Above the Line Culture: The Business Leaders lunch that delivered what it takes to create a high-performance culture

A huge thank you to the 140 businesses that attended our Business Leaders Lunch “Above the line Culture” on Thursday, presented by RBA and Paramount Services Ltd.

Guests enjoyed a stunning lunch at the RSA New Lynn and were treated to “a no nonsense, powerful overview of what it takes to create a high-performance culture for greater levels of performance, staff fulfilment and customer delight, by world class Presenter Michael Henderson, a global phenomenon with 25 years’ experience in observing, advising and educating organisations on how to enhance their workplace culture.

Some key takeaways:

  • Culture belongs to everyone not just one person
  • There are often fundamental mistakes as people assume they know what culture is
  • Culture come from Latin ‘Cultus’ which means “We care” i.e. people who genuinely care.
  • The question was asked by Michael to the attendees, “how well do you think your business would run if you had people in it who don’t care?” The simple answer was you would have a business in trouble. People who don’t care are people who turn up to work and it is just a job. It is reflected in the work that they deliver, and both customers and the business suffer as a result.
  • To have a team that care they need to be inspired not managed. Culture is “Being stronger together”.
  • Organisations who show care advance more quickly than those who don’t
  • Culture requires a big brain to body ratio as it takes intelligence to read people’s emotions and have social interactions that are effective as an example.

The common mistake is we focus on processes to get from A to B but we need human impact for delivery.

Culture at work based on the arrow model


  • We set targets for businesses, what actions and behaviors need to happen for these to be achieved? The process is Culture – Performance – strategy- to achieve the target which = Brand.  What is brand? It is your reputation.
  • Culture is what delivers performance and it is a collective effort of behaviors that people demonstrate. Strategy directs performance. Culture without strategy is directionless. Strategy without culture is powerless. Culture is eight times more influential to performance variance than strategy!
  • Culture starts with Belief that drives the behavior then we become the belief. The values and the behavior then become the habit.

Every culture eventually falls into one of two categories, what Michael refers to as Above, or Below the line. Above the Line cultures win in business, delight customers and retain talented employees. Below the line cultures simply do not.

The event proved a success for our local business community wanting to inspire and enhance their workplace culture.