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
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 numbers...be able to speak to your
latest shrink results, dishonest associate cases,
apprehensions, ORC recoveries, audit results and other
√ One of the hardest people to lead will always be
you. Hold yourself accountable, otherwise it will
diminish your leadership qualities. Develop your self-
√ Always ask questions...it 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
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