Extreme ownership & extreme collaboration

Quick thought on a Saturday morning before venturing out to a museum and another World Cup game.

In working remotely for just over 8 years now including my time at University, I’ve learned the power of fully embracing two seemingly disparate ideas: extreme ownership and extreme collaboration. If I take something on, I act as if it is solely up to me to keep tabs on the work and keep it alive. I set reminders. I break down tasks. I create a plan. I let stakeholders know what’s going on. I provide updates. I provide chances for folks to help. I own it. If no one else comes to help me, it’s okay. I have it.

At the same time, I also default to extreme collaboration meaning if someone comes into something I’m owning wanting to help in some way (giving feedback, doing work, etc), I welcome it fully and intensely. I nudge for feedback. I get a sense of what timeline they are working on so we can align. I ask who else we should involve. I check in with them before moving forward and seek their insights out intensely. I provide them with regularly updates and clear communication. If someone comes to help me, it’s a very welcome surprise that I celebrate.

These two attitudes taken together underpin why I think I’m able to keep things moving that no one cares about and why I’m able to bring people together to achieve something greater with relative ease. Of course, work is this straightforward. As always, it’s a spectrum of responses but I’m relieved I have these two attitudes so adopted within me.


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