Does your business’ culture have the right attitude for successful growth?

Successful Business Growth Attitudes Lewis Haydon Business Coach West Midlands Andy Hemming


In a modern world, we hear a lot in the news about more and more companies becoming hugely successful. However the hard reality is that within 5 years, 83% of companies fail. Now, there could be a number of reasons why the company had to close their doors, but underpinning it all there is a common trend for successful business growth. The attitude of the organisation. Okay, so there might be lots of reasons why a company fails, a lot of them reasons could be internal to the company, but most often, there tends to be some external reason or unfortunate event that happened to the company that caused it all. Here’s the thing… is that the real reason?

Well let’s look at this way. There are two perspectives. We can either blame everything wrong out there, or we can take responsibility. We can choose to be the victims of circumstance, or the victors of circumstance.

The thing is… if we choose to blame external problems then we become victims. If we are in this position of victim mentality, then there is little much we can do other than continue to blame. This may make us feel good, but in reality it puts us in a position that we can not move forward from. For example, what happens when the problem happens again in the future?  However if we take responsibility, then this places us in a position that we can lear and take the necessary actions to move forward as an individual, team, or organisation.

Now, we are all only human – It’s easy for us to slip between victim and victor – but the idea of this article is to raise awareness of what is going on. The more aware we are, the quicker we can catch ourselves and do something about it. There are hundreds of biographies out there of successful business owners that have done extraordinary well in business. Each of them share this same attitude… things don’t happen to you, they happen because of you.

Andy Hemming Lewis Haydon Business Growth Coach West Midlands

Above and Below the Line

In ActionCOACH, we have a principle that allows us to catch ourselves (and clients) when they are in a victim mentality. Remember… if we are in the victim mentality then we can’t do anything about the situation, which leaves us paralysed and closed to new ideas, thus we can’t move the business forward. The opposite to this is the victor mentality, this is perfect for growth and development. We call these “ABOVE and BELOW the line”.

When you are below the line you are in this “everything happens to me” attitude that limits the business owner, team, and the business from growth. It is a toxic place to be that is contagious to all of the organisation. Above the line means you are in a state of taking responsibility. It puts you in a position that you can learn from mistakes and take big steps forward in being pro-active so that you get the best out of any situation. This is also contagious… if it’s consistently kept up of course.

There are three attitudes for below the line and three for the above the line. By knowing the six you can spot if you (or your team) are being below or above the line:

Below the Line: Blame

Blame is the first of the attitudes below the line. Blaming external things that happen to us as the reason ‘why’ we didn’t succeed is a justifier for lack of accountability. Blame does not help us learn, develop, or move us forward. If you spot yourself or your team blaming others or blaming an external event then it’s time to catch the moment and realise that you’re currently below the line so that we can amend the path, thus the outcome.

Below the Line: Excuses

On the next level down, we have excuses. Although some excuses may be valid — for example I crashed my car — most excuses have manifested because somewhere along the line the goal just became, well… not that important anymore; something else got in the way that took priority. We take action and do the things that are important to us… at the time. I say “at the the time” because our states are consistently changing, thus our momentary goals are changing. A great way to diminish excuses is to remember what your goal is, what the company goal is, and how important that goal is towards arriving at your success destination.

So what do you do to stay accountable to your goal and remove excuses? Well, letting others know your goal is a great start; let people keep you accountable. If you start making excuses and others pick you up on it, then don’t get offended. You made that goal clear and it’s important; they are only holding you accountable so it’s time to get back above the line and just say “you’re right… thank you”.

Below the Line: Denial

So this is the deadliest of the below the line three. Denial is when we think we are being above the line and taking steps forward, when really… we aren’t. Denial is delusion. What do I mean by this? Well, here is a realty check. If you have been doing the same thing over and over again and you think you have been winning, but… you are still in the same place a year later, then sorry, but you are in the denial zone. Hey, this is okay by the way… for now. The learning here is awareness. We are now aware of “yes, i’m kinda in denial here, so what can I do about it?”

You see, the results you’re getting are in direct proportion to the actions you are taking, and the actions are a reflection of your thoughts and attitude. If you don’t like the results, it’s time to change the actions and do something you have never done before. For my clients, I suggest, “how about we try something completely different and see what the learnings are from it”. If it doesn’t work out we have learnt some new stuff, BUT… if it does work out, then we have just took some big steps forwards”.

Now, of course, if you’re in a “below the line” state then this will be impossible to fathom, so i’m hoping by now that you’re now thinking above the line.

Above the Line: Ownership

When we are being below the line we must learn to catch ourselves and implement the above the line attitudes instead. The more often we do this, the more our above the line attitude starts to stick. The more it stick, the more it will stick with our team too.

So… the first above the line attitude is ownership. When we take ownership we are grabbing the bull by the horns… we are not passing blame. When we take ownership we understand that we are the creators of circumstance and that things don’t happen unless we make them happen. Ownership places us in a position of power in our lives, it allows us to build our own path or create new pathways towards our goals, thus developing resilience and pushing comfort zones. As we grow as a result of ownership, we stretch these comfort zones. This allows us to become stronger business owners, allowing us to spot new opportunity, and to also make the most out of the next opportunity. Ownership is a powerful attitude for any business leader. Own your actions, own your results.

Above the Line: Responsibility

As with making excuses, responsibility is the opposite. Responsibility allows us to say “yes, this happened because I did this”. When we take responsibility we can grow and learn from what happened. If was use blame or an excuse then we don’t lear and we stay where we are. As we take more responsibility, so does the team. When the whole organisation takes responsibility, the company gets known as the company that gets stuff done and takes action. A great attitude to be known for by any customer.

Above the Line: Accountability

So how do you measure your success? Accountability is holding yourself to the numbers, staying accountable to the goals and figures you put in place. Accountability allows us to know if we are on the right track, and see if others (our team) are on track with us too. What strategies could you implement into your company to ensure that you and your team are staying accountable to the growth of your business?

Where Are You Right Now?

So… as you read this. Ask yourself. Where am I right now? Think of the last event that was either a loss for you or a WIN for you… were you below the line at the time, or were you above the line?

The more we stay above the line the more our team – at a collective level and organisational level – stay above the line. This is known as the “contagion effect”. The outcome of the contagion effect and being above the line is that people know your organisation as a positive, trustworthy company that take serious action in getting the job done right. After-all, who would really want to work with a below the line company?

So here’s your challenge… what is the one thing going on in your business or life right now that would have the BIGGEST IMPACT if you moved from below the line – Blame, Excuse, Denial – and moved ABOVE the line by taking Ownership, Responsibility, Accountability instead?

What is the one thing that you can do today to make this happen for your company?


Be great,