Image by Jordan Whitfield
Owners vs. Employees (part 2)
After you realized the simple fact that owners and employees have a different motivation, let’s explore what can (and should!) be done to make things work.
There are three characteristics of ownership that boost motivation:
Purpose is the inner belief of the person that the thing s/he does is valuable. You’ll probably agree that you wouldn’t waste your precious moments on things that don’t matter, yet the majority of our daily effort is spent doing routine, unexciting stuff. In order to be able to see the purpose, a person should see the bigger picture – how things are, how do we want them to be, and how what we are currently doing is taking us a step closer to the desired state.
All employees should engage in defining the vision of the desired future in order to own it and make an effort to achieve it. If they do not internalize the vision, they will not make it their top purpose.
Control is the expression of one’s freedom to pursue different course of action in accordance with their own judgment, e.g. the freedom to decide how to proceed in different circumstances, e.g. the freedom to use their brain. I am amazed to see how often managers hire smart people and then direct them to switch off their brains and implement the manager’s view. This is so wrong on so many levels:
- it limits decision making to the capacity of the single person on top of the command chain, effectively wiping out the whole human capital capacity of the managed unit;
- that person is usually farthest away from the actual process and has the least direct knowledge about processes, quirks and specific circumstances;
- employees feel demotivated, not valued and leave – they devote their capacity and knowledge to efforts where it will be valued and put to a better use.
All employees should own the processes they manage if they have the capacity – and if they don’t , they should have the training and the confidence to take decisions. Simple test: if the manager tells the employees what to do and expects reports, employees do not own the process. If, instead, they run processes and only seek assistance when they confront problems they cannot solve, the process is in their control.
Gain is the reward people will receive if they care. It again consists of several things:
- recognition – true understanding and acknowledgment of their commitment and contribution. Formal “thank you” email to staff is not recognition, each person needs to be shown respect in accord with their individual input and efforts.
- direct material reward – people live in the real world and have needs. It is nice to share success in material terms, as well as in verbal. Be fair if you expect fairness back.
- future development – people will try harder if they have a good personal prospect. The scope here is endless, as well as unique to each individual.
Properly implementing these recommendations helps turn employees into owners, makes them happy and boosts their results and organizational success.
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Tags: commitment, human capital, motivation, small and medium business, strategy