Most people know the Tin Man as a fictional character from The Wizard of Oz. Not many people know the Tin Man as a model for aspiring entrepreneurs. It may sound whacky, but here’s how ambitious professionals can benefit from taking a leaf out of the Tin Man’s book:
The Tin Man is industry personified but he doesn’t forget the importance of having a heart.
In the public eye, entrepreneurs are often perceived as ruthless in their hunger for making money. A quick Google search will pull up article after article outlining why entrepreneurs have to be heartless to survive. While this is merely conjecture, the image prevails.
Let’s compare this to the Tin Man. He’s a robust machine but beneath the surface all he cares about is having heart. It doesn’t matter that he’s a walking, talking example of industry. He still cares about building relationships and his only ambition is to avoid hollowness.
There’s much that entrepreneurs could learn from the Tin Man’s example. It’s important to get the work done, but it’s also important to be personable. When dealing with clients, never become a corporate machine and remember the importance of building real relationships.
The Tin Man fears getting rusty and stays as well oiled as possible.
In fact, the Tin Man is rarely seen without his oilcan in hand. He dreads stiffness and cherishes flexibility, keeping himself in an optimum and pliant condition.
Again, this is a value applies to entrepreneurship. In today’s fiercely competitive business climate, no professional can afford to get rusty. Moving with the times and being flexible are core components of any entrepreneur’s skillset. Like the Tin Man, extreme care should be taken to avoid becoming stiff.
The Tin Man has clarity of purpose. He knows what his goals are and the path he must take to achieve them.
Look at the Tin Man’s journey. He has a burning ambition to get a heart. Rather than pine about it and write it off as unachievable, he makes it a goal and plans the journey he needs to take. Never does he lose sight of that goal. His ambition never strays and he keeps going until he achieves fulfillment.
Having clarity about purpose and strategy can help any entrepreneur gain leverage in their career. Setting targets and planning out steps to reach your end destination are just good practice – why wouldn’t you want to emulate the Tin Man in this?
The Tin Man aligns his individual goals with the goals of his team.
By travelling together towards the same goal, the Tin Man and his famous companions all achieve success. He recognizes that his goals are no more or no less important than the goals of his team. Without a trace of selfishness they all move forwards as a connected unit. Like a true team player, the Tin Man aligns his individual targets with the targets of his companions. Only in this way is the higher purpose accomplished.
Entrepreneurs who want to ensure sustained success would do well to understand this balance and unite their ambitions with the ambitions of their team.
The Tin Man proactively strives to solve his problems.
He knows his flaw. He doesn’t have a heart and he wants one, so the Tin Man sets about to solve it.
Entrepreneurship is all about problem solving and proactivity. It’s also about not settling for second best and doing whatever you can to be the best you can be. Following in the footsteps of the Tin Man, entrepreneurs need to acknowledge and address any problems they face with a proactive, can-do attitude.
Taking entrepreneurship lessons from the Tin Man won’t uncover a wizard at the end of a yellow brick road, but it might just encourage some good working practices.
Roxanne Abercrombie is a professional copywriter and serial blogger. She works as PR, Content and Social Executive for Uniting Ambition, a specialist company that provides recruitment and talent management services to businesses at varying stages of growth, from start-up and medium sized enterprises through to global brands.
Image credit: CC by Benny Mazur