A Powerful New Social Contract

The Power of Ownership

Ownership 123rf.com_12479597_sI have long championed employee ownership, which is a key element of my ‘Every Individual Matters’ Model. It has always seemed self-evident to me that a sense of ownership would increase productivity, create greater cultural cohesion and secure strategic integrity with a clearer line of sight between strategy and its operationalisation with reduced industrial conflict. So much so that I have often felt naïve in putting it forward as a benefit.

A recent experience, however, showed me that, if anything, I have probably under-estimated the power of ownership.

My son recently brought his family from the West Coast of the USA to the UK for a brief family visit. It was our grandchildren’s first visit here, intended to broaden their horizons while spending some time with “Grandma and Grandad.” The prospect of 27 hours travelling time, however, made the trip a pretty daunting prospect. So, in order to make it easier for the adults (and possibly their fellow travellers), the parents gave each child their own children’s tablet pre-loaded with their own shows. This seemed to have been a good move and the trip, both ways, was largely uneventful. The difference, however, came after their return back home.

Since then my 6 year-old granddaughter has insisted that our weekly Skype “visits” are conducted via her tablet. So, instead of the stilted disjointed conversations which we were used to, where getting them to talk could be like pulling teeth, we now have long “show and tell” conversations in which they share all the details of their lives and it is increasingly difficult to have any “adult to adult” conversations.  But, of course, we don’t mind because we absolutely cherish the greater engagement, the improved communication and the stronger bonding that has come with it.  

Even better, now that she has learned to read properly, my granddaughter has independently taken to sending us her own instant messages.  It is certainly a different world, but – short of living down the road – we wouldn’t have it any other way. Who would have thought just having her own tablet would make such a difference?

There is no reason to think that ownership in your organisation would not make the same kind of transformation to your business. I feel more justified than ever for claiming that the ‘Every Individual Matters’ Model will change your organisation conversations from being about “the” business to being about “our” business. And just imagine the transformational effect that will have on your results. After all, when you think about it, ownership is an essential ingredient of entrepreneurship.  

Thanks for the lesson, Isla.

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If you like what you have read contact me today to explore how my original thinking could help you break though logjams that are inhibiting your business or how my ‘Every Individual Matters’ Model could help you value your people and provide the catalyst to help you create an organic culture where everyone cares and the business becomes our business, embedding continuous improvement that engenders ‘love at work’ and transforms – and sustains – organic business performance.

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Bay Jordan

Bay is the founder and director of Zealise, and the creator of the ‘Every Individual Matters’ organizational culture model that helps transform organizational performance and bottom-line results. Bay is also the author of several books, including “Lean Organisations Need FAT People” and “The 7 Deadly Toxins of Employee Engagement” and, more recently, The Democracy Delusion: How to Restore True Democracy and Stop Being Duped.

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