Implementing The Adult Contract

The Adult Contract

Over the last several months we’ve been talking about The Adult Contract and how implementing Ownership Thinking involves creating an environment of high visibility and high accountability in an organization.  If the organization was operating with a fairly low level of visibility and accountability in the past, this new way of operating will undoubtedly create anxiety in some employees.

The Adult Contract is an “agreement as to how people ought to treat one another in this new environment of visibility and accountability.”  We encourage you to talk openly with your employees about anything that comes up.  In his book Ownership Thinking: How to End Entitlement and Create a Culture of Accountability, Purpose, and Profit, Brad Hams says, “Let employees know that it is new for everyone, including you, and that everyone will be taking this journey together.  Reinforce the fact that nobody is perfect at anything when they are learning for the first time; we get better by practicing … Talk them through The Adult Contract, and tell them to be watching for nonadult behavior, starting with themselves.”

Brad relates the story of a company where the leaders “recognized that historically they had something of a fear-driven environment and that people were familiar with “getting shot.”   To introduce The Adult Contract, everyone in the company received a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.  The idea was that if any employees made a mistake or tried out something that didn’t work, they had this card to let them off the hook.  Of course if was symbolic, but it made a great point and did so in a lighthearted manner.”

Until next time,

Perry Phillips, President

Ownership Thinking Canada Inc.

Visit www.ownershipthinking.ca to learn more about Ownership Thinking Canada and our new online e-learning tool.

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In Memoriam of Brad Hams

In Memoriam of Brad Hams

Brad Hams, Founder and President of Ownership Thinking Worldwide, passed away October 17th, 2014.

An expert in Finance and Human Behaviour and a past President of Mrs. Fields Cookies (Mexico), Brad created a program to change the cultures of companies from one of Entitlement to one of Total Employee Engagement. He was a brilliant and caring individual who was a major thought leader in understanding how and why employees engage or disengage from their jobs. His goal was no less than creating a world where people of all ethnic groups and classes could achieve their dreams.

Brad’s program of Ownership Thinking has helped hundreds of business owners and tens of thousands of employees achieve unheard of improvements, not only in their business results, but in the quality of their lives. This later fact was of prime importance to Brad and he took great satisfaction in being part of those results. Brad’s love of life and the passion to live it to the fullest created an abundance of energy within him which allowed Brad to give well over 100 seminars each year, to write a best selling book (Ownership Thinking), and to expand his concepts to different countries in the world.

It was an honour and a privilege to meet and work with Brad over the last 3 years. His enduring legacy will be his important contribution to the field of human engagement and his beautiful family.

Brad leaves behind his wife Carmen and their two children, Alex and Maury.

Until next time,

Perry Phillips, President

Ownership Thinking Canada Inc.

Visit www.ownershipthinking.ca to learn more about Ownership Thinking Canada and our new online e-learning tool.

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The Adult Contract – What Adults Do

The Adult Contract

Lately we’ve been discussing the Adult Contractan agreement as to how people ought to treat one another in this new Ownership Thinking environment of visibility and accountability.  We’ve covered what adults don’t do under the contract and now we’ll look at what Adults Do as part of the Adult Contract.

Adults Do:

  • Respect one another
  • Help one another
  • Take responsibility (they don’t pass blame)
  • Remain calm in the face of adversity or failure (they simply try again)
  • Protect their home and family (company and coworkers)

While most of these are pretty self-explanatory, Brad Hams gives an example of the last point in his book Ownership Thinking: How to End Entitlement and Create a Culture of Accountability, Purpose, and Profit, “if a company decides to share more financial information with its employees, the employees must agree not to share that information outside of the organization.”  By not sharing that information, employees are protecting their company and coworkers.  It probably wouldn’t hurt the company if they did share the information, but why take that chance?

Until next time,

Perry Phillips, President

Ownership Thinking Canada Inc.

Visit www.ownershipthinking.ca to learn more about Ownership Thinking Canada and our new online e-learning tool.

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The Adult Contract – Adults Don’t Argue With Reality

The Adult Contract

As discussed in our last two posts, the Adult Contract is an “agreement as to how people ought to treat one another in this new environment of visibility and accountability.” This month we’ll continue with another aspect of the Adult Contract.

Adults Don’t: Argue with reality

In his book Ownership Thinking: How to End Entitlement and Create a Culture of Accountability, Purpose, and Profit, Brad Hams says, “Adults simply address reality and deal with it, even if that means making painful decisions in the short term to ensure future stability and success.”

Brad discusses learned helplessness, “a condition of a human being or an animal in which it has learned to behave helplessly, even when the opportunity is restored for it to help itself by avoiding an unpleasant or harmful circumstance to which it has been subjected.”

