Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Taking Ownership: The Housemaid Effect & I-V Mantra

This blog-post is dedicated to my housemaid - who inspired me to coin this term: "The Housemaid Effect" 

When you hire a housemaid, usually you negotiate a price for cleaning house. You also decide a time when she will come to your home and leave. For most of the housemaids, it is just a job. They are not emotionally connected to the house. So (if you are lucky) they come at the agreed upon time, sweet or mop the house, and leave at the suggested time. So performing the task of sweeping or mopping is how they see their job responsibility. You must be wondering what the problem is. The problem is even after my maid completes her cleaning operations, I can still see stains or hair on the floor. When I ask her why she has not cleaned those stains, she will tell me how these stains are permanent. When I will take a wood piece and scratch the stain a bit, it usually comes off. So one day I got enlightened and realized the root cause of the problem. I told her that I have not hired her to sweep the floor or mop the floor for one hour; I have hired her to CLEAN the house. It is not the act of performing the task or being part of the act that matters; what matters is taking complete ownership of achieving the intended result and accomplishing it. I also realized that we owed the responsibility of making her feel part of our home. Once we did that, she is now transformed from just performer of the task (sweeping / mopping) to owner of the intended result (clean house).

We can see “The Housemaid Effect” in action in business as well. If your employees do not feel co-ownership of your dreams, mission, goals; they will only perform the tasks you specify i.e. “The Housemaid Effect”. There is an effective magic I-V Mantra to achieve that transformation i.e. when sharing your goals, dreams or mission - Replace all I’s with We.

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I was born in the lap of Himalayas (Himachal Pradesh) in the home of educationalists. I grew up in an environment where asking questions was encouraged; and curiosity was considered foundation to enlightenment. I dedicate all my learning in life to those who encouraged me in my quest to “figure things out” and responded to my curiosities. Spiritual orientation helps me to accept possibilities beyond the realm of logic.