Two Tenets of Ownership : Custodian , Possession

  • I always thought Ownership — means OWNERSHIP , complete commitment ! Like a Mother to a child or a driven person to a cause
  • However my understanding matured & expanded through what I observed around me & learnt through them . It gave me so much clarity on two extremes of shades of ‘ Ownership ‘ as is being understood & practiced – I take it as my obligation to bring to you the same enlightenment
  • I have now come to realise that in practice there are two tenets of Ownership ( one intended & one mistaken ) which form the two extreme ends of an ‘ Ownership Spectrum ‘
    • One is the “ Custodianship “ end – which is what is implicit in the concept of Ownership , &
    • The other end is “ Possession “ which is a mistaken notion of ownership
  • Custodianship
    • This is the true & larger meaning of ownership
    • It invokes a sense of belonging & is about caring about what you ‘ own’ – be it a cause , your child , your country , your community
    • It generally involves a ‘ surrender to a cause ‘ ; a selfless disposition to what you are doing / intend to do . The focus is not on self , but on the cause – which is always bigger than yourself
    • It is about focus & uncontaminated attention . It is about nurturing . You will do everything possible to ensure safety & fulfilment of the cause — often unprompted !
    • The purpose & commitment here is long sustained & approach is ‘ relationship ‘ oriented
  • Possession
    • This is grown through popular / oversimplified misconception of meaning of ownership
    • It is about ‘ owning ‘ something as your ‘ possession — as your ‘ property ‘ … This can go beyond material possessions ; can even extend to your own child !
    • Quite contrary to a ‘ surrender ‘ ; it is about ‘ subservience ‘ – about clearly establishing hierarchy & concept of supremacy / subjugation .
    • The focus is clearly & unquestionably on self , everything else is subsidiary to self interest . It is fueled by Ego & smacks of arrogance .
    • Contrary to concept of attention and care ; it is about ‘ exploitation ‘ — it is like “ I have every right over something , because I paid for it “ ( typical feel of a “ Malik “ , in Hindi )
    • The approach is logically , very transactional and opportunistic .
  • Clarity , Insight & Perspective is what I bring to the table , always – so in this case . As a committed & experienced Coach I felt it my obligation to bring you this clarity , with which you can choose the path you want to take on the ‘ Ownership Spectrum ‘ , since you take accountability for your decision ; just that you are well informed & well equipped to make a careful choice
  • I have made my choice ; for me ‘ Custodianship ‘ is not just the better & more inclusive concept ; it is the ONLY way of taking and exercising Ownership ! You need to decide for yourself , independently – It is Your Choice , because it is Your Life !

