Industry News

How well do people in your organization take ownership for problems or issues?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from more than 200,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How well do people in your organization take ownership for problems or issues?

  • Extremely well: When people see a problem, they actively make sure it gets fixed no matter what. 7.70%
  • Very well: People work to fix most problems and own issues pretty well. 36.60%
  • Well: People take ownership of bigger issues, but smaller ones tend to slide by. 20.28%
  • Not very well: People infrequently take ownership of issues and tend to pass the buck.  27.27%
  • Poorly: No one wants to own anything, and they work hard to pass things to others. 8.15%

Less finger-pointing. While 65% of you indicate people in your organization do a decent job of taking ownership for problems, the 35% who say it doesn't happen is a significant portion of respondents. Ask yourself how you can change that dynamic as well as how you might be causing some of it. Do you take ownership every time for every issue? Do you set a good example? Do you blame others when there are issues? Your people take their cues from you. If you complain about other departments not doing their job or you tell your team members to just let another group handle things, you might be feeding into this culture. This doesn't mean you have to own the full resolution of every problem that comes your way, but you should consider taking an active role in moving it forward toward resolution. Culture is the sum of our daily behaviors over time. Are your daily behaviors creating the accountability culture you want to have? If not, change the behaviors.


Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS, which includes TITAN -- the firm’s e-learning platform. Previously, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a West Point graduate and author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."