by Matt Cuccaro, Ed.M.
The Oz Principle written by Roger Connors, Tom Smith, and Craig Hickman defines accountability as “a personal choice to rise above one’s circumstances and demonstrate the ownership necessary for achieving desired results”. The book parallels the story of The Wizard of Oz showing how the characters spent an endless journey looking for someone to help them attain courage, a heart, brains, and the ability to return home. In the end, however, the characters find that they had these abilities within themselves all along. In life, an individual can either choose to play “the blame game” and place personal faults on the shoulders of others or live “above the line” and take personal responsibility for both success and failure in their daily life.
The book identifies a few keys to creating and maintaining accountability…
“You invite candid feedback from everyone about your own performance.” Although it is important to continually self-evaluate, perspective from another individual oftentimes provides the ability to learn about personal strengths and weaknesses. Having the courage to be evaluated by another person and then putting that information to use is a critical factor in personal success.
“You don’t waste time or energy on things you cannot control or influence.” Time and energy is a limited resource. Most things in daily life are outside of one’s control and many others are outside of one’s influence. The successful individual focuses these limited resources on the few core items that are under his or her control (self) and creates a plan to manage their time and energy on what other items are worth attempting to influence.
“You constantly ask yourself the question, ‘What else can I do to rise above my circumstances and get the results I want?’” The individual who strives for continuous improvement holds confidence in what they have already attained, but also knows that slight improvement is a possibility. Minimal improvement each day adds up to significant improvement over a lifetime.
Although The Oz Principle was written and intended for a corporate audience, it can be easily adapted to suit an individual looking to improve performance in any domain.