As a mom I am forever telling my kids to clean their room… it seems that they have a hard time adapting to the fact that as they have become older the responsibility of keeping their living space clean is their’s and not mine. If you are a parent you know what I am talking about. My frustration in this isn’t so much that I have to tell them every day, or stay on top of them about it, it is more that they can’t seem to ‘get’ the fact that it’s their room, they should take ownership of it.
So in my ever analytically thinking mind, I started to look at it from their perspective:
I own the house (they don’t), I determine decor, for the most part (they don’t), I have veto or restriction rights (they don’t)…
hmmm.. but yet I want them to make the decision to be the ‘owner’ of the space when they so very obviously don’t own it… this has been the dilemma of teaching my kids to keep their rooms clean.
So as a Trainer and Mentor to Online Business Managers I have come to realize this same dilemma is plaguing the business community…
When I talk to business owners who are DESPERATE to work with people who can fully support them in the development and operations of their business, there is a recurring theme in those conversations: team members taking ownership of their role.
If you are a graphic designer… you role is easy to take ownership… need graphic, provide graphic. Easy… still your house, you own it. When it comes to web design same thing… but when it comes to the processes of managing a business, each business being unique to the structure of it’s needs, each client being unique to the ‘way’ they want their business to run… you are now taking your expertise and living in someone else’s house.
So how do you take ownership of something that is essentially NOT YOURS?
I know this is the question, I know business owners are asking this question, because they are in such great need to find someone who will step in and manage, run, love, care, about their business to the same extent that they do. And I know there are amazingly professional and dedicated virtual support professionals who want to support these owners, but unfortunately they find themselves in the same place as my kids trying to take ownership of something they do not officially ‘own’.
I don’t want to toot my own horn but.. I will.. this is a skill I have mastered. Why: because it’s the only way to be the best Online Business Owner I can be.
Here’s how I do it:
1. Engage Your Passion
You will never be able to take ownership of something you do not care about. You need to really be passionate about the work you do, who you are doing it for, and how it is received. This needs to be on a greater scale than on a personal level of “I love setting up structure, organizing or managing the process of business,” it needs to be something more along the lines of “I love setting up structure for the businesses I support because I believe that my clients message of X deserves the highest level of support”.
You need to be invested in the product… you don’t need to be an expert in the product just invested in it, i.e. if you work for a business that sells high-end carbonate customized bicycle parts to cycle enthusiast, you need to “care about cycling on some level.”
Why do you need to engage your passion? Because the owner is passionate about the product or service they are providing and the only way for you to step into the ownership of your role is to be passionate about the outcome it effects on those it serves.
2. Treat It As Though It’s Your Own
Grab all your ‘stuff’ and move in! Seriously this is soooo important when it comes to taking ownership of your role as an Online Business Manager. If you have processes, systems you love, formats, formulas, templates of how you manage a business – implement it, get it plugged into the business. The more of your management style you can assert, the more invaluable you will become to the business owner, and the more you will feel a part of owning the success of the business.
Every business lives and falls on its ability to deliver on product. The product is really up to the business owner… however it doesn’t really matter how fabulous the product is if the delivery (process of operations) is less than superior. If a book is delivered and the pages are printed upside down… really doesn’t matter how good the book is, what folks will remember and take away from it was that it was printed upside down. The ability to deliver sets the standard for how the product will be received. This is your role: get it right and implement your way of ‘getting it done.’
3. Take Accountability
Going back to my kids cleaning their room… the one area yet to be instilled in them is that they are accountable for that space. If it’s clean, straight, organized, destroyed, messy or somewhere in between… it is a reflection of them. They are accountable for that space, whether they want to be or not.
You MUST see yourself as the accountable person for the operations of a business to truly take ownership of your role as an Online Business Manager. No more pointing fingers, no more excuses, no more indecision… if you want to play at this level with your clients, you need to take accountability… when it’s running beautifully smooth… you are accountable, if it’s falling apart at the seems you are still accountable. Accountability is the anchor to all leadership and management.
Online Business Manager = Ownership. It really is that simple..
My question to you is where are you taking ownership in your OBM role and where do you still need to take ownership.