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  • Writer's pictureRobert Stevenson

A Culture Of Ownership

Robert Stevenson Blog - Think like an owner

I have a client who is an extremely large freight company with an amazing delivery-on-time ratio of over 99%. But, it is not just getting the merchandise there on time that makes them so good, it’s getting it there on-time, and undamaged. They concentrate on getting their employees to think like an owner, to try and recognize problems and take ownership of the problem rather than leave the problem for someone else to fix. (In most cases, fixing a problem after-the-fact, costs more and results in a seriously upset customer.)

So, they have instilled a Culture of Ownership throughout their organization by showing their employees how and when ownership of a problem should take place and the costs associated with no one doing so. They put together a short film for a training conference as a case study, using an actual client event. This “event” could have been corrected countless times had anyone taken ownership; but no one did. Here is a quick look at what the film identified.

The freight company’s salesperson finally convinced the client, who manufactured golf carts, to give them a try at shipping their carts around the country; an order for three truck loads. Did the salesperson go check how the golf carts were packaged? No. He just turned in the order to operations and moved on to the next customer.
Operations sent over three trucks to pick up the golf carts. Did those three drivers check to make sure the golf carts were packaged correctly so they wouldn’t get damaged in transit? No. They just loaded up the golf carts and took them back to the main terminal. Then they proceeded to off-load the golf carts, so they could be placed on individual trucks to be shipped out the next day.
Did anyone in the terminal (over a hundred people), who walked by the golf carts while they were sitting on the terminal floor, recognize that they were packaged incorrectly and would easily be damaged in transit? No.
Not one person took ownership of the problem. No one was looking out for the company, or for that matter, the customer. Did the golf carts arrive safely? No. Every one of them was damaged. Did the freight company pay the claim? YES! If one person had taken ownership, thousands of dollars would have been saved, along with keeping a customer HAPPY.

If your company is going to be successful, you need to get your employees thinking like an owner; taking ownership of any issue that could negatively affect your company or the customer. The short film by the freight company said it all. Great Leaders realize that if they intend to increase efficiency, productivity, and profits, it is critical they Create a Culture of Ownership.


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