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.

What Customers Value

A customer’s inquiry typically solicits a resolution to a stated, short-term problem. If your solution relieves the customer’s immediate pain, without contributing to their long term progress, then you’ve produced transactional value like any other commodity. And you’ve wasted an opportunity to reveal your organization’s experience, expertise and competency in a way that differentiates your business. 

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

But, if prior to proposing your solution, you discover why resolving the customer’s need would contribute to their success, then your solution can become more than a transaction – it can be an investment in the customer’s future. Learning more about their current circumstances, and how their current challenge is constraining longer term progress, opens the door to a dialogue with the customer that transforms your solution – from the resolution of an immediate problem that produces transactional value into an opportunity that creates strategic value for the customer by removing an obstacle that is inhibiting the achievement of their goals. 

Customers prefer to work with providers who create strategic value for them. Your solution creates strategic value when it:

Produces quantifiable benefits that resolve the customer’s immediate issue while also contributing to the achievement of a longer term goal or aspiration; andStrengthens the customer’s competitive […]

By |March 12th, 2019|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Change Takes Practice

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Wherever change energy is initially directed, there will be uncertainty, disruption, fear and discomfort among those who are impacted by the change. As a result, the first reaction to change initiatives is likely to be resistance; once the impact is clarified, advocates emerge who refocus their energy on learning more and seeking a means to contribute. 

Leaders realize that inspiring these change advocates to invest their talent, energy and time is the first critical milestone in the change process. And once the champions have accepted the challenge, they need a channel for their investment. Without promptly identifying this path forward, energy and urgency diminish, creating a drift towards demotivation. 

The channel provides direction and structure for the change initiative to be planned, implemented and monitored for effectiveness. As an example, the channel may be a process improvement initiative. For the leader, the channel provides an organized method to remain actively engaged in the change process, to influence its direction, and to sustain the inspiration that launched it. It offers a way for leaders to practice their skill of driving change. 

For the champions, in addition to being the focus of their discretionary effort, the channel provides a medium to […]

By |March 12th, 2019|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Your Culture – Your Choice

Organizational culture is always evolving, moving in one of two directions.

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

One track leads towards more openness, collaboration and transparency. Moving the other direction brings greater control and dependence.

A leader’s vision and beliefs, when aligned with the organization’s, drive the cultural direction for the business. And that choice impacts growth and sustainability, how the company operates and how it prioritizes potential investments.

Given the increasingly dynamic nature of markets, the incessant rate of change, and the many options available to your customers, culture direction is trending towards greater engagement and agility. As you consider how best to create value for your customers and your company, consider these questions:

How would your business benefit by moving faster, acting more nimbly and consistently innovating? Does your business create greater value by encouraging those you lead to become more informed and engaged with customers and one another, or by preserving focus on conforming to established internal standards? Does your business progress faster by encouraging your people to offer suggestions and participate in productive change initiatives, or does your current culture perceive this approach as causing disruption and wasting valuable time?

Does your […]

By |February 27th, 2019|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

3 Questions People Ask To Judge Their Leader’s Credibility

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Credibility is the primary reason that people choose to follow their leaders. Numerous studies validate this fact. 

Credibility is the quality of being believed and trusted. It’s about reliability, authenticity and accountability… walking the talk, keeping promises.

People ask 3 questions to judge their leader’s credibility:

1. “Can I trust you?” Credible leaders understand that their actions live long after their words. Leading by example and fulfilling promises strengthen a leader’s credibility. Encouraging comparable behavior among all team members builds confidence that a leader is consistent and dependable. Being able to rely on a leader, to have a sense of the leader’s intentions and accountability, enables and sustains trust. 

2. “Do you care about me?” Credible leaders recognize that accelerating progress and creating value requires productive change. And they understand that change cannot be compelled – it can only be inspired. Leaders inspire by connecting the work of their people with the purpose and culture of the business, how it makes a difference for customers and the organization. When people experience a leader’s commitment to achieving goals, to encouraging their professional development, and to providing opportunities to participate in initiatives that will accelerate the company’s progress, it reveals that the leader cares about those […]

By |February 19th, 2019|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Questions for Leaders

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

The pace of economic change continues to accelerate, driven by global competition, rapid developments in technology, and the shift in transaction power from seller to buyer. Businesses are perpetually disrupted by the need to respond faster in creating strategic value for customers, or suffer the consequences if they cannot do so quickly enough. 

It’s an economy that demands agility and innovation to create value and sustainability.

Creating value is difficult work, much more challenging than extracting it from the business by downsizing, reorganizing, de-layering, re-engineering, etc. Creating value is the work of leaders. It’s expected that leaders will drive productive change, engaging and inspiring their people to invest the extra effort necessary to execute strategy, innovate and move faster, creating the required strategic value. 

For decades, it’s been common managerial practice to improve results by standardizing products and processes, delivering increased operational efficiency and less risk. Sustaining performance is the responsibility of a management bureaucracy and a top-down command and control structure. Having established this operating model, the focus shifts to continually refining and pruning the operation to extract value from it, guided by readily available internal data. This proven methodology may produce short-term profitability, but it also […]

By |February 13th, 2019|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Proposing Investments, not Transactions

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

How you respond to a prospect’s inquiry determines their first impression about your company and how you do business. It’s your initial, perhaps only, opportunity to differentiate yourself in their eyes. 

