Friday, August 5, 2011

Book Review: The Oz Principle

Today's book review is The Oz Principle: Getting Results Through Individual and Organizational Accountability by Hickman, Smith, and Collins.

The Oz Principle is an entire book thoroughly exploring one concept: responsibility. I appreciate this book for its laser-sharp focus on helping individuals and organizations recognize that they are responsible for their own reactions, decisions, behaviors, and ultimately, results. The Oz Principle's greatest strength is in the methodology it gives the reader for assessing a situation and determining what action they can take to produce the results they want to see. This is a valuable and needed process - especially for emerging leaders who haven't yet grown into their own influence.

The "Oz" reference is a metaphor for those who abdicate their own responsibility and hope that a wizard (such the one Dorothy seeks in the Emerald City) will solve their problems for them. In the end, the lion, tin-man, and scarecrow realize that they provide their own solutions. The power of the metaphor comes in realizing that we can have amazing influence on the world around us and on the results we desire.

If I have any criticism of the book's message, it is that the personal/organizational responsibility mantra can be taken too far if removed from a context of strong personal and organizational values. For instance, I may very well be able to take action on one hundred different issues that concern me. However, just because I can doesn't necessarily mean I should. The Oz Principle's message is incredibly valuable - if you have done the work to prioritize your own values and know what is most important. Without doing that work, the message of personal responsibility can be overwhelming.

I recommend The Oz Principle for leaders and managers who have a strong internal compass and want to increase their influence.

Happy Reading!

David M. Dye

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Twitter: @davidmdye
David shares twenty years experience teaching, coaching, leading, and managing in youth service, education advocacy, city governance, and faith-based nonprofits. He currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Colorado UpLift and enjoys helping others discover and realize their own potential.

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