I have been reading a book on management called “The Oz Principle.” Its been around for a decade but is not out of style. The authors use Dorothy, The Tin Man, The Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow and the Wizard to illustrate how your company and your life can change if you take responsibility for what is going on and then fix it.
It seems obvious. How can you fix something if you don’t take responsibility for it. And yet, like Dorothy’s three companions, most of us don’t think we have the power or ability to change our environment. How often do we say “Its not my job.” or “The boss is an idiot, he is causing this problem, what can I do?” or “Those sob’s in engineering designed a product we can’t sell?” or “Those marketing nincompoops are crazy, we built exactly what they wanted and then can’t sell it?”
Or closer to home: “We could do a better job in revenue control if we had better equipment.” or “Our equipment run perfectly but the idiots in the garage don’t use it properly.” or “If we only had a maintenance agreement, we could go in and fix the stuff before it broke” or “If the owner paid us operators more, we could hire better people and do a better job” or “We would have a better parking operation if the operator simply did their job.” or the classic “Those damn parkers simply don’t understand and follow the rules. What am I supposed to do about it?”
The Oz Principle talks about above and below the line thinking. Above the line managers take responsibility and fix the problem. below the line managers find reasons why they aren’t responsible and hide from the problems. It points out that we all, from time to time, move from one side of the line to the other. They point out its important to go below the line once in a while, its human. But we need to realize when we are doing it and then change our behavior to meet the challenge.
Just as Dorothy, the Lion, the Scarecrow and the Tin man were looking for things they already had, we search daily for solutions that are already within us. We have courage, brains and a heart, but we are looking for a wizard to give them to us. And he is just a fellow behind the curtain with now power but a good story.