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The Power and Impact of Accountability | The Oz Principle

All great organizations and managers have one commonality: accountability. Accountable organizations are built on trust. Managers in these organizations foster risk taking and diversity of thought. The Oz Principle: Getting Results Through Individual and Organizational Accountability by Roger Connors, Tom Smith, and Craig Hickman introduced me to the power and impact of accountability.

The book used the story of the Wizard of Oz as a metaphor for accountability. The characters of the Wizard of Oz were reliant upon an outside source to change their lives--the Wizard. Once they realized they had the ability and responsibility to change their lives for themselves, they prospered. The concept of accountability in The Oz Principle is explained as ownership. It also introduces above and below the line behavior. Individuals and leaders who are above the line foster accountability by “seeing it, owning it, solving it, and doing it.”

Below the line behavior involves people “waiting and seeing how others handle the situation, covering their tails, finger pointing, ignoring and denying, saying it’s not my job, and confusion for direction saying tell me what to do.” An example of accountability according to the Oz Principle could be if you are asked to create a PowerPoint presentation for a training session. You finish the project, and email it to your supervisor—but the Oz Principle suggests your responsibility does not end there! You are responsible to follow up and to ask for feedback. How was the presentation received? Were the trainees engaged? This mindset of accountability fosters transparency as well as a learning oriented culture. What better place than HR to apply this concept?!

As managers, we are responsible for attracting and retaining the best talent. We are responsible for employee engagement and performance. If we, as HR managers, take accountability for our responsibilities, our company will prosper. Companies can utilize the Oz Principle to promote accountability for individuals and joint accountability for teams. I apply the Oz Principle to many aspects of my life, both personally and professionally. I now see criticism and accountability as opportunities for growth. I now welcome the opportunity to be critiqued!

This post is part of the #HRHero series. Learn more about the series here and share with us your #HRHero!


Megan Peiffer is a Graduate Assistant in the Graduate Programs in Human Resource Development at Villanova University. She also serves as the Director of Corporate Relations for the VUSHRM chapter. Learn more about her here and connect with her on LinkedIn!


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