Reacting with urgency is essential, but promptly proposing a product or service to address their immediate pain, without first seeking to learn why resolving the problem is important, wastes an opportunity to reveal your organization’s experience and competency, and your genuine interest in their success. Your proposal will be perceived as a one-time transaction intended to “sell” your offering like any other commodity, with price being the dominant deciding factor. 

For your proposal to be seen as more than a transaction…for your company’s credibility to be recognized…and for your recommendations to be appreciated as the prospect’s best alternative, an investment in their success that resolves a short-term pain while contributing to a longer term, strategic aspiration…it’s vital that you first engage the prospect to discover their current circumstances (why they contacted you), and how resolving the stated problem will help them progress (why their pain is an obstacle). Having this discussion prior to proposing potential solutions exposes your portfolio of expertise and capabilities, revealing your distinctiveness and reducing their risk of […]

By |February 6th, 2019|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Adapting to Customer Centricity

Bob Schultek
Author of 
The Gauntlet

In this increasingly customer-centric market, here are some organizational issues to consider:

To generate growth, profitability and sustainability, ensuring that a business is continually creating strategic value for customers is a primary responsibility for leadership. Creating value for the business begins by first creating value for customers; customer value is monetized to validate its contribution to business value.
To reliably create strategic value and strengthen sustainability, the business:
–Discovers what customers value, why this is important and what obstacles constrain progress;
–Innovates by collaborating with customers to resolve a challenge and fulfill an aspiration; and
–Improves performance by moving faster and more nimbly.
Leadership ensures that every person in the company, including back-office and production personnel, understands how they share accountability/ownership for creating value. Each understands how she or he impacts the customer, and each is motivated by leadership to refine and optimize their impact. Staff members are empowered to make decisions, within guidelines established by leadership, to better serve the customer. The structure of the business evolves over time to sustain value creation.

How are you adapting your business to address escalating customer centricity?
 
How are you driving the productive change necessary to continually create value? 

By |January 30th, 2019|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Creating Value

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Our time is a finite, unrecoverable resource which makes it very valuable. As a leader, precious time is expected to create value for the organization. Did your leadership help your people create value today? What benefits were produced for your customers and your organization in return for the time you and they invested?

Ford’s Model T was more efficient to build than any other automobile at the time, so each worker produced far more value per day than they could building a competitor’s car. Because his workers were more productive, Ford could charge less for each car which enabled him to sell more of them and pay higher salaries to attract better workers. The competitors didn’t have workers who were weaker, less skilled or lazy; they lost because Ford focused on productivity in a way that they didn’t.

Productivity is the amount of useful output, or value, created for every invested hour of work; the metric for useful output is typically money, or time and materials converted to money. Today, the internet makes it faster and easier for leaders and their people to access information and resources that can maximize productivity.

Leaders who engage with their people to improve productivity create value in two ways. First, […]

By |January 23rd, 2019|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

5 Keys For Teams That Move Faster

Bob Schultek
Author of 
The Gauntlet

Profitable growth relies upon the preservation of enduring customer relationships. Sustaining these relationships demands that a business consistently produce more strategic value for a key customer than can be gained elsewhere – value that contributes to the customer’s progress.

A key factor in creating strategic value is moving faster – faster in delivering results, adapting to changing needs, and innovating.

When Google wanted to move faster, they formed small, cross-functional teams to accelerate key processes that created value for customers. They had long believed that “building the best teams meant combining the best people.” But their experience and experimentation, compiled under a project they eventually named “Aristotle,” taught them that team success has much more to do with these 5 key team dynamics than it does with the types of individuals on the team:

Psychological safety: Can we take risks on this team without feeling insecure or embarrassed?
Dependability: Can we count on each other to do high-quality work on time?
Structure and Clarity: Are goals, roles and execution plans on our team clear?
Meaning of Work: Are we working on something that is personally important for each of us?
Impact of work: Do we fundamentally believe that the work we’re […]

By |January 16th, 2019|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

5 Attributes That Drive Strategy Execution

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

The start of a new year often marks the launch or refinement of strategy. Inherent in this process is change, acting in a new or different way. To execute a new strategy, leaders must identify advocates, change agents who work within the current system, and have the ability and will to drive the change necessary for the strategy to succeed.

A key characteristic for strategy advocates is their capacity for critical thinking. In his book “You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Education,” former Wall Street Journal writer George Anders identifies 5 attributes that define critical thinking competency:

Willingness: The confidence and enthusiasm to challenge the status quo, explore concepts for which no rules or precedents yet exist, and adapt to new circumstances. This demonstrates a comfort with “knowing what to do when you’re on your own.”
Curiosity: In this era of “too much data, not enough clarity,” leaders need advocates to calmly and productively distill information and connect the dots. Curiosity fuels imagination to work through ambiguity and discover insights that can accelerate strategy implementation.
Expertise: The ability, gained through experience, to combine synergistic insights when this can expedite decision-making and change realization.
Empathy: The proficiency to “balance different perspectives […]

By |January 9th, 2019|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments