The Power of Ownership
My best practice is centered around the spirit of happiness and the act of ownership. Every day I make the decision to be happy by accepting who I am as a person. I accept the flaws and find ways to improve them. I accept the mistakes and use them as a platform to fail fast and regroup. I make the choice daily to be happy with who I am and to own my identity. By taking ownership of my identity, my actions, and my brand, I am able to transfer that same method of self-ownership to owning the customer experience in the workplace.
It is easy to blame others, and hand off responsibilities to someone else. “After all, this isn’t my job.” “They created this mess.” “I don’t see why we always have to help them.” Sound familiar? Sometimes ownership doesn’t feel good. It’s extra work, it’s inconvenient, and quite frankly, more of learning curve than you signed up for. “Why can’t someone else do it?” “Why does it always have to be me?” “They wouldn’t help me if the tables were turned.” Does this ring a bell?
But why not you? Why not create out-of-the-box solutions that overcome the issue? Why not lead, and come out of your comfort zone? The moment you begin to take ownership, you have called change into your life. The colors of your life will change, the universe will open opportunities to you that were once hidden, and your path to a great future will become more clear to you. If you change your mindset, you will change your perception. And if you change your perception, you will change your results.
A Quadruple Win
That is exactly what I did in my management role. I changed my old way of thinking, my old ways of approach problems, and ultimately went from leading a team to change, to leading an organization to change. That created a platform to share my message, by challenging an entire center to change their mindset through ownership. I changed the conversation, and changed the results…but it wasn’t easy.
I was assigned a team of external new hires who were uninterested in the company’s mission, vision, and values. They were not interested in exploring the rainbows of life, nor taking on someone else’s problems (even though they were getting paid to do just that). Their mindset was focused on their end game, “getting off the phones” or getting into a department that closely fit their education qualifications. I could relate to wanting change, but I explained how important it is to live in the moment and maximize the opportunity of all the skills they would build in negotiating, multitasking, and communicating. We discussed the value in mastering the current role through performance and consistency.
This group of opinionated Millennials questioned every directive and needed to know the why behind any instruction, training, or request. It was then that I realized that in order to get through to them, I would need to present information in a way they would be receptive to. So I facilitated trainings to teach my team how to connect. I had career discussions to help groom them for where they wanted to go in the company. I also praised their great performance once they demonstrated transfer of knowledge through skill set practice. Once they got the hang of it, we heard from our customers. The customers liked them, but they did not like resolution of the interaction. As a result, I challenged them to ask the customer head how they felt about the transaction, and work through the needs and emotions of the customer, right there on the spot. I created a campaign centered around the customer experience and ownership. I drew up positioning statements to overcome objections, and to state the value of our business to the customer. I also ran incentives to get the employees buy in. There it was. I introduced the idea, explained the why, and made them part of the process. It was a quadruple win: The customer walked away happy, the business kept loyal customers, the employee obtained performance results, and I watched my energy and ownership theory transform the results of a team and organization.
I leveraged my belief that I should own and accept who I am by showing up as my best self, and incorporated that into my job performance. I come into work with a smile every day because that is my brand. I come ready to help because that is my responsibility. Just as I owe it to myself to own my words, my actions, and my results, I make the decision to own my customer’s issues and to teach, train, and coach to that skill set.
Happiness Is a Choice
My personality is high energy and animated. I like to have fun and bring excitement to the workplace. This allows employees to want to be there because they don’t want to “miss” anything fun or interesting I might do that day. I bring all of my energy to my trainings, because as the owner of my personal brand, it is imperative that I share this gift with all I encounter. I bring my excitement to coaching, so employees know I am happy to see them and discuss the plan for their life.
Recently, I had stopped to have a full conversation with a woman I had seen in passing at work for about two months. It was during that particular conversation that she shared that she was due to deliver her brand new baby in four weeks. She then told me, “I was just talking about you last night.”
I replied with a confused smile, “Really?” This woman didn’t even know my name! We had never worked together or even eaten in the same breakroom.
She continued by saying, “Do you know that Maya Angelou saying, ‘You may not remember what someone said to you, but you never forget how they made you feel’? That quote was made for you.”
I did all I could to keep the tears inside, and I did. I had no idea that my cheerful attitude and positive outlook made such an impact on the life of a woman I barely knew. This all came from taking ownership of who I am on a daily basis. Happiness is a choice, not a default emotion. No one can bring you to that place but yourself. Self-ownership is a lifestyle, not a fad.
Which path will you choose? Happiness or contentment, ownership or blame, success or failure? Every day you wake up and live the life someone else has carved out for you is another day you have mediocrity. Every time you complain about a policy or a new process you do not like or agree with, you silence the sound of innovation. Refuse to lose and choose to win. Failure is the place where dreams go to die and chance will never live. Failure is not in the fact that you didn’t win or have the expected outcome. Failure happens when you allow pride to rob you from learning and developing. Success happens when you welcome feedback as a gift and strive to achieve greater results. My desire for you is that you will arise and choose to claim what is rightfully yours, every single day: your happiness, your brand, and your sense of self. Because only then will results happen. And you will own every area of your life.
Joy Singfield started with Verizon Wireless in 2014 and has held various positions. She is currently a GOAL Trainer with Learning and Development, where she trains Technical Support, Customer Service, and Supervisors on new processes, soft skill techniques, and system development. She is a proud mom of two little girls ages 7 and 4 and enjoys teaching them the ethics of hard work and determination, mixed with a little fun and lots of laughter.