Dad's question rendered me speechless. I had been saving to buy a pig for months, and when somebody gave me a dollar for my sixth birthday, I had $5 to buy the pig. Then he said: "I have a deal for you. I'll furnish the feed for your pig, and you can furnish the labor to feed the pigs. Then, when your pig grows up and has pigs of her own, we can split the litter, each of us will get half."
I got my first memorable lesson about ownership that day. With a few minutes of inspired conversation — which remains etched crystal clear in my memory more than a half-century later — he had used my self-interest to get me to do farm chores, and I felt like a real partner.
In more than 3 decades of professional work with organizations and teams, I have not encountered a better example of building ownership. My father not only got me to willingly participate in the family economic system, but he also made it part of my self-interest. This is the key to developing people's ownership for a goal or a project, and I have seen it work over and over in communities, organizations, businesses, and families.
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