This is the question my first manager out of college posed to me during a coaching session. We were evaluating my performance as a new business development rep; my job was to qualify prospects and introduce my company’s services. I was struggling with connecting to contacts and getting them to give us a chance. She found that while I was making lots of calls, I was not getting the results we were hoping for.
I seriously considered the question: How would I do my job differently if this was my own company? What would change and what would remain the same? How would I approach each phone call? How would I approach each company? How often would I call? Or follow up? I quickly realized by putting myself in the owner’s seat, my attitude, my approach, and my tenacity were completely different – in a very productive way.
When I think it through, I discover that there are three distinct characteristics this “It’s your company” mindset created for me.
I AM RESPONSIBLE:
I suddenly felt incredibly responsible. More than ever, it was up to me to make it happen. It was my job to ask the right questions and to persevere until I got the answers, I needed to make a decision about a lead’s quality. If I didn’t connect with them, who would? It was MY company.
This sense of responsibility also led to amazing follow up on my part. No one was else was going to reach out again and so I had to make sure I did my duty. It was up to me to win the account for the success of my business. I also had to make sure that everything went smoothly, and I couldn’t just assume that everything went according to plan. It was my job to ensure it did. Luckily, I worked for a great company and most everyone took great pride in their work. But the due diligence did pay off when occasional mistakes or oversight were made.
I AM ACCOUNTABLE:
I suddenly had a ton of skin in the game. I was accountable for the success of my company and therefore the success of my territory. If my territory didn’t grow, if we lost opportunities, if we failed a customer, it was my name and reputation on the line. And that mattered to me. Success was up to me.
I also wanted my team and my customers to know they could trust and rely on me; I did what I said I would do, and I did it well. If I was going to send or email information, then I did it. If I was going to call you tomorrow at 10AM, I followed through. If I told you my salesperson would call you with a quote by the end of the day, you could count on it. Being a person of her word is very important to me.
I AM PROACTIVE:
Since “I owned the company” I found myself viewing my role, my department, the whole company in a whole new way. I was interested in the success of every department and was willing to collaborate with them to increase their success. I was committed to improvement. I was thinking of ways to improve processes and took initiative to make things easier, faster, better. I felt an obligation to the company for results. I was also willing to take on new responsibilities and expand my sphere of influence. I wanted to do so to help create the culture I felt was vital to our company success.
This one question was transformational. When I was challenged to reconsider my job duties and evaluate my results from the perspective of “I own the company”, it created a fundamental change in how I approached my first post-college job. And it has impacted every job in my career since that time. Sometimes that mindset was welcome and encouraged by my employers and sometimes it was disruptive and challenging. But for the most part, I have been very blessed to work with companies that allowed me to contribute in significant ways and welcomed my method of operating: responsibly, accountably, and proactively.
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