I once asked Kate Johnson, president of Microsoft US, what separates mid-level leaders who feel stuck in their careers from senior leaders who excel.
She said it comes down to one thing: do you think of yourself as an implementor or as an owner?
Implementors take someone else’s vision and turn it into reality. They follow directions, delegate, and follow a plan. They also turn over accountability and responsibility to the creator of the vision.
The danger in being an implementor is that it keeps you in your comfort zone as you do what comes easily to you without being responsible for the outcome.
On the other hand, owners set the vision and provide clarity on how their teams will achieve it. Owners are passionate about change and take accountability. They see the big-picture and motivate their employees to work towards something greater.
At some point, we’re all implementors, especially early in our careers. Every organization needs implementors to keep the business moving. But if you want to grow in your career and have opportunities to lead and affect change, you have to think like an owner.
Becoming an owner isn’t easy—it requires courage, risk-taking, humility, and vulnerability. Owners must have a growth mindset to overcome obstacles and be continually learning and improving. To become an owner, volunteer for the tough tasks, practice vulnerability, and find ways to create value in your team and your organization.
Implementors keep the ship running, but owners change the world. We need both—which one are you?
I put together a video which talks about this in more detail. Please check it out below and if you want more content like this you can subscribe to my Youtube channel.
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