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Who Owns This House?

Reading: Who Owns This House?

That was the question that was posed to the freshly minted staff at the Open House for Friends and Family for Publix Grocery Stores store #1520 yesterday. It was amazing to be invited to witness the internal opening of one of Publix’s newest stores in Cary, NC.

The air was thick with excitement. Executives traveled in from the regional offices in Charlotte and from the corporate headquarters in Tampa, FL. We met the store leadership. We met everyone.

Employees pose for Publix Store #1520's Grand Opening

Employees pose for Publix Store #1520’s Grand Opening

When it came time for the ribbon cutting, the newly minted store manager took the stage and posed this question, “Who owns this house?” It was met with a resounding, “We own this house!”

Three times the call came.

Three times it was met with with a loud cheer, “We own this house!”

Kevin Murphy, SVP of Retail Operations, summed up Publix’s success as being rooted in two key principles: ownership and pride in your work at every level of the organization. Kevin should know. He started as a front-service clerk at a Publix in 1984. He worked in various positions before being promoted to store manager in 1995. He was promoted to Jacksonville Division district manager in 2003, Atlanta Division regional director in 2009, Miami Division VP in 2014, and his current position was created in 2016.

Ownership and pride in work at all levels. Sounds like the same formula for success in Agile Product Development.

This is also the core of LeadingAgile’s approach to transformation from Basecamp One through Basecamp Five. Without local ownership of decision making at the point of the work being done, we send the message consciously on subconsciously that we don’t trust that the work being performed is high-quality and valuable.

If it isn’t valuable then why are you doing it? Non-valuable work is called waste.

If the work isn’t high-quality, then why? Do you have the correct expectations of how long the work should take? Are you measuring quality correctly? (hint: it’s not just about defect injection rate.) Do you reward the wrong things like heroic efforts?

This is the heart of Agile practices. It expects ownership and pride in work. It expects trusting the people doing the work to know what they are doing. If they don’t, it expects you to let them self-organize to the extent that people who know how to do the work well, can volunteer to do it with the expectation that they also mentor those that don’t.

What about your company? Does it espouse a culture of ownership and pride in work? How would you know? Our assessments cut right to the heart of the matter and help organizations determine if leadership is creating and empowering a culture of ownership and pride in work.

Wouldn’t you like to know?

Congratulations to the people of Publix Store #1520. I can’t wait to experience more ownership and pride in work. The world needs more of it.

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