A Touch to Employees: Ownership Culture

Let me start with the meaning of ownership culture. It simply means acting like it is your own company in business terms. My writings so far were mostly related with strategy, the new, organizations, digitalization, etc. It does not matter what you discuss when we talk about business overall. All common ground is based on humans. Even though artificial intelligence applications are getting closer to our lives, we will always need human in manner of intellectual background, experience, curiosity, and mind. We manage the companies which have people working for them. That brings us to the topic of culture of the company. As you can experience, every company has different culture or value. To my opinion, the most important one is to create ownership culture in your company. The thing makes company a real one is its employees.

The reason it is so important is a) to increase company performance b) to increase employee engagement/retention c) to sustain company's existence. These are top 3 main reasons you should pay attention to the topic. With high ownership culture, your employees feel they do something for the company. They feel attached and more responsible. They think even emotional to their companies. With that background, your company lives longer at the end of the day. And of course, you create much better financial figures with happy and attached employees. They collaborate more and they feel it is like their own company.

It is of course not easy like I write. How to make a person believe it is his/her company even if we think there are mostly fixed salaries. This is the tricky part. Most of today's company give responsibility to their employees without authority. As first action, you have to give both. The person needs to take whole responsibility, at the same time with full authority power. As second step, do not focus on how many things one person do, please lets focus on the result and how they achieve that. I hear from employees like they do this and that and even work extra hours. But this is not the topic. Topic is what is the result and effect of result and how you have done that. Maybe there is a potential employee doing things in much shorter time with better results with ownership culture compared to an employee working long hours. How to rate it is the right question for Next Generation CEO. Hands on management was recommended before. But my point is more like hands off management. Another step could be the trust. To create ownership culture, you have build trusted relationship with your employee. If you do not trust, there is no platform to build already. Trust needs to be built in both parties. If two people trust each other, then there cannot be any barrier for performance.

Another dilemma is that a person becomes top manager and everybody congratulates. In corporate life, most of people think this person is strong and competent enough to take this position. Nobody focuses on how the person got this position. How part is the key. Maybe, that person just behaved negative towards his/her friends at work, lied, made mobbing, did everything bad to take this position. This situation does not help for company's long term sustainability and existence. That is basically why how part is important. As Next Generation CEO, you must focus on selecting managers by checking their attitudes and how part in addition to competency and results. Organizational structures are key levers to create ownership. If your company has lots of hierarchical levels, how can you expect from a person acting like their own company ? You have to create bubbles with full responsibility to utilize their ownership.

"Bodies at rest tend to stay at rest" is a well know physics. With well established comfort zone does not help to build/utilize ownership culture. You have to do something to drive their ownership. On the way to digitalization, creating ownership culture must be hot topic for Next Generation CEO.

Hakan Özdemir

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