A Sense of Ownership

Have you ever heard of “sense
of ownership?” Common sense
will tell you it’s when a person
has a sense of ownership over
something. Even my dog has a sense
of ownership… sure, it’s over her
toys. Try to take away a toy and she
will rush to stop you. Tell her to fetch
her favorite (Earl the hedgehog), and
she knows exactly what and who I’m
talking about. It makes sense then that
the same sense of ownership can be
used to motivate employees, but on a
much, much, higher level.

Let me tell you a story that will explain
exactly how you can use this sense of
ownership to increase profits, improve
job satisfaction and engagement, and
as a bonus, help your customer service
improve tremendously.

I was at a dealership in the parts
department one day talking with the
owner when he told me he assigned
the off-road section to one of his
parts guys, and the street side to a
different parts guy. Simple enough,
right? Guess what happened? The
guys started competing to make their
sections better. They took pride in
their departments. During slow times
they cleaned and merchandised their
sections instead of being on their

The owner didn’t increase their pay
and he didn’t offer any additional
bonuses. Instead what the owner
offered was to involve his employees
in the decision of bringing in new
brands and products that fell into their
proper department like street or offroad.
It created a sense of pride and
ownership in their work… and it didn’t
cost a dime.

Later I ran into a dealer who was
complaining about their parts
employees being on the phone
instead of working. It’s a common
problem with all businesses these
days. I remembered the dealership I
was in previously and what happened
when there was a sense of ownership
over things so I discussed that with the
dealer. He already had employees in
charge of parts that he didn’t want to
move… so I encouraged him to think
outside the box.

After talking back and forth, we
decided to address the root of the
problem: smart phones! The dealer
ultimately put one employee in charge
of Instagram and another in charge
of the Facebook account. Since most
people are competitive, and especially
those in the motorcycle industry,
the employees stated competing
for “likes,” on their respective social
media platforms, creating specials
and giveaways that enticed customers
to come in the door, etc. This was
a win-win for the dealership and its
customers, and it possibly saved the
employee’s jobs by keeping them off
the phone on personal pursuits.

How To Encourage Employees To
Have A Sense Of Ownership

Be Honest. Let your employees know
about business processes and be
truthful about the outlook. You’ll be
amazed when things look bad how
quickly employee support can help
turn things around.

Here are 10 tips to creating a sense of ownership at the
dealership level.

1) Delegate Authority: What better way to show employees
you’re all in the same boat?

2) Share Your Vision: Want a real team? Share what your
vision is for the company… employees with shared vision
will be invigorated… those who don’t share your vision can
move on.

3) Allow Employees to Help with Goal Setting: A goal set
by a team becomes a reality more than a goal set by one.

4) Support Profit Thinking: Financial transparency helps
employees see progress, focus on generating sales, and
adjust to cutting costs.

5) Encourage Problem Solving: Give employees a chance
to find solutions instead of just pointing out issues.
Employees work harder when they are working toward a
goal/solution they set.

6) Hold Employees Accountable: When something doesn’t
go right, hold employees accountable. They’ll make sure
everyone is in line and you’ll get less push back in the end.

7) Explain Why Things Are Done: Don’t tell employees to
do things, explain why they’re done. Employees have ideas
about how to fix things… and have better alternatives if you
explain why you do things a certain way.

8) Trust Your Employees: They’ll make the right decision if
you lead them to it and give them space to try.

9) Recognize and Acknowledge Good Work: Nothing
makes employees feel better than being recognized for
their good ideas, work, and ethics.

10) Provide Constructive Feedback: Make sure your
feedback helps and doesn’t hinder. Feedback given too
late or in a negative way only makes kids upset. It does the
same for employees.

Providing employees with a sense of ownership can make a
huge difference in your company. And, you can utilize this
rationale outside of the business as well. Trying to get your
kids to clean their room? Give them a sense of ownership
over their things. Explain why they should take care of their
stuff, etc.

Bottom line: Providing a sense of ownership is a win-win, in
the motorcycle industry and outside!


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