RobertSchultek

About Bob Schultek

Bob has more than 30 years of service as a senior sales and business development executive, CEO and business owner. His expertise includes customer-partnered business development, strategic planning, sales management, customer service, operational alignment, lean process analysis and improvement, quality assurance, and performance management. He has worked in the energy, medical device, bioscience & pharmaceutical, discrete and process manufacturing, packaging and distribution, communications and information technology, and business-to-business service industries.

Acting on What’s Been Learned

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Mastering leadership is a continuous process of learning how to adapt to change and how to motivate it. It’s what leaders are expected to do. 

Lately, leaders have been consumed with adaptation. But now it’s time to act on what’s been learned, relying on purpose and values, on encouragement and transparency, to inspire collaboration that can make things better going forward.  

Learning begins by reflecting on what experience has taught, and then finding a better way by applying lessons learned using observation, practice and experimentation. Leading a team through this process is challenging work, involving a passage during which strengths are tested, incompetence is confronted and obstacles are overcome on the way to the envisioned outcome. 

What leaders learn during this journey increases their credibility, enabling a productive, new identity to emerge. It’s an identity that is appreciated and respected for converting knowledge into action, while remaining true to personal values and company culture. 

It’s an identity whose energy attracts those who seek to do work that matters, to make a difference. It’s an identity that bonds a team around trust and commitment to make change meaningful, to make things better.

How are you engaging with your team to make things better?

By |May 27th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Relationships Deliver Results

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

“You cannot continuously improve interdependent systems and processes until you progressively perfect interdependent, interpersonal relationships.” ~Stephen Covey 

A leader’s ability to improve results depends on the strength of her or his relationships. Organizations are living entities and relationships are their lifeblood. 

Building strong relationships is not about the amount of interaction but rather the quality of it. Leaders earn their right to lead through these interactions. A leader’s commitment, credibility and authenticity are constantly assessed. Are promises kept? Are contributions appreciated? Are openness and integrity standard behaviors? Is there a willingness to do more than expected, to lead from the front, engaging with their team to make things better, risking as much or more than them? 

Strong relationships enable improvement breakthroughs. These don’t happen until the people impacted by a change are actively engaged with their leaders in designing and implementing it. And that participation won’t be forthcoming unless they choose to follow their leader, believing that doing so will make a difference for them and the company. 

Strong leader-team relationships can transform an improvement initiative from a list of tasks into a creative exercise, bringing the company’s purpose to life and moving it towards its vision and aspirations. This sense of creation releases […]

By |May 21st, 2020|Grolistic, News and Events|0 Comments

The Way Forward

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Managing disruptions is part of every leader’s resume. You evaluate the opportunities and risks of the situation. You work to stay ahead of fluid circumstances, while seeking to gain control by identifying alternative ways forward, choosing a direction, planning for it, and then communicating it. But very few leaders have faced an interruption as serious and significant as the current one, so it’s heartening to see how many, from businesses large and small, are rising to meet the challenge. They’re refining the crisis reaction norm cited above, and employing a proven model from our past to move forward. 

It’s the model that embraces opportunity over fear, leveraging the vision, initiative and ingenuity that have always been the trademarks for American industry. 

It’s the model that leverages the unequalled power of relationships, public and private, relying on shared mission and on collaboration to overcome obstacles and rapidly convert ideas into actions. 

It’s the model that appreciates how the successful conversion of these ideas depends completely on the willingness of the people in each company to invest their energy and talents in giving form and substance to their leader’s aspirations. It trusts that the purpose and culture which once attracted these people […]

By |May 12th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

3 Steps to Build Momentum

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Time only moves in one direction… relentlessly forward. The time of isolation is ending, and you’ll be moving forward. With 2020 plans in shreds, working to achieve short term goals is key to establishing momentum in the months ahead. Accumulating small wins will accelerate your progress. 

Making progress is a fundamental driver of personal motivation and performance. During my leadership years, I depended on this truth to improve results. More than any words I spoke, my associates responded with more enthusiasm and commitment when we actively engaged together to improve a product or process. They appreciated my support for their efforts, particularly when I listened to their ideas or got my hands dirty with them. These were the moments when our purpose and values became real for us all, strengthening and validating our culture’s role in the success of the business. 

Progress is measured by small wins that generate a sense of accomplishment, creating momentum and elevating performance. When your team’s work is perceived as being meaningful, when they observe how it’s making a difference and is appreciated, then their progress boosts satisfaction and inspires greater effort. 

You can help your team make progress and build momentum with these steps:

Establish a positive, supportive environment, modelling […]

By |May 6th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Why Energy Makes a Difference

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

When I served as a leader, it was the more challenging times that reminded me how vital were the contributions of our people in sustaining the business. It was evident after 9-11 when our business slowed dramatically and Steve volunteered to remain on site after hours to support a customer in crisis several times zones away. Or, while serving with a different organization, I discovered that Marilyn had invested her own time, after already working a ten-hour shift, to help improve our shipping process so we could dig out after an emergency production shutdown. 

These may have been exceptional employees who were committed to our purpose and goals, but when they invested discretionary effort and energy without being asked, it validated for me that people make the difference for a business more than any other factor. Your business likely has people like this; their contributions should be apparent during these last days of isolation. How are they being appreciated? 

