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careers copyThe Oz Principle, which was conceptualized in 2004 by Tom Smith, a trainer and author of a book of the same name, focuses on how organizations can implement an accountability culture that can improve individual and organizational performance.

The Oz Principle divides employee behavior into two categories:

Above the Line behaviors include taking ownership of work, and this forms the nucleus of the Oz Principle. Other behaviors include being committed, developing problem-solving skills and taking prompt and effective action to complete tasks.

Below the Line behaviors include passing blame when things go wrong, carelessness and an irresponsible attitude.

The four pillars of the Oz Principle that can help you, as a professional, become an ‘Above the Line performer’ are:

1- See it. Acknowledge problems and identify actions that can be taken to solve them promptly. This is best achieved by actively seeking feedback from colleagues, supervisors, team members, vendors and customers. Analyze and collate the responses; this will help you develop a holistic view of issues, and enable you to devise effective and comprehensive solutions.

2- Own it. Assume responsibility for missed targets and deadlines; run diagnostics to identify the reasons that caused it. When you hold yourself personally accountable for mistakes, you also develop a proactive sense of responsibility in finding solutions, instead of wasting time.

3- Solve it. Conduct comprehensive yet timely research, and use your expertise, experience and imagination to determine what additional steps you can take to resolve a crisis. Prepare yourself, your department and your organization to deal effectively when problems crop up by redefining boundaries, questioning assumptions and using foresight to predict potential issues.

4- Do it. Execute ideas and implement solutions passionately, proactively and persistently; assume accountability – not just for errors – but also for taking appropriate corrective actions and ensuring that individual, team and organizational targets are met in the specified time frame.

– Sahr Nadeem Tariq
The writer is a project coordinator at a multinational company. sahrnadeem@gmail.com

First published in the Career Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on July 6, 2014.