every single milestone.

Ownership requires commitment to go the whole path. There is no going back, no giving up. This comes only when there is a purpose that gives meaning to one and all. It needs conviction, honesty and a cause that is bigger than themselves.

Primarily it is a trust issue and can be addressed with honesty and transparency. Once the issue is bridged, ownership comes in. Once it is set in motion, large amounts of creative energies are available to the group that can be used for their own good.

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