10-Point Plan in Action
What’s It Mean to Own It?
Going back down to SxSW reminds me of a conversation I had with @copyblogger, Brian Clark at SxSW 2008. It was in the early hours. We were at a club and found a place where we could talk for a minute or two. We were talking about SOBCon and how it had grown. We were talking about how people were coming because of the people who were in the room who were coming because of the people who were in the room.
It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Brian doesn’t remember what he said that night, but I do.
He said: “You and Terry are doing something important.
I said: “i know.”
Then he said: “But you gotta OWN it! Because without it where would I be?”
I replied something flippant like: “Still running the stealth intelligence network of the universe?”
He ignored my attempt at humor and continued with: “You gotta OWN it seriously.”
That advice stayed with me. I told Terry about it.
“Gotta OWN it! We own it, don’t we?”
But for the next year that idea became a mantra, “I’m OWNING it.”
Now I know what that simple sentence means.
Want to Own Your Space? Own Up to Your Own Standards
A few months later, I was at SOBCon 2008 with Brian’s words ringing in my ears. The thought kept running through my mind, “What am I not owning here?”
And as I opened my eyes, I realized that, in an effort to be “easy to work with,” I’d been holding back my best. My job is the content design an execution and we’ve always delivered more, different, and better than the rest, but not as well as I was capable of delivering. I’d let speakers slide just a little, then felt they could’ve shined more for themselves and for the audience. I’d been nice to sponsors and let them be less engaging than they might.
I realized then and there that companies make that mistake all of the time. We lower our price, change our offer, compromise for a vendor. We don’t own what we’re doing, instead we give away what we own.
What we should be doing instead is building trust and proving we’re the best at doing what we do to attract the people who recognize excellence and want to work be in a space that we own.
Every teacher, saloonkeeper, consultant, great business of one or corporation has a responsibility to own our role as a leader, to set the standards of our business so that the people who are in it with us know why and how to reach their greatest potential and so that the business can thrive and grow.
Here’s what I learned about how to do that:
- Have a vision that is huge, powerful, and worth working toward to building. No smaller vision is worth owning or asking people to take part in. No lesser quest will bring you to put your heart, mind, hands and soul behind it.
- Set goals that are worth reaching. If you want commitment and high performance, give everyone something to go for that feels like a massive win when they achieve it.
- Invite only the best to participate in what you’re doing. Own the potential of your investment in the people you ask to come along. Friends are fun to play with, but owning a business requires that you own the responsibility of giving folks a team that they want to work with and for.
- Make the vision and the goals far bigger than you can control, but the outcome and your belief in it so inspiring that everyone is drawn to work in the same direction . That way people can bring their own best potential to the building, but be building one vision that you protect for them.
- Be a model of your version of the standard of ethics and excellence. Then layout the challenge for everyone to bring their own version of how they might add value to same standard with their own talents in ways that show their own excellence.
Owning our role, our values, our standards and our value proposition makes it easier for everyone else to own their role with the same values, standards, and value proposition. Like a great bartender or a community manager, we keep the space safe for people to be extraordinary without fear that they will lose by winning.
Own it. Don’t telephone it in.
Make a space, a place where people can show you what their best is and feel that you’ll notice, celebrate it, and protect it.
Do that and they’ll think of your business as owning the space you’re in, because to them it will be better than home.
How do what you do, hold it up to the highest standards, so that the people who work with and for you can know they are working with the best in the business?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!
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