Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Ownership, Mountain West Farm Bureau Insurance Company–and You

                                                          Is Ownership Part of Your Character?

 The history of an inspiring company culture: In 1946, the Wyoming Farm Bureau organized an insurance committee to see if it would be feasible to establish an automobile insurance company for its members.  The idea became a reality and for 60 years there has been a great multi-line insurance and financial resource available to people in Wyoming and Montana. I have had the privilege of working with Mountain West Farm Bureau Insurance on several occasions. I was first introduced to the great team there by Cindy Romero, Vice President of Operations, in Laramie, at their handsome–even though windswept–headquarters. I’ve also enjoyed working with Jeff Suloff, Vice President of Claims.

CEO Roy Schmett, one of the other many nice MWFBI people I’ve met, speaks of the Mountain West culture with pride.  It’s a culture that we would be wise to hold and represent in all we do.  It includes: Honesty and Integrity, Teamwork, being Solution Driven, and the component that particularly impressed me: Ownership.  Here is what Mountain West Farm Bureau Insurance says about that concept (I’ve added some italics to emphasize the parts that would be so refreshing if we found it in others and if we developed it ourselves.)

Our organization is only as successful as the people who comprise it. To be successful, we show up and go about our work without coaxing. We do what we say we will do, and we finish what we start. We accept total accountability for our behavior and never blame someone or something else for our actions or our results. We own the work we process, the problems we encounter and the relationships in which we are a part. Our fellow employees, agents, members and policy holders can always depend on us to be there for them.

Does that describe you? Every person you supervise? Your team or work group? You know you have work to do if there is a lot of talk that sounds as though people see themselves as victims of the system, the organization, customers or clients or unpleasant coworkers. Those are valid concerns, but a sense of ownership and appropriate actions are needed to find solutions.

If you drive into Laramie from I-80 you will see the Mountain West Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance company building. It’s the work home of some great people who are working to keep the culture of ownership alive and well. You and I should be doing the same thing!

June 9th, 2011 Posted by | Life and Work, Personal and Professional Development, Service to Customers, Clients and Coworkers | 4 comments


  1. Tina, this is something that I feel very strongly about, particularly since I work for a state agency; sometimes the feeling of ownership and accountability is in short supply. I also really love the idea of thinking that we are partly owners of our work. Therefore, when we work with a customer or work on a product, that product is a reflection of us–and we should want to be proud of what we are presenting to others. It is mystifying to me that everyone doesn’t get this concept.

    Comment by Lisa M. | June 10, 2011

  2. As a Laramie native I can give a big thumbs up to everything about Mountain West. They are HUGE contributors to the community. Nice article about them. Now if we could just get this ownership thing to rub off on city government….

    Comment by wiseacre | June 11, 2011

  3. Good thoughts and I agree, but one problem with taking ownership in my job is that you’re given something to do but not given resources or support to do it. So, it really isn’t your project anyway, it’s just your name on it if it doesn’t go well. I find myself trying to make sure other people know the foul-ups weren’t my idea and I actively fought against them. I can see that might come across as not taking ownership but from my viewpoint it’s self-preservation.

    Comment by B.T. | June 11, 2011

  4. Hello Tina! I used the link to go to their website and was impressed to read all of their culture statements. You’re right about the ownership part being especially good. I also agree with Lisa M’s statement that she’s mystified that everyone doesn’t get the concept. It seems so natural to me to feel that way that I’m shocked when I talk to an employee who doesn’t think of work as representing him or her. My work IS me! Thanks for the information about a good company with heart.

    Comment by P.A.H. | June 12, 2011

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