How to Find More Meaning in Your Job and Take Ownership Over Your Career

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Whether you’re on the front lines or in a corner office, have a few months experience or 20 years, here’s what you need to know to get ahead and stay ahead

Imagine ending each workday feeling like what you just did matters, and that your contribution helped move your company closer to its goals. It is possible, no matter what your job title or responsibilities. “It’s a personal choice to rise above your circumstances and develop a CEO’s mindset,” says futurist and accountability pro Craig Hickman, author of 17 books including four international and New York Times best-sellers, “The Oz Principle” among them. Those who do are much more likely to be successful and fulfilled in their careers. The new book “Propeller” is providing simple advice for making this happen.

Available June 25, 2019, “Propeller” is coauthored by a Partners In Leadership team: Hickman; Tanner Corbridge, senior partner; Jared Jones, senior partner; and Tom Smith, cofounder of the firm and coauthor of “The Oz Principle”. 

Most people are not fully engaged at work 

“For the last 18 years, 70% of the American workforce has been either actively or passively disengaged at work. That number hasn’t changed significantly in all that time,” says Corbridge. “Measuring engagement levels and then hoping management figures out the solution is the current pattern for most businesses and the approach isn’t working. We’ve discovered that the answer to engagement is getting accountability right.” 

Over the past quarter century, “The Oz Principle” sold more than one million copies and served as the go-to reference on workplace accountability. In this newest addition to Partners In Leadership’s accountability series, “Propeller: Accelerating Change by Getting Accountability Right”, the co-authors build on “The Oz Principle” legacy to inspire a whole new generation to tap into the incredible power of personal, team and organizational accountability.

How to take positive accountability

“In today’s world of constant change and increased pressure to go faster, getting accountability right has become critical to any team or organization delivering needed results,” Jones says. He also explains that positive accountability can transform your career. “Complaining and waiting to say ‘I told you so’ is highly unproductive and unfulfilling. It’s a miserable place to be.” In “Propeller”, you can find advice for finding more meaning in and taking ownership of your career. The authors explain how to get started today: 

  • Understand that everything is about results. “It always has been. It’s just that things are speeding up. Coming into an organization, you’ve got to figure out what matters most as quickly as you can. If the organization isn’t clear, help the organization get clearer by asking questions. Keep asking for those questions to be answered. Use that clarity to guide your daily work.” 
  • Determine your impact. “If you want to be successful, you’ve got to figure out your connection to what matters most to the organization. Don’t wait for someone to lay all of that out for you. Become crystal clear about how you impact your company’s key definitions for success. Those could be revenue growth, profitability, new product development, safety, customer satisfaction, product quality, etc. Instead of thinking someone else needs to clarify these things for you, turn it around and ask yourself what you can do to get clarification. Step up and take accountability.” 
  • Define your impact in ways that are memorable, meaningful and measurable. “It must be memorable, so you think about it daily and clear so it’s top of mind all the time. It must be meaningful to tie to your official purpose and your yearning for purpose and meaning. Otherwise you’ll be disengaged. And your impact must be measurable as it relates to your company’s key desired outcomes for the entire organization, such as zero complaints or zero defects. Applying these three things will make you unstoppable.”
  • Ask the right questions. “This will help you define your purpose. Ask, what’s the most important thing for me to focus on? Why are these outcomes so important? What do the company’s key objectives mean for me and my role? How can I contribute, have value, influence and impact what matters most to this organization? Any individual coming into an organization who has that mindset will be much more successful.” 
  • Don’t wait for things to get clearer and better. “Confusion shouldn’t ever be okay for you. If you’re confused, take accountability and go figure it out. Take ownership instead of finger pointing, blaming management or saying it’s not your job.” 
  • Stay focused when things become more complex. “The more complex things become, the easier it is to hide and feel you’re not relevant, so you don’t need to own it. But there’s no time for frustration or disengagement. Nor is this the time to wait for your manager to tell you want to do or show you how to develop yourself. Things are moving too quickly. Take ownership over what is in your own line of sight.” 
  • Ask, what else can I do to get the key results? “This is essential, especially when you encounter obstacles. It’s human tendency to step back when there’s a major setback. You have to see it, own it and be aligned with the key objectives enough to stay fully engaged even when obstacles come up.”
  • Be observant. “The individuals who see more, own more. And those who own more are able to solve more and are able to do more. Every organization on the planet is looking for individuals who demonstrate the ability to see it, own it, solve it and do it. The more you can broaden your view, even at entry level position, the more quickly you will rise. Just remember that you can’t deliver unless you’re constantly in solution mode, which means owning the circumstances including all the problems.” 

The authors acknowledge it’s easy to get buried in the details. “This is why we wrote “Propeller” and developed the Propeller app: to reinforce the simplicity. If you want to accelerate change, the only way to do it is to get the accountability right.” The Propeller app enables accountability to go high tech. “In this complex world where digital disruption is happening everywhere and the new watchwords are speed and agility, employees need to move faster, own more and deliver more. That’s why the Propeller app was designed: to operationalize “The Oz Principle”. To make it easy to implement and apply. To put it at your fingertips.” 

The Propeller app has intuitive tools rooted in See It, Own It, Solve It, Do It to inspire higher levels of personal engagement, ownership and accountability for results. “We chose the title Propeller for both the book and the app because it captures in one word what this model aims to create: accelerated movement in a needed direction,” concludes Smith. 

“Propeller: Accelerating Change by Getting Accountability Right” is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all major booksellers. To view more and download the Propeller app for free, go www.PartnersInLeadership.com/propeller. View the Propeller app demonstration video at www.propellerapp.com.