Shares… Who cares?
Shares are no longer worth what they were used to be. And although that’s bad news for many people, in other ways it’s got its positive side, too. Because shareholders and managers with options seem to have been too focused on the short term. They had shares but were not owners. Shareholder satisfaction therefore became an aim in itself. Which is damaging for customers and employees. Continuity is after all in the best interests of all three stakeholders: customers, employees and shareholders. And probably in that order.
It’s not just a case of owning shares, but of caring about what one is the owner of. A real owner is loyal and above all intrinsically motivated. An owner cares about his job, his club, yes, even his colleagues. He or she does what is best for the company. Which means that an owner is by definition both short and long term focused, with all the agonising dilemmas this involves. That’s why being an owner is tough.
How do I get hold of such an owner, you’re wondering. Fortunately, the selection process for the true owner is very simple. It is a straightforward case of self-selection. They are already there, but have not yet been noticed. You already know them; they are already working for you. They are always there. They are the mainstay of your office, agency or factory. They come early and leave late. Everyone knows them and they know everyone. They put their heart and soul into whatever they do; they care about their work, their colleagues and maybe they even care about you. Give them for once that extra bit of attention, and show them the appreciation they deserve. A true owner is worth more than money can buy – and he certainly can’t be bought with shares.