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.

“The Gauntlet” – My First Book

Bob Schultek
rschultek@grolistic.com
216-272-4449
   

After serving more than thirty years as a senior executive, including a couple of times as CEO & business owner, I’ve enjoyed triumph and disappointment, and accumulated plenty of scars. Grolistic was founded to share those scars with business leaders to accelerate their growth. Whether we’re assisting with strategy, implementation or leadership, it’s increasingly clear that an organization’s people often make the difference. Your people truly are your most sustainable competitive advantage.

A couple of years ago, upon reflection about some unique career events that shaped my methods for building businesses, I decided to tell a story that describes how these experiences became the genesis for my perspective about business development, leadership and change management. That story was just published as an eBook by Amazon under the title “The Gauntlet.”  If interested, you can find it in Amazon under “The Gauntlet-Robert Schultek.”

The Gauntlet tells the tale of a business in crisis, and how the leader, his team and his family experience a transformational journey as they confront the challenge of business survival. Told through the eyes of the senior leader, the story describes his concurrent, integrated struggles to change the course of his business while preserving his family’s well-being. […]

By |March 21st, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

5 Selling Experience Attributes That Drive Customer Loyalty

In their book, The Challenger Sale, Dixon and Adamson cite their research into the 50-plus attributes that drive customer loyalty (i.e. more sales per customer), noting that just 38% of that allegiance is due to outperforming competitors on brand, product and service, and only 9% is attributable to better price-to-value ratio than the competition. They discovered that the primary driver of loyalty, at 53%, is the sales experience itself.

There are five key attributes that define the exceptional sales experience, driving customer loyalty.

Amidst all the measured attributes for a sales experience like “demonstrating a high level of professionalism” or “adapts to our needs” or “portrays a realistic picture of costs,” these 5 characteristics define the exceptional selling experience that drives customer loyalty:

The salesperson:

Provides unique and valuable insights on the market
Helps me navigate alternative approaches
Remains engaged, providing ongoing advice and consultation
Helps me avoid possible landmines
Educates me on new issues, trends and outcomes.

The fascinating insight from this set of characteristics is that customers are seeking to learn, not just to purchase. Exceptional salespeople produce quantifiable financial value for their customers, and strengthen customer distinctiveness, by exposing them to perspectives that they have not considered. They help customers […]

By |March 14th, 2017|Grolistic|0 Comments

Change Begins With 3 Agreements

Bob Schultek
rschultek@grolistic.com
216-272-4449
   

Convincing someone to join you in the pursuit of change begins with three agreements:

Agree on reality. Describe the current situation, validated by facts and proof
 Agree on goals. Specify shared goals, acknowledging diversity in how they can be achieved.
Agree on vision. Having agreed on the reality and goals, envision success.

These three agreements forge a bond of common purpose to pursue change and lay the foundation of
mutual accountability to achieve the shared goals.They enable the respectful, collaborative exploration of barriers
and potential solutions necessary to successfully implement the change.

What are the benefits of promptly, efficiently implementing change?

What are the typical consequences when a change initiative fails?

By |March 7th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

The First Step When It’s Time to Plan

When growth stalls or is rapidly accelerating, or when you’re seeking investment, or when you’re thinking about who will succeed you, these are the triggers that compel you to plan for the future. When the time to plan arrives, what’s the best first step?

Throughout your organization, heads are down and focused on the near term, ever reacting to marketplace changes. Over time, what began as an opportunistic, hopefully profitable venture, becomes preoccupied – first with survival, and then hopefully, with growth, and the need to remain profitable. Along the way, the true purpose that caused the launch of the business, how you were going to make a difference, becomes lost in the daily churn.

When you begin your planning process, your first step should be to consider why you’ve been successful:

Tell your story – why does the business exist? When it was launched, how did you or the founder expect to make a difference in your market, for your customers?
When you reflect on the success you’ve earned, what makes you most proud? Are you making the difference you expected? What would happen if your business vanished?
What makes your business distinctive and valuable? What is your “uncommon promise” […]

By |February 28th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Leading Productive Conflict

A key ingredient of enduring team relationships is productive conflict. Sustaining trust within a team requires the occasional fearless, passionate exchange of alternative, sometimes contradictory, ideas.

Conflict is often considered to be offensive in organizations.  As leaders progress in their careers, they tend to invest increasing amounts of energy avoiding the spirited debates that are necessary for building the most effective teams.

To be clear, productive conflict is focused on exploring ideological differences, not destructive arguments, political infighting or personal attacks. While the same levels of emotion and frustration present in interpersonal clashes may be exhibited in productive conflict, leaders ensure that their teams realize that the purpose of vigorously exchanging ideas and concepts is to produce the best solution as quickly as possible.

Promoting healthy conflict requires that leaders refrain from protecting their team members from harm; prematurely interrupting debate to defuse a disagreement inhibits the team’s development of needed coping skills. No leader wants to lose control of a team meeting, but for the conflicting dialogue to be productive, it must reach its natural resolution.

