Listen to The Wizard Within

December 12, 2012
  • Bob Chapman
  • Bob Chapman
    CEO & Chairman of Barry-Wehmiller
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When I share the story of our leadership journey with business leaders across the country, I rarely encounter any who think being good stewards of the lives in their organization is not the right way to lead. However, I often encounter many who think it is a difficult journey upon which to embark.

Several years ago, I was speaking about Truly Human Leadership to a global gathering of executives of a major consumer products company.

At the end of my presentation, a gentleman in the audience said: “Bob, I thoroughly agree with what you’re saying. But how do you suggest we get our corporate enterprise on board? How do we get them to let us begin?”

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Since when do you need a memo from corporate to show you how to be good stewards of the lives in your care?

It reminds me of a lesson found within the beloved classic film “The Wizard of Oz.” Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion follow the yellow brick road, in search of the great Wizard who will surely provide what each is missing: a way back to Kansas, a heart, a brain and courage.

They reach the castle of the mystical, magical Wizard and hear his thunderous voice booming from behind the curtain. They are frightened but excited at the prospect of figuring out how to get what they’ve been seeking for some time.

Suddenly, Toto jumps from Dorothy’s basket and pulls back the curtain, revealing the great Wizard behind. And, lo and behold, he’s just an ordinary man. Although not a magical wizard, this ordinary man proves to be very wise. He helps Dorothy and her Oz companions see that what they were looking for was actually within them all the while.

You don’t need a memo from the almighty wizards of corporate to tell you it’s okay to do the right thing. A spreadsheet can’t show you how to treat people. No executive order is required to allow you to pause each day to have a thoughtful conversation with someone in your organization.

Listen to them. Make them see that what they do and who they are matters. You—and everyone else in your organization, for that matter—already have everything within yourselves to embrace Truly Human Leadership today.

The journey to Truly Human Leadership can take you down many roads, but there’s no need to follow the one paved with yellow bricks. Embark on your journey now. Pick any road to go down. The result will be nothing short of magical.


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