Level 1 is when you tell your boss there is a problem. Then you walk away, leaving them to deal with it. That’s the bottom of the hierarchy. It’s the least helpful thing you can do. Your boss probably knows about the problem already. Even if they don’t, they already have 30 other problems to solve. This is no help at all. Indeed, it is un-helpful — you are just raising the stress level of an already stressed leader.
Let’s use an example: you’ve signed on a new client. (A GPSG is also a salesperson.) At Level 1, you would tell your boss you’re short-staffed for this project and walk away. “We don’t have enough capacity!”.
Then there’s Level 2: you tell your boss you’ve found a problem and investigated some causes. So you’ve taken some initiative to do some research. This is slightly more helpful but it’s not great. You’re still dumping the problem in your boss’ lap.
Using our example, this is when you’d inform your boss his job posting for a customer success team hasn’t been getting great results.
Level 3, you say to your boss, “Here’s the problem, here are some possible causes, and here are some possible solutions.” But then you leave it to your boss to decide which solution to go with. NO! Don’t stop there! 3 out of 5 is only the median point!
In our scenario, this is where you’d suggest that your boss either hire a recruiting agency or rewrite the posting.
Level 4 is: “Here’s the problem, here’s what I think caused it, here are some possible solutions, and here’s the solution I think we should pick.” Ok, you’re getting better. However, Level 4 is the minimum you should strive for.
For our example, this level is where you’d tell your boss he should rewrite the posting.
Level 5 is where you really want to be. This is where you say to your boss, “I identified a problem, figured out what caused it, researched how to fix it, and I fixed it. Just wanted to keep you in the loop.” The top of the hierarchy is where you can be most helpful.