How I give ownership to my team

How I give ownership to my team

Have you ever wondered why a member of your team hasn’t done something you wanted, or perhaps they have, but you get the feeling that it’s been done with the least effort required to get the job done? I’m sure we’ve all been there. What I want to talk to you about today is how you can create an environment where people want to work for you and want take pride in their work. Its the ONLY way you can grow your business.

Over at Optix Solutions everyone we employ is awesome at their jobs. These are people who have studied the internet industry for many years (in some cases since it pretty much began). We have a group of guys and girls that are proud and passionate about what they do and how they can help their clients. These are people who don’t want to be told what to do, day in day out, with no input of their own. These are people who have a voice and a damn good one too. These are people who want to ‘own’ their work. And there lies the clue…

Ownership

There is a huge difference between giving someone a task or project and asking them to tell you when it’s done and giving someone ownership or responsibility for that task or project. I’ve found this out the hard way over many years. Here’s the difference:

Straight forward delegation of task:
I’ll ask one of my team to complete a task/project and tell them I need it finished by X date. They’ll take it on, complete it and deliver it back again by that date. This is fine and gets the job done but it’s not half as good as….

Giving ownership:
I will delegate in exactly the same way but I might use slightly different wording along the lines of, ‘I’d really like you to own this project, you’ve got the authority to make decisions on how it’s done (within boundaries of course) and the responsibility of delivering on X date lies with you’

You see the difference? The impact of this is huge. Why? Because everyone wants to feel wanted, like they have a purpose and ownership of something, like they come to work for a reason. They will take pride in what they do, they will ‘own’ it. What you’ll get back from your team if you start with this approach will exceed your expectations and people will fly.

I was putting together a blog post for the Optix blog recently about the team we have there and I asked everyone what they liked about working for the company. Here are a few choice comments I had back:

Nick – “Flexibility/freedom to use my initiative and be creative”

Kris – “we are all genuinely challenged to be the best we can be, and our Directors actively encourage us to be a part of the company”

Kris – “You’re not just allowed to have your say, you’re listened to. If something doesn’t work or could be done better for a client, you have the power to change it. When we do well we are rewarded and when we make mistakes we’re encouraged to learn from them”

Charlie – “You are encouraged to learn and grow outside of your specific role – this creates real job satisfaction”

Dan – “My input is taken on board and I am my own man”

Dan – “When working in other organisations it has been all too easy to blend into the background and not be a leader. Here at Optix I am encouraged to take control of my own destiny and make things happen. With that comes responsibility, but without great responsibility you cannot have great power! Even Spiderman knows that”

Rich – “We throw  a wicked xmas party!”

Ok, so maybe the last one has little to do with ownership but hey its true! :)

We understand at Optix that the company can only be successful if we have a team of people who are proud of who they work for, love coming to work and have ownership of the work they do.

How can you foster this environment with your team?

Now Your Thoughts

  • Do you give ownership to your staff? What has this brought you?
  • Do you have any further thoughts on how to get more from your team beyond this?

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Have a Break, Have a Creative Moment…or two..

Have a Break, Have a Creative Moment…or two..

I’ve just returned from a skiing holiday in France (client has a chalet there conveniently). It was a wonderful trip, one I look forward to every year as my Dad and I take his oldschool Porsche 911, stick the skis and board on the roof-rack and drive out to the Alps. It’s a great opportunity for us to spend some time together (very important in itself) and also for me to get away from work. This year was the first time in years that I put an autoresponder on my email and didn’t look at it until I got back to the UK. Bar a few calls to the office to check it was still there I almost managed to switch off completely!

Why am I telling you this? Because I realised just how important this was for me and I know that many of you will be in exactly the same position as I am.

It’s extremely easy to let your business consume you. You work all the hours under the sun and the days, weeks, months and even years pass by very quickly. You get caught up in the day to day fire-fighting, the challenges that arise which appear to be really important and ‘must’ get your attention immediately – of course, these can never wait ;)

Taking time out of the business has allowed the part of my brain which deals with these daily tasks to have a rest. Other parts of my brain then seem to have kicked in – especially the more creative ones. I reckon I came up with more new ideas in that short time away than I have in the whole of the last year. I have a notepad with lists of them and I really don’t believe they would have come to me if I hadn’t been ‘off duty’.

Do you take time off from your business? Do you feel you can’t? Do you have a team that can take the reigns while you’re away? Maybe you need to build one. I also recognised this year, that my business was in very safe hands while I was away. I am lucky to have a very good business partner anyway, but this year, I really felt that the team we have at Optix is absolutely top notch, all pulling together to wow and delight customers at every opportunity. A great bunch, I feel very proud to have working with me.

So my message to you business owners is this – Can it wait? Can someone else do it for you? Honestly? I bet it/they can….and if so, take some time, re-group and relax and see what happens. I hope you’ll find the same that I did and I’ll look forward to hearing all about it from you.

Now Your Thoughts

  • What sort of importance do you place on time off?
  • Can you switch off completely or are you tied to your phone?

Thank You!

Thank You!

As I write this, at 8am on the morning of my birthday, I’ve already received numerous texts from people, tweets, linkedIn messages and facebook wall comments wishing me many happy returns. I’m actually quite overwhelmed by it. Thank you so much everyone. Many of the people on the social networks didn’t even know me a few years ago and they’ve taken the time to stop by and wish me the best – this is one of the reasons I love this medium – the ability to build relationships :)

Without wanting to get too nauseous I thought rather than a ‘list of things to do’ or a ‘top ways to….’ blog, I’d simply write about the things I’m grateful for, something I think everyone should do once in a while. It’s a positive thing to do, so even if you don’t publish it like I have, maybe do this for yourself in private – it might help put things in perspective.

Health – Another year passes and I’m in good health which has to be up there as one of the most important things to be grateful for. I’ve joined the gym this year and intend to work on this part of my life even more in 2011. Fit body, fit mind after all.

Family – I’m incredibly grateful for having a supportive family. My parents are always behind everything I do and while they are not necessarily in my life everyday, they have a huge bearing on where I’ve come from and where I’m going. A special mention here goes to my brother and his partner who had my niece, Tilly, last year – the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen and someone that has made me think much more about work/life balance.

Friends – My friends and partner are unbelievable. A close nit group, spanning the country & lots more abroad. Intelligent, enthusiastic, gregarious people who I owe an awful lot of why I am ‘me’ too. People I can turn to in time of need and most importantly, people that I know will keep me smiling and laughing all day long.

The Optix Team – No one has had it easy over the last couple of years, business in general for the country has been tougher than it’s been in a very long time so I’m thankful and grateful for my business and my team – without whom, it wouldn’t be possible.

You – Finally I’d like to thank you. For reading this, for sharing it with friends, for commenting and spreading it. It makes it worthwhile.

You can put your sick buckets away now guys, normal service will resume next post. Just thought this might be a nice little break from the norm. :)

Now Your Thoughts

  • What are you most grateful for? It would be great to hear…