So there's one topic that has been thrown around the Hong Kong office a lot lately: Ownership. Who takes ownership of a client? Who takes ownership of a role? Is there even such a thing as ownership over a role if we're a team?
Now my fellow Hong Kong Salties can attest that these discussions in our office haven't always been the prettiest. And let me tell you - we have some great conversations in our office (I'm learning Hindi as we speak). But it's got me thinking: When do we use the term ownership correctly, and when is it just as passing around accountability in the event that something goes wrong?
The way I understand it is: You take ownership - you accept the responsibility of this task no matter which outcome. Fine and dandy - that's, unfortunately, how being a grown up works. Then there's the fake "ownership", where the task is given to someone with the phrase "Take ownership of that role". This is where lines blur - as to me this is assigning accountability to someone and not yourself.
Now don't get me wrong: Taking ownership of something is (as mentioned before) how to be a grown-up - taking responsibility for your own actions. But this is where the term got muddy around the office - the definitions of ownership, accountability and (most importantly) teamwork got all mixed up and crazy. What we need to focus on is a perfect synergy (Link Ups anyone?) of all these terms.
To me, the best way forward is through a team effort with team ownership and complete transparency. A living, breathing and always evolving form of Jobscience (yep - shameless plug)
P.S: Dragonboat follow-up: I smashed it! #nailedit
Accountability vs. ownership. As I define it, accountability is something assigned or given. I can assign accountability. I can instruct an employee to perform a task or even accomplish a goal. But in effect I still own that task or goal. I tell the employee what I want, I define success and I create metrics to measure that success. That’s accountability. The employee takes responsibility for getting done what I want.