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Spotlight on Leadership 2-5-13


Lessons learned along the Way

By Kevin Larson
Sr. Manager of LP Operations
The Kroger Company

Throughout our careers we run into various people in leadership, through networking, projects, meetings, seminars, conferences and of our past and present bosses. Through these interactions, although sometimes brief, we can learn a lot by what these people say and through their actions.

Steven Covey once said “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

Over my years in Loss Prevention as I have transitioned through various companies, roles and levels of leadership, I have picked up on a few things. I have been fortunate to learn from such leaders as Keith White, John Talamo and now Karl Langhorst. Today, I would like to share a few of things with you...

√ When you run into a member of leadership in the hallway or work café and they say “Hey ____ what’s going on?” ...Always have something to say. Talk about a new project you’re working on or a store or district that you just visited. The standard “not much”...will get you that exact same thing in your career growth.

√  Be vocal and engaging...when attending a meeting with executives and the dialogue turns to areas that are not your expertise. Don’t be afraid to speak up and engage with the team. Even if it is just to say that you agree with someone’s stance or recommendation.

√  Look for new ways to add value back to the company. What can you’re Regional, District or even store agents do to assist in identifying shrink, markdowns or checking on the latest promotions or floor sets. Remember, it’s Loss Prevention, not Loss Reaction.

√  If it’s lonely at top, you not doing something right...Building strategic partnerships are the key navigating the waters of the company. Meet as many people as you can from departments like, marketing, finance, product development and Information Technology. These relationships or even quick interactions will come back ten-fold when you are looking to roll-out a new program, strategy or just for those times when you need someone else in your corner.

√  Know your able to speak to your latest shrink results, dishonest associate cases, apprehensions, ORC recoveries, audit results and other key metrics.

√  One of the hardest people to lead will always be you. Hold yourself accountable, otherwise it will diminish your leadership qualities. Develop your self- awareness.

√  Always ask will make you better, more consistent and probably prevent you from making mistakes. It has been told to me that you only get answers to questions that you ask.

√  Keep Learning to help yourself keep leading...take the time to invest in personal development. If you stop promoting development, than your team will stop growing.

√  Always ask for an evaluation from others...having someone else critique your strengths and developmental needs is better than sitting down with your review and completing yourself assessment. Once you find your strength, focus on it to become more successful.

I hope my past learning’s and coaching’s have left you will something to think about. I hope that along your journey you too have stopped to listen and reflect on some of the advice that people have given you, if not...slow down, take a deep breath, open your eyes, close your mouth and begin to learn.

"Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don't interfere as long as the policy you've decided upon is being carried out."  — Ronald Reagan

Kevin can be reached at

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