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.

3 Questions Your People Ask About You

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Leaders rely on feedback from their teams as one metric to gauge their effectiveness. Asking each team member what’s going well and what can improve produces some insight, but empathetic leaders seek a more comprehensive perspective that explores how their credibility and intentions are perceived by their teams.

To gain this perspective, these leaders suppose that their personnel are asking 3 questions about them:

1. “Do you care about me?” Does an employee invest energy, talent and discretionary effort to help an organization succeed if that person believes that no one cares about him or her? By sharing experiences, ideas and suggestions to help their teams achieve goals and develop their competencies, leaders demonstrate that they do care about the success of their people as well as their company.

2. “Can you help me?” When an employee asks a reasonable question, the leader’s response communicates more than an answer. Given typical time pressures, the temptation is to respond promptly so that no additional thought is demanded from the inquirer. But certain questions present teaching moments for leaders. These are opportunities to respond with a question or two that educate the inquirer about the rationale behind a specific policy and procedure. Helping an employee […]

By |February 15th, 2018|Grolistic|0 Comments

When Growth Stalls

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

When growth stalls, the need to reassess strategy, people and process becomes urgent.

The people evaluation may considers the “right person-right job” question, balancing an individual’s performance against the consistency of actual versus expected behaviors.

The process evaluation may challenge best practices. What has worked well to deliver productivity with consistent quality versus what can be improved, by how much and how soon.

The strategy evaluation is typically the most comprehensive assessment, often beginning with a review of the latest SWOT analysis, challenging the premises that drove existing strategies, and testing strategy adaptability to changing market conditions. Alternatives to current strategy that were previously rejected are reconsidered. But this typical process often omits a critical first step opportunity.

Before assessing the SWOT, the premises, the strategy adaptability, etc., think about this moment as a fresh start. It’s an opportunity to revisit the purpose that drove the original business proposition. Rather than assuming that your purpose is unchanged, rediscover why the business exists and reexamine how, in the beginning, you planned to make a difference in your market.

When you reflect on the success you’ve earned, what makes you most proud? Are you making the difference you expected? What would be lost if your business vanished?

What makes your business distinctive and valuable to customers? What competitive advantage do you “own” in your […]

By |February 7th, 2018|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

3 Attributes That Boost Customer Loyalty

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

When asked why they are loyal to a particular supplier, customers don’t award the highest grade to outperforming competitors on product or service, or to securing a better price-to-value ratio than the competition. The highest grade is consistently awarded to the sales process they experienced. The primary driver of customer loyalty is the sales experience itself.

A salesperson or business that respects the customer’s time by demonstrating urgency and efficiency earns preference. Sales representatives who help customers lift their heads to think strategically about the future, and share information about new issues and trends in the market, are perceived as trusted partners.

More than demonstrating exceptional professionalism or proven problem solving skills, the 3 selling experience attributes that most drive customer loyalty are:

Providing valuable insights on market trends and competitive activity;
Helping evaluate alternative approaches to minimize decision risk;
Remaining engaged after a purchase, providing ongoing support and counsel.

In this dynamic economy, customers are seeking to learn, not just to purchase. Exceptional salespeople and organizations realize that winning customer loyalty involves understanding the customer’s business and goals, and committing to support their long-term success.
How often does your sales team demonstrate these 3 attributes?
 
How can you boost customer loyalty?

By |January 30th, 2018|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

What’s Your Return on Customer Service?

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Increasing activity with current customers is still the most productive, profitable means of boosting sales revenue. And the service level experienced by the customer is a core driver of this increased activity.

In today’s market, access to information is so effortless that many products are seen as commodities and the life cycle of a technical competitive advantage is a long weekend. Providing exceptional service, that saves your customer time and money, is a proven differentiator.

A customer service representative creates a memorable, personal experience by recognizing the customer, actively listening to the inquiry or need, and providing potential solutions in an efficient, knowledgeable manner. To your customer, these folks are your company – folks with unlimited access to your customers.

How much time is wasted, how much customer frustration is amplified, how much money is lost due to delays in resolving customer problems?  How many opportunities for repeat business vanish because your service level reveals a lack of respect or appreciation for the customer’s business? How much of your customers’ satisfaction is impacted by your customer service reps?

Your customer service function is a profit center, not a cost center. Invest in your customer service team, discover what they think and what they need, and then empower […]

By |January 24th, 2018|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Inspiring Initiative

Bob Schultek
Author of 
The Gauntlet

Leaders are change agents – they are expected to drive productive change that improves results.  There are always processes to be improved and problems to be solved. And since their people are busy doing their jobs, leaders require an investment of additional time and energy from their team to pursue change. This is a commitment that cannot be compelled; it’s an investment of discretionary initiative that can only be inspired.

Inspiration is more about heart than head. It leverages meaningfulness and how deeply individuals believe that they can make a difference.  Contributing to a change initiative enables team members to increase the impact of their work, while elevating their visibility and sense of self-worth.

