The “Wizard of Oz” Approach to Change (Post #5)

Wizard of Oz (Aug 2014)How many times have you sat in frustration during a meeting and wondered why “that person” was being so difficult? When an organization discusses “change” there is often a predictable palette of responses around the conference table. While each one of us is a beautiful, intricate, and complicated person, there are some general categories, or personality temperaments, we tend to lean in to.

Novelists and screenwriters commonly make use of the four temperaments within their stories (sometimes knowingly and sometimes not!). In the Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum uses characters that are lacking (or think they are lacking) a trait that represents one of the four temperaments: Courage, Brains, Heart, and Home. Here’s a quick look at our characters. Which one (or ones) are you?



Courageous Lions say, “I’m not afraid! Change? Schmange. Bring it on. Let’s do this! If you don’t like it, well, put ’em up and we’ll settle this the old fashioned way!”

Okay, they might not start a fist fight, but suffice it to say that the efficient and resourceful Lions are ready and willing to go. Right now. Who needs a plan? Courageous Lions are more than willing to handle things as they come – and they are good at it.

Brain - Scarecrow


I’ll tell you who needs a plan, Brainy Scarecrows! The competent and visionary Scarecrows say, “Let’s sit down and reason this out. Have we thought through how this suggested change will impact our organization over the next five years? Let’s tweak the idea a bit.”

Brainy Scarecrows bring a rational edge to the discussion – which sometimes annoys the Lions… and the Tinmen. Nevertheless, these Scarecrows help organizations avoid hard to see pitfalls and navigate difficult waters.

Heart - Tinman


The Good-Hearted Tinmen care. About everyone. “There is more to this than the bottom line, people! How will Elder Bruce feel if you replace the piece of lobby furniture that his father donated 25 years ago? Have we considered sending a card thanking him and his family for their many years of service?”

Good-Hearted Tinmen are often problem-solvers. They are imaginative and innovative. They intuitively know how proposed change will affect those you lead and they often have good ideas that make people feel special and valued.

Home - Dorothy


The Sweet Dorothies just want to go home. Sometimes the Dorothies want to cling to the past (for the sake of comfort and security), and sometimes they call for the team to remember the values of the past. “Change is great, as long as we are connecting it to the mission we all agreed to long ago. Do you remember why we are here and why we are doing this? With that in mind, how can we make this proposed change more powerful and focused?”

Responsible and reliable Dorothies are guardians of what is most precious in your organization: your mission, values, and vision.

The study of personality theories can quickly become extensive and a bit overwhelming, so suffice it to say that WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT! Our teams are filled with beautiful, intricate, complicated, messy geniuses. Who needs simple?


UPDATE (8-20-14)

You know, it hardly seems fair to leave out poor Toto. Toto showed up in almost every scene, but didn’t say a word. He watched the action take place and looked cute. Toto didn’t really move the plot along very much at all… or did he? Sometimes the one who says the least, actually has the most influence. Have you found this to be true? Just my late night musings as I continue to think about this topic. 😉

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER: Which character do you see yourself more as and which one annoys you to pieces? How will you adjust your perspective for future discussions within your organization? Please comment below.

To learn more about me and the coaching I provide to individuals and teams, I invite you to come poke around my website, kick off your shoes, and stay a while.

About Amy deVries

I am a Professional Christian Coach living in the Pacific Northwest.
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