A good friend of mine and business coach, Hugo Heij, recently shared with me the concept of above and below the line and I thought you too might find it useful.
Have you ever wondered why, despite the same economic environment, working culture and hours in a day, that some people are more successful than others?
It may be you – seeing your colleagues or peers raise up the corporate ladder ahead of you, and you are wondering why?
Well the answer may simply be to ask yourself the question:
‘Am I below the line or above the line?’
It is being above the line that differentiates those that have their best year from those that have their worst year in the same economic environment.
Let me introduce you to John and Paul.
John has been working within the firm for 12 years and is a Manager.
He has noticed that his peers are now Directors and even one or two have made Partner in the firm.
John recently attended an assessment centre and hoped he would be successful. However to his surprise, he was unsuccessful in his assessment and application for promotion.
What he considered to be his core strengths, turned out to be areas that others thought he needed to develop further. John felt that the assessment centre was an untrue representation of what he was capable of.
John believed that others had been promoted around him was due to the fact that they were better at ‘working the system’ than he was. John felt that his sponsor had not been strong enough in representing him at the promotion board.
John lived below the line.
Paul is a VP on the sales desk at an Investment Bank. The markets were volatile, his revenue generation was down and one of his team members was under performing.
Paul decided to connect with his peers across the other sales desk in the organisation and develop strategies as to how they could cross-sell and promote each other’s products. During his visits to his clients who were based in the Middle East, he spent the hours on the flight researching and reading all he could about the markets and his clients in that region.
On his return, he produced detailed reports of valuable information about his clients, the opportunities, the challenges and suggestions to mitigate the challenges and circulated these to his senior stakeholders.
Paul was given the opportunity of having a coach and he used this time to develop his leadership skills and how to engage his team more effectively.
He discovered ways in which he could inspire his team through sharing his compelling vision, how to provide autonomy and acknowledge their contributions.
With the non-performing team member, he worked out a plan to have a difficult conversation. He rehearsed it with his coach and delivered it with compassion. He provided the non-performing team member an opportunity to improve. She responded well and began to step up to the mark.
At the end of the year, Paul was the most successful sales VP across the organisation, received the highest bonus and was recommended for promotion. Paul demonstrated a pro-active, victor mentality where he showed ownership, demonstrated accountability and took responsibility for himself, his team and his business.
Paul lived above the line.
What about you, do you live below the line or above the line? Or it may be that you oscillate between the two. We all have days where we may slip into living below the line, however to sustain success and achieve where others fall, staying above the line is what will make you stand out as being an outstanding leader.