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Getting Results Through Individual And Organizational Accountability

The Oz Principle

The Oz Principle

by Roger Connors, Tom Smith, Craig Hickman

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It’s a lot easier to preach accountability than to practice it.

Accountability is, if not a magic solution to everything, certainly a solution to many things. Business books are full of examples of companies that hit serious difficulties because people refused to take the steps to accountab...

To discern when you or your organization are slipping below the line between achievement and a dead-end, ask yourself:

  • Do you feel that you have little or no control over your circumstances?
  • Do you listen when people tell you that you are not doing all you could be doing?

  • Companies ignore or deny the problem.
  • They dodge responsibility.
  • They blame others.
  • They wait for some higher power to provide orders.
  • They focus on protecting themselves and ‘cover their tail’.
  • They adopt the wait and watch approach and see if the pro...

At many organizations, “accountability” really means “blame.”

People only hear about accountability when something sinks, blows up or crashes. When everything is great, no one asks who’s accountable for the success. It is a personal choice to rise above one’s circumstances and demonstrate ...

People who are imbued with a spirit of accountability will:

  • Ask for constructive criticism and candid feedback.
  • Demand the truth even when it hurts and face facts, no matter how scary or nasty.
  • Don’t waste time or energy on things you cannot control or influence.

When people lack courage – think of the timid lion in The Wizard of Oz – they don’t fail to see problems; they deliberately refuse to see problems out of fear. What they can’t see, they can’t solve. Therefore, in their cowardly minds, they are not responsible or accountable. Now, think how laugha...

People in an organization who see a problem and take responsibility for fixing it are golden. People who reject accountability do nothing. If you have ever seen yourself as the victim of a terrible injustice, reflect on that experience and ask yourself:

  • What did you know to be true and...

How do you know a problem when you see it? The most dangerous unresolved problems organizations face are: Poor communication, people development, empowerment, misalignment, entitlement, work and personal life imbalance, poor performance, senior management development, and cross-functional str...

  • “Stay engaged” – Be awake and focus on the possible.
  • “Persist” – Hang in there stubbornly until you have it right.
  • “Think differently” – Look for strange and shockingly different points of view.
  • “Create new linkages” – Build new and unfamiliar relationships.
  • “...

Leaders must apply these principles to themselves and to their organizations. Intervention, itself, is risky. Leaving the team to figure things out for itself is important, but it can also be a way of shirking leadership responsibility. 

Try to fulfill this checklist of leadership character...

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