Employees Acting Like Owners
Employees acting like owners? Who doesn’t want a team of entrepreneurs who are driven, motivated, focused, and acting like owners? This was a recent discussion I found myself in with a group of investors. It was actually a simple question I asked, why doesn’t everyone act like an owner, and I got a really simple answer back (honestly, it was kind of a back handed slap – what do you call that again?) — everyone isn’t an owner.
This got me thinking. What is it that motivates me, the management teams I work with, and specifically the amazing teams I get a chance to spend time with? I explored my specific motivations and found that what drives me is:
– Always being treated as a professional
– Not being micromanaged
– Trading complete flexibility for almost ruthless accountability
– Being an owner
Over the last 15 years that I have built my current career (I say current because there is so much more to do) I’ve never been into the beer keg, video game, college culture environments that seem so popular today. Let us not forget I lived through 1998 – 2001 so the current “cultures” are not new to me, it didn’t motivate me in 1999 when I was in my twenties anymore then it motivates me now. What motivated me in 1999 and what motivates me now is: being treated as a professional, never being micromanaged, having complete flexibility with my schedule as long as I always deliver, and of course being an owner.
This brings me to the reason for today’s post. Leaving that meeting (discussion) I committed to myself to never be involved in any business that didn’t map to what motivates me – but – I had a challenge. WhatCounts was a 14 year old business that at one time everyone was an owner, but that was no longer true. Yes, I was the founder of a company that candidly had moved away from my primary motivators. Through a series of acquisitions, rounds of financing, and new benefits packages the “everyone is an owner” got lost. Let me tell you, that isn’t easy to fix 14 years into a business.
Urvaksh Karkaria of the Atlanta Business Chronicle published an article entitled “Invasion of Tech Giants Forcing Up Salaries”. He asked me to be interviewed for the article (yes, that moment I realize he only puts me in articles that are published on a Friday following Thanksgiving, so I know you didn’t see it). In this article I shared that I will never be involved in a business where every single team member is not an owner – and I am proud to say this is now also true for WhatCounts.
The next time you are with me, and I ask a simple question, just slap me, and give me the simple answer, I am a good listener.