This doesn’t mean that leaders should remain above the fray. When a debate gets stuck, they can facilitate the achievement of resolution by summarizing the two […]

By |February 21st, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Why Customers Are Dissatisfied

The most productive way to grow sales is to increase orders from current customers. Despite this proven fact, a Learning Dynamics study reports that more than 60% of companies do not consider customer satisfaction as a top priority.

Reasons for customer dissatisfaction include:

Few supplier personnel are aware of what customers actually do with their products or services;

In about 20% of companies, sales people do not follow up with customers; senior managers do not contact customers in about 25% of companies, and this grows to 30% and over 65% for Marketing and R&D respectively;

In approximately 15% of companies, there is no function acting as a customer’s advocate and no formal means to capture customer wants;

Fewer than half of new products are developed or improved based on customer suggestions or complaints, even though a related MIT study indicates that the best innovations come from customers;

Less than 5% of companies make customer satisfaction a key metric in executive compensation.

Many organizations believe that they are in business to make products or provide services, when it is actually the added strategic value produced by their offerings that creates customer preference. Going beyond functional satisfaction, to learn why the delivered quantifiable […]

By |February 14th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

5 Statements to Assess Team Bonding

In his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni offers a Team Assessment questionnaire to evaluate a team’s susceptibility to the dysfunctions. Below are variations of 5 statements that strive to assess the level of team bonding:

All team members are aware of the others’ key activities, and how their actions contribute to the team’s goals.

Team members know what they expect from each other and intensely seek to avoid disappointing their teammates.

During meetings, members confidently address the most difficult issues, challenging one another about their plans and methods.

Team members are first to admit mistakes and slow to seek credit, but quick to credit others.

Meetings and discussions are concluded with clear resolutions and action steps, so all members can be confident that their associates are committed to a decision.

How consistently does your team demonstrate these behaviors?
How might team bonding be strengthened?
 

By |February 7th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Building Initiative Momentum

Leaders typically encourage their personnel to demonstrate initiative. They need processes to be improved, problems to be solved and changes to be implemented, which can only occur when their teams are willing to invest additional time and discretionary effort.

How do you encourage initiative? How do you overcome reluctance to propose a new idea or method? How do you inspire discretionary effort?

Most employees want new challenges; it increases the meaningfulness of their work and their sense of self-worth. Leaders seek to unleash untapped innovation, creativity, and risk-taking in the workplace.

Encouraging initiative, and then nurturing it so that its momentum grows to become part of culture, often comes down to how leaders behave.

Treat every suggestion seriously. It takes courage to offer a suggestion, so how you react to it determines if you will ever hear a second one. If one of your people suggests a new approach, recognize it as a teaching moment, even if you promptly realize that the idea has little merit. Rather than reactively negatively or immediately rejecting any new concept, ask the employee to consider these two questions and then return when they know the answers:

How does his/her suggestion produce quantifiable benefits? Are more units […]

By |January 24th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

3 Actions That Reveal Your Leadership Credibility

When asked how they judge a leader to be credible, people will typically respond with a phrase like: “they walk the talk.”  Indeed, the consistency with which actions match words defines leadership credibility. And the level of that consistency is determined by how aligned your words and actions are with your personal values and those of your organization.

These 3 scenarios reveal how consistently you communicate and act in accordance with your values:

How you spend your time.

The way you allocate your time sends a message. For example, if collaboration is a key value, then a portion of your time must be committed to engaging with others to innovate, improve or solve problems.

How you manage critical events.

Vital, stressful situations or challenges provide teachable moments, presenting opportunities to demonstrate your values. Have your expectations been clearly communicated? Again using a value of collaboration as an example, people who come unprepared to meetings, when preparation has been specified as an expectation, must be confronted, regardless of how high performing they are in their roles.  Without consistency, your commitment to collaboration will be compromised.

How you ask questions.

Words are powerful so they must be carefully chosen. The questions you ask can stimulate […]

By |January 17th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Are Your Customer Service Reps Expendable?

Your customer service reps have unlimited access to your customers, yet they are often considered to be expendable and typically treated as such.

Are you managing your customer service function as a cost center or as a profit center?  How much of your customers’ satisfaction is impacted by your customer service reps?

Exceptional customer service is a proven differentiator. When access to information is so effortless that many products are seen as commodities, when the life cycle of a technical competitive advantage is a long weekend, then it should become clearer that your people are your most sustainable competitive advantage.

Your customer service reps have the potential to create uncommon, memorable and personal experiences for customers. They are often the individual face by which your customers view your impersonal organization. Even today, when technology is ubiquitous, people prefer to buy from people – technology is just the enabler. Your success is determined by how robustly all of your people, but especially your customer service reps, believe in your purpose and values, and how consistently they demonstrate them.

If you’re investing more effort to measure the time spent supporting a customer rather than the level of a customer’s satisfaction, then it’s time to reconsider. […]

By |January 10th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments