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.

To Cultivate Breakthroughs

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

One of the first questions we ask when we begin a new job is: “What’s required of me?” When these basic expectations are met, we get evaluated as being diligent and dependable.But when heads are down, focused on reliably completing expected tasks, people can get stuck in their routine, and never question if there’s a better way to do the job. Looking around, they often find that they are surrounded by people who are just as stuck as they are, so everyone stays the course, the status quo survives and nothing improves.Then, someone sees a better way forward, a previously unexplored course. A few others recognize the potential of making a difference, and join in the quest. They become a bonded team who share a purpose and a change journey, delivering an improvement that creates value. This defines a breakthrough.Breakthroughs are driven by those who seek to do work that matters. They ask: “What’s the opportunity here?” For them, it’s about curiosity, contribution and progress, not simply compliance. It’s a more challenging path, but for them and for the business, it’s a worthwhile endeavor.All workplaces include those who protect the status quo to drive efficiency with reduced risk, while […]

By |November 19th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

3 Phases of Conflict Resolution

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Whether it’s seeking improvements or managing shifting priorities, leaders invest significant time resolving conflicts. Efficiently managing differences, be they with peers or within teams, to arrive at a shared commitment, proceeds through 3 phases that require a mix of empathy, discovery and tenacity.1.      Leverage your empathy to change your mindset.  Our tendency, particularly with those we lead, is to manage these discussions with the mindset that we’re going to convince the other party that our perspective is better. It’s a position grounded in our experience as leaders, we believe that we already know the answer, so it can be challenging to consider alternatives. Those who have a different view sense this arrogance, get defensive and then emotional. Resolution occurs more quickly when we approach these conversations with a willingness to learn why the difference exists.2.      Discover the origins of the opposing perspectives. Begin this diagnostic phase by deferring to the other party, asking them to help you better understand their view by sharing their goal, why it’s important to them, and what they need from you; when it’s your turn, share your position by answering the same 3 questions. Then, seek to agree on the current reality and on the […]

By |November 11th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Valuing Discretionary Effort

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Completing delegated tasks, and achieving assigned goals, in accordance with expected behaviors defines acceptable performance by a competent employee.But when that person digs deeper, investing extra time and energy to make something better for a customer or the business, we recognize this as discretionary effort that reveals exceptional performance.If improving results is the prime directive for leadership, then a leader’s competency largely depends on the ability to influence and inspire people to risk change and follow the leader in making something better.So, no leader can succeed without cultivating and appreciating discretionary effort. Because results cannot be improved without people who will contribute extra effort to change something which can deliver those better outcomes.And these change initiatives render more than improve results. They validate a leader’s credibility, while providing the investors of extra effort with opportunities to resolve challenges that are strategic, future-based and larger than themselves, thus increasing their experience, confidence and self-worth. Both leaders and team members are offered the chance to be exceptional contributors to their organization’s success.

How do you motivate discretionary effort?

By |November 4th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Problems and Opportunities

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

There are always problems – a parade of challenges that command your attention. Systems are down, people or organizations are working against you, or there’s a compelling difficulty that needs resolution.

There are always opportunities – innovative ideas or new relationships waiting to be embraced. These are chances to create value, to share or give, to move faster, or to make something better.

And there are always limits – limited time, energy, money and other resources.

How do you prioritize where to invest your limited resources? Your answer shapes your attitude, your actions and your future.

If problem resolution is your default mode, then the risk is that your focus can be too tactical or short term, directed too inwardly, inhibiting your ability to sense and promptly assess growth opportunities. The problem with making problems your priority, aside from the fact that they can weigh you down, is that they consume attention and resources which might be better focused on opportunities that create value for your customers and your business.

Of course, problems can’t be ignored, but often, there are people in your operation whose primary function is to resolve problems. It’s your principal responsibility, and highest […]

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

No One Wants To Be Hustled

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

First impressions still matter. These days, the chance to make a positive first impression is more likely to occur via a virtual connection than by a masked conversation in an elevator. But the necessity of building rapport and trust during these early moments of connection remains essential for development of a productive business relationship.

The metaphorical elevator is a useless place to pitch yourself or your idea – no one buys from someone on an elevator. But the point is that you get only a minute or two with a new contact to influence their judgement and make that positive first impression. Trying to explain who you are, what you do and how you can help someone, without knowing anything about them or their needs, is a waste of time and a turn off.

Making the most of any networking opportunity begins by starting a conversation that focuses, not on you, but on the person you’re hoping to connect with. If you can discover who they are and what they hope to achieve, then you’ll learn if you could help them succeed. And because generosity is the genesis of trust, even if you’re not a good fit for them, […]

By |October 21st, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Thriving in the Customer-Driven Market

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Today’s market is more customer-driven than ever before. Everyone and everything is connected, everywhere and all the time. 

