Do you rent or own?

Building Brands



As you sit in your robe and slippers sipping your morning coffee and enjoying this column (I like to envision that’s how everyone reads the paper) picture poor me. I will be among a sea of boxes trying to squeeze a three bedroom home into a two bedroom apartment.

When I accepted my new position it meant a move for my husband and me. Lucky for us, our home sold fast, but right as it sold, we realized building our new home was the way to go and so facing few options for temporary living, we are returning to the world of apartment living.

It seems almost as soon as we were able to check the “own” box, we are now back to checking the “rent” box. At least until fall.

All of this got me thinking about what we rent and what we own in the work place.

A few weeks ago, our publisher, Wes Smith, pulled me into his office to show me a very pretty magazine produced in Traverse City. You know the type. Glossy, lots of white space, beautiful photos of Michigan’s great lakes, beaches, delicious looking food, cold looking cocktails. Given the current state of our Pure Michigan winter, it was a mini vacation for my eyes.

He wasn’t trying to torture me, he was asking if I thought we could reconfigure one of our summer products to model it after what was in front of me. The answer, of course, is yes. We have an extremely talented and dedicated team here at VIEW and we can accomplish pretty much anything.

But as we all know it can be hard to get from point A to point B. In other words, giving new life to a product that has existed for years is much easier said than done.

We shared our idea with the leadership team and started to discuss the best way to make this happen. The funny thing is, what started out as one product quickly grew to five. Five products that are either new or needing a bit of a facelift. While this is very exciting, the task list was growing at what some would see as an alarming rate.

But not us, because we had an idea and best of all, we have enough time to implement it. Instead of leadership telling each department what had to be done and who had to do it and the manager of each department being in charge of all five products as they move through his or her department, we decided it’d be better to have each department elect a team leader for each project. Someone in each department who will own the product.

Ownership means a team member has pride in all facets of a product, even the parts he or she didn’t touch directly. It usually leads to uncovering hidden talents or interests of those around us and ultimately leads to a successful end, whatever that may be in your line of work.

How about you and your team? Do you all own your work?

While we have yet to get started with our new products following this model, I have a good feeling about it. If nothing else, it allows me to own something while I’m otherwise renting.

(Emily Caswell is Brand Manager for the View Newspaper Group.)

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