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.

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

Inspiring Energy

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

We celebrated Labor Day this week, a day dedicated to the contributions that working people make to our country’s progress and supporting us all. It’s a remembrance that we appreciate more this year because the Covid disruption has created a stark contrast. We honor those who have defied the risk and worked, often tirelessly, to keep products flowing and shelves stocked, to care for us, to teach us and to protect us; likewise, we remember and respect those whose jobs have been sacrificed, hopefully on a temporary basis, to slow the spread of the disease, those who are fighting the emotional and financial battle that daily uncertainty has forced upon them. 

Our work is vital to our lives. Through our work, we earn dignity, respect and confidence, as well as compensation. We learn and discover what matters to us, realizing how we make a difference for others and ourselves. And the output from our efforts is the energy that motivates action and drives production, transforming the ideas and ambitions of an organization into the goods and services we all need. That organization will survive only as long as it enables its employees to continue generating the energy which sustains […]

By |September 10th, 2020|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

The Value of Discovery

Discovery is the most essential piece of the selling process. 

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

In a market that cultivates commoditization, where needed information is readily available and simplistic assessments are used to hastily define you, price is the priority over value creation. Prospective customers are predisposed to perceive your offering as just another commodity, so to hurry the transaction, they prefer to keep dialogue with you to a minimum. 

An effective discovery process challenges this paradigm. Asking the right questions, in the right order, clarifies the customer’s current circumstances, the aspirations that underlie their needs, and the barriers that are inhibiting their progress. Discovery uncovers why resolving a customer’s short term pain contributes to the achievement of their longer term goals. 

An effective discovery process motivates the customer to engage with you in a collaborative dialogue, providing an opportunity for you to demonstrate empathy, competency and a commitment to their success. Your knowledge and expertise are revealed when you describe optional solutions that guide the customer to consider what they truly value, and to grasp how each alternative you mention will generate quantifiable benefits that create strategic value for them, in addition to solving a problem. The resulting dialogue alters the customer’s prior perception of you, and heightens their […]

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

Is This Meeting Necessary?

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Time is the only irreplaceable asset, so deciding how much of your valuable time to invest in meetings is vital. Meetings seem to consume more and more time.What makes a meeting productive? What makes it necessary for you to attend?The stated purpose for a meeting can be to inform, or to educate, or to motivate. But what makes any meeting productive is the dialogue it generates, the dialogue required to motivate action and make progress. One-sided pronouncements don’t promote dialogue, and so, don’t require meetings…these can be accomplished by an email or a posting. The emotions observed by the audience when they hear the message being delivered helps them understand it and react to it, either attracting or alienating them. They assess the energy, intensity and sincerity inherent in the message, and these become the fuel that drives the subsequent dialogue. Your familiarity with the message of a meeting, and your ability to contribute to the dialogue it fosters, can be useful for judging if attending the meeting is necessary. Will your enthusiasm for the message sustain your attention, generate energy and keep you engaged so you’re not checking email? If this can’t happen, then skip the meeting. Multi-tasking during a […]

By |August 26th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

3 Ways to Lead Better in the Virtual World

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

The exclusive use of virtual business methods, fostered by our shared Covid experience, has challenged many leadership paradigms. Particularly hard hit are those processes that rely on interpersonal skills to develop trust and to cultivate the collaboration necessary for teams to drive change, take ownership and improve results. 

Leaders who have traditionally used their relational skills to strengthen their personal connections with those they lead, to encourage open, transparent communication, and to better understand what emotions are motivating the actions of team members, can find virtual communication to be lacking. The opportunity to leverage their empathy and emotional intelligence can feel constrained by the absence of physical presence. They understand that motivating teams to deliver improvements relies on each team member’s awareness of being appreciated and making a difference. This emotional edge is what drives change action.

Leaders can preserve their effectiveness during times when virtual connections dominate by practicing these 3 behaviors: 

Exercise active listening. Focus on hearing the spoken and unspoken message instead of rehearsing your response. Recognize when body language is inconsistent with the words spoken. When reading an employee’s emotion is difficult, ask the person to describe how he or she feels about the information being shared and why they feel this […]

By |August 20th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Let Learning Be Doing

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

How we educate has always been a topic for debate, but in these days of Covid adaptation, all proposed methodologies, and their related consequences, are being critically scrutinized. 

In public education, policies and circumstances have driven the current dialogue about alternatives to a fever pitch. While in business organizations, where each investment’s value is projected and monitored, the discussion about the most effective education methods has continued unabated. 

One reason this debate persists is that we’ve labelled ‘learning’ as ‘education.’ Education is based on compliance, listening to approved content and focusing on what will be tested. But excelling at school is not the same as learning something. Learning results from doing. 

In K-12 public education, the current conversation may be about how much ‘teaching’ should be delivered virtually vs. physically. But the basic educational premise is unchanged – what is ‘taught’ is driven by what will be tested. The children have minimal exposure to real-life activity, experimentation and interaction as part of their lessons. 

In business, millions do their work every day, but few read books or regularly take lessons about how to do their work better. Many organizations specify continuous improvement as a core principle, but few motivate it. Investing […]

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