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Basic Business Cents:Increase success by following three ‘Ls’

By Lou Schultz / For the Enterprise

Looking back on your career, do you wish you would, at times have been more resolute in following what you deemed to be right instead of bending to the opinions of others? We have been told that we need to have the strength of our convictions, but to do that we need to be confident that we are right. One good path to follow to increase our success in business is to follow the three “L”s, Listen, Learn, and Lead.

First of all, listen. We learn more from listening than we do by talking! We should always strive to listen much more than we talk in almost any situation. Whether in a social or business environment, try drawing people out with probing questions and then sit back and let them respond. People like to be asked for advice so listen respectfully. Don’t try to bully people into coming over to your opinion or to be overly critical of others. Finding out what is right is more important than being right. Don’t be afraid to admit being wrong.

Secondly, learn from others, from data if available, history, research or wherever else so you can find the perceived truth. Be open-minded; challenge your beliefs. Evaluate all the information that you can find. You have a theory of what is right, so search for ways to support or disprove it. The more facts you have, the easier it is to gain confidence in what is the right action to take.

Now that you have listened to the advice of others and performed research looking for data or facts to disprove or support your own theory, it is time to display leadership. Quiet confidence leads to sincerity and honesty, which leads to trust and respect from fellow workers.

After that, you can avoid being submissive or allow meaningless compromises because you have listened, learned and are now qualified to lead.

If you don’t believe in yourself, others won’t believe in you either. However, there is a big difference between trying to bluff through to always get your way, or being quietly confident in yourself because you have done your homework. You are now prepared to follow your heart and mind.

Louis Schultz, managing director of Process Management LLC, has assisted organizations worldwide with performance improvement. He currently works wit h area business owners as a SCORE counselor.

Email him with questions or comments at