In my post last week, I discussed the challenge of moving “Above the Line” and taking ownership or responsibility.  I believe we all tend to dip below the line sometimes.  The problem with living below the line is we blame, deny and defer instead of owning the problem.  If we can’t take responsibility – nothing changes and we continue to blame people, circumstances or just life.  So how do we move “Above the Line”? (This graphic is from The Oz Principle – I highly recommend this book.)

It begins with seeing it. If something is not addressed the first time we see it, we can become blind and even accommodating to the problem. Click To Tweet I found myself accommodating an issue that I had allowed to go on too long.  We were living in South Florida and we decided to central air our home.  I had to close up all the holes where window units were hung.  It was especially challenging in our living room, the large unit had been placed in a hole in our block exterior.  Once removed, I filled the hole and began the process of applying drywall patch in preparation for painting.  It took several coats and sanding to get the wall right.  But, other things needed my attention and I didn’t paint the wall.  It was behind our entrance door, the patch was white and so was the wall.  It only took a few weeks of walking by and I forgot it was there.  My Dad and Mom visited about 6 months later.  He had helped me start the project and was surprised I had not painted the wall yet.  I forgot, got busy and the problem had vanished until my Dad’s eyes caught it.  Of course, he was right and I painted the wall the next week.

The first step in getting “Above the Line” is seeing it.  Here are some ideas that might help you see ongoing problems that need to be fixed.

  • Get some fresh eyes on the project and ask for feedback.
  • Periodically ask yourself, “What have I started and not finished”?
  • Consider what problems are in your purview that needs to be addressed.  You can do this by asking questions and listening.
  • MBWA – Management by walking around.  This process is a favorite of mine.  Whether it is Sunday morning or at work in the office, I learn so much by looking and listening.

We will finish this topic in my next post.