The Line of Choice –

Above or Below…Victor or Victim…

As a business coach, I have heard every question, concern, and problem a business owner could face.

Rather than relate stories directly about my clients I thought it would be useful to create a fictional character that embodies many of the characteristics that I find in my clients – I’m going to call him Larry…

I was sitting in with my client, Larry, and we were talking about the downturn that his business had experienced. Larry was complaining about the economy. He was blaming the government for the economy, and using the economy as an excuse for why his business wasn’t doing well, but went on to say that at least he was still in business so he wasn’t doing as badly as some of the guys he knew.

I explained. “When we blame other people, or make excuses about how we can’t do it, or even deny that there is a problem or at least deny that we have anything to do with it, how much power do we have in the situation?”

Larry thought on that for a while and agreed that he wouldn’t have much power in that case.

I told Larry that blame, excuses, and denial are an acronym. “Not another acronym,” muttered Larry.

“Yes, Larry,” I said, “another acronym. Blame, excuses, and denial, spell B – E – D and how much progress can you make when you are stuck in BED?”

He accepted that you couldn’t make much progress stuck in BED, and that the same is true about blame, excuses, and denial. If we stay stuck there, blaming others, making excuses, and denying that we have anything to do with it, we sound like victims of our situation.

On the other hand, if we take ownership of at least some of the situation and become accountable for what we can control, what kind of power would we have then?”

Larry thought on that for a while and accepted that he would have a lot more power in that case.

“You see, ownership, accountability, and responsibility, are another acronym. O – A – R. It’s an oar – like in a boat.

“If we get hold of that oar we will always be able to make progress, even if it’s slow. And what kind of mindset does ownership, accountability, and responsibility sound like?”

“That sounds like a victor to me” he said.

“So which one would you rather be, a victim, or a victor? Do you want to be stuck in BED, or have at least some power by taking hold of your OAR?”

At Jager Consulting this concept is what we call “The Line Of Choice”.

“Below the line” is the realm of the VICTIM – where we are stuck in BED.

“Above the line” is the realm of the VICTOR – where we use the OAR to make progress in our situation.

In any organization it only takes one or two people who live below the line, before everyone else begins to be pulled down with them.

If you have “Below The Line” people working in your organization, using Blame, Excuse and Denial to deflect attention in situations where positive action should be taken, please call Simon at Jager Consulting (440)-385-6737