Often in teams whether you are serving with a for-profit or non-profit organization you have team members who don’t think like owners but rather renters when at work. This is especially critical when you work with volunteer teams. We are talking about the buy-in and engagement of a team. Do they care not just about the vision of the organization but also the process that it takes to get there?
There is power in the invitation to others to be a part of the evaluation and implementation of ideas. We are not islands unto ourselves or lone rangers in our leadership journey. We need others. And it is through the power of community that we are able to become better. We see this most acutely in Proverbs 27:17,
“As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another.”
Invitation to Think Like Owners
Years ago, when I was running my company, several of our moving trucks began to show their age and required a significant amount of maintenance. It was time to shop for replacement trucks. Instead of making an executive decision and informing the rest of the team after the fact. We pulled the drivers and crew members together to talk about buying new trucks. And what followed was amazing.
We asked them to do the research and spec out new equipment, which they readily agreed to do. During their research, they were shocked when they learned how expensive new trucks were.
To my surprise, in an attempt to save money, they recommended that we leave out radios (this was before iPods and smartphones) and some other features.
Since the drivers and crew members made those recommendations, their attitudes were very positive despite lacking features such as radios.
Because they had been involved in the process and had the opportunity to provide research and feedback, they felt a sense of ownership for these new vehicles.
Decision Making that Invites the Mindset of Ownership
Typically, the CEO or a key leader makes this type of decision. It makes sense that such a critical capital expenditure be the call of a top leader.
As our business grew, I saw how the participative leadership style (Employing the 1-2-3 Decision Making) profoundly impacted the alignment and performance of our team.
Ultimately, I made the final decision. But my decision-making was informed by the research and recommendations of our team members. The end results were a good decision and a supportive and aligned team!
1-2-3 Decision Making is a unique approach to the decision-making process defined as:
At the very beginning of the decision-making process – AND before making a decision – the empowering leader seeks input from his or her team.
Such a leader asks:
- Who can help me make a better decision?
- Who will have to carry it out?
- Who will be impacted by it?
The answers to the three questions above will guide leaders to assemble the right people and involve them, as appropriate to help make important decisions.
Every leader can develop a more effective and efficient TEAM by asking these three simple questions that consistently bring better results (extraordinary results beyond your imagination) while maintaining and enhancing relationships. This process will give you a team that thinks like owners.
Remember: This is not decision-making by the committee. You, as the leader, must still decide to make the final decision. However, you will have a team that buys in and is engaged as owners of that decision.
Three Key Benefits to Participative 1-2-3 Decision Making
Leaders who involve their people in this way of decision-making will experience three key benefits.
You’ll make decisions that are better informed, your people will be more engaged with key decisions and their outcomes, and, finally, the organization will reach a level of team-initiated achievement that was impossible before implementing this process. The bottom result is your team begins to think like owners.
First, let’s consider how your decisions will be better informed. When facing a decision, your personal insight will seldom be as broad and deep as that of your team.
Your people are in a position to know what kinds of things might get in the way of implementing decisions that are made and plans that are laid out. Therefore, their input will grease the skids for the implementation or execution of the decisions and plans.
As the leader, you have now afforded yourself more resources, ideas, and energy than you would have had on your own. You can devise better and more diverse alternatives when your team provides you with multiple perspectives on how to reach your decision.
Think Like Owners
Next, consider ownership of ideas. When you sincerely solicit your team’s thoughts and ideas, they are more likely to see themselves as full-fledged members of an outstanding team, and they will be prepared to weather the impact of decisions and plans. They are the owners of the decision.
As a team, they will share in the credit for victories and the blame for losses.
And if you implement this participative decision-making, your employees are going to get excited about being asked for their ideas and involvement.
They will also have a better understanding of and commitment to the decisions that they collaboratively set. They will be your biggest cheerleaders to champion the decision, and they will bring results far beyond your expectations.
What an excellent way for your people to feel a sense of achievement – and to earn recognition for achievement – because they were involved in the development and implementation of decisions made.
Last, this approach leads to peak performance. Encouraging our people to be actively involved to participate in the decision-making process. I was able to build a peak-performance team that achieved extraordinary results.
I was able to maximize my team’s potential and minimize their weakness when achieving results. And we did more as a team than we would have if I had made decisions alone.
By contrast, if you lead like a lone ranger, your strengths and weaknesses are more exposed.
You too can achieve positive outcomes and extraordinary results by tapping this important principle – enhancing your relationships (engaging employees) as you drive for results through participative decision-making –employing the 1-2-3 Decision-Making tool.
Do your employees think like owners? Have you struggled to get your people to support your decisions? What might happen in your organization if you started to make decisions with the help of your team as described above?
Learn more about Principled Profits here.