Ownership Thinking: An American Dream in Action

“It has been said that great business leaders are those who strategically transform vision into reality. The road toward this transformation is not easy or clearly obvious. It requires the ability to analyze and develop an organization [or a country], to value the people within it and to remain consistent within the sphere of their influence.” Anne Lindert-Wentzell, of Construction in Focus, wrote this several months ago in her article titled, “A Clear Vision.” It’s about our company, but elements of it apply to all situations of leadership; even the Presidency.

America is undoubtedly facing trying times. We’ve been well-aware of that for some time now. As with anything worth saving, though, we’ve also learned we must focus our efforts on remaining unified and centered around what’s most important—including a focus on our similarities, not our differences.

If you saw President Obama’s video message via a BuzzFeed News Tweet on Election Day, you’ll remember him saying, “That’s what makes America so special—the idea that while progress isn’t guaranteed, each of us has the power to choose our path…. It is a beautiful but fragile gift, and we should treat it that way.”

We’ve all experienced conflict and division in our lives. Whether it has happened in our workplaces, within our families, or in our relationships (romantic or not), it’s difficult to know what to do to get through trying times laden with blaming, distrust, jealousy, or even hate. If we all knew exactly what to do, there would probably be a lot less of it in our world. But that’s also why we have each other, isn’t it? To learn, grow, and encourage each other to be the best versions of ourselves—to be loving, kind, thoughtful, patient, serving and so many other things that would make everywhere from our families to our organizations to our communities better. There is always hope to hold onto.

Giroux Glass is an ESOP and WBE company. That means that until we are at least 51% employee-owned in 2022, we are also a woman-owned business. (Another fun fact: Our executive team is 75% female.) Because our employees are shareholders now that we’re an ESOP, the company willingly promotes a culture of “ownership thinking.” At its core, this ideology can be explained similarly to President Obama’s words above—that “while progress isn’t guaranteed, each of us has the power to choose our path.” Having a personal stake in the success of our company, and knowing everyone here feels the same way, we truly care personally about the successful outcome of each and every project.

In the dozens of ESOP conferences our partners have attended, it has been largely discussed that on the road to true, widespread ownership thinking, there will be hiccups, challenges, internal battles, and paradigm shifts to overcome. It takes wise and discerning leadership, and empowered communities, to make a true positive difference. So, here’s to faith in humanity; that we will each accept the privilege of power and set on a just course, governed by all that unites us and makes us fragilely, yet wonderfully, human.