"It's not in my budget."
"One of my team members was supposed to handle it."
"My dog ate the presentation."
You get the picture. This is when managers find out, in the most inopportune way, that they have a lieutenant with an ownership problem.
A NATURAL QUALITY. Is ownership the same as taking responsibility? Yes, except that ownership means taking responsibility to the nth degree. People who'll commit to that extent don't even think about whether they're taking a little, a moderate amount, or a lot of responsibility.
When you own your job, you simply do whatever needs to be done. And you own it, or you don't. You may be willing to share credit for successes —— let's hope so, if you manage a team —— but you don't shy away from responsibility for failure. It's just yours.
You can't train this into a person, and you can't pay a person who's not ownership-oriented enough money to change. If you try, you may see incremental improvement. But taking true, gut-level responsibility for a job is a natural quality. It's one that, more than any other, can make the difference between the success and failure of your team. Ultimately, it's more important than industry experience, brains, technical skills, you name it.
HEED WAKE-UP CALLS. When you have a team of people who own their work, the results are incredible. You know, without question, that you'll get their best efforts —— and that they'll never let you down.