The Leadership Challenge: Ownership Mentality

The Point: At Tip of the Spear Ventures, we believe in leading from the front… Not the middle, and certainly not from the rear. This leading from the front-mentality is one that we encourage our Business Advisory Service clients (M&A | Sales/BizDev | Turnaround) to take as well. However, working with leaders that have a leading form the front focus is only part of the business-battle, and a minority one at that. You see, we’ve determined that the majority business-battle is to get stakeholders engaged with the Tip of the Spear Ventures’ leading from the front-mentality as well. At the heart of this conversation is the leadership challenge of ownership mentality. So in this post, we’ll explore what it takes to not only create and develop such ownership mentality, but ensure that it is sustained as well… Enjoy!

 The Leadership Challenge Ownership Mentality

The Sales Strategic Plan

I just met with another client working within our Business Advisory Services’ Sales/BizDev consultation offering at Tip of the Spear Ventures. After flushing out the Sales Strategic Plan and assessing a baseline measurement of right here/right now as well as where they’d like to go (Goals?), we started to build the Action Plan. Our Sales Strategic Plan action planning process consists of not only breaking down goals for implementation, but also taking into consideration contingency planning and the like (Time/Accountability commitments are most definitely established!)

Central focus of this Sales Strategic Planning process is a communication plan. We’ve typically seen the best-developed sales strategic plans lose tremendous momentum, and some even jumping the rails, when communication gaps are present (meaning communicating the vision of the plan is omitted/forgotten). I’m not certain about you/your company, but from my experience and the leaders I work with, mindreading is still a skill that is severely lacking in today’s workforce. If only there was a way to achieve clairvoyance on the way to achieving the Sales Strategic Plan… If only there was a way!

Ownership Mentality

One of the organizations we worked with had a great plan (No bragging on my part here, while we provide “curbs” to the Sales Strategic Plan “road” we in no way/shape/form create the plan without organizational leadership input). With Sales Strategic Plan finalized, timelines established, accountability accounted for, contingency plans planned, and communication channels outlined it looked like the organization would easily breeze through the plan execution and sustainment initiative. And then reality smacked us all down!

If You Build It, Will They Really Come?

One of the critical Sales Strategic Planning steps that went overlooked was will the employees (Stakeholders) actually buy in to the new goals and ensuing process changes required in order to accomplish said goals? While the stakeholders were more than up to the task from a skill-level qualification (Some would argue over-qualified), they were severely under-qualified when it came to their mentality (or attitude). You see, the stakeholders traditionally were given a parent-leadership model, whereby they were expected to execute the directives of leadership not with understanding/agreement, but because leadership told them to do so. The Sales Strategic Plan was in dire straights if this ownership mentality could not be created!

Gordon Ramsay Just Gave You 24 Hours… Uh Oh!

I just watched an episode of Gordon Ramsay’s “24 Hours to Hell & Back” series. I’m a huge fan of Gordon’s restaurants (he has several by Tip of the Spear Ventures HQ in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada USA). I’m an even bigger fan of his straight to the point leadership style (I would argue that he operates at the Tip of the Spear!) I mention the show because it dawned on me while writing this post that this show is not only challenging leaders to lead at the Tip of the Spear, but also employees/stakeholders.

In a crucial scene in each of the episodes, Gordon pulls the entire restaurant full of employees and customers over to his “Hell on Wheels” truck where they watch hidden camera footage of what exactly is wrong with each restaurant. After this review (and they’re often shocking!), Gordon declares to the restaurant staff that they should grab their phones, call their loved ones, and tell them that they are not coming home tonight because they have 24-hours to save the restaurant (In other words, he’s requiring them to pull an all-nighter like you used to do when cramming for an exam in school!) And then it hit me…

Why Would Your Employees Act Like an Owner?

While the pomp/circumstance of having Gordon Ramsay work with you/your business for what essentially boils down to a 24-hour window to accomplish the beginnings of a turnaround, why on Earth would an employee (stakeholder) take on such an owner mentality? There’s a good reason for the owners of a business to pull all-nighters in order to save their business… Because it’s their business! Employees (stakeholders) are just that… They are employees (stakeholders), and NOT owners. As such, what’s in it for them?

– Better employment terms? Doubtful

– More money? Uh, no

– A job that they can come to tomorrow? They can probably find a job somewhere else

– The chance to get yelled at by Gordon Ramsay himself? Most definitely!

SUMMARY

In summary, in this post we’ve explored the leadership challenge of ownership mentality. While it’s critical to have all leaders and employees (stakeholders) on the same page in order to accomplish strategic plan goals, it’s even more important to identify just how leaders are going to foster an ownership mentality for all.

 

Sam Palazzolo

About Sam Palazzolo, Managing Director

Sam Palazzolo is Managing Director at Tip of the Spear Ventures, an agile Venture Capital and Business Advisory Services firm specializing in Mergers & Acquisition, Sales / Business Development & Turnaround Management.