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Team Culture

OARBED: Creating the mindset to build a strong team culture

Having a strong team culture within your business is important. Not only will it improve satisfaction within your team, this will lead to open commutation, employee commitment, increased efficiency, and increased profits.

There are different ways of enhancing your organisation’s culture. Here we are going to look at one tool – “OARBED”. OARBED is a great tool for employee motivation, communication, engagement, and results in any group situation.

So, what is OARBED?

OARBED is a tool which describes behaviours by splitting them into two parts: Above the line behaviours vs below the line behaviour. Above the line behaviours are the OAR part – this is how we should behave when working within a successful team. OAR stands for ownership, accountability, and responsibility. The BED part explains below the line behaviours. These are behaviours which will affect the team negatively. BED stands for blame, excuses, and denial.

The line separates great businesses from the average, success from failure. 

Behaviours such as making excuses, blaming others, and negativity fall below the line.  When we are acting above the line, we focus on the team effort by taking ownership, showing commitment, creating solutions to problems, and taking determined actions for the collective outcome.

While we cannot control the behaviour of others – we can control the behaviour that we demonstrate, and by living above the line we encourage others to do so also.


Being in BED is a breeding ground for toxic relationships and environments, and a negative team culture. 

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.  It is important to recognise this thinking as BED but act above the line.

Most commonly we see this behaviour in children, however, as adults, the price we pay is poor execution, poor performance and poor morale.  Ultimately this creates a toxic environment, affecting both your team and your customers.

Victimising yourself or playing the blame game causes you to act reactively, living in the rear vision, with less support from your colleagues.  BED may present itself in statements such as ‘I could’, ‘I might’, or ‘I can’t.’

mistake blame excuses denial

A culture of ‘that’s not my job’ develops, with no individual ownership of collective results.  Team members react to mistakes impulsively – blaming, making excuses and denying responsibility.  This leads to a breakdown of the team ‘safety net’, resulting in more mistakes, with each mistake further impacting trust and productivity levels.

Below the line behaviour leads to employees disengaging from their roles and the overall vision of the company – affecting the company’s results.  Core Values are a good way to enforce OAR and mitigate being in BED.

Taking OAR will improve your outcomes.

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

Mistakes are still made when people are acting above the line.  The difference is in how the employee 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.’

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

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.

above and below the line behaviour

Remember, we’re only human and everyone will dip below the line on occasion.  It’s important that when a team member does, instead of pointing the finger we calmly and supportively remind each other in terms of OAR and the importance of a positive team culture.

We can help you improve your business

At Rosslyn Associates, we can help you improve your team culture and your business as a whole. We provide a wide range of business development and coaching services to help business owners improve their businesses, helping them save time, make money, and live a better life. Services we provide include monthly and quarterly coaching, as well as standalone sessions, including core values development, marketing plan, financial awareness coaching, business planning, and many more! Follow the link for a full list of our business development and coaching sessions – If you don’t feel like you are ready, or you just want to know a bit more, why not book a free, no obligation Proactive Accounting Meeting, where we can discuss your business, your goals, and ways which you can achieve them.

Please explore our services and if you have any questions, or would like more information, get in touch!

Call the office on 0131 445 1825 or email

‘Without trust we don’t truly collaborate; we merely coordinate or, at best, cooperate. It is trust that transforms a group of people into a team.’ – Stephen Covey

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