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Own Your Job, Possess Success(1)

2005-09-12 00:00

  Own Your Job, Possess Success

  Taking full responsibility for your work —— that's a new hire's most valuable attribute, one that can't be bought or trained.

  I was speaking to a group of soon-to-graduate MBA students recently, and one asked me this: What's the most valuable attribute of a new corporate hire? I had to think for a moment.

  "Can we leave out ethics?" I asked. That got a big laugh.

  No, I said, what I meant was: Can we assume that the person is highly ethical and then choose the next most critical attribute? Yes? Well, then I'd say: Ownership.

  UNPLEASANT SURPRISE.  Ownership? I don't mean that the new hire has to own anything in particular —— a decent suit or a pair of shoes. I mean ownership of the job, meaning the instinct and the drive to take on its responsibilities —— completely.

  The MBA students had to chew on that for a minute. But any CEO or senior leader knows what I mean. Any experienced exec has at least one story about turning to a lieutenant during a crisis and getting an unpleasant surprise. "What's your plan?" they may have asked, only to hear:

  "Well, I think that's Johnson's department."

  "I really don't have experience in that sort of thing."

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