Want to make sure goals and initiatives are being worked on in your organization? Assign them to one and “only one” owner. It’s incredibly important to make it clear who is responsible and accountable for a goal. Eliminate ambiguity.

If a goal is not assigned to anyone, nobody is going to pick it up and work on it. Employees are already busy with their work.

On the opposite, having multiple owners creates multiple problems:

  • As a leader, who do you ask for a progress update?
  • It does not foster a sense of ownership and can demonstrate a lack of trust in the owners’ ability to achieve the goal. Goal ownership can be a great way to develop leadership skills.
  • It becomes ambiguous how owners are going to share the work and decide how to move forward. This could lead to extensive deliberation and consensus building, resulting in slowing down the pace of execution and reaction.
  • The multiple owners might not have the same ability, capacity, and attention to dedicate to the goal’s achievement, resulting in friction between co-owners.
  • It becomes more difficult to track progress as co-owners might have a different perception of the goal’s progress and milestones.

It does not mean that a single goal owner is working alone… Teammates can help & contribute to the goal, but it sets clear expectations that the sole responsible for driving progress is the goal owner.