John Steinbeck, in his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, wrote:
‘Funny thing how it is. If a man owns a little property, that property is him, it’s part of him, and it’s like him. If he owns property only so he can walk on it and handle it and be sad when it isn’t doing well, and feel fine when the rain falls on it, that property is him, and some way he’s bigger because he owns it …
‘But let a man get property he doesn’t see, or can’t take time to get his fingers in, or can’t be there to walk on it – why, then the property is the man.
‘He can’t do what he wants, he can’t think what he wants. The property is the man, stronger than he is. And he is small, not big. Only his possessions are big – and he’s the servant of his property.’
This excerpt shares a truth about how one’s perspective can change by taking ownership of something – be it hypothetically or literally. This can be applied to the work environment in that, by treating the company you work for as your own, you give it your best.
Believing in this principle fundamentally changes your thinking. For example, I want what’s best for my children. I don’t need to convince myself to make decisions that benefit them.
It’s simply human nature to treat what we feel is a part of us, or what belongs to us, better than things we don’t feel accountable for.
By treating the company you work for as your own, you’ll make decisions that benefit it and its staff. This mindset-shift will reflect in the way you take full responsibility of your projects and genuinely care for your colleagues, as well as the way you ethically manage company resources and assets.
I challenge you to try approaching your job as you would being an involved parent or landowner. Take ownership mentally and make choices that ensure the outcome benefits the company.
Why? Because you personally take pride in its wellbeing and success. Hopefully this positive attitude will become more and more natural and your career will be better off for it.
Author: Brett Tromp CA(SA) is CFO of Discovery Health