3 Things To Consider BEFORE Taking Ownership

By Stacey Rivers | Author | Blogger

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One of the quickest ways to position yourself for opportunity is to take ownership for everything you do, and then some. Owning the idea, task, project, or problem takes a combination of factors that, if managed correctly, can lead to a positive brand in the organization for being an effective leader. The risks for owning your part in a project or process is expected and defined as "doing your job", compared to owning responsibilities that are not yours but integral to the success of the organization. Based on the culture you are working in, this approach can showcase your talent and quickly identify you as a high potential, OR it can derail your career aspirations if not received well. The challenge is to determine when the risk is worth it and when to draw the line. Let's explore this topic.

Taking ownership of anything that is not in your sphere of control should be approached carefully and strategically before taking action. Your initial focus should be on your motivation, your ability to effectively execute, and the people potentially impacted by your actions. If you decide to move forward, be assured that your motivation is coming from a pure place rooted in a desire to do what is right and anchored with the ability to lead and deliver positive results. The impact your actions may have on people should always be considered, because if you are selfishly positioning yourself for advancement, you will set yourself up for failure if your plan does not go well. Furthermore, if you are perceived as anything but genuine in your desire to solve a business problem, you can damage your brand and get the opposite of what you were trying to achieve. If this is something you are considering, ask yourself these questions for a narrow focus BEFORE taking action:



  • Why do I want to do this?
  • What am I looking to gain as a result of my actions?


  • What skills and/or experiences are needed to deliver successfully? Do I have that?
  • Do I have the bandwidth and patience to see this through?


  • Who are my supporters and detractors? How will they view my actions?
  • What can I do to mitigate any adverse perceptions or responses?

Answering these questions honestly will allow you to determine whether taking ownership of anything not formally asked of you is a good idea in any case. When making decisions that will impact your reputation and those around you, think with your head and your heart; while each have a different function, using both will guide you to making the right decisions that will sustain your career and maintain your relationships.


What other questions would you ask to ensure you are making the right decision? Share your thoughts and recommendatons for this topic.

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