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 Process in Innovation

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

When considering an innovation initiative, leaders tend to start by evaluating their accumulated product or service data. They know the profit margin for each offering, and how well each is selling in key markets; often, they have a good sense of market share for each offering. They may even have customer satisfaction metrics available for each product or service. 

But all of this internally-generated data does little to clarify why customers choose a specific product or service, what makes a particular offering valuable to them, what unsatisfied need or aspiration was resolved by their choice. Yet, it is this readily-available, internal data that most often guides their innovation decisions, which explains why many never succeed. 

Successful innovations result from being outwardly focused, on markets, customers and prospects. The research that produces winning innovations probes deeper than understanding customers’ traits, or adding fancy, new features to your offerings, or following new trends, or imitating your competitors. The objective is to learn what a targeted customer values and why. This involves observing and questioning to discover the factors, and more importantly, the processes that drive the customer’s choice, that help the customer progress towards a specific objective. 

It isn’t the coffee […]

By |August 5th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Making a Difference

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

For months now, people have been working virtually to keep the wheels turning…fulfilling their responsibilities, meeting their deadlines and striving to achieve their assigned goals. It’s necessary work, producing some personal satisfaction, but often leaving many with a thirst to do more…To contribute to a purpose they believe in…To invest their energy in more meaningful work…To make a difference. 

As their leader, it’s expected that you’ll nurture this aspiration to make a difference, to drive productive change that improves results. 

Making a difference doesn’t have to involve a big issue; start with a lesser concern. Encourage your team to find a small challenge on which they can collaborate, and support their efforts to make it better. 

Making a difference happens when you motivate your team to be vigilant for opportunities to improve something – for customers, their associates, or your organization. Making something better for one of these groups often creates value for the others. Can cross-functional throughput be accelerated? How might we simplify so we can move faster and with greater agility, without compromising quality? 

Making a difference means leading by example – enabling your team to take ownership of an issue in order to make it better. Acting on their own initiative to resolve a problem, […]

By |July 29th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Will Capitalism Survive?

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Today’s headlines may make us wonder if free market capitalism can survive its current challenges? After being the source for exceptional global progress, freedom, innovation and an improving standard of living for over 300 years, is capitalism still the best engine for creation and creativity, or as some proclaim, has it shifted to become an engine of destruction?To date, no other competing model to capitalism has ever delivered the amount of global progress experienced during the past 3 plus centuries. Why? Because it relies on the conditions required for humans to succeed, the primary one being the value and rights of each individual, characterized by private ownership of property, rather than state control.Capitalism provides the freedom for each of us to pursue opportunities that can increase our earnings and property, improving our lives and those of our families. We choose how much we will risk to accomplish this. We are curious to explore what lies ahead, why pursuing it could make things better, and how leveraging our individual initiative and gifts can help us reach it. This quest is what fuels innovation, and the competition that sustains progress. The resulting economic benefits nurture the freedoms we enjoy, including the […]

By |July 22nd, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Cultivating Shared Accountability

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

High performing teams embrace shared accountability. Having committed that the ownership of their decisions is shared by the team rather than by their leader alone, they rely on one another to achieve results. The leaders of these teams cultivate this environment of shared responsibility by:

Ensuring that all team members operate under common standards of performance, fostering appreciation and satisfaction;Encouraging team members to challenge the status quo, to experiment, and to leverage their initiative and experience, driving improvements or innovations;Elevating respect for team commitments to meeting deadlines and delivering on expectations;Educating the team on setting priorities and adapting them when changing circumstances demand;Establishing the means for team members to challenge and support one another when individual performance slips;Embracing dialogue within the team, and cross-functionally, to overcome obstacles, to accelerate activity, and to make a difference for customers, associates and the business.

These leaders understand their responsibility to accelerate progress towards their organization’s goals, while operating in accordance with company values. They promote a sense of shared ownership in the future of the business. They recognize their team’s longing to do work that matters, to make a difference, which earns them respect and the appreciation of their leader and company. […]

By |July 15th, 2020|Grolistic, News and Events|0 Comments

Acting With Urgency

Bob SchultekAuthor of The Gauntlet

Today’s business environment changes rapidly. Functioning successfully in it compels businesses to quickly make accurate decisions. 

Each of these decisions is made within a specific context, and with a defined set of criteria, against which various options are evaluated. The context is the company’s culture as described in 3 foundational documents:

Its Purpose – Why the business exists and how it makes a difference for customers;Its Values – The company’s core beliefs which define how it behaves and why; andIts Vision – The aspirational future objective for the business which determines its direction and its goals.

Making a choice is quicker, easier and more straightforward when these 3 culture defining documents are the common context for decisions. 

Leaders typically revisit this context when they launch a strategic planning process. It provides a compass as their plan evolves, aligning goals with culture to ensure that the company’s profit and purpose motives are synchronized.

Unfortunately, it’s typical that when the resulting plan is communicated to the organization, only the goals and actions, the “what and the how” of the plan, are shared with everyone. Little is done to infuse the context of the plan, the deeper, more meaningful “where and why” of it, with all personnel. 

