What is the summary of chapter one of the book The Oz Principle?
There are many interesting details in Chapter 1 of The Oz Principle, but a summary is best served by focusing on the main messages of this introductory chapter:
- the potentially global repercussions of rejecting accountability in business
- characteristics of accountability
- definition of victimization
- introductory preliminaries presented in a "you will hear" section highlighting case histories formatted to illustrate points
- differences between victimization (blaming externals) and accountability (facing hard facts of failures)
- citing Charles Sykes' book A Nation of Victims as authority for victimization versus accountability approach
- presenting Above the Line Accountability (hard work) versus Below the Line Victimization (blaming, excusing)
Using well known business failures, such as Lucent, Enron and AT&T, and successes, such as Nortel and Intel (fewer successes are named) Connors, Hickman and Smith illustrate how a corporate failure can impact the global economy. Intel and Enron being good examples of good impact on global economy and bad impact, respectively. In conjunction with these examples, they present the characteristics of accountability and the definition of victimization:
- Accountability: Face bad news head on; don't pass blame onto external economic or other conditions; don't be enamored of a love affair with favorable Wall Street analyst reports; do the hard work of finding solutions, as Intel did.
- Victimization: I am, and the company is, the victim of external circumstances; I am not the cause of failures around me and within the company, as the CEO of Xerox said.
After cautioning against the "magic" of fads and management "wizards," they present scenarios of personal failure and success stories that will ripen their message of accountability, not victimization: "you will hear" about an executive "fighting for the life" of his company, about the General Electric CEO who took responsibility for failures, about "low level" employees facing genuine performance obstacles and many other personal experiences that convince of the magnitude of accountability.
The chapter culminates with a contrast between accountability and victimization, remarks on A Nation of Victims and the explanation of their theory of Above the Line Accountability and Below the Line Victimization. This introductory chapter aims to enliven energetic interest in the pursuit of accountability: an approach that changes results though accountable thinking.