Company ownership is a funny thing. Who really owns the company? Well, it’s probably the guy with risk in one pocket and a checkbook in the other. So your company isn’t exactly a co-op. You don’t have shares or equity. You aren’t a partner. Let’s assume you are at the ‘bottom’ of the company. I propose there is tremendous value in an ownership mentality: this is my company and I’m going to work to make it the kind of company I think it should be.
I am, without question, a small company person. Large companies, bureaucracy, and overly defined roles give me hives. I like open air, accountability, no place to hide. It’s like a small town: everyone knows what everyone else is up to.
In small companies (think consultancies, start-ups, small agencies) there simply isn’t room for depending on someone else to pick up the slack. When everyone collectively takes responsibility for what’s going on quality is higher, things get done, problems fixed.
The company gets a lot out of the individuals acting like owners. Is the reverse true? Yes. Even in a company of great people, there will always be unmet needs. What can you do to add value? How can you make yourself indispensable? Perhaps something can be done better. Perhaps something isn’t being done at all and should be. Step into the gap and become a leader. Find roles you can play in your team and in your company.
Act like an owner and you will find yourself taking ownership: first of roles, perhaps tools, then teams, departments, and even companies.
If, like me, you want to stay at the tech level and don’t want to pursue company ownership, the rule is still the same: what can I do to add value that nobody else is doing?