• Posted 16/05/2018 9:58pm


Strategic execution is about using intensive observation of both customers and potential customers, work and social patterns, and global trends to uncover latent needs, then applying teamwork, experimentation and expertise to figure out ways to meet them. It goes against the popular idea that clever innovation is usually the product of backroom inventors or singular genius, but is instead a creative approach to problem-solving that businesses can learn to master as a source of commercial advantage.

Lately, several high profile New Zealand organisations have received negative press for what they have been doing, and rightly so. One such company who shows a complete lack of strategic execution is the Earthquake Commission, or EQC.

This is an organisation that is completely defiant in the way it conducts themselves, and it is beautifully summed up by the acronym OARBED. OARBED breaks down to Ownership, Accountability, Responsibility (OAR) and Blame, Excuse and Denial (BED). EQC sit squarely under the line in the BED category, as proven by the hundreds of court cases and complaints that the corporation is continuously facing. They frequently blame, deny and excuse their own behaviour as illustrated by their CEO Sid Miller in recent interviews. If an organisation continues to show signs of this behaviour, then their credibility with their stakeholders will naturally remain low.

Being in BED is a breeding ground for toxic relationships and environments.

Blame, Denial and Excuses won’t get you anywhere in life, especially in business. The OARBED behaviour model is a great tool for improving motivation, communication, engagement and results in any group situation. The acronym OARBED is something Strategic Management NZ and all its clients strive to live by.

People and businesses find themselves thinking and behaving below the line whenever they consciously or subconsciously avoid accountability for their own tasks and responsibilities.  It is a natural defensive tactic to think below the line. Whose fault is this? Who can I pass responsibility onto? How can I get out of this? It is important to recognise this thinking as BED and actively react in a way that is above the line, as OAR.

BED behaviour is most commonly seen in children. We view and treat this as a learning exercise and provide them with tools to react differently in future. As adults, the price we pay for BED behaviour in the business is poor execution, poor performance and poor morale.  Ultimately this creates a toxic environment, affecting your team, your customers, and your bottom line.

By encouraging all your team to operate above the line, you’ll breed a culture that is sustainable, supportive of its members, encourages personal growth, greater performance and a greater commitment to your business.

Mistakes can still be made when people are acting above the line, but the difference is in how the person reacts; by admitting to their mistake, taking responsibility for their actions, finding a solution and then improving the process to prevent the mistake from happening again. OAR statements include ‘I will’, ‘I can’ and ‘I must.’ 

When a mistake is made, it’s what happens next that counts.  The process should be:

  • Mistake
  • Ownership
  • Accountability
  • Responsibility
  • Solution

To ensure above the line behaviour in your company, provide your team with clear responsibilities, accountabilities and tasks so that everyone knows what is expected of them, how their performance will be measured, and how their performance affects the rest of the team.

Above the line environments have a culture of clear and open communication, with team members taking responsibility for their own understanding and seeking clarification where needed, instead of working in a bubble. This builds trust and strengthens relationships, encouraging a collaborative response to crisis management, leading to more positive outcomes for your team and your customers.

Remember, we’re only human and everyone will occasionally dip below the line. It’s important that when a team member does slip, instead of pointing the finger, we calmly and supportively step up and help our teammate get back into OAR territory.

Strategic Management NZ are experts in working with businesses to remain above the line and you’re on the right web page to begin that journey. It is just one more click away.

We have spent years working with organisations and teams, assisting in creating strategic plans and aligning everything in the business alongside it. Yours could be next.

We can help you grow or consolidate and look into the future for what could be achieved and assist you in developing your own journey to success. The best part is that we are employee centred and we will get everyone in your organisation heading in the same direction.

Book in for a complimentary consult with us.

Free up your time to see what you do best, book today by contacting us here.

Are you above or below the line?


16 May


Strategic execution is about using intensive observation of both customers and potential customers, work and social patterns, and global trends to uncover latent needs, then applying teamwork, experimentation and expertise...

09 Oct


All businesses have weaknesses as well as strengths. If you want to sustain and grow your business, it’s vital to address these issues before they threaten your chances of long-term success.

Latest Posts


    22 Monday, 2019
    The world of technology is changing faster than ever, and traditional businesses are having trouble keeping up with the pace.

    15 Monday, 2019
    It should be seen as no surprise that Australian Rugby are looking at terminating Israel Folau’s employment at the earliest opportunity.

    19 Monday, 2018
    One of the first things I frequently hear from clients, when we check-in at the beginning of a session, is they’re busy.

    14 Wednesday, 2018
    Nike’s is to remain the most authentic, connected, and distinctive brand while Instagram’s is to capture and share the world's moments.