July 19, 2023

The Importance of Owning It

By Todd Ryan, VP of Client Experience, Mike Albert

At Mike Albert, we spend a lot of time thinking about, talking about, and living our company values. In this series, Navigating the High Road, senior leaders from our company explore Mike Albert’s core values, why they are important, and how we instill them in our corporate culture.

Every morning when I wake up, one of the first questions I ask myself is: “How am I going to own the day?”

What problems do I need to solve? Which clients need extra support? What team members can I help to reach a new level in their career? It’s a simple question that helps shape the day ahead and get things started on the right foot. And it’s rooted in one of Mike Albert’s simplest, most important, and most useful company values: "Own It.”

At our company, our clients rely on us for best-in-class mobility solutions. As VP of Client Experience, it’s my job to ensure we deliver on that promise daily. That begins and ends with “owning it”—taking a proactive approach to problem-solving while simultaneously anticipating our clients’ needs. For most of our clients, a vehicle experiencing downtime equals lost revenue. That means when a fleet manager picks up the phone to call us, we need to do everything in our power to get them what they need—back on the road and back in business.

Here are a few ways that Mike Albert fosters an “Own It” culture.

Owning it should drive the customer experience.

I’ve been with Mike Albert for over thirty years. Recently, we’ve doubled down on our company values, spending a significant amount of time defining them and how we can best encourage every associate to embrace them.

For those of us with a client-facing role, “Own It” has become a framework for engaging with our clients. It is a part of the day-to-day language here. When faced with a unique challenge or unexpected roadblock, I’ll often ask our associates how they plan to “own it,” to take control of the situation to achieve the best results for all parties involved. And when we speak with clients, we not only play back their concerns so they know we understand, but we also communicate how we’ll own the situation quickly and efficiently—eliminating any anxiety they may have.

The results have been phenomenal, with fleet managers often telling us how thankful they are for our support and proactive approach to solving their problems. We’ve even had clients who left for seemingly less expensive fleet management solutions only to return when they realized how much our “Own it” attitude saves them time and money.

Owning it means going the extra mile.

One of the most important ways our team owns a problem is being “Client Obsessed” to resolve it. One of our client support associates recently did this when she helped a client with a significant license plate issue that another third-party vendor failed to remedy. In this situation, her first step was to speak with the fleet manager to understand the problem (that several vehicles didn’t have the documentation needed to stay on the road) and what steps had been taken by the other vendor to resolve it.

Once she understood the lay of the land, she researched all possible solutions, finding a way to secure the license plates in question and ensuring that the paperwork was filed immediately. This meant that our client’s vehicles could return to the road within 24 hours. It wasn’t easy, but her “Own It” attitude fostered a deeper trust and a stronger relationship with our client.

An “Own It” attitude should be celebrated.

Encouraging associates to embrace a company value requires celebrating- and rewarding- those who do. To accomplish this, our annual performance reviews incorporate our company values, which means we can praise (and financially reward) associates who consistently “Own it” for our company and its clients. We also try to praise people in real time—either in team meetings or via our company intranet. This kind of in-the-moment praise is especially important because it helps people understand the behaviors you want to see. It is far more powerful (and motivational) than dinging associates when they don’t embrace a value.

At the end of the day, “Owning It” boils down to doing the right thing for the company, for the clients, and for yourself. It takes work, but the results are well worth the effort. At Mike Albert, all of our associates embrace the challenge, which creates a powerful, consistent “One Team” experience for every customer or partner we work with. That’s a value worth keeping.