The Wizard of Corporate Oz

How would today's corporate wizard manage the needs of Dorothy and her cohorts of Oz?

The scarecrow wants a brain. For the corporate wizard, this is the easiest problem to solve. After all, companies need brainless individuals to perform the unpleasant, routine, no-thought-required tasks in the vast acres of the corporate farmstead. Mr. Scarecrow is a perfect fit for the company clone drone, tailor-stuffed to follow procedures and mandates without question, regardless how ridiculous or subservient they may be. And, by allowing Mr. Scarecrow to dance along to meaningless workplace surveys, assignments of arbitrary performance goals, and an artificial environment of empowerment, the wizard dupes Mr. Scarecrow into thinking he has a brain. In reality, however, Mr. Scarecrow's stupidity is exploited, and he is nailed up on the wooden post in the labor cornfield, stripped of freedom and dignity.

The tin woodsman wants a heart. This is also an easy fix for the savvy corporate wizard. He knows the company needs heartless, mechanical men to fill the ranks of mid-management. These tin men must be able to automatically follow the directives of the corporate leaders with precision. And when outsourcing requires thinning the fields of brainless scarecrows, Mr. Tinman must brandish his ax at will without feeling. As an added bonus for the wizard, when he needs to shrink the ranks of tin men to appease the Wicked Witch of the West (the corporate shareholder, whose only interest is in the company's ruby slippers) and her flying monkeys (the board of directors), he can do so guilt-free. After all, it is easy to let go of an uncaring, metal-skinned bastard who can savagely fire so many people. Easier still when he's carrying a weapon.

The cowardly lion wants courage. Providing the desired bravado might seem simple, just give Mr. Lion a cheap bottle of gin. But the savvy wizard knows if Mr. Lion arrives drunk in the corporate Emerald City and somehow gets hurt, the Wicked Witch will cast an ouster spell on big-headed Mr. Wizard, shrinking him down to a powerless Munchkin. Despite the limitation, imparting courage to Mr. Lion isn't difficult, it just depends on Mr. Lion's state of employment. If he is an applicant, the wizard can decline to offer him a job, and wish him well in his adventurous quest. If Mr. Lion is already in the company's employ, the wizard can let him go under the guise of giving him an adventurous new start. He can sell both situations to Mr. Lion as a bravery-building challenge. Either way, the wizard sheds the company of an unwanted coward. After all, they only hesitate, think, and ask questions, all which slow productivity and short circuit mechanized tin managers.

That leaves Dorothy, whose only wish is to return home. The smart wizard knows he cannot grant Dorothy's wish; her time is better spent in the office, arranging meetings, tying up loose ends, and making copies and coffee for her wizard boss. He also knows he cannot make Dorothy's home life less appealing in order to change her wish. But he is not without power. The wizard has the ability to grant menial pay raises, meager time-off policies, overpriced health insurance, inadequate retirement plans, worthless stock options, and piddly bonuses shrouded under the deceitful veil of competitive benefits. Each additional benefit is another golden cobblestone in the yellow brick road leading back to the corporate Emerald City. And when paved properly, Mr. Wizard will have Dorothy and her cohorts cheerfully clicking their heels together, smiling, and singing, “There's no place like work.”