Editor's note: Brian O'Neill, CMSWire Contributor and former chief client officer for FIS, wrote for CX and other teams in his former organization a series of articles. Each were titled, “The Path ... " with each edition being a new take. For example, he would discuss culture, leadership, ownership, purpose, etc. In his six-plus years in his CX role, he sent out 286 notes with the intention to empower, reinforce and frame his company's mission by sharing insights to help his team improve its game and increase its level of engagement in what it wanted to accomplish. He revives some of these notes and adds some current perspective in this Fall/Winter 2022 CMSWire series.

On May 21, 2017, the original edition of "The Path . . . To Ownership," was sent to my client relations team for consumption. The goal was simple: to help drive home the important role each of us play in the culture we want and the experiences we deliver.

Don't I need to own stock or have stock options to be an owner?

Taking Ownership in Your Company

This is less about an equity position and much more about the influence we have, both as leaders and in some cases, individual contributors, in shaping the employee experience (EX) and client experience (CX).

Here is how I originally defined the idea of taking ownership and how that would drive our mission of consistently delivering an excellent client experience in every interaction:

To be excellent means to be vigilant and taking responsibility for the outcome. You don't need to have every answer to every question, but as an owner you definitely want to be sure the answer is found and shared.

Why yes, we truly were on an excellent adventure. As a leadership team we had recently taken a step to define the values we sought to frame our approach. These would act as the foundation for the ownership we sought to demonstrate.

Related Article: The Path to Excellence, Part 6: Achieving a Growth Mindset

Values We Valued

  • Advocacy: Being a client champion by working on their behalf to ensure success
  • Responsiveness: Committing to being resourceful and recognizing the urgency of each challenge
  • Accountability:Doing what we say and meeting the expectations that have been set
  • Fun: Demonstrating a passion to delight while actually having a good time doing it

Now, think about your personal ownership experiences . . . perhaps you've walked into a small boutique, or a classic town square shop, and you are looking for the owner. Just look for the person picking the trash up off the floor. That's your owner.

Listen to them share their story. Listen to the passion. Listen to how vested they are in what they do every day. Listen to just how engaged they are in the ultimate success of what they created.

Well, you might think, perhaps they have their life-savings on the line. This is their only source of income. They cannot afford to fail.

Learning Opportunities

Funny, doesn't that sound just like you, or me, or anyone on any number of the teams we've run? So, why would the small shop owner act differently than a person taking a front-line phone call from an upset client?

Perhaps the answer lies in a simple question: Have you ever paid to have a rental car detailed?

Related Article: The Path to Excellence, Part 3: Culture Is No Accident

Treat Your Employees Like Owners

Let me rephrase the question: have you ever purposefully paid to get a rental car detailed? My guess is no way.

Why? Well, most likely because you don't own it. Funny how we treat things differently when we see the value in them the way the owner does.

So too holds true the mission of ownership and fostering an environment that engages the team to think and act like owners. Perhaps your incentives are not aligned. Maybe your employees think they are renting that chair versus owning it as part of your team.

Perhaps if we did treat our employees like owners (and sure a little equity along the way ensures incentives are aligned with desired outcomes) it makes it far easier to embrace the values that are valued while consistently delivering an excellent client experience in every interaction.

Enjoy the journey.