"Pay no attention to the man behind that curtain."
If you’ve never had the opportunity to watch the Wizard of Oz, you’ve missed one of the greatest movies of all time. This movie is not only a great story but filled all types of amazing sub-plots, allegories, and truisms. I’ve listed one above which I think is especially interesting. This comes to my mind shortly after a conversation I had with a good friend of mine.
Before I give you my interpretation (application) of the above quote, allow me to share just a bit of the conversation we had. We were discussing the many different types of leadership and organizational structures found in corporations, organizations, and open source communities. While on the surface it appears there are lots of different ones in reality there’s only a few. My friend made a comment which initially I disagreed with but after a few seconds I found to be quite insightful. He said,
"Every organization has a leader, even the ones which claim they do not; and those are usually the most dangerous."
As I said, initially I disagreed but upon more thought I have to say that I agree completely. There is a trick that some people try to play where they claim there is no leader, no driving force behind the company or the movement but this is usually proclaimed the loudest by the very people who hold that power. They want to maintain control by spreading the word that there is no leadership; and by default claim it for themselves indirectly. This is incredibly dangerous as it can be impossible to remove them from the hidden leadership they possess.
This brings me back to the quote at the beginning. The wizard in the movie lived by control and power. He projected that power in a larger than life display of might. He capitalized on misdirection. So when that critical moment came when he was exposed his response is epic. Pay no attention to the man behind that curtain. Pay no attention to the person pulling the strings behind the curtain. He wants you to believe in the myth, the lie, the false sense of authority while he continues to run the show behind the scenes. There is no organization which does not have a leader. If you are in a place where that mantra is proclaimed I encourage you to pull back the curtain.