Taking Ownership

A person taking charge and assuming responsibility in a professional setting.

Taking Ownership

Success is elusive until you take full ownership of your actions and responsibilities.

Dan Greer

Recently, I assisted a company in regaining compliance, despite the challenging task of traveling across the western US during the winter. Throughout this experience, I gained valuable insights.

First and foremost, I realized the pivotal role of taking ownership of any project for its success. Upon arriving at their administrative office, it became evident that no one had previously taken full ownership of the DOT program. Like many organizations, the responsibility had been passed from one person to another, resulting in repeated failures and a compliance rate of less than 10%.

Stepping in to assist, we made remarkable progress. Within the first two weeks, the compliance rate soared to over 40%, reaching over 50% by the end of the third week and now standing at over 90%. So, what made the difference? It was simple—I took ownership of the program.

I made it my priority to engage with as many drivers as possible, identifying and rectifying underlying issues. Others had shied away, citing the situation as too chaotic to handle and expressing sentiments like, “This is just too much of a mess right now. Once it’s under control, then my team can handle it.” Such attitudes only perpetuate the problem and hinder genuine success.

Sadly, a member of their team had recently abandoned the project, passing it on to someone else due to a perceived lack of time. However, the truth is clear—without genuine ownership, true success is unattainable.

Taking ownership is crucial for several reasons, which we’ll explore next.

When we take ownership of a project, we ensure its success. There’s no room for excuses like “We did our best” or “It’s not my fault if a third of the company didn’t attend our meetings at every location” (which happened). When someone truly owns a project, nothing, absolutely nothing, can impede its progress. That’s why taking ownership is paramount.

Imagine starting a new project with only a half-hearted commitment. What are the chances of its survival? About 25% at best. But when you commit 125%, there’s no room for failure because you’re giving it your all. You tackle obstacles head-on, finding solutions and overcoming them.

Now, if you don’t take ownership, what happens when obstacles arise? You become disheartened and give up. When I discovered that 100 drivers hadn’t attended our meetings while we were traveling, I had two options.

Option 1 was to blame the managers and organizers. But what would that achieve? Absolutely nothing besides assigning blame.

Option 2 was to find solutions. I chose this path. It wasn’t easy, but it was the only viable option. I delved into the system, identified what was needed for full compliance, and reached out to each driver individually.

By taking ownership of the project, we navigated through obstacles as they arose, ensuring its success.

Today, I want to urge everyone to embrace ownership in all their endeavors. Whether it’s scrubbing toilets or loading a rocket with fuel, take ownership.

Commit yourself to ensuring that it gets done because you’re determined to make it happen. So go out there and take pride in your work!

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