Ownership Thinking Observations by Brad Hams

An interesting observation: I visited two clients approximately six months after implementing Ownership Thinking in their respective companies to do some follow-up work.  These companies were in the same town, and within less than a mile of each other.  I spent a half day with each of them.

The first organization was all over it.  They had already implemented Rapid Improvement Plans (RIPs) and were seeing quantifiable results.  They had been diligent about their huddles, and had made significant progress there.  The enthusiasm was palpable, and the results were obvious – both financially and culturally.

The second organization was struggling.  Not much progress, and lots of excuses as to why (resistance).  Morale was not great.

The most fascinating observation I had was that in organization number one, the incentive plan was not really a significant point of discussion.  People were engaged in the processes of Ownership Thinking toward improving financial performance, and were having fun with them.  They were reaching their incentive goals, but this was not the main purpose for them.

In company number two, which was not executing, the primary concern was the bonus plan.  In other words, they were focused on the reward, but not the work necessary to fund it.

The moral?  Ownership Thinking is not just an incentive plan!  First and foremost, it is a cultural endeavor focused on engaging every employee on the financial performance of their company, and providing them with the tools, training, and communication strategies to achieve those goals.  They know that the incentives will come if they do this, and frankly, this is secondary to them.  It’s more about winning, and seeing their contributions toward the win. 

Hamilton Parker Company, in Columbus Ohio, had an interesting little game to encourage employees to come up with RIP ideas.  It was open to all non-management employees to participate.

They distributed the RIP template to everyone, and asked that, if interested, they could come up with their best effort for a detailed RIP to be executed in 2012.  The template required the following information:

  • The key indicator to be addressed
  • A quantifiable goal and time frame (90 days)
  • Actions and people required to reach the goal
  • Financial, operational, and/or cultural benefits of winning
  • Celebration
  • Cost of the RIP
  • Name for the RIP

Other guidelines for the game included the following:

  • They could enter as many times as they liked
  • RIPs could be company-wide or department specific
  • The management team would select a winner without knowing who submitted the RIP
  • A $500 reward was given to the winner

I thought this was a great way to generate some enthusiasm for the New Year, cultivate some involvement, and also provided a great teaching opportunity.  If you do something like this, I suggest that you review all submissions at your regular employee WGO (What’s Going On) meeting – could be fun!

Join us for a free Ownership Thinking breakfast session. More information on upcoming sessions in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Guelph, and Toronto.

Until next time,

Perry Phillips, President

Ownership Thinking Canada

Visit www.ownershipthinking.ca to learn more about Ownership Thinking Canada.

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