Change Leadership Secret – 103 – Determine the Owner

Change Leadership — Secret # 103
Determine the Owner

Leadership: the art of getting someone else to do something you want done
because he wants to do it. —Dwight D. Eisenhower

What I Need to Know

Who owns the problem? Who has the need? If you have a child, you have probably said, “You need to pick up your clothes and put them in the hamper before you go to bed.” Did your child respond by saying, “Um…Actually, Dad, I don’t really have a need for that. But, if you feel a need and it’ll make you happy, sure I’ll do a favor for you.”

Has your child ever said in the morning, “Dad! I need my favorite shirt. Did you wash it? Where is it?” And then, you answered, “It’s probably still where you left it in the corner of your room on the floor. I didn’t have a need to look for it, so I didn’t wash it.”

It’s often easy to forget who owns the problem and has the need. In the stereotypical example of asking children to clean up after themselves, most often, it is the parent who owns the need for cleanliness. The child does not feel the need. Conversely, parents often feel the need for washing clothes, when it is really the child who feels the need to have clean clothes. These misplaced needs are classic in organizations.

Countless times a day someone in one group will go to another group in an organization and say, “I need [something].” The other group’s cooperation is less than enthusiastic because it does not feel any ownership or need. This happens although the organization’s fundamental purpose is to divide labor, combine efforts, and achieve cooperatively what cannot be achieved individually.

What I Need to Do

As you apply the disciplines of the Change Leadership Framework, identify and attach owners to each item. For example, as you analyze how the forces fan out through the organization, attach an owner to each force at each node. Then ask, “Why does this person feel he owns this?” This will give you a really good understanding of the organizational dynamics, which is instrumental in planning your coalition-building strategy.

Another example of sorting out ownership is assessing the Formula for Change in the power analysis discipline: Who owns the dissatisfaction? Who owns the vision for the new situation? Who will own the first steps?

These ownership questions are critical because action does not happen by itself. A specific person or group must ultimately take action. Who will take ownership and action?

Every aspect of the Change Leadership Framework involves ownership. Identify owners for each, being sure you accurately sort out the real ownership and avoid misplacing needs.

Action Summary

  • Be aware of misplaced needs.
  • Identify the real owners for all aspects of the change.
  • Remember, “He who takes ownership takes action.”
Change Leadership Secret - 103 Determine the Owner
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