Team Ownership

– So with this client, she is in a situation that I think is familiar to a lot of folks who will be checking out this episode. Which is to say that she’s hired some really great people, they’re doing really great work and now she’s asking the question, how can I get them to take more ownership? In other words, how can I get them to be making more decisions on their own? How could I get them to be more self managing? How can I get them to be taking more responsibility? That kind of thing. And she said what’s been happening is that she’s been trying to give over bigger tasks, bigger responsibility and the team member doesn’t trust herself. The team member keeps saying, “Am I doing it right?” Checking in, and so the founder, our client is like, I want to be out of the day-to-day. I don’t want to be dealing, like, I think she said this is the bane of my existence right now.

 

– Oh no.

 

– Is that I’m constantly getting these questions and I’ve told her, like, I trust you, do it on your own, you don’t need me. And yet, the team member keeps asking the questions, over and over and over. And so she said, you know, how do I solve this? How do I get this team member confident to the point where they really do take ownership and they feel confident in their ability to take ownership and they stop bothering me? That’s my words, this client would never have said that in those words, but.

 

– Those are definitely your words.

 

– But it’s kind of the flip side of something that we see with our clients as well. Which is that it’s like we don’t trust what our clients are doing. And this, or what our team members are doing. And in this case, the team, that they wanted to trust their team member and the team member wasn’t trusting themself. And so what I outlined to this client yesterday and what we’ll go through today is a method that addresses both of those concerns.

 

– Yup.

 

– Right? Whether or not you are saying that I don’t know if I can trust my team member to do it right, or they don’t trust each other, themselves to do it right, both of those create situations where you keep getting sucked down into the weeds.

 

– Yup.

 

– So.

 

– So.

 

– I think, where do you want to start with this?

 

– I kinda want to start with the latter part of that which is the team member not trusting themselves.

 

– Yeah, ’cause that’s the big thing. It doesn’t matter how much trust we have in our people, if they don’t trust themselves right? So one of the things that happens is when, it could be when we’re hiring someone, or when we’re giving someone more responsibility or we’re moving them into a new role, you know, what we coach our clients to do is to start by figuring out what needs to happen, right? Don’t just give a job title but actually go through and say what needs to happen, what needs to be done. What happens is we end up with this laundry list of tasks right? You can have a massive list of stuff that needs to be done and that’s usually where a lot of people stop. Is to say, okay, now go do these things.

 

– Go do these tasks. Take care of them on your day-to-day.

 

– Yeah.

 

– And that is so, like, it’s so common.

 

– Yeah.

 

– It is so common, but what it’s doing is it’s setting up your person to just not be able to make the decisions, not have the confidence. Because you’re just giving them a list of things.

 

– Yeah, it’s delegation which is the opposite of giving ownership. But we’re only ever taught how to delegate.

 

– Exactly.

 

– Right. And so, there’s kind of a three step process that we go through when it comes to this transfer of ownership, when it comes to how we can make this more successful for everyone involved. So the first step is yes, you have to know what they do, right? You have to go through, you have to know what those tasks are. But that’s just the first step, it’s not the end step. The second step that we want to talk about is we want to summarize those tasks with what we call the success metrics for the team member. And we do that in two ways, number one, we have kind of the outcome statement and then we have the success metrics. So why don’t you talk a little bit about what those are.

 

– So what those are, so okay, let me stop and back up for a second here. Because I want you just to imagine yourself getting out of bed in the morning and thinking about your day. And how many of us kinda have this checklist of you know, what’s in our head for the day right? We’ve got our, we even do it for ourselves, we have our to-do lists.

 

– I’ve got this call that I’ve got to do, I’ve got to make sure that I get to this appointment. I’ve got to do this project, I have to pick up the kids from soccer, right? Like, yeah, a to-do list.

 

– We have a to-do list. So at the end of the day, how do you know that you were successful in your job? Most of us kinda think, oh, right I did my to-do list.

 

– Yeah.

 

– But typically speaking, most of our to-to lists are super long.

 

– And, they’re not really about what our job is about right? This is where we get stuck in the weeds and we’re focused on checking things off the list instead of doing things that actually matter.

 

– Yeah, so a success measure and how we kinda define it is what are the things that need to happen for an individual to know that they were successful at their job for the day?

 

– Yeah.

 

– Or for the week.

