Over the last decade of coaching high potential and senior leaders -- I've most loved that magic moment when you see someone step into an "owner's mindset." It's not something you can exactly put your finger on or apply a check list against. But you know it when you see it.
In the words of folks I've had the pleasure of coaching or those I've interviewed:
"There was this moment I realized it wasn't about how much wood I chopped or trying to chop more wood. It was about thinking how to chop the wood differently, how to innovate how we did it, or if this was the wood we should even be chopping or should be chopping wood at all."
"It starts with saying to yourself; this is what I want to do. I am, in fact, committed to being a leader and I am going to do that regardless of title."
"There's always an inflection point when the person thinks and acts like an owner. You see them offering bigger counsel, bigger insights, and hold their ground with a respectful yet unapologetic stance. They don't wait for the formal status or title to do it."
As Tim Ferris describes in The Four Hour Work-Week -- it's a mindset that is "not limited to business owners" but rather a life approach available to all in terms of how we see our options and choices. Says Ferris, one is "to neither be boss nor employee, but the owner."
In my work as an executive coach to help others build vision, voice, and followership -- one of the biggest steps you can take for your career and life is to take the baby steps towards seeing yourself as "an owner:"
- Get clear on if this is what you want. Deciding to be an owner of your career and life can feel like scary territory. It means giving up being the victim and the blame game. It means depending less on asking others what they think and trusting ourselves. Ownership means owning our part, taking responsibility, and upholding our accountabilities. Not a bad trade off considering the gains in confidence, choice, and option value.
Add texture to the word "owner." Add words that most motivate or resonate with you. Trade up "doer," "worker bee," "executor," "project point person" and shift to more powerful words such as thought leader, pioneer, ambassador, artist, builder, hunter, connector. Tom Rath's book Strengths Finder 2.0 is a great place to find words and attributes that might fit. Ownership includes embracing your greatest strengths and purpose and building those into every day actions.
In coaching, each of these mini-mind set shifts are usually worked in parallel with specific skill development. But through the years, I've found that those who embrace and have the courage to take on the owner's mindset in addition to increasing their skills capabilities have experienced the greatest transformation and gains.
What would you do differently in your role today if you were to embrace an owner's mindset? Of the eight ideas above, which one would open up greater possibilities or growth?
I'd love to hear about your own stories or thoughts on "owning it" -- in your life or career. Please write your suggestions here in the comments section, tweet me at @amyjensu or send an email to our firm, Isis Associates.