Companies who compile “big data” believe that it this gives them an advantage, but in reality, today’s high connectivity makes data access available to many. Often, much of the available data is inward-looking, generated by the operations of the business, rather than outward-looking which reflects customer or market insights.

Your business lives with your customers. It always has, from its beginning, when getting that first order was essential. In this dynamic market, your customers’ needs are continuously evolving; what they value can change frequently. 

Companies who thrive in this customer-driven market:

Sustain strategic relationships with key customers, seeking to continually discover what they value and empowering their people to challenge what is possible in creating that value. They cultivate entrepreneurship, commitment and shared ownership, encouraging cross-functional collaboration to innovate and improve.

Transparently share appropriate data with customers to confirm how value is being created for them, and within the business, which enables their people to realize how each makes a difference for customers and the business. The sense of shared ownership is strengthened by data sharing, and internally, awareness of personal growth opportunities is raised.

The […]

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

How Values Drive Strategy

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

The planning season is upon us. Visions and missions are being reconsidered. New goals and objectives are being determined. Strategies and action plans are being developed to achieve those goals.When the planning turns to strategy execution, in addition to determining action steps, success metrics and the allocation of resources, it can be beneficial to consider the company’s commitment to executing a given strategy.Changing circumstances ensure that few strategies survive without adaptation and perseverance. The will to be agile in strategy execution tests an organization’s leadership and culture, challenging the purpose and core values that guide its operation.

Will the values that define a company’s culture, that have strengthened the human connections within its community and with other stakeholders, enable or constrain strategy implementation?At its core, strategy execution is a change management issue. People chose to collaborate in implementing a strategy if they have a clear understanding about its projected benefits for the company, if they believe that these benefits align with their culture, and if they believe that they can make a difference in its implementation.

The behaviors exhibited within a business define its values in action.  Are the results of those behaviors quantifiable? What […]

By |October 7th, 2020|Grolistic|0 Comments

The Thing About Promises

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Businesses sometimes refrain from using the word “promise.” It’s risky to promise an outcome that might fail to be delivered due to some unforeseen variable. So if no promise is explicitly made, then the risk of failure is reduced. But in a world where customers have many options available to them, “promising” a result can be a differentiator. A promise is a commitment, that when fulfilled, creates value for the customer, reinforcing trust and building loyalty. Without risking the promise, your return is a one-time transaction, and the probability of developing an enduring customer relationship is greatly diminished.

Making and keeping promises compels a business to put the customers’ needs and aspirations ahead of their own. This is not possible without first clearly understanding what the customer values and why, and then assessing how likely it is that the promise can be delivered.  

And delivering involves more than products or services – it includes the experience of applying these offerings on the way to resolving the customer’s need, an experience that triggers an emotional reaction. The experience creates a story; stories evoke emotions, and it’s the emotions that contribute to customer value creation, enabling trust and cultivating relationships.

The […]

By |September 30th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Why Leaders Are Trusted

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Without trust you cannot lead. Trust is the basis of every relationship. 

Trust is the foundation of your credibility, empowering your ability to get things done.Trust bonds your team together to share commitment and accountability.Trust motivates your people to challenge the status quo, pursue innovation and improve performance. 

Your success as a leader depends on the willingness of your people to trust you. There are numerous questions they may ask to help make and sustain this decision: 

Can I trust that you will consistently do what you say you’re going to do? 

Can I trust you to be clear about what you expect from me? 

Can I trust that when you make a mistake you will own it and make amends? 

Can I trust that you will act with integrity, practicing our core values and not just professing them? 

Can I trust that you will encourage and support me when I commit my talents and energy to implement your change initiative? 

Can I trust that when you doubt my intentions, you will ask me and not assume? 

Researchers have found that high trust leads to greater acceptance of team interdependence, more cooperation, and enhanced information flow among all team members. 

Trust motivates people to go beyond mere […]

By |September 23rd, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Inspiring Energy

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

I recently met John O’Leary via one of his podcasts. With so many discouraging, angry and negative messages being relentlessly thrust upon us, it was refreshing to listen to John’s message. 

John lived through a moment in hell. At age nine, a fire exploded in his garage and burned 100% of his my body. His probability of survival was 1%. 

After 5 months in the hospital, and dozens of surgeries that cost him all of his fingers and much more, he relearned how to walk, write, and feed himself. John credits others who served and inspired him for his ability to endure and survive. 

He shares his story of perseverance, agility and positive thinking as a tribute to those who leapt into the flames to save him…who worked tirelessly to restore him…who pushed him to write though he no longer had fingers…and who held him during his darkest, most frightening moments. 

He shares how the exceptional, motivated people who did all these things taught him to become more aware of his gifts and the fullness of his life, to appreciate each moment, and to celebrate his blessings and the joy of living an inspired life. 

He shares these lessons to liberate […]

By |September 16th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments