How to Hire Well: The Owner Principle


I have always been an owner even when I worked for someone else. Recently I have thought about my employment history as well as those who have been my colleges and employees over the years and have come to the conclusion people fall in two main categories: owners and workers. Before you dismiss the post, let me explain. This is not a legal distinction, but a psychological one. Interestingly, some business owners behave like managers or workers doing what’s required of them and completely disconnecting from their jobs once the clock hits 5 p.m. Some hirelings whose heart and passion for their performance cause them operate more like owners. The more owners you have in your organization, the more successful you’ll be, I’m convinced.

Here’s a list of owner characteristics:

  • Owners care about the entire team and not just themselves. They know that no one is successful alone.
  • Owners understand that a missed deadline is serious business. After all, it’s their word on the line.
  • Owners don’t watch the clock. They watch their to do list.
  • Owners are more driven by their work ethic than by their boss’ expectations. Owners often go beyond the call of duty to make sure a job is done right.
  • Owners see their work as an extension of themselves and not just a job to be endured.
  • Owners are motivated by the satisfaction of a job well done and not just by financial gain.
  • Owners cannot be micromanaged. They can bring more to the table on their own if you let them grow.

I’m sure I’ve missed something on this list. What else can you see that owners do that employees don’t?

  • Maurilio, I would add this:Owners bring you their solutions, not their problems.

  • I think you've already covered it in your points, but another way of saying it might be that "Owners do not expend energy trying to set boundaries between what is personal and what is good for the company”.

  • Owners also provide environments and opportunities for other team members to do what they do best.

  • Steve Lauthern

    Here's another one: owners lead by encouragement and empowering and not by intimidation and demand.

  • George Ballis

    Here's one for you: Owners always look to hire people who are more competent than they are. They are not intimidate by high-performers.

  • Hi Maurilio Thanks for this post I'll use it to talk to our leaders. Owners are the visionaries of a church or organisation. They 'see' things that are possible and achievable…

  • Mark Jeffress

    Owners bring solutions and not just point out the obvious problem. 

  • Sally Smith

    I like the point you made that you never worked for anyone else but for yourself. That’s great

  • This is a great list.

  • Such a great post Maurilio!!!

    ~ Trish

  • Nice! As Seth Godin would put it, Linchpin!

  • Shari

    Excellent post!

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