Word-Of-the-Week #736: Ownership

September 13, 2018 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #736: Ownership 

Ownership –holding yourself accountable for your actions and how you do your job. 

Are you always accountable for your actions? How easy is it for you to admit when you’ve made a mistake?

This week long time friend and subscriber Joe (who is not a CEO) shares his thoughts from last week’s WOW on being accountable at work.

“I have been fortunate in my workplace experience that my co-workers could depend on what I said and what I did. Also, when I said something, I meant it. 

However, when I knew that I could not have something completed when it was needed by a co-worker or supervisor, I was forthright in telling them that I could not complete the task when they wanted it. In those cases, I usually asked when their drop-dead deadline was, when they absolutely, positively had to have it done. I then took care of whatever it was in a timely fashion. The key was to be upfront about what could be completed and when. 

One thing my wife and I are is decisive. When we are presented with a situation we look at the pros and cons and make a decision. Not a rush to judgment, mind you, but a clearheaded yes or no when time was tight. Indecision leads to wasted time and money in the workplace. Don’t go back and forth on how something should or should not look or have to start from scratch. That way you won’t get anything done. And as you know, Susan, that is too many businesses today. 

The best way to manage relationships in the office is to let the talented people do their thing and stay out of their way. They were hired to do a job, so let them do it. There are too many micro managers in offices today who simply want the credit for what their talented people do. When they do a good job, compliment them and tell the world that it was they who deserve the credit for a job well done. The manager will also get credit simply for hiring those good people. 

While I have been able to adapt in the workplace I am not necessarily a fast learner. I am not quick on the uptick. After making a few mistakes I usually catch on, but I am not fast. I don’t have those fast-twitch cells in my muscles. 

When I have made mistakes in the past, I was the first to admit them. What I have found in those situations is that we earn our co-workers and supervisors respect when we stand up and say, “It was my bad.” That also lets people in the office know they should do the same thing.  

If there is anything I have learned in the workplace is that you can’t be afraid to make a mistake. Not only will you not learn to do your job, you will approach every new task with trepidation. If you are afraid to make a mistake, you will never learn.” 

This week’s focus is on taking ownership. Do you take full responsibility for your actions? Are you doing the best job you possibly can? If you were the CEO would you act any differently?

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Taking Ownership: Paul, the Cable Guy

April 15, 2009 by · Comments Off on Taking Ownership: Paul, the Cable Guy 

This is a copy of the letter I sent to Bill Geppert, CEO, Cox Communications on April 15, 2009.

I’ve been a Cox customer for the past 20 years because that is the only option I had for high-speed internet and cable TV. Since 2006, every DVR we had has never recorded an entire season without breaking and needing to be replaced. This means that all recordings are gone and unable to be viewed, which pretty much makes it a waste of money if we can’t watch the programs when we want to.

When it happened again in November 2008, I was told by Cox that if I was recording in HD it took up a huge amount of my hard drive. I assumed that was the problem. Wrong! In February, 2009, making sure we were not recording in HD, we returned from a three week vacation and once again found that the DVR was not recording correctly. The timer showed only partial recordings. I was livid!

And what makes it worse is that my husband had purchased a TIVO in December. When I called COX they explained that if I unbundled my package it would cost more money. Then I discovered on top of buying the TIVO box, we had to pay for getting their service. (A $700.00 investment.) We sent the TIVO back.

I have spent more frustrating time with Cox on the phone and on hold than anyone would believe. I did everything I could to stop using Cox. I tried to get an AT&T bundled package but it is not available in my area. I called Dish Network. If I could have switched to anybody, I would have in a heartbeat!

Cox scheduled a technician to replace our DVR. When I opened the door the first words out of my mouth were, “My husband said he pitied the poor person who was going to have to deal with me today.” To which the technician replied, “I am Paul and my job is to fix the problem and make you happy.” Yeah, right! Well he was so intent to show me that he really meant it, after he installed another new DVR he gave me his cell phone number and said, “If you have a problem, you call me directly, ANYTIME.”

Then the following week my HD froze and it couldn’t be rebooted by the office. (The week before it could be.) I called Paul. He came within two hours and told me, “These DVR’s are computers and they need to be rebooted just like your computer in your office. You have to unplug them every so often.” Now how come customer service didn’t tell me that over the phone?

Then the next week I received a coupon from Cox for a free Pay-Per-View movie for being such a good customer. Oh sure enough we couldn’t access the service. (More time spent on the phone trying to make it work.) So the next morning, I called Paul and he was over within the hour. That’s when he started the “diagnostics” to find out what the problem was. He said, “There is something going on here and I am determined to find out what it is and fix it and make you happy.” To which I replied, “I am so sorry I sent the TIVO back. At this point I don’t care how much it costs. I just want a reliable product.” He said, “No you don’t want TIVO, you just want what you have to work. My job is to make that happen.”

He ran a cable directly from the Cox box to the TV across the living floor and it worked. So it was the wiring not the DVR box. First mystery solved! So we called the company that installed all the wiring and cable and set up a time for them to come. Paul said, “I know what to tell them to do, I just can’t do it.”

And today Paul showed up with his supervisor on his lunch hour and worked with the wiring guys to figure out how to fix the problem. They spent two hours going over all the connections and discovered the problem and fixed it.

An hour later I received a call from Paul asking, “Is everything OK? Is everything working?” To which I replied, “So far, so good.”

I have to tell you, I never had a cable guy, let alone anyone else, care so much about making me happy. You would think his name was Paul Cox, not Paul Villarreal, and it was his company. Now if that is not a perfect example of an employee taking ownership, I don’t what is.