Leaders make decisions.
And they do it based on the information available to them at that moment in time. Much of it is based on existing experience. Add to this the information gathered as well as the one they have been open to.
The decision is made with the best possible intent while aligning it with their objective and strategy.
Acting on this decision, may it be oneself or one’s team, is done based on the meaning those involved give to that decision. The decision will be acted upon with the best possible intent.
All of these steps are within the control of those involved.
The outcome isn’t.
And yet, someone has to take ownership of it.
When things worked out as expected, everyone finds it easy to take ownership of the success. And a lot of people will explain how they contributed to making it happen.
When things didn’t work out as expected, things will be different. A lot of people will start to distance themselves from the outcome. Some will try to give ownership to others by blaming them for their decision, for not performing as expected, or for whatever can be found that contributed to a different outcome than the one expected. It’s a reaction that can be expected by those involved as much as those observing.
Taking ownership of the outcome doesn’t mean blaming oneself for the result. It means accepting that one’s decision didn’t allow for the outcome that was hoped for. It is knowing that the decision is one of the past and can’t be changed. It also means to know that another decision might have failed too and that the information available in hindsight wasn’t there before.
Taking ownership also means being curious about the learning that can be developed from the outcome. It for example doesn’t mean to focus on problems or errors, but It does mean to see them when they occurred.
Taking ownership is stepping into a response that allows to let go of the past and make the most of it.
Taking ownership is the willingness to continue to lead and do what is needed to work toward desired outcomes.
Taking ownership is being clear about one’s intention and actions and knowing that any feedback, opinion, or judgment related to one’s actions will be based on a different knowledge than the one that lead to the decision.
That is true for any outcome.