In my experience, having an owner mindset is one of the most significant determinants of success in anything you do.
An owner sees the company as their newborn baby. They love it like that are committed to seeing it grow up to be something great. Consider Jeniffer a single mother of twins who didn’t have much experience and was making very little money. Eight years ago, she discovered that she was pregnant. When she did her ultrasounds at 12 weeks, her family doctor gave her the surprise of her life, she was pregnant with twins. Shortly after that, her boyfriend with whom they were talking about settling down and starting a family left her. Jennifer briefly considered abortion but decided that was against her values and beliefs. She decided to keep her twins and to do everything in her power to make her life better for their sakes. Being the amazing mother that she is, she hustled and worked long hours, working full time and taking classes at the same time. Because of her hard work and dedication, she not only pursued and graduated from college but now has an MBA and a six figure job. She is moving quickly up the ladder at her company as well. She is a real mama bear and will protect her kids at all cost. She will lay her life down for her kids.
As amazing as Jennifer’s story is, she is not alone. There are single mothers like this who start as secretaries climb right up to CEOs to make life better for their kids. These are people with an owner mentality.
A few years ago, I was coaching one of my leaders. I told her this, “As an owner, one thing that will help you is to find alternatives. Like you know, being an owner is like having a two-year-old child. You still have a life but you can’t simply leave the house without taking them with you or making arrangements for their care. It changes your life but just like a 2-year-old kid, it can be a lot of fun. You still have to take care of your marriage and your 2-year-old. It’s not one or the other, it’s both.”
A Good Employee
A good employee is loyal and committed to the vision and the team. These people are in for the long run. They see themselves being with the company for a long time. They are not out shopping for other places to go. When they are assigned tasks, they get the job done quickly, cheerfully, and completely. They make suggestions when asked and speak well of the company to others.
Good employees are also flexible with their time and sometimes take one for the team.
Notice that I’m not talking about a bad employee. The kind of employee that clocks in and out and won’t stay a minute longer. The kind who stop working and pack their things at 4:50 pm so that they clock out at exactly 5:00 pm. The ones that are inflexible, complain if they need to do a little bit more, etc. Those are usually fired, so there is no need to talk about them.
-Owner Mentality – Owners have an owner’s mentality. They aren’t simply loyal and committed to the vision and the team but they own the vision. It’s not just the vision of the more senior organization, it’s their vision. The organization is like her two-year-old child.
-Responsibility – Owners feel personally responsible for everything in the business. So will step in and do whatever is needed. Isn’t limited to his job description.
-Time: Doesn’t clock in and out – Works for the business around the clock because if she doesn’t do it, who else will? The business is her 2-year-old. She is totally responsible. But it is not hopeless because someday her two-year-old will become a big boy and she will get a break. The company will grow and she will be able to take the vacations she needs.
-Sacrifice – She sacrifices everything she has to ensure that the business will survive. Lays down his life for the sheep — which in this case are the business and its team members and the customers–so that she can bring them a great product.
-Don’t complain – Owners don’t complain because if they don’t do it, who will?
Because they have an owner’s mindset or paradigm, they automatically start seeing things and paying attention to detail in ways that someone with an employee mindset doesn’t do even if he wanted to. Just like a mother develops maternal instincts that someone without a child may not have, a person with an owner mentality develops owner instincts about the business that people with an employee mentality don’t have.
Guess who gets promoted to the top of the company?
The people who have an owner mentality. People don’t develop an owner mentality after they are promoted. It’s the other way around. It is the owner mentality that they developed that led to their promotion.
If you work harder than the owner, care more than the owner, sacrifice more, and are willing to learn, grow, build connections, etc, you will soon become the owner. The laws of the universe are designed to make it so.
I have read a lot of things about the ownership mentality. One of the best I’ve ever read comes from a discussion Jesus of Nazareth had with his followers. In the discussion he contrasts presents himself as the quintessential owner and compares himself to a hired hand (employee). He told them,
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.”
This article is not a religious piece. As such, I’m not concerned in this article about Jesus’ position in Christianity. The focus here is simply how Jesus contrasts an owner and an employee.
If you want to go from good to great, you simply need a paradigm shift from the employee mentality to the owner mentality.