Win- Lose or Win –Win – Actually it is much beyond that

  • I am sure everyone is well familiar with ‘ Win-Lose ‘ , ‘ Win-Win ‘ scenarios and that everyone understands / enlightened on , how Win-Win is better , including in negotiations situations
  • However it is likely that you may not have heard that there is something beyond ‘ Win – Win ‘ & better and in fact worth striving for – though not so easy to reach there . You are unlikely to have known this before because no one told you , what I am going to share with you .
  • I do not know what to term this as , but it is a scenario which sees self win , as a subset of other’s win .
    • Can you envisage your win as a part of your customer’s ( or any other party , you are dealing with ) win & not separate from it , to be counted as ‘ Win – Win ‘ — it is NOT Your Win and ‘ his ‘ Win as two ( may be interrelated , yet ) distinct happening ?
    • Can you feel as happy with the other person’s win , you are dealing with ; as much as you would be ( /would have been ) happy with your win – regardless of how you define your win & regardless to whatever happens to what you defined as your win ?
    • Are you willing & happy to ‘ dissolve ‘ your win into someone else’s win , like sugar into milk – so that you can single mindedly focus on achieving only One WIN , that is of the ‘ other person ‘ and feel overwhelmingly & genuinely happy about the remarkable outcome ( like sugar made the sweetened milk ) you helped create , without really bothering to count – ‘ what did you get ‘
  • If you have experienced any of above or if you can relate to the scenario above ; you will understand the concept I am bring to you . Those now enlightened but skeptical about its ‘ practicality ‘ will ask me …if anyone in this world does this , except God & the kins thereof …. I would say YES , Very Much . Each Mother I know , practices that every time with her child
    • I am not aware of any mother , who in any scenario , operates with her child in a ‘ Win –Win ‘ scenario , forget about ‘ Win –Lose ‘ !
    • I am not aware of any mother , who has any ‘ own ‘ agenda , separate from her child’s that makes her count her ‘ win ‘ or  ‘What did I get for what I did ‘ .
    • I have not seen a mother who is not single mindedly focused on her child’s win – that being the only win for he in that situation . And her life is an endless Sum of all such situations
  • I took ‘ Mother ‘ analogy , because it is so visible , happening in each of our lives . However practicing this concept of Win within Win ‘ is not restricted to ‘ biological ‘ mothers . It applies to each that person , who ‘ Mothers’ whatever he / she is involved in – be it person , product , process , cause , nation , entity & I have seen it being practiced
  • Now I will tell you , why I am fascinated with this concept , why I consider it a higher level concept , where can it be applicable & who are well poised to practice it
    • The flaw in ‘ Win – Win ‘ concept – however flaunted & promoted is that … whether ‘Win –Lose ‘ or ‘Win –Win ‘ ; both are ‘ Transactional ‘  …. It has to do with “ What do I get for what I did “ . Even if you are conscious about & calibrate to see each party gets happy , the mind set is still “ What do I get for what I did “  . “ Win within Win “ , goes much beyond to be a ‘ Relationship ‘ approach
    • Other shortcoming in any transactional v/s relationship approach is that in the former ( like in Win –Win ) there are two entities , in the later ( as in Win within Win) there is only one entity . This does not only afford single minded focus of your efforts & energy – quantitatively leading to outstanding outcome ; it also attains ‘ purity of purpose ‘ & qualitatively too attains higher level
  • This concept – rather a Life Approach has not only universal application in whatever you do , but more particularly potently useful in Service industry – for better customer focus . And with its purity of purpose , every step you take on this path enhances your enrichment & happiness quotient
  • Having said that let me caution you that practicing Win within Win is none too easy . Win-Win itself is difficult to practice . Practicing Win within Win will take much more level of mental strength , conviction & determination . I am not sure how many can , but it is certainly very desirable – aspirational journey
    • It will come easy to those who are convinced about & dedicated to creating “ Greater Good “ for the world and have deep intrinsic faith that their share of “ Greater Good “ will be Greater than the ( usual )Good , without having to separately count . It is for those people who take as their obligation to contribute to creating a better World and take themselves as inseparable constituent of the better world , than the other way round
    • It is for that “ Sugar “ who unquestioningly dissolves into the Milk with deep commitment to make the World a better place with it than without – it is not for that ‘ sugar ‘ who refuses to lose its identity by dissolving & in turn makes , self & the surrounding – unfulfilled
  • This piece is therefore dedicated to All Mothers & to All Those who take themselves as Mothers to Whatever they do . This World is a better place , essentially because of them !


I found that approaches / outlook different people hold for work or even life can be categorized into two distinct buckets : Trader mentality or  Businessman mentality . The way I am using this terminology here ; the words : Trader , Businessman , do not denote actual professions they represent , but to describe ‘ mentality ‘ or ‘ approach ‘ with different people

Since I believe ; ‘ What you do ‘ is a function of ‘ How you see ‘ ; people with these two mentalities have two distinct , different pattern of behavior , let’s see how

  • Revenue / money drive :
    • TRADER : is focused on how much money he is making … not necessarily from where it is coming or if this has any consistent direction . He should be happy , as long as xx number of transaction giving yyy revenue is clocked every day . As a result , a Trader may not develop or may not be known for any skill ( e.g. a Fruit seller , but not as Mango Expert or Orange expert ) As a generalist , trader will neither command a Brand , nor a premium – will be moneyed , but he is faceless to his customers & customers are faceless to him
    • BUSINESSMAN : is focused on a ‘ Line of Business ‘ … has a sense of purpose & direction & getting deeper into it , will eventually develop that skill in the desired field & will be known for his expertise . Premium comes from being a specialist
  • Transactional :
    • TRADER : As long as he is meeting the revenue target it does not matter if the same source / customer is coming again & again . It could be a completely different set of customers every day , as long as the revenue output is met . Way of dealing is transactional
    • BUSINESSMAN : Repeat sales is very important for the Businessman . It is important for him to have many of same customers to come again & again . Way of dealing is transactional
  • Profit outlook :
    • TRADER : Has to maximize profit in EVERY transaction …. Since business for him is a Sum of individual transactions . That is why a ‘ Trader ‘ says ; “ Goods once sold will not be taken back “
    • BUSINESSMAN : Optimises profit for the business over a period ; not for each transaction , every day . Hence a businessman may not mind taking one step back to go two steps forward
  • Focus :
    • TRADER : Focus is clearly on self . Likely to be rude / arrogant & ego driven
    • BUSINESSMAN : Focus is customer . Likely to be polite , accommodative,not  ego driven
  •  Now if you understand the two approaches clearly , just think : not just in business / work ; but also in our personal life , don’t we see people using these two different approaches in handling people & relationships