Monday, January 5, 2009

The OZ Principle

Part of my Christmas reading plan was to get through a series of business books I had collected on recent trips to Half-Price Books. One of these was entitled The OZ Principle: Getting results through individual and organizational accountability. Written in 1994 by Connors, Smith and Hickman, the book outlines a way to think about accountability - and to rid oneself and ones' organization of the BLAME GAME.

The authors outline a way to achieve accountability throug a 4-step process:
1. See it (having the courage of the Lion)
2. Own it (having the heart of the Tin Woodsman)
3. Solve it (having the wisdom of the Scarecrow)
4. Do it (having the will of Dorothy)

Though it is cute (and perhaps even a bit trite), the book resonated with me to look more closely at how I get things done personally and organizationally. The authors often use the idea of "above-the-line" leadership. Dropping "below the line" means that we will fall into the VICTIM CYCLE where we ignore or deny problems, point the finger at others, cover our own tails, pass the buck, wait for others to tell us what to do, and often just wait and see what will happen. Above-the-line accountability sees it, owns it, solves it and does it.

So what does above the line leadership look like? A few examples from the book:
1. I model accountability and set an example
2. I recognize victim stories when I hear them
3. I use accouuntability as a way to empower others toward results
4. I expect people to coach me to get "above the line" when necessary

The rest - and much more - can be found in this little gem (which is available at a real discount through Amazon Books - especially used editions). Go ahead and get a copy - read it quickly - and then pass it on to a colleague. Yet another way to stay above-the-line!

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