Each person in your organization is a source of energy, with an exclusive set of gifts to contribute, and the potential to leverage their unique perspective, insight, and experience so that your goods or services may be converted into strategic value for the customer. This energy is focused like a laser when […]

By |April 29th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Leveraging Lessons Learned

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

I was once presented with a business turnaround opportunity. The company was in trouble, the President was fired, and the Board asked me take the lead in reigniting the business. They gave me 6 months to change the trend or they would shut it down. 

Having never led a turnaround, my confidence was shaken and I was filled with anxiety, doubt and fear of the future. These uncertain times remind me of what I felt back then. 

My leadership style has always tended to focus more on the future than on the near term. But at that moment, I was facing a triage situation, with the sustainability of the business, and the welfare of my and other families, at stake. Living with the perpetual stress, and weight of my decisions, during that time taught me much. Some of these lessons might be helpful now. 

While my first inclination was to start cutting costs, it occurred to me that the consequences of acting too swiftly and broadly on this impulse, versus being more surgical about it, could hurt the business more than help save it. We needed an endpoint, a vision, some sense of control over our future that would provide direction for the actions we needed to take. 

So my first priority became strengthening […]

By |April 22nd, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Essential Discussions

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

The world of work will continue to evolve in the months ahead. As you evaluate how best to shift your business from protection mode back to proactive mode, there will be an abundance of opinion within the organization about the most effective way forward. 

Dialogue, often emotional, about the pros and cons of alternatives, and their projected impact on results, will increase. Many of these discussions will be critical, risky, political deliberations that result in decisions with far-reaching implications for the sustainability of your business. 

It’s a time when the actions taken from these decisions will disproportionally affect your company and your relationships. 

It’s a time when policies, procedures and values will be challenged as you consider how your business model may have changed, affecting the way you make a difference and create strategic value. 

It’s a time when your ability to manage your team’s emerging differences, and arrive at a shared commitment, will be tested. 

As these essential discussions develop, appreciate their potential to bond your team, strengthening their ability to think strategically, to collaborate cross-functionally and to drive change. 

Resist the impulse to prematurely exert your influence or argue your view on pending decisions. Instead, seek to extend dialogue by asking questions, soliciting opinions and […]

By |April 15th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Leading with Attitude

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

A leader’s attitude is always on display; but during a crisis, people pay closer attention. 

While no one can control the virus attacking us, every employee is watching to discover how their leader is reacting to the challenge. Effective leaders focus on what they can control, and that includes their attitude. It’s a choice they make every day. Acting with a positive mindset provides a model for their personnel, a direction to follow. 

Life does not arbitrarily impose itself on us. Rather, we choose which of life’s many offerings to accept. We can’t change how things are, but we can change how we will approach today. Rather than being negative or disoriented by our current challenge, leaders look for opportunities to energize and inspire their teams. They know that a positive attitude is more contagious than the virus. 

Leaders appreciate that their attitude reflects their expectations, and it’s those expectations that generate energy for their people. They recognize that their thoughts, words, actions and results are influenced by their attitude. 

These leaders are mindful that their thoughts become their words…that their words become their actions…that their actions reveal their character…and that their character validates their effectiveness as a leader. 

What attitude will you express today?

How can you leverage a positive attitude to […]

Expectations

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

The way we do business will be different going forward. With most of us now connecting virtually, what should we expect once the proximity restrictions are removed? What are our expectations about rejoining our organization’s physical community? 

In the 1980’s, author John Naisbitt (“Megatrends”) introduced the concept of “High Tech – High Touch.” Its premise is that the more dependent we become on technology, the greater will be our need to gather, to experience human touch. Feeling insecure and vulnerable amplifies this yearning. 

Technology enables connection, versatility and productivity, but it can’t replace the very human need to belong, to feel and to be loved. Nor can technology be a substitute for personal discipline, commitment and responsibility. Enduring relationships and the cultivation of culture are built on trust, and trust requires intimacy and authenticity. 

As our reliance on technology continues to grow, so will employees’ longing for a stronger emotional connection to their company, its culture and its leaders. People want to feel that they are part of a successful and important team. They want to make a difference, engaging customers and fellow employees on a higher, more meaningful human level. Only if they feel appreciated and respected will […]

By |April 1st, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

The Antidote to Uncertainty

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Today’s tech driven world tends to increase our sense of predictability. We expect the instant gratification of enjoying our personal Starbuck’s coffee locally, or anywhere in the world. We expect Amazon to deliver our purchase the next day. We expect our daily routine to continue as usual. 

But when a crisis arises, uncertainty becomes the rule, undermining the predictable outcome and resetting our appreciation of what is valuable. 

Some businesses live with uncertainty every day. If you’re in construction, about 90% of your revenue is determined by Mother Nature. You learn to react promptly to changing circumstances so your business isn’t totally paralyzed by the uncertainty of nature. You learn not to count on predictability – who really knows what the weather will be two weeks from now? 

As history shows, true leadership involves appearing during a time of great uncertainty and just getting on with it. The fear of uncertainty is acknowledged but the messaging stays realistically positive. You focus on what’s known: the present and the reality that there’s work to do now, your resilience and resourcefulness in prior crises, the conviction and commitment of your people to the purpose of your business. 

Recalling your purpose during uncertain times increases clarity and calm, reduces […]

By |March 24th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments