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Act Like an Owner: Building an Ownership Culture



Act Like an Owner: Building an Ownership Culture

Robert M. Blonchek, Martin F. O'Neill

ISBN: 978-0-471-32285-6 March 1999 256 Pages


Most workers are conditioned to view themselves as one-dimensional in relation to their company—as a salesperson, or an engineer, or a manager. But imagine the possibilities if everyone in your organization started thinking and acting like entrepreneurs—like owners of the business. Imagine if your employees shared the same beliefs, both in their abilities and in the purpose of your business, and focused all their energies on making that business successful—knowing that they, in turn, would become successful as well. That is the power of an ownership culture, and this book will show you how to mobilize human intellect and ingenuity for competitive advantage.

Act Like an Owner is an action guide to building a culture of employee ownership within an organization. Authors Blonchek and O'Neill present their business model, "Act Like an Owner," which grew out of their experience building information technology service businesses. This model is a roadmap for applying today's most important management practices in a competitive, rapidly changing environment. The authors use this approach as part of their consulting practice, and are the first to detail how to implement such a program company-wide.

Act Like an Owner introduces the internal franchise framework that can be used for unlocking the entrepreneurial spirit in your organization. From this book, you'll learn how to define your company's operating model—the way you choose to do business—and then extend the model to your employees. The authors then explain how to link employee behaviors to each element of business performance. They demonstrate how to focus your entire organization on a business goal while addressing employees' individual needs for opportunity and growth. You'll learn how to attract and hire people with a positive, entrepreneurial attitude who can create an environment that establishes the values and behaviors you need.

At the heart of the internal franchise is the ownership culture, a corporate culture built on principles and values that compel everyone in your organization to think and act like an owner of the business. The authors describe the impact of an ownership culture on an organization, illustrating how you can build equity in that culture and make it part of your company's brand identity. They explore the power of such a culture to create an environment of shared values and goals. You'll learn the formula for creating an ownership culture and putting it to work in your organization, and you'll hear the perspectives of senior executives at companies currently adopting the "Act Like an Owner" program, including those at Aspen Systems, CACI, STAC, PSINet, and ConSonics. In addition, the authors apply the ownership culture model to one of the most pressing problems facing business today: attracting and retaining skilled workers.

Filled with examples, anecdotes, and techniques, Act Like an Owner will motivate anyone trying to build a successful business that starts with people. "What a wonderful book. The only way organizations will be able to compete in the future is if their people act like owners and they create an ownership culture. A must read for the 21st century." —Ken Blanchard, coauthor, The One Minute Manager.

"A terrific addition to any library. Marty O'Neill and Robert Blonchek have crafted an elegantly simple and uniquely powerful approach to enhancing the performance of any organization—large or small. I wholeheartedly recommend it." —Douglas R. Conant, President, U.S. Foods Group, Nabisco.

"The new workplace demands that businesses find effective ways to release the power of people. Blonchek and O'Neill's 'Internal Franchise' idea turns the franchise concept inside out and provides a roadmap for ownership and empowerment in any organization." —Alan Randolph, coauthor, Empowerment Takes More Than a Minute.

"Act Like an Owner gives you a treasure map to unlocking the fortunes that lie throughout an organization." —Bill Toler, President, Campbell Sales Company.

"An insightful look at the elements of an ownership culture and how to put them to work in your company in order to attract, retain and motivate talented people." —J. Robert Beyster, Founder, Chairman and CEO, SAIC.

"Act Like an Owner gives you the tools you need to develop and empower your employees to think and act like entrepreneurs." —Andrew C. Taylor, President and CEO, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and 1997 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award Winner.

Preface ix


1 The Power of an Ownership Culture 9

2 Creating a Workplace Brand 23

3 Modeling Your Business 43

4 Employee or Entrepreneur 69


5 The Seeds or the Soil? 89

6 The Reward of Ownership 119

7 The First Signs of Growth 139

8 Weed and Feed 165

9 The Harvest 181


10 Applying an Ownership Culture 205

11 What Goes Around Comes Around 215

Notes 225

Index 229