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Jurgen Appelo calls himself a creative networker. But sometimes he's a writer, speaker, trainer, entrepreneur, illustrator, manager, blogger, reader, dreamer, leader, freethinker, or… Dutch guy. Since 2008 Jurgen writes a popular blog at www.noop.nl, covering the creative economy, agile management, and personal development. He is the author of the book Management 3.0, which describes the role of the manager in agile organizations. And he wrote the little book How to Change the World, which describes a supermodel for change management. Jurgen is CEO of the business network Happy Melly, and co-founder of the Agile Lean Europe network and the Stoos Network. He is also a speaker who is regularly invited to talk at business seminars and conferences around the world. After studying Software Engineering at the Delft University of Technology, and earning his Master’s degree in 1994, Jurgen Appelo has busied himself starting up and leading a variety of Dutch businesses, always in the position of team leader, manager, or executive. Jurgen has experience in leading a horde of 100 software developers, development managers, project managers, business consultants, service managers, and kangaroos, some of which he hired accidentally. Nowadays he works full-time managing the Happy Melly ecosystem, developing innovative courseware, books, and other types of original content. But sometimes Jurgen puts it all aside to spend time on his ever-growing collection of science fiction and fantasy literature, which he stacks in a self-designed book case. It is 4 meters high. Jurgen lives in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) -- and in Brussels (Belgium) -- with his partner Raoul. He has two kids, and an imaginary hamster called George. Jurgen has posted 145 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

A Sense of Ownership

03.29.2013
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People have tried to get me involved as co-author of their book. But I didn’t want to. It was not my book.

Some have asked me to help organize their conference. But I didn’t do it. It was not my conference.

And I have always resisted coaching and consulting on other people’s projects. I didn’t care. They were not my projects.

It is true. I’m egocentric.

I care more about my work. About my team. And my business. My house. My children. I care somewhat less about yours.

Your Project, Not Mine

A friend of mine recently told me that his off-shore team was producing terrible results, and slowly too. When he traveled there to discuss the quality and productivity problems, he found out that the same people had their own little startup on the side, working on it in their spare time. And the product they were making as a startup was amazing. While the product they were making as off-shore employees was crap.

I think these people had an ownership problem.

They thought, “This is your project, but we only care about our project.”

Ownership First, Urgency Later

John Kotter introduced the concept of “a sense of urgency”. People will not change their behaviors if they don’t feel it is urgent.

But maybe we need something else first. Maybe “a sense of ownership” has to precede the sense of urgency. When people see a house on fire, most of them bring a camera, not a fire extinguisher. Unless it is their own house.

Therefore, my suggestion to my friend is to fire his off-shore team, and then hire their startup as a subcontractor. That should allow them to own what they make.

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Jurgen Appelo. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)