Difference Between ‘Above The Line’ And ‘Below The Line’ Advertising ?

There is an interesting concept about the way we think and behave called ‘Above and Below’ the line. It is used often in organisations trying to embed the values into the way people work, and can be used in a coaching sense when helping to unpack someone’s thinking.

We came across this short you-tube video recently made by the Conscious leadership group, that gave a good overview of the concept – and posed an interesting question.

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How are you being with what is going on at work right now?

Are you above the line – taking personal responsibility?

Or are you below the line – finding it easier to deny, blame or excuse?

Here is our info graphic visual that can act as a prompt when you oscillate between being above and below the line.

How can you evolve your thinking or behaviours to move to a state of curiosity, learning, problem solving or action?


What about those you work with?

As you watch this video or review this visual, you may start wondering about the behaviours or thinking of other people in your life – at home or at work. Where are they now on things that are important to you?

How can you make them more aware of their thinking or behaviours?

Do you share your observations with them? (Reflecting back what you see?)Or can you use exploratory coaching questions to help them to behozo.vne aware of this thinking or their actions / behaviours? for example :

Let’s unpack that a little. What is behind that thinking?

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On what do you base that view?

Are there other alternative perspectives or interpretations?

If we had to move past seeing the problem, and imaging the possibility – how does this change things?

If we are to find a way forward, what could we do?

The concept of above / below the line is a useful one to explore with your team. You could make them aware of the concept as part of their development. You could also use it at the beginning of team meetings to help set expectations for the behaviours we need. This can empower your team to promote more above the line thinking and behaviours and help to embed the expectations we expect in high performing teams.

Click here to see some our previous blogs on coaching.

Click here to see some previous blogs on teams.

Additional info:

Since writing this blog, we came across an interesting video that gives a real, practical spin to the concept of above and below the line thinking and behaviours. It shows some Navy seals describing different ways people may respond to feedback and failure.

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Click here to see this 2 minute video.

Want to know more about this concept?

We first came across this concept of a ‘mindset of personal responsibility or ownership’ in a book by Carolyn Taylor, Walking the Talk and she credits Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad, Poor Dad) with this concept too. It is a concept that has gained popularity across the world and it seems to really resonate with lots of people. Click here to see Carolyn’s website.