What am I doing to drive revenue? What am I doing to drive the mission of the company? What am I doing that is contributing to the core business needs of the company?
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone in your company asked these questions of themselves? Think about how much farther ahead your business would be if everyone was really able to think like an owner of the business, taking responsibility for the financial and organizational health of the company.
Getting Started: Communicating the Purpose, Vision, Values
There is no way that an employee can ask these questions of themselves and offer legitimate answers if they don’t know the purpose, vision, and values of the company.
As a company, you must have a purpose for why you are in business, you must have a vision for where your business is going, and you must have values to drive the behaviors to accomplish the purpose and the vision.
As a business leader, it is your job to have your business sorted out (purpose, vision, values) and then lead your team to help you accomplish those goals. And it’s best to have them participate in forming some parts of the plan in order to create ownership and drive their motivation.
Part of that means teaching your team to think like an owner. Using that phrase itself is meaningless to most people. Actually teach your team to think like owners. Ask them the questions to drive their thoughts and behaviors that will truly make them act like owners and consider the financial and productivity impact that their actions will have on the organization.
If you need help getting started with this type of training, I recommend reading “What the CEO Wants You to Know: How Your Company Really Works’, by Ram Charan. He gives great examples of how to get the wheels spinning and teach your employees to understand their responsibility in the overall picture of the company financials.
Create a culture of open communication & collaboration
Consider this a process. It will take time to develop a culture of responsibility- teach first with understanding and patience. Then follow up regularly with conversations to help reinforce the idea and the increasing accountability of this behavior. You’ll soon find people sharing ideas with you and asking one another, “How is this activity/project/task driving revenue?”
If it’s not driving revenue, they should be able to bring the concern to the leader/owner, and have a discussion about it without fear of retribution. If you really want your team to think like owners, then you need to allow them to behave like owners, as well. There can be no sacred cows in this type of culture. Celebrate the responsibility and contributions that everyone makes to the financial understanding and success of your company. You’ll find that it will be contagious among the team!
Do you spend time teaching your employees to understand how their role impacts the big picture? Do you encourage them to take responsibility for the financial health of the company? Share some examples of what you’re doing in the comments section below.
Photo by walknboston.