An example of learned helpless is a baby elephant that has his foot tied with a rope to a wooden stake. When the elephant is small he cannot pull the stake out of the ground. Over time he becomes accustomed to not being able to move away. When the elephant is fully grown he could easily pull the stake out of the ground, but he is held fast by his belief that he cannot pull away from the stake.

An example of learned helplessness in the workplace is the excuses you may have heard from employees in the recent economy to explain poor performance – blaming the economy, market conditions, the competition, and so on.

According to Brad, “Yes, economic conditions may be rough at times. However, regardless of the economic conditions (or any other circumstances, for that matter), some companies will win, and some companies will lose. The winning companies (and people) will be those that accept reality for what it is and make the decisions and take the actions that will get them through successfully. And as adults, they know that the short-term pain will be rewarded in the long run. At the end of the downturn (and it will end), they will have their “A team” in place (having made some tough personnel decisions), they will have their best practices in place (such as Ownership Thinking), and they will have less competition, because some companies decided to argue with reality.”

Until next time,

Perry Phillips, President

Ownership Thinking Canada Inc.

Visit www.ownershipthinking.ca to learn more about Ownership Thinking Canada and our new online e-learning tool.

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The Adult Contract – Adults Don’t Shoot Each Other

The Adult Contract

As discussed previously, the Adult Contract is an “agreement as to how people ought to treat one another in this new environment of visibility and accountability.”

Adults Don’t:  Shoot each other (figuratively, of course)

Everybody makes mistakes.  In his book Ownership Thinking: How to End Entitlement and Create a Culture of Accountability, Purpose, and Profit, Brad Hams says, “If employees are honest and caring enough to own up to mistakes they’ve made, and get shot for that, it’s pretty clear what they will do the next time they make mistakes (they’ll hide them, of course).  If they try out ideas and they don’t work and they get shot for that, it’s pretty clear what they will do with their next ideas (they’ll keep them to themselves).”

Adults Don’t: Hide Problems

This goes along with not shooting each other.  If your employees aren’t shooting each other, there is less reason for them to hide problems.  Hidden problems are probably only going to get worse.  However, when they know they won’t get shot down, employees will feel more comfortable bringing the problem to light where it can be addressed and hopefully rectified.

We’ll go over more aspects of The Adult Contract in the next post.

Until next time,

Perry Phillips, President

Ownership Thinking Canada Inc.

Visit www.ownershipthinking.ca to learn more about Ownership Thinking Canada and our new online e-learning tool.

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The Adult Contract

Implemeting Ownership Thinking in a company involves change. It involves creating an environment of high visibility and high accountability in the organization. If the organization was operating with a fairly low level of visibility and accountability in the past, this new way of operating will undoubtedly create anxiety in some employees.

In his book Ownership Thinking: How to End Entitlement and Create a Culture of Accountability, Purpose, and Profit, Brad Hams says, “… anything new is a bit scary, particularly when accountability is attached to it. One of the ways this fear manifests itself is through finger-pointing and blame. This is perfectly normal, but it is important to be prepared for it.”

That’s where The Adult Contract comes into play. It is not a written contract and no one need sign anything. It is an “agreement as to how people ought to treat one another in this new environment of visibility and accountability.”

The Adult Contract

In the next few posts we’ll go over each of the aspects of The Adult Contract.

Until next time,

Perry Phillips, President

Ownership Thinking Canada Inc.

Visit www.ownershipthinking.ca to learn more about Ownership Thinking Canada and our new online e-learning tool.

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Sometimes what your employees don’t know can hurt your company

Brad Hams uses the following example in his book Ownership Thinking: How to End Entitlement and Create a Culture of Accountability, Purpose, and Profit:  when asked the question: “Your company had $12 million in sales last year.  What do you think the profit was?”, one employee put up his hand and guessed 50%.  In fact, 5 to 10 percent is closer to the norm in most businesses.  Brad shares that he has never come across a company with a 50% profit but that it is a fairly common answer among employees in companies where financial information has not been shared.  He has even heard some employees suggest 100% profit – many people associate revenues with profits.

In the absence of information, people make stuff up and there are a couple of reasons why you should care about this.  The first reason is that when employees assume their company is making wheelbarrows of money, they become wasteful.  One example we ran across was a construction company with a high rate of equipment being left on job sites.  Employees were thinking that the company was making so much money that leaving behind a $500 piece of equipment was no big deal and not worth their time and effort in retrieving.

The second reason is that when employees think that the owner of the company is making so much money they start to question “Where’s my piece of that huge profit?” and that can create a morale problem.

The big irony here is that the primary fear many business owners have about sharing financial information with employees is that if the employees know what the company makes, they will want more.  Of course, what those owners don’t know is that their employees already want more because they think the company is making way more than they actually are.

Until next time,

Perry Phillips, President

Ownership Thinking Canada Inc.

Visit www.ownershipthinking.ca to learn more about Ownership Thinking Canada and our new online e-learning tool.

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