If you have ever been a landlord for a rental unit, you probably worried at some point or other about how well the tenants would take care of your property. The premise is that if we are not the owner, we won’t care as much and therefore we won’t use the same precaution and concern for the well-being of the property as much as if it belonged to us. While this is not true of everyone, I must say it has crossed through my mind many times when renting out a vacation home on the beach that I may retire to at some time. I want to post signs everywhere to remind the renters to wipe off their feet at the door, not to smoke inside the house, be careful of wet clothes on the sofa, and treat the house as if it was their “own”.

Same concept applies in the workplace. Do your employees feel as if they are just renting the space at your place of business or are they truly engaged and feel ownership? According to Gallup polls, only about 25% of workers feel truly engaged with their work, with their co-workers, and with the customers their employer serves. Employees who are there only to rent, will just do what they have to do to get their paycheck and nothing more. Double standards of waste, errors and inefficiencies will emerge. Those actions that would never be acceptable in their personal lives such as wasting things, paying late fees, over-budgeting, seem to be totally okay when they are on the job . There is no sense of “ownership”.

According to Joe Tye, the Values Coach, he suggests Five Actions to promote an engaged culture of ownership. It starts with defining the core values of your business, creating a cultural blueprint, telling the start-up story over and over to inspire, establishing behavioral expectations and becoming intolerant of toxic emotional negativity. When employees feel ownership they will help you build a stronger organization because they will care. They will watch your budget, they will look for opportunities to improve the operation, and they will find ways to ensure they deliver what was promised and make customers happy. That is the difference between “owning” and “renting”.


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