Close your eyes and think about these situations:
Situation one: Imagine you are on your way to work on a Monday morning. You take the regular metro (or subway or bus), which is extremely crowded. Five minutes after you get in, you notice that an older woman loses her balance and falls. She gets hurt and is crying in pain. By the looks, it might be a severe injury.
What would you do?
Before you read on, please take a second to visualize what you would do for the older woman.
Situation two- It is the same as above. The only difference is that the injured person is not an older stranger, but one of your parents.
What would you do now? Would it be any different from the first situation?
I believe that a lot of people would help the older woman from the first situation to a certain extent. Maybe they take her to the closest hospital, or they call the emergency services, or they call someone from her phone. And the situation would end there.
In the second case, most would probably take their parent to the hospital, take the day off from work, and stay with their parent until they get the necessary treatment and recover fully.
As expected, the level of ownership is much higher in the second case compared to the first.
In the first instance, the person worked towards a short term goal or an instant output - get the injured person immediate help. In the second case, the person fought for a longer-term goal and an outcome - help the parent get whatever they need to recover.
The above set of actions sound apparent, because in one situation, the wounded is a stranger, and in the second, they are a parent. But that is not the point. The point is that the same person can operate at different levels of ownership depending on how much they care about the outcome.
Great product managers genuinely care about the problems they solve and the solutions they deliver. Great product managers also have an exceptionally high level of ownership.
Let us understand the advantages of being a high ownership PM:
- Confidence and trust. Direct manager, peers, and seniors will have very high confidence in those who consistently own and deliver results. They will be the most coveted team member or leader for critical and complex tasks.
- Better decision making. High ownership individuals have the "do whatever it takes" attitude. Getting things done requires excellent decision making. PMs who are ownership driven create systems and processes to enable and improve their decisions.
- Bigger and stronger network. Most business-critical decisions require alignment across multiple leaders and teams. High ownership PMs build and leverage relationships to expedite the process of making difficult decisions.
- Create a positive and happy culture in the organization. Great PMs are self-motivated and deliver positive results, which builds a success-driven culture - something that every employer desires.
- Create a meaningful and visible impact. As long as PMs are working on the right tasks - which great PMs always do - their work will create a positive impact on their team and the organization.
At this stage, you might be asking yourself - "How do I become (more) ownership driven?" And, we have the answer to that question, which I will share in the next post.
For now, I leave you with one of Gary W. Keller's quote, that summarizes the importance of ownership.
Taking complete ownership of your outcomes by holding no one but yourself responsible for them is the most powerful thing you can do to drive your success.