Taking Ownership

No matter what industry you work in, what company you work for or what position you presently hold, you can take ownership in a way that makes your work and as a consequence, you life, more fulfilling. It is said in matters of property that “possession is 9/10ths of the law,” but when it comes to expressing your natural authority within a field of personal responsibility (no matter how large or small), taking ownership has little to do with actual possession.

Taking ownership is more a state of mind than a matter of entitlement. It is a radiant stance made possible by the full assumption of responsibility for a particular field of activity. It is less “the buck stops here” and more “the buck starts here.” A true owner takes pride in his sphere of influence, regardless of its scope or appearance. He’s as much an owner on the back of a garbage truck as he is sitting in a board room.

The best way I know to develop the attitude of an owner is to avoid rationalization and excuse when faced with difficulty, poor performance or even failure…at all costs. A true owner eschews blame, preferring instead to weave the golden thread of victory through the fabric of all he touches. He focuses his attention on points of release while others thrash against the constrictive phases of any process and he never hesitates to go beyond, to give more than is expected of someone in his “pay grade” and to inspire others, especially when things get difficult.

A true owner never says “that’s not my problem.” He instead recognizes the holistic framework in which his field of responsibility is contained. He’s not afraid to reach out to others to get or give help. He makes his most significant but often least acknowledged contributions in the no man’s land between his field of function and that of others. Finally, he always pushes himself to raise his personal bar no matter how uncomfortable he is in the process, that others may follow his example.

6 thoughts on “Taking Ownership

  1. Zach

    The “no man’s land” between two areas of responsibility really struck me as an important point in this post. It is a place that is often neglected, but in it are some of the best opportunities to go above and beyond.

    No one is forced to work in the no-man’s land, but nothing is ever going to function right unless at least one of the people who’s area of responsibility it touches is willing to do the right thing.

    To me, it doesn’t matter if I am always the one that has to go the extra mile in work in an area that isn’t “my responsibility”, I will do the same job as if it was my core area, and I won’t feel bad about it. It’s just another opportunity for victory.

  2. Kierney

    Taking ownership for whatever comes within your scope of influence is the mark of true character. Unfortunately, it’s a rare quality, even in those who may seem to be “responsible.” Most people are always looking around comparing themselves to others, feel they are badly done by or secretly seek some type of compensation. A question might be, what do you do when no one is watching? Do you do what you do because it looks a certain way or because it’s the right thing to do? If it’s the right thing to do, then no matter what it takes, it is our responsibility!

  3. Coco

    I LOVE working with those that take this attitude about their jobs. Whether I’m a co-worker, client or vendor it enriches and benefits all the participants. Solving problems, over coming obstacles or blazing new territory becomes that much more exciting, worthy and meaningful when everyone has “skin in the game”. Living a life with no partitions, no “weak ends”, every moment and situation deserving of my full enthusiasm has its rewards…it’s mine!!

  4. Chuck Reddick

    It’s interesting that you should pick this topic Gregg as I recently introduced it as our this years theme for the sales organization which I serve. We focused primarily in two specific areas:
    1. Take ownership of the basics or fundamentals. Make them your own. Allow them to come to life through your efforts.
    2. Take personal responsibility. In other words, don’t wait for a ‘manager’ or somebody in so called authority to tell you what to do but instead use your own initiative to do in each moment what you need to do, what the right thing to do is.

  5. Steve V

    I appreciate your words that a true owner takes pride in his sphere of influence no matter what it is. Great words to consider and make real. Thank you.

  6. I am thankful for hearing the breakdown of the word “Response-Ability”. That perspective leaves nothing excluded.
    It indicates our capacity for response upward that it might be expressed outward.
    All fields of activity, and incidentally substance, touched by such a stance are lift up.
    Our capacity for response is ours to own. (And the one possession that is ours)
    In a world so desperately in need of restoration, nothing is outside ones realm of responsibility.
    If you see it, hear it, feel it….it came to you for a reason, deal with it…chances are, if you won’t no-one else will either!

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