5 Keys to On-the-Job Success: No. 1 – Cultivate a Sense of Project Ownership

These five keys to cultivating on-the-job success come directly from Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 because they represent those qualities I have observed in people I have hired and who have gone on to enjoy successful, rewarding careers. First on the list is “Cultivate a Sense of Project Ownership.”

A sense of project ownership is prized by managers everywhere because it communicates to them that you bring to the job a quality mindset, a get-it-done-right-the-first-time approach to whatever project is being undertaken. And rarely do people work in isolation today; everyone is a member of a team, whether as a functional unit or on ad hoc project teams. And whose team doesn’t work hand in hand with other teams?

People who cultivate a sense of project ownership show concern for budgets, schedules, project handoffs (those task being give to you, and those you give to others), and meeting customer requirements—whether that customer is the job foreman, the CEO, or the consumer in the marketplace. It is a forward-moving focus that cannot help but pull in others in its wake. People who display a sense of project ownership are not clock-watchers—they often “call it a day” at some logical stopping point in their task, not when the clock says 5pm or when the whistle blows (union rules not withstanding).

Cultivating a sense of project ownership means that your level of commitment to the effort goes beyond your immediate sphere of influence with the project: to varying degrees, it overlaps with those of others adjacent to your responsibilities and deliverables. Cultivating a sense of project ownership doesn’t mean assuming responsibility for the schedule or deliverables of others—especially if others have already been assigned those responsibilities. But it does require being aware of the quality of the project tasks, assignments, and deliverables coming directly to you from another individual or function, and your ability to enhance the quality of those elements you forward along to the next person or function in the project flow.

Project ownership places you into a cooperative relationship with others whereby everyone learns from everyone else in a way that surpasses mere cognitive capabilities. It’s about developing and managing social intelligence, and when you marry together cognitive capabilities with social intelligence, breakthroughs happen.

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