Blog | January 21, 2013

RSPA INSPIRE 2013 Day 1 Recap: Ownership Thinking 101

By Mike Monocello, editor-in-chief, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @monocello

Hello from Curacao (pronounced cur-a-sow) in the Caribbean! I'm here at RSPA INSPIRE 2013 where day one of the event's education just kicked off.  I've really been looking forward to the education here at INSPIRE since I first spoke with Tom Bouwer, the event's three-day keynote speaker. In a pre-event article, Bouwer piqued my curiosity with his topic: ownership thinking. This morning, attendees at the Curacao-based event were given a crash course on what ownership thinking means.

Simply, the goal of ownership thinking is to understand the cost of entitlement thinking and how to eradicate it from your organization. The building blocks of ownership thinking, as attendees this morning learned, are:

  • the right people
  • the right education
  • monitoring the right KPIs
  • implementing the right incentive plan for employees

Imagine your employees outperforming their peers by 30%. And imagine your turnover dropping significantly compared to other companies. That's what ownership thinking leads to. Bouwer shared that companies who've adopted ownership thinking turned into market leaders. Beyond that, he says that these companies create employees that have fun, care, and hold each other accountable to high standards. In short, they are highly engaged. What a dream for every business owner!

So, how do you do this? Well, the long answer is, you really need to be at this event to get the full scoop. Reading the book "Ownership Thinking" is probably your next best bet. I can, however, share some tidbits that are very relevant and were eye-opening for many in the room.

Do you give employees a bonus? If so, this might be contributing to an atmosphere of entitlement. Indeed, Bouwer says that bonuses quickly -- if not immediately -- turn into something that's expected, regardless of the financial state of the company. Often, employees have no idea why they get the bonus or how's it's determined. When they don't get a bonus, or it's reduced, the impact is quite negative.

On the flip side is an incentive program. As part of  "13 Ways To Practically Apply Ownership Thinking," Jim Roddy, Business Solutions' president, explained the importance of keeping employees in the loop on your financials. Bouwer recommends tying an incentive program directly to a company's pre-tax profit. If the company does well and hits its profitability goals, the employees reap financial rewards. If the company doesn't hit its goals, the incentive isn't handed out.

In speaking with one of the resellers in attendance who had already rolled out an incentive program, he reported at least five tangible benefits realized almost immediately. First, employees were more apt to bill for their time. Whereas in the past they might field a customer call and not charge them for the time, now they were profit-minded and billed it. Second, equipment was delivered faster. Third, invoicing was out quickly to get money back as soon as possible. Fourth, collections improved. And finally, the reseller spoke of a common focus/team mentality in his company.

As a business owner, wouldn't you love for all those things to occur? It can, and ownership thinking is the way to do it.

So, that's day 1. I'll be back tomorrow for more highlights from this top-notch event.

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