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Ownership Thinking – the end of entitlement – Brad Hams

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Ownership Thinking – the end of entitlement – Brad Hams

By , March 6, 2012

We have recently signed up as the Australia / NZ licensee with ownership thinking – read their latest blog post to see why ! Entitlement has become more and more pervasive in our culture over the past several generations, due in part to the (misguided) self-esteem movement, but also to government’s ever expanding promise to give people things that most of them could, in fact, obtain themselves through work and perseverance. This has created dependence, which crushes potential. The further people go down the road of dependence, the more addicted they become.

The tragedy is that they are miserable in this life, because it is purposeless, and they feed their addiction by wanting more and more stuff, which they in fact have no gratitude for since they have not earned it. They are also living in fear, because they have lost confidence in their ability to survive on their own. This has additionally manifested itself in a spiral of debt, as the producers are unable to sustain the addiction of the ever growing population of non-producers (Any Rand would call them moochers).

Financially this is unsustainable, however we must, I believe, focus first and foremost on the moral implications of creating a culture of purposeless (I would say inhuman) citizens. Human beings were meant for far, far more than this. Ownership Thinking is an approach that has proven effective in eradicating this cycle of entitlement and dependence in the workplace – perhaps the last bastion of opportunity to do so.

It is a significant cultural change that focuses on three core areas:

• The Right Education: Teaching employees the fundamentals of business and finance, how their company makes money, and how they add (or take away) value.

• The Right Measures: Identifying the organization’s Key Performance Indicators (with an emphasis on leading, activity-based measures), creating scoreboards, and forecasting results in an environment of high visibility and accountability.

• The Right Incentives: Creating broad-based incentive plans that are self-funding (by virtue of the first two components), and that clearly align employees’ behavior to the organization’s business and financial objectives.

This methodology, now implemented in literally thousands of businesses, actually requires employees to participate in the business and financial elements of the business, rather than simply the tasks they may perform in it. It allows them to be a part of driving the financial performance of the business (which, by the way, is guaranteed), and furthermore, to participate in that improved financial performance by virtue of incentive plans (and/or equity improvements if the company shares equity).

Most importantly, it creates a purposeful workforce that is now in charge of its own destiny. We have seen very clearly that the majority of employees exposed to Ownership Thinking will embrace it enthusiastically; in part because of the pride they now have in the ability to contribute, and to see their contributions. This is true self-esteem. We have also seen that these attributes carry forward into personal lives, relative to family life and community involvement.

Craig West

Craig West

Managing Director | Succession Plus

Craig West is a strategic accountant who has over 20 years’ experience advising business owners. His background as a CPA in public practice, provided invaluable experience in the key issues of concern to business owners. Following 6 years of study to gain two masters degrees, Craig focused on Capital Gains Tax (CGT) for business sales advising on strategic management of tax issues. This experience formed a very strong view that business owners (and often their advisers) were unprepared and unaware of the steps required to prepare a business for exit.

Craig now acts as a strategic mentor for mid-market business owners and has written four critically acclaimed books on employee incentives, succession planning, asset protection and exit strategies. Craig has conducted numerous seminars and keynote presentations throughout Australia & internationally, including adviser education programs for the Institute of Chartered Accountants and CPA Australia.