Who Owns This?

In our latest Dean’s Council meeting, we discussed who “owns” each of the many processes and tasks that are required for the effective leadership of an academic institution. While we are committed to teamwork, we still needed to identify who would run “point” and take responsibility for getting the team together. Therefore, we spent a good chunk of our last meeting putting “meat on the bones.” We had the skeleton but had to put flesh on each part.

As we considered which names to put next to each area, the Dean of the Seminary put it this way: “Whoever lays awake at night thinking about this [area or task], that is the person who owns it. If you’re not lying awake thinking about it, you don’t own it.” In some cases, some people were already thinking about certain areas, and it was easy to fill their names in next to that area. In others, we assigned names based on fit and giftedness. Those people will now be the ones expected to lie awake thinking about those areas.

In your organization or team, are you clear on who owns what? Even in a team-driven context, teams need clear boundaries so that the group can’t just pass the buck and say, “That’s not my responsibility.”

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