Leaders seeking to inspire initiative within their teams – to unleash untapped innovation, creativity, and risk-taking – must first help their teams connect with this aspiration for meaningfulness.  Discussing the following questions can generate the emotional links that clarify purpose and enable inspiration:

Why does our company (or team) exist?  How do we make a difference for our customers (or our company)?
Why is this important?  What would happen if we no longer existed?
Why do we choose to invest our talents and creative energies in our organization […]

By |January 16th, 2018|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Ideas Don’t Drive Change

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

We are bombarded with new ideas from all directions. Some are fascinating enough to capture our attention, but usually, they don’t motivate us to change. Our customers share this experience.

What does drive customers to consider change is when clearly proposed benefits generated by ideas, products and services go beyond fulfilling a need, to helping achieve a goal. Making the effort to discover why meeting a need is important, how this helps them succeed, changes everything concerning how a customer feels about what you and your offerings. The generosity and respect revealed by your investment of time and energy to learn a customer’s story and aspirations before proposing a solution, enables them to feel that you care more about helping them make money than about taking their money. It is this feeling, and not the related facts, that actually drive customers to consider a change; facts are used later to validate their decision.

This is the truth that has remained unaffected by all the new methods introduced to help us do business. Customers don’t buy our products and services…they buy our promise about how they will benefit and what more they can achieve if they choose our offering – more connected, more […]

By |January 10th, 2018|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

A Time for Why & How

Bob Schultek
Author of 
The Gauntlet

It’s a new year, a fresh start. Amidst the resolutions and planning, it’s an ideal time to assess by asking a few basic ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions.

Why were you able to accomplish what you did last year? What worked, and what didn’t?

How can you be smarter? Smarter about process, about planning, about possible effects, about metrics, about leadership, about inspiring your people to invest in building the business?

How will your business make a difference for your customers in the new year? How will you help them achieve their goals and prosper so you succeed? What new idea can you propose to strengthen you both?

Why do your people devote their talents and energy to your business? How do you ensure that they understand your expectations? How might they be encouraged to improve your business? How do you recognize those who contribute to your company’s success?
May your 2018 bring prosperity and fulfillment!

By |January 2nd, 2018|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Preparation and Success

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

It’s the season of preparation…for the holidays, for the new business year, for your personal progression the coming year.

If you’re a big fan of spontaneity, then preparation can be dull and tedious; but to be successful in whatever you do, it is an essential skill that generates quantifiable benefits.

Would you attend a meeting unprepared? Or visit a customer?  Or approve an investment? Not if you want to succeed.

For any business, time is a vital factor; we have a limited amount of it, making time a very valuable commodity. One key advantage of preparation is that problems are resolved more quickly and efficiently if potential solutions have been vetted and are ready to be implemented. Resolving a problem in one hour, rather than two, saves money.

Preparation better enables the prompt recognition and consideration of a new, exciting opportunity when it arises. It also facilitates the anticipation of barriers that may delay project progress. This awareness accelerates decision-making, a significant competitive advantage.

Finally, preparation compels reflection and mindfulness, enhancing a sense of being in control. Anxiety and stress are reduced because you are ready.

Success depends on preparation.
How have you prepared for 2018?
 
How much did preparation contribute to your 2017 results?

By |December 19th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Going First

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Credibility is the number one reason people choose to follow their leaders. That credibility is based on the leader’s behaviors, transparency and accountability. How they walk the talk, keep promises, lead from the front.

To build a vibrant organizational culture, leaders must go first. They are the first to make sacrifices, the first to take risks, and the first to feel consequences. They are the first to model the company’s values, first to follow policies, first to point the way forward. The rules apply to them first, before they apply to those that follow.

As a result, a leader’s actions are remembered long after any words he or she may have uttered.  Leaders succeed because people view them as credible and choose to follow them, enabling a productive culture to flourish and endure.

How consistently do you go first? 
How do you assess your leadership credibility?

By |December 13th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Why Leaders Won’t Coach

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet
  

Leaders know that coaching their personnel produces a “markedly positive” impact on performance, culture and results. Yet coaching is one of the tools least used by leaders. Why?

The common excuse is that there is no time for the slow, tedious work of teaching/mentoring employees when trying to succeed in our competitive, high pressure economy. Another explanation is that coaching can be complicated and involved, and there’s concern about failing at the process. Yet it’s these employees whose performance delivers success; they are the organization’s most sustainable competitive advantage.

More than ever, leaders must find time to coach. How can coaching be made less complex and more efficient?

In his book, The Coaching Habit, Michael Bungay Stanier offers these suggestions for leaders:

Identify the type of coaching required. Most coaching focuses on a performance issue, to help resolve a specific challenge. The dialogue around this issue is usually well-defined and the challenge for the leader is to guide the employee to a resolution rather than hurrying the process and specifying it. People don’t learn, and become more dependent on the leader, if the learning process is short-circuited.  This also ensures a continued parade of issues that demand the leader’s time versus helping an employee develop some autonomy.

The more complex coaching challenge involves coaching […]

By |December 5th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments