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MOVING Playing Above the Line

Have you ever noticed that people like to complain or discuss what's not working in their lives? Yes, we all need to off-load or dump on occasion, but we need to be mindful of how often and how long we stay in this place of "wallowing". Each of us knows by now that wherever your thoughts go, so goes you. What you focus on and give energy to only gets larger. Drama begets drama. Joy begets joy. What's your choice?

I was recently introduced to a business model for accountability that I latched on to immediately. It comes from the Book, The Oz Principle by Roger Connors, Tom Smith and Craig Hickman. This simple model is very powerful in demonstrating the need for accountability in achieving results through both individual and organizational performance.

Below The Line behavior is known as the blame game. The game you play when you say or do the following:

  • I'll just wait and see
  • I better cover my tail
  • Ignore/deny
  • It's not my job
  • I'll point the finger

I'm sure if you're honest with yourself, you know you've played this game time and again as have all of us. But the obvious payoff from taking this position is that nothing is your fault -you don't have to be accountable, if you're confused, or ignore, or just wait it out. It's a sure way to pass the buck. However, if you don't step up and take accountability/responsibility, you will continue to play the victim role forever. You must take control of your life and your attitude and therefore your career/business yourself! One way to do this is to play Above The Line.

The four steps to Above the Line behavior and accountability is See It, Own It, Solve It and Do It. In other words, whatever the situation is:

  • Choose to see it
  • Decide to own it
  • Personally work to solve it
  • Individually commit to do it

Taking ownership of a situation is exciting. It can move you and your business to the next level. One of the ways of doing this is to keep asking yourself the question, "What else can I do?" with the key word being I. But remember you can't take ownership until you decide to see. My mentor once shared with me that until one labels something as a problem, they won't seek to solve that problem. Many times in life, others see the problem that you've ignored or denied. What is this for you? Or perhaps you see a problem that a colleague is ignoring. Is it time for a conversation about this model?

I am reminded of something I heard when Tim Russert, host of Meet the Press and NBC News' Washington bureau chief, passed away in June of this year. It is said that he named his precious son, Luke, from the chapter of Luke in the Bible where it says, to whom much is given, much is expected. What are you doing with what you've been given? Is there a place you could benefit from playing above the line? Would you be willing to call people on it when you hear them playing below the line?

Find out more about The Oz Principle at

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