What’s Your LOA?

What’s your LOA – Your Level of Authority? How far can you go to satisfy your customer’s need without having to get permission? How sure are you that someone higher up in the pecking order won’t override your decision and undermine your authority, making you look weak in front of your customers or staff? What level are your direct reports at and how much autonomy do they have to make decisions without your approval? You can call it delegation – you can call it empowerment – you can call it what ever you want to call it but you’ve got to get it off your plate and on to theirs.

General Levels of Authority.

Level One: Get the facts – I’ll decide

Level Two: Suggest alternatives – I’ll decide

Level Three: Recommend an alternative – I’ll decide

Level Four: Decide – wait for my approval

Level Five: Decide – act unless I say no

Level Six: Act – report results

Level Seven: Act – report if unsuccessful

Level Eight: Act – reporting not needed.

Your job is to give your people the opportunity to grow. What do you need to do to keep moving them up the ladder? The higher the level – the less time you’ll need to spend putting out fires. The higher the level – the more time you’ll have to do what managers and leaders should be doing. Everyone can be at different levels. It just depends on how comfortable you are that they would make the same decision you would have made. I like to move everyone up to level six – what about you?

Copyright (c) 2020. Brian Smith-PLD. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit: https://briansmithpld.com

Are You Listening?

secret 5Are you listening or are you just waiting for the other person to take a breath so you can jump in and take over the conversation? Research conducted by Dr, Ralph Nichols revealed that individuals listen about 25% of the time; most people recall only 50% of what they hear, and 70% of all misunderstandings happen because people don’t listen to each other. The study concluded that grade school-aged children listen to their teacher just 25% of the time. By the time that student graduates from high school they are listening to the teacher just 17% of the time. Based on those percentages how much do you think they are listening by the time they start working for you?

Worth Remembering … “There is no such thing as a bad listener. There is only a person with inflexible listening habits” – Doug Larson

When you change the habit you change the result. We are adults and we can learn new habits. All you have to do is stop doing one thing and start doing another and if you do it often enough – 21 times in a row – it will become your new habit.

Listening is a learned behaviour. You won’t hear a thing if you are the only one talking. The next time you are having a conversation with someone here are 3 things you can do to become a more “active” listener.

  • Be patient with yourself and the speaker. Do not interrupt. Concentrate on what the other person is saying. When they have finished speaking, ask questions for clarity so you know and they know you’ve heard what was said.
  • Focus on the speaker. Put your phone away, put down that paper and pen and face the speaker. Give the speaker your undivided attention. Don’t cross your arms, be sure to smile and nod your head once in a while so the speaker knows you’re still listening.
  • Try not to become emotional. React and respond to what is being said – not who is saying it. Respect the fact that people have a right to express their opinion but you don’t have to agree with it. We are adults and we can agree to disagree.

Worth Remembering“In the industrial age, the CEO sat on the top of the hierarchy and didn’t have to listen to anybody. In the information age, you have to listen to the ideas of people regardless of where they are in the organization.” – John Sculley

Copyright (c) 2020. Brian Smith – PLD. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit: https://briansmithpld.com or email him – brian@briansmithpld.com

Entrepreneurship – Look Before You Leap 23

Have you alentrepreneurship[1].jpgways dreamed of being the one that makes all the decisions – the one that calls all the shots? Are you tired of working for someone else? Before you take the plunge and jump into the deep end of the pool have you done the market research – put a business plan together – and really thought it through? Have you thought about the impact it will have on your family and your personal life?

Before you quit your job and strike out on your own you might be interested in my answers to a series of questions I was asked by a former business student of mine. I hope my answers provide you with some valuable insight into what it takes to be successful.

What made you decide to get into business for yourself? Timing – it really boiled down to timing. I knew I wanted to make a career change. I was beginning to feel stuck and unfulfilled. For me – it’s never been about how much money I made. Now don’t get me wrong – money is important – but if it’s your only reason for getting into business for yourself – then you’re going to be disappointed – especially in your first few years. Make sure you have enough money saved up to pay your bills, put food on the table and keep a roof over your head for at least a year.

What are some of the challenges you faced in starting your own small business? I faced – and continue to face some of the same challenges everyone entrepreneur faces. Self-employed persons don’t have the luxury of a steady pay-cheque coming in. That puts a great deal of strain on your personal and family life. Everyone must give up something to get something. You need to decide what you and your family are willing to give up so that you can live your dream. Everybody needs to be on board. You need to be committed to doing whatever you need to do to be successful. If you and or your family aren’t willing to pay that price – then it’s best you stay where you are.

Any lessons learned that you can pass on to anyone wanting to start their own business? You need to be really passionate about what you are doing. You need to be prepared to work 80 hours a week for very little money. Have a budget and stick to it. Don’t spend money you haven’t generated yet. Find your niche Become an expert in something not a generalist in everything. What do you know or what product are you selling that someone else will pay you money to learn or have?

Food for thought: The two major reasons businesses fail are (1) Lack of management skills – and (2) Lack of financing. Most businesses fail within the first three years of start-up. (When I say most I mean over 90% fail) We have a tendency to overestimate revenue so divide your sales projections by half and run it by those numbers. You need to live and die by the numbers. Make business decisions – keep your emotions out of it. Always think worst-case scenario. That will help keep you grounded.

If I haven’t talked you out of getting into business for yourself after reading this article – then maybe – just maybe you have what it takes. Maybe you’ll make it to year five. I’ve been self-employed since 1998 and I’m still having fun. I wish you all the best.

Copyright (c) 2019. Brian Smith. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you visit: https://briansmithpld.com