December 21, 2023
Have you ever told a team member to capture a project idea you knew was important, and wanted to make sure it didn’t get forgotten?
Or maybe you’ve been on the receiving end… Making a physical or digital note of this “ important” project.
I write “important” in quotations because they’re rarely clarified or planned, resulting in failure and disappointment when a status update is requested days or weeks later.
Capturing project ideas as a Someday/Maybe is one thing. But to expect progress is another. If we expect the latter, then these projects must be appropriately planned.
But, I’m not talking about project plans today (although important). I want to focus on one specific attribute of a well-defined project: Ownership
Ownership is the single most important thing to clarify whenever launching a new project, process, or task.
At least with clear ownership, the person responsible will attempt to clarify the project further. It's a simple yet powerful principle that can make or break the success of your operation.
If you’re only going to plan one aspect of your project, it should always be ownership, particularly when there are multiple collaborators.
Collaboration VS. Ownership: Finding the Balance
Owning a project is like driving a car. While it's great to have passengers contributing to the navigation or entertainment, there can only be one person with their hands on the wheel. This person is the one ultimately responsible for reaching the destination.
The same thing goes for projects and SOPs. But it doesn’t mean that project owners do everything. Their primary goal is to ensure progress.
The Accountability Factor
When multiple people are 'responsible,' there is no accountability. It's easy for tasks to fall through the cracks with the assumption that someone else will pick them up.
Ownership eliminates this ambiguity, promotes progress, and significantly increases the probability of success.
When no one is responsible, things can stay “blocked” indefinitely.
Integrating Ownership into Your Systems
- Define Clear Roles: When setting up a project, SOP, or task, clarify ownership. This clarity will streamline the process and avoid confusion.
- Communication is Key: Ensure that everyone involved understands their role and the role of others. Weekly meetings can help keep everyone aligned.
- Empower and Trust: Give the responsible individual the authority and trust to drive their part of the project. Micro-managing can negate the benefits of ownership.
- Documentation: Make a note in your systems and project management software about who is responsible for what. This transparency will help with progress and accountability.
- Flexibility and Support: While one person may be responsible, they should feel supported by the team. Encourage a culture where seeking help is seen as a strength, not a weakness.
See you all next Thursday 👋
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