 

– Or for whatever right? And so you can have this list of tasks but ultimately, what we want to say is it’s not about whether you did the tasks or not, it’s about how will you know if you did them well? How will you know if you did them appropriately? How will you know if you did the right ones? That’s an important one because if you have a list of 30 things that you’re supposed to do, and you only have time to do three things on any given day, it’s really hard for you to be able to say, did I focus on the right things?

 

– Exactly.

 

– And so, this is part of that kinda transition process which is, what does success mean? And so with this client, what I said is so let’s first come up with a one sentence of why this job exists.

 

– Why does it matter?

 

– Why does this position, why does this person even work in your business? An example I gave was let’s say that you have a VP of Sales in your business. The VP of Sales, and the reason I choose this, is because it’s the most obvious example ever.

 

– I know, which is why I’m giggling in my head here right now.

 

– Right, so why do you have a VP of Sales in your business? If you have a VP of Sales, because you need someone to drive revenue for the business. It’s super obvious, and super simply stated. The reason that a VP of Sales position exists is to drive sales for the business. But often, we don’t have that same clarity around other roles. What is the job, why does the customer service person exist in your business? Why does the account manager exist in your business? Why does your social media manager exist in your business?

 

– Graphic designer.

 

– Right?

 

– Right, all of these.

 

– We focus on the tasks instead of really simply, why does this role exist. The reason that we need to be able to articulate that is because that is what’s going to determine what we are giving ownership of right?

 

– Sorry, I kinda wanted to articulate something like, we’re using these job title names here just to kinda give you examples. But one of the key things, is don’t try and use your job title to indicate why the position exists.

 

– Yeah, that’s right. So you can have any number of job titles but what’s really important is why does the job exist. That is the thing that you’re giving ownership of. So the reason the job exists is why you’re giving ownership. The reason you have a VP of Sales is so that they can own the responsibility of generating and driving revenue and sales in the business. So first thing we need to do is be really clear on, in one line, in one sentence, what outcome are they owning. Then we ask the second question which is how will we know that they are successful at achieving that outcome? So putting aside the to-do list, putting aside this laundry list of 40 different tasks.

 

– And putting aside any team members that you currently have.

 

– Yeah, or what anyone else is doing for the business.

 

– Or what anyone else is doing.

 

– Just looking at this one role, at this one person, what they’re doing, how do you know that this person is being successful at owning that responsibility? And so one of the things that I talked about with this client is, you want this team member to be responsible for being able to take care of this particular piece of customer delivery. And you want her to be able to do that without having to ask you about how to do things all the time. So one of the things that we need to set is a criteria for this success of this team member is to be able to say that she should be able to handle 80% of inquiries autonomously, by herself. And that’s, you know, maybe she won’t get there right away but the goal, we’ll know that she’s being successful at owning her job, when she’s able to do 80% of it without ever having to ask for help.

 

– Exactly.

 

– So that’s an example of a success measure. And the success measure should always have a number in it. Right, that’s the thing that I think most people miss. Another example that we do, see this a lot with is we hire someone who’s job it is, so that you know, this job exists to manage the social media for the business, right? Probably a bad example. It probably is to generate, to generate leads for the business using social media. A success criteria for that could be how many leads. But another success criteria, and this is one we use a lot, is that they should be creating, maintaining, and updating all standard operating procedures related to using social media.

 

– Yup, right.

 

– You know that they are owning it because they’re taking the responsibility for creating and maintaining the processes around it. That’s a level of ownership. And so what you can do, is you can look at the tasks to give hints. So the things that they’re assigned to do will give you hints about what types of things they’re responsible for. And then you say, “The reason that we will know that you have fully owned your job is that you will be showing this this, this, this, and this.” And usually we say five-ish bullet points. Three to eight.

 

– Three to eight.

 

– But five is a nice average.

 

– But the really key thing here is about the transfer of ownership.

 

– Yeah.

 

– And I really want to come back and harp on this point a little bit. Yes, I know it’s harping. But it’s really, really, really different than just delegating.

 

– Yeah, it’s not just saying you have to do these tasks. It’s saying, this is the outcome, this is the measure, this is the metric that you are responsible for, we’re not gonna dictate how.

 

– Exactly, and that’s the key thing, right? The how is up to them, right?

 

– Yeah.

 

– The only thing you want to be telling them is what results you get.

 

– Yeah.

 

– Or you want them to get right. That’s where the success measures come in.

