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Les McKeown's Predictable Success Blog

First published January 27, 2011

The centrality of ownership and self-accountability 

If you have read Predictable Success, you’ll know that ownership and self-accountability is at the very heart of sustained business success.Here’s the graphic I use in the book to illustrate this:

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There are three main reason why this is so:

1. It turns static systems and processes into a dynamic organism
Employees without a strong sense of ownership and self-accountability interact only one way with systems and processes – they accept the systems and processes that are provided to them and implement those that cause the least disruption to their personal comfort zone. They have little incentive or desire to truly understand what the systems and processes are trying to achieve and improve on that process.

Employees with a strong sense of ownership and self-accountability interact fluidly and dynamically with otherwise static systems and processes (specifically the 13 systems and processes in the graphic, which are those that deliver and maintain Predictable Success) creatively improving and enhancing them, within risk-management guidelines.

2. It makes the organization proactive
A sense of ownership and self-accountability is what makes an employee anticipate customer needs (internally and externally) and seek to meet them. Organizations without a strong sense of ownership and self-accountability fail to anticipate (read: don’t care about) customer needs.

3. It destroys ‘no-mans-land’
The footprint of responsibility for employees and employee groups with a high sense of ownership and self-accountability is bigger, and with fuzzier edges, than that of an employee or employee group with a low sense of ownership and self-accountability.

This means there is a higher overlap of shared responsibility, and fewer things fall between stools – into a ‘no-mans’land’ where no-one is taking responsibility for errors, mistakes and screw-ups.

Tomorrow I’ll show the easiest route to assessing the level of ownership and self-accountability in any organization.


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