Saturday, July 16, 2005

Curious about Ownership - How Does It Benefit You and Your Company?

“The basic principle which I believe has contributed more than any other to the building of our business as it is today, is the ownership of our company by the people employed in it.” ~ James E. Casey

Last evening, my flight from Oklahoma City via Huston finally landed around midnight. I boarded the shuttle to the “Park and Fly” lot. This was the alternative to parking at the airport - which is unbelievably costly - that a good friend who travels often told me about. You park in their lot, they shuttle you to and from the airport and charge about half of what the airport parking costs.

I had visited their website before leaving for my trip and found a coupon that offered an additional savings off the total price for each day.

Two men were on the shuttle, so I asked if either had found, copied and cut out the coupon. I was shocked when both of them answered that they didn’t “need to worry about that. My boss pays the amount when I submit it. It’s his problem - not mine.”

Yes, I know that I am an independent contractor with ownership of my company, and I watch for unnecessary expenses. These men obviously felt no company ownership for the businesses in which they worked. What a shame. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that even when I have worked for other companies, I have always felt like a partner and/or owner.

It makes a huge difference! When you feel ownership where you are working, you also feel a sense of pride in the company and in yourself. When I worked at the Cooker Bar & Grille, we could choose to put an amount of our bi-weekly paycheck into company stock. Those of us who made the choice to do it wore a special gold nametag - which I designed, by the way - that said “Cooker Partner” under our name.

When guests asked what that meant, it was the perfect opportunity to show our sense of ownership and pride.

Thinking over ownership a bit more deeply, I realized that my ability and tendency to feel a sense of ownership for any project I am working on is a true USP (Unique Selling Proposition).

For example, when I have designed websites for community development corporations (CDCs), I have visited and spent hours in their communities. I have attended their festivals and talked to business owners and residents in that community's area. Recently I worked on a website for a pre-K to grade 8 school. I spent lots of time observing, interviewing, taking photos and just getting a real feel for the school. I now have ownership.

How about you? Do you feel ownership for the company where you work? Are you looking out for them and the ways you can help to enhance the business? If you have clients, do you partner with them and show concern for their businesses?

I suggest, if you are not doing it now, that you start. You will be amazed by what a difference it will make to them and even more to you. Try it, you’ll like it!