 

– Yeah, so my clients, our client, the client that I was talking with yesterday, we’re talking a little bit about what happens when we don’t set these success measures really clear. And so one of the things that happens is that the team member wants to check in, am I doing it right? Am I getting it right? Have I got this right? Which, I mean, it shows that they care about doing a good job.

 

– Which .

 

– Don’t have that clear, we don’t get what we expected. Right, so they go off and do it and they don’t check in with us, and we get a result that’s nothing like what we expected. And Jill’s laughing because when we first started working together, we had to deal with this because we didn’t know this secret about success measures.

 

– Yup.

 

– And so what happens, why does it end up in a situation where what I produce and what they produce don’t match. Well, the reason is because I had one picture in mind of what success looked like, and you had a different-

 

– I had something totally different, and for something as simple as go build a plan, right?

 

– Yeah, what does that actually look like? How will we know if we successfully have made a plan?

 

– I built a plan, but it wasn’t how she thought of a plan.

 

– That’s right.

 

– And it was, well, in retrospect it was hilarious.

 

– It was hilarious.

 

– At the time.

 

– It was not hilarious at the time. But it was, being able to define what does success look like, how will we know if we’ve done it well, and what I said yesterday, and what I’ll say again today is once you’ve agreed on these success measures, and you have to agree right? Both people have to agree that this is what success looks like, this is the collaborative part of it.

 

– Yeah, you don’t want to dictate to them.

 

– Yeah.

 

– You want them to have, and here we go back to ownership. You want them to take ownership of the success measures by being part of it.

 

– Yeah.

 

– And agreeing to it.

 

– But what happens is that when you have this, you both have to agree that if the final solution matches these success criteria you’ve given up your right to complain. That’s the thing right? And that’s the hard part. And that’s why it’s so important to learn how to do these success criteria so carefully and so well. For a team member, for a project, for anything where you’re wanting to be getting out of the doing of it yourself and you want to give ownership, you want to agree on what success looks like, and then so long as it hits those check marks, you have to say, job well done. It’s not the way I might have done it but it still is a success. We can’t do that if we don’t define what success means.

 

– A really clear example actually that came to me when I was talking with someone the other day, this individual works with branding and website development, and one of the things that they do is they go in and they create basically a booklet, a style guide, right, for what the brand should look like. Think of the success measure basically as that style guide, right?

 

– Yeah. So we’re not gonna tell you what picture to use but we’re gonna tell you what style of picture to use.

 

– Yeah.

 

– We’re not gonna tell you what the headline should say, but we’re gonna tell you what font it should be in and you know, certain grammatical practices that we use.

 

– And the thing with this, coming at this from the other side of the coin, we’ve been talking a lot about this from the entrepreneur side of the coin. But coming at this from the employee side of the coin, as being someone, and not just with this one, but in my previous role too, being someone that didn’t have that clarity, the uncertainty of-

 

– Not knowing if you’re doing a good job.

 

– Am I doing a good job? I have no idea, is this the right thing, I have no idea. The uncertainty, the anxiety of that is almost paralyzing in its own way.

 

– Yeah.

 

– And it gets in the way of things. And then to turn around and to give them a style guide, to give them these success measures, to be very clear about it, it’s actually very empowering.

 

– Yeah.

 

– You’re giving that power to them and they, it gives them something to get up for.

 

– Yeah, so we do success criteria with individuals and their roles. We do success criteria around projects or you know, quarterly plans and quarterly goals. We’ve learned that this success measure idea really is so critical and so key to being able to get yourself out of the day-to-day and give ownership.

 

– Yup.

 

– So we’ve kinda talked about, you know, the first element of this was, it was to be able to say, what actually makes this success? If these things happen, I’m gonna say good job even if the rest of it isn’t how I would’ve done it. And agreeing together, right? You both, everyone involved whether it’s two people, or a team, has to agree that this is what success looks like. And then the third thing is, especially if this is a team member and you’re working on giving them a new role or helping develop them, or you know, promoting them or you just hired them, whatever it looks like, the way that we want to help them be able to achieve those success measures is not to say we expect you to do this all today. I was talking with Angela Laurie about that the other day and she’s like, “Brianne gave me such a hard time about this a few years ago”, she’s like, “Why would you expect someone to be able to come in on day one and just do it as well as you can?” And that’s what I told Angela, I was like, “No, that doesn’t work that way.”

 

– It doesn’t.

 

– She didn’t like that answer but she’s come around now. Now that she has a $20 million business or whatever it is, she’s come to accept that I was right about that. Not that I’m proud of that.

