Lessons I’ve Learned: Take Ownership

If you could design the perfect environment for you to work in, what would it look like?

This isn’t really a hypothetical question if you are in any kind of leadership position. I believe one of the most important attributes of success is taking ownership. I know it may sound selfish, but I think it is the core of leadership–you have to take ownership. It is a privilege but also a responsibility.

I like the idea of working at a place where we really work, but also have fun.
I like controlling my work load and the flow of work. I hate surprises, so I make preparation a priority.
I like a clean and clutter free environment.
I like good communication and, if we have to have them, purposeful meetings.
I want everyone to have a voice and dignity and a seat at the table.

I don’t always get even my own preferences right, but I know instinctively when something’s wrong.

Lee Cockerel, in his excellent book, Creating Magic, makes the point that management competence is about control. He illustrates this with the relatable example of a restaurant where the manager is present but not in control (We’ve all been there and it isn’t a good experience).

I know the “control” word is not en vogue. Too bad. If you want to sit in the big chair it comes with responsibility. Your task is to not only define reality, but own it. I’m not talking about controlling people, but understanding that things are the way they are because of your decisions.

Taking ownership is something you do on purpose.

If you are a technical director, create the kind of team where you would volunteer.
If you are a Pastor, create a church that you would attend.
If you own a restaurant, create a place where you would spend your hard earned money. It doesn’t matter if that is an upscale place with live chamber music or a karaoke bar. What matters is that it is your place.

If you are in leadership, push for your stamp, your style, your preferences.