The Wisdom of Oz: A book review by Bob Morris

Wisdom of OzThe Wisdom of Oz: Using Personal Accountability to Succeed in Everything You Do
Roger Connors and Tom Smith
Portfolio/The Penguin Group (2014)

Most limits are self-imposed: How to unleash the power of personal accountability to overcome the obstacles to your success

According to Roger Connors and Tom Smith, their book is not just about the personal accountability; it’s a book about what’s at the root of succeeding in everything you do. Simply put, when you unleash the power of personal accountability, it will empower you in life-altering ways…a real, concrete power that enhances your ability to think, to withstand adversity, to generate confidence, and to increase your own natural emotional, mental, and intellectual strength to help you do [and do better] what you need to do.”

They insert strategically throughout their narrative more than thirty “Oz Rules” that help to guide and inform better decisions as well as to increase and enhance personal accountability. For example:

Rule 1. “When you can’t control your circumstances, don’t let your circumstances control you.”
4. “Accountability is something you do to [and for] yourself.”
12. “Recognize, accept, and examine your blind spots.”
14. “Accountable people seek and appreciate feedback.”
19.”If you’re not part of the problem, you can’t be part of the solution.”
28. “Reasons become excuses as soon as you start using them to stop trying to solve the problem.”

Connors and Smith are especially clever when illustrating these and other “rules” with references to L. Frank Baum’s classic while developing in even greater depth a concept introduced and then developed in previously published Oz books: The Personal Accountability Line” or simply “The Line.” In essence, The “Line” divides levels of progressively higher and regressively lower levels of personal accountability. The more personally accountable you are, the higher above the line you are; the less personally accountable you are, the lower below the line you are. This book offers the challenge but also the opportunity to “taking the Steps to Accountability to See It, Own It, Solve It, and Do It and being filled with the knowledge and desire to stay Above the Line.”

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Connors and Smith’s coverage.

o Get Off the Couch! (Pages 2-8)
o The Steps to Personal Accountability (20-25)
o Rules of the “Blame Game” (38-40)
o Six Stages of the Victim Cycle (41-45)
o How to See the Whole Picture (52-53)
o Nine Guidelines for Getting and Using Feedback 60-62)
o What It Means to Own the Given Problem or Challenge (68-71)
o The Own It Question: “Am I Contributing to the Problem and/or the Solution?” (74-76)
o What the “Solving It Mindset” Looks Like (85-87)
o How to Obtain the Wisdom to Solve Problems (90-94)
o What Do You Really Want? (99-102)
o The Gravitational Pull Below the Line (106-111)
o How to Unleash the Power of Personal Accountability! (116-118)
o The Journey to Greater Personal Accountability: A Word of Warning (125-128)
o How to Lift Others Above the Line of Personal Accountability (128-131)

I agree with Roger Connors and Tom Smith: In the end, taking personal accountability is about “overcoming your circumstances and not being overcome by them. In the end, it’s about coming to the realization that only when you assume full responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, actions, and results can you direct your own destiny; otherwise, someone or something else will.” This is what Dorothy and her companions learned during their journey to the Emerald City. Just as Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us,” it is equally true, “I have met the Wizard and he is me.”

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