Axon Enterprise, Inc. was recently awarded the Great Place to Work Certification™. But what makes Axon such a great place to work? What makes it unique? The answer: One of its core values is “Own It.”
At Axon, we empower individuals to step up and take the initiative. Be an owner and see things through to completion. It's one of the ways we’ve been able to succeed as a company, and how we will continue to grow.
Here are three actionable tips on how you can “own it” at work, whether you apply to work at Axon or elsewhere.
1. Own It: Begin with Commitment
It’s January 1st. You see everyone around you making New Year's resolutions, and you feel you should too. So, you tell yourself that this year is the year you'll write a novel. By the end of January, you'll have finished chapter one. And yet, when February 1st rolls around, you've not typed more than a few words.
Just like New Year’s resolutions, missing out on opportunities in life and at work occurs when your sense of commitment is mistakenly tied to a foundation of motivation. Motivation is a feeling — it cannot drive commitment. Why? Because feelings are temporary.
What we need is a sense of direction and a way to stay the course - a plan. If you have an actionable plan with concrete, achievable steps you can commit to- this commitment to each step will keep you moving forward. Even if your sense of motivation wanes, your sense of commitment will be maintained, as it is tied to an achievable “next step” for you to act on. At Axon, teams and individuals alike are encouraged to craft plans for their projects and career goals that provide them with clear, actionable next steps to keep them moving forward, even when motivation feels far away. For example, at the start of each year, Axon provides every employee with a blank poker chip on which to write a personal goal that they can keep with them to serve as a unique motivational reminder.
2. Own It: Take Action
You are working on a new product launch at work. Your team has a clear, actionable, step-by-step guide for achieving a timely launch but has become disorganized. Your manager fails to check in on action items consistently, and you find yourself frustrated with your team’s performance. As a result, your commitment to the plan at hand may begin to falter.
Having a plan will only get you so far. When leadership is lacking, or expectations become muddled, taking action can become increasingly difficult.
Taking the initiative allows you to discover workarounds when projects become cloudy. Taking action doesn’t always mean simply exectuting on the individual tasks you have been assigned in your individual role. It means taking ownership of the things that can be improved. As Josh Isner, the Chief Operating Officer at Axon, likes to say: “If you see it, you own it.”
This is something we talk about often in team meetings. Don’t be a person who sees problems and sets them aside. Even if it’s not in our job description, we are called upon by company culture that if we see a problem or something that we think we can help make better, we work to get the right people in the room, communicate the problem and work together to drive solutions.
This is what “Owning It” at Axon truly means across our organization: if you see something, own it, and don’t ignore things you know need improvement. This shouldn’t suggest that you have to go about it alone and do everything yourself. Instead, the calling is to communicate the things we can make better as a team.
This not only helps individuals feel empowered and stay committed, but it helps the organization and the rest of the team.
3. Own It: Deliver Results
Your team has fallen behind on a large project. You see a path forward to executing well on your own items, but feel it simply isn’t worth the effort if the rest of the project is going to flounder anyways. So, you quickly complete your piece and hand in work that you know isn’t your best.
Sometimes a project is knocked off track, and you can’t fill the gaps to see the entire project through to completion. However, you can still deliver your best work for your piece of the puzzle. Accountability is how we stay connected to our best work.
Find someone at work who motivates you or who inspires a little healthy competition. Connecting with someone to help you stay accountable for delivering your best work will ensure you own as much as possible. On top of finding a personal accountability partner, Axon encourages weekly one-on-ones where employees report their wins and needs to their managers. This allows managers to give actionable advice and help individual contributors before problems become too large.
And remember always to remain accountable to yourself. You have goals, standards, and core values. Remind yourself what you gain by giving it your all. Reconnecting with your values even when no one else is looking is the essence of integrity.
Owning it is one of those values that can feel overwhelming without the tools and processes in place to facilitate success. At Axon, we try our best to facilitate what employees need to really “own it” at work. And when all else fails, Aminata Brown, customer success executive at Axon, reminds us to remember our customers. “The sacrifices that our first responders make every day are unbelievable. Most of the time, for no reward. Demonstrating your willingness to go all out for them is something Axon needs, and wants, and looks for.”