The Oz Principle: Getting Results Through Individual and Organizational Accountability (Smart Audio) Audio CD – Audiobook, 4 Feb 2011
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Granted, Dorothy and her three companions (four if counting Toto) proceed together on the journey to the Emerald City and, along the way, depend upon each other to overcome all manner of obstacles. However, keep in mind that the Emerald City is not the ultimate objective for any of them. Dorothy's, for example, is to return home to Kansas. The purpose of that journey, Baum suggests, is to learn what they do not know inorder to recognize what they already have.
The authors suggest that the same is true of most (if not all) of those who comprise a "cult" of victimization which ducks responsibility while telling everyone else what to do. According to Charles Sykes, "Crisscrossing the trip wires of emotional, racial, sexual, and psychological grievance, American life is increasingly characterized by the plaintive insistence, I am a victim." (Those with any direct and extensive experience with 4-7 year olds immediately recognize this as the adult version of "the blame game.") Connors, Smith, and Hickman examine what they characterize as "the destructive force of victimization" and suggest a step-by-step process by which to overcome it. Specifically, they explain HOW to proceed from consciously or unconsciously avoiding accountability for individual or collective results "Below the Line" to accepting accountability for individual and collective performance "Above the Line." I agree with the authors that a majority of workers choose to believe that they have no control over their jobs. They view themselves -- and justify themselves -- as "victims of circumstance."
This book can be invaluable both to individuals and to teams because it will help them to understand how and why "the destructive force of victimization" results in low productivity, customer dissatisfaction, ineffectiveness, wasted talent, and dysfunctional teams. Those who saw the film no doubt recall the scene in which Dorothy and her companions learn that the Wizard of Oz has no magical powers whatsoever. Only then do they grasp the meaning and importance of the Oz Principle: Assume full responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, actions, and results inorder to direct and control your destiny. Most of those who see themselves as victims have a choice: remain "Below the Line" and suffer while blaming others for that suffering, or, rise "Above the Line" to fulfill what Maslow describes as "self-actualization." In this thought-provoking as well as eloquent book, the authors explain HOW to rise above denial, self-pity, and recrimination; better yet, HOW to to draw upon sources of wisdom and strength within to achieve health, happiness, and prosperity. To paraphrase Pogo, "We have met the Wizard and he is us."
If at all possible, read this book in combination with Bossidy and Charan's Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done; Hammer's The Agenda: What Every Business Must Do to Dominate the Decade; and Canfield, Hansen, and Hewitt's The Power of Focus: How to Hit Your Business, Personal and Financial Targets with Absolute Certainty.
The fact of the matter is, there will always be slackers. And if you pick up the slack they leave, you will find yourself working at %150 while they work at %50. According to this book, that's just fine and dandy as long as the work gets done. Yes, emergencies happen. Bad things happen. Taking it on the chin and pressing onward can be a good thing in these cases. But daring to complain or feel abused is 'thinking below the line', even if your complaints and frustrations are real, at least according to Oz. And of course if someone else drops the ball, you are supposed to simply pick it up and run...again and again if need be. Yay you! Meanwhile the guy who dropped the ball is laughing and leaving work early.
Executives would find this book a lot more helpful than the standard wage slave at the bottom of the totem pole. Executives see immediate and positive results with these philosophies. We peons won't. I found it very telling that throughout the book there was never any mention of any real, positive, measurable reward for doing more than your fair share, just a pat on the back and a "good job dude". I'm sorry, but if I have to go above and beyond, I expect more than a certificate, a photo op, or a "Thanks...er..what's your name again?" from the CEO. Selflessly sacrificing for the good of the company sounds great, but not if it becomes standard practice and I don't get paid for it...while others making as much or more than I do snicker at my herculean efforts to clean up others' messes.
The bottom line for this book is "Suck it up and don't complain. You'll be a better person for it, and your BOSS--not you--will reap many rewards for it." Hey, enjoy living in Oz. I'll be over here in Kansas trying to pay my bills and keep my kids fed.
Rereading the latest edition of The Oz Principle has helped cement its rightful place among "easy to read books that pack an impactful message."
The book follows a metaphor with which we are all familiar. This metaphor allows us all to see how easily we get caught in the role of the victim and how easily we play and perpetuate the blame game in our lives.
The Steps to Accountability are placed before the reader in a way that invites him or her to see a situation for what it really is, own his or her role in that situation, solve the challenges presented by the situation and then to finally proactively act on the situation and do whatever needs to be done.
I have recommended this book to hundreds of people over the years. I have yet to have anyone tell me it was a waste of time to read. Most of the time, people tell me how easy it was to read and grasp the concepts within it.
This is truly one of the few books that has proven its worth professionally and personally over time. I rank it among the top ten best books written on how to get the most out of life.
If you believe in personal integrity, if you believe in honor and virtue in the workplace and home, if you think there is room to improve and grow in your life, then this book is for you. You will always be accountable to yourself. Find out how to make the most of your time.