 

– No.

 

– But we do, is we take each of those success measures and we break them down and say, for right now, we really only need you to focus on mastering this one success measure. Or these two success measures. What we’d normally do is we’d create a 90 day plan, right, we’d create a 90 day training plan, a 90 day onboarding plan for a new team member. We take their success measures, we divide them into months. So if there’s six success measures, two a month. If there’s five, maybe it’s one in month one, two in month two, and two in month three. But you divide them up and you say, for the first month I’m not going to be trying to evaluate your performance in any of these other areas. I just want you to focus on getting really good at this one success measure. And this is where we’re gonna invest our time and energy into you taking ownership of that first. And once they’re at a point where it’s like, yeah, I feel successful in my job in this regard, then we can add a couple more things. And then it’s like, okay now you can start to work on success measures B and C of the list. What this does is it empowers people and it makes them feel like they’re growing in confidence, competence and confidence.

 

– And confidence.

 

– More quickly, because they are achieving success more quickly, this also makes them more profitable to your organization much faster, because they are achieving specific elements of the result that you want faster, rather than waiting for the end for them to be doing their job.

 

– Yeah, absolutely. I’m just again, thinking in previous role. When I first moved up into management, someone gave me the analogy that I was gonna feel like I was trying to get all of these balls into a hole at the end of, you know, have you ever seen the ones, the board that’s on the angle and it’s got the hole at the top, and you’ve got all the balls that you need to get up, right?

 

– Mhmm, yeah.

 

– With the stick.

 

– Yeah, you’re trying to push up one ball at a time, yeah.

 

– That’s the idea right?

 

– Yeah.

 

– But I was told basically, get ready because now you have to get, with all of these little short sticks, or short stick, you have to get all of these balls up to the hole at the same time.

 

– Yeah.

 

– And that’s what you don’t want, ’cause it’s very complicated.

 

– Yeah, it becomes a juggling act. That’s the other analogy, right? You’re constantly juggling, and so is your team member because they’re juggling between, I have to figure out how to do this thing and this thing, and this thing, and this thing rather than allowing them to master something first.

 

– And you see this even… My brain just went blank, wow I hate when that happens. But you see this too when you haven’t put this into place right? That’s the kind of thing that you end up with that micromanaging again, where you feel like you have to come down into the weeds and push all those balls up.

 

– Yeah, because you haven’t been able to clearly define what success looks for and then create a situation where they can create success quickly.

 

– Exactly.

 

– And so, you know, no, you’re not gonna hire someone and day one, they’re gonna take all this stuff off your plate. But in three months, they will have taken it all off your plate. Whereas, if you try to do it all at once you’re gonna be six months, nine months, 12 months on, and there are still gonna be cracks that you are constantly having to go and fill in and pick things up, and deal with problems.

 

– Exactly.

 

– All right, so that’s the three steps to giving ownership. To actually being able to transfer some of this higher level thinking, higher level decision making, higher level outcomes to the people on your team. The first thing, like I said, you gotta figure out what they’re doing so that you can then evaluate why the role exists and what success looks like. Look at what success looks like and agree together that if these are, if this is what the output is, if this is what success looks like at the end, then we’ve reached this point together and we can be successful together. And then the third thing, once you’ve got the success measures in place is help them, guide them, coach them, mentor them through one or two at a time, building upon them, so that they actually gain the competence and the confidence in that success measure before you add more and more onto their plate. This is how owner is transferred in a way that makes sure it won’t come back onto your lap.

 

– And I’m gonna give you one little bonus one. Don’t be afraid to ask them how you can better support them in making the decision.

 

– Yeah. That’s actually one of the most important questions. What do you want to be giving ownership and not just getting back into the weeds. It’s about saying, this is what you need to accomplish, how can I help you do that? Rather than our instinct which is to say, I’m just gonna do it for you. This was an example again, with the client yesterday who said, I’ve been training my team and then they’ll come to me and say, it would be really great if we had a process that you know, made it so that I knew where to find this stuff. And my client had said great, you know, sure, I’ll do that and I’ll take that and it ended up on her very long to-do list. And she said, what I realized now is that I can go to that team member and say, “That’s fantastic, I would love for you to go create that as a resource for yourself.” So that’s a great point. When you’re in this process of giving ownership ask how can I support you in making this happen, rather than saying, oh let me take that back onto my plate.

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