Without knowing and understanding this context, […]

By |July 7th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Price or Value

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Offering your product or service as the lowest priced alternative is a simple, efficient strategy.

Price is obvious to all buyers. It’s clear, direct and easy to evaluate. It’s often the same for everyone. Offering the lowest price is seductive.

But doing so makes your offering a commodity – discounting your expertise, diminishing your brand, and setting you up for a one-way journey down in revenue and profit. A purchase becomes just another transaction, producing no enduring value for the customer and contributing little to the sustainability of your business.The opposite, more challenging strategy is to sell the value that your product or service creates for the customer.Value is different for every customer. It’s derived from the benefits and knowledge generated by your expertise in employing your product or service. It resolves a short term pain in a manner that contributes to the customer’s opportunities and achievement of their goals.Selling value requires a greater investment of time and energy to discover why resolving a customer’s short term need is important for their long term success. It provides the opening needed to leverage your experience and competency, to propose solutions that overcome obstacles and create enduring value for the customer. It changes a commodity […]

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

Krulak’s Law

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Charles Krulak is a highly decorated, deeply experienced, retired General in the United States Marine Corps. In 1999, the General published an insightful article about leadership that later led him to become a college President and founder of theKrulak Institute for Leadership, Experiential Learning, and Civic Engagement. The core leadership principle that he cited in 1999, which is often described as Krulak’s Law of Leadership, is “that the future of an organization is in the hands of the privates in the field, not the generals back home.” As its familiarity grew among business leaders, the language of Krulak’s Law evolved, while the insight of its message has remained the same. Business mentor, Seth Godin, recently stated it this way: “The experience people have with your brand is in the hands of the person you pay the least. Act accordingly.” The premise of Krulak’s Law is that leaders are “ultimately judged by the quality of the leadership reflected in their subordinates.” So, ensuring that their employees make the right decisions is a leader’s primary responsibility. In a quickly moving world, driven by technology that continues to accelerate workflow, there is no time to wait while senior leadership decides how best to respond to […]

By |June 24th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Why Strategies Succeed

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

“Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night, with no lights, while looking out the back window. The best way to predict the future is to create it.” ~Peter Drucker 

Most companies rely on strategic planning to help create their future. 

Seeking the best strategy to achieve their goals, one that leverages their strengths and competitive advantage, they compile market information, gather intelligence on their competitors and clarify customer needs. They identify products or services that would best satisfy these needs, and decide how to position and brand them in the market. To better predict the future, they use a variety of planning tools, from SWOT analyses and scenario planning to Balanced Scorecard and Blue Ocean strategy. 

But despite all of this effort, the outcome of strategic planning often resembles New Year’s resolutions – exciting ideas, poor implementation. Companies often focus too heavily on defining the right strategy rather than on implementing it. As a result, 90% of strategies are never executed. 

Strategy is not the plan, but the series of calculated actions required to execute the plan, to move the company towards its desired outcome. Strategy is execution. Strategic planning establishes the direction of the business, but it’s the execution […]

How Do You Make Things Better?

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

The objective of change is improvement. Making a product, service or process better creates value. The products and services we use, our food, our environment, our communication tools, the number of options we have, and many other things have improved because someone decided to challenge the status quo and take on the risk of making them better. Surviving in a competitive world demands that improvements continue, but overcoming the barriers built to sustain the status quo is always challenging. Here are three reasons why:

Making things better begins by defeating the fear of change. Conquering this fear requires curiosity and optimism to consider what is possible, confidence to assess the risk of change, and courage to act in making it happen. It takes leadership to persevere through this process. Making things better may imply that the current state is imperfect, which can cause some to object. Challenging the status quo disrupts precedent, including the bureaucracy that maintains it. It’s the responsibility of leadership to stress the goal of improved results over perfection, articulating the benefits of a change and addressing the presumed risks related to it. Making things better relies on leaders being committed to the necessity of change as the prerequisite of improvement. Progress […]

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

Sustaining Change Dialogue

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Disruption compels the consideration of change. Once it’s gained our attention, determining how best to navigate through change requires personal, respectful dialogue. Safely sharing and discussing differing perspectives enables new ideas to emerge, tensions to be relieved and a preferred outcome to be determined. 

Leadership is all about dialogue, contact and connecting, building relationships – with the objective to improve outcomes. Few leadership obligations are more vital. Securing the shared commitment and accountability by affected stakeholders to achieve an agreed change result is not possible without these discussions. And leaders who have experienced these critical moments appreciate the necessity of sustaining the change dialogue to identify the endpoint, to specify the actions required to reach it, and to guide the implementation of these actions until the objective is achieved. They rely on two skills to continue these essential conversations. 

First, they maintain the dialogue. Leaders are constantly assessing the flow of the discussion to determine if it’s progressing, or sliding towards silence or excessive emotion. If dialogue is fading, then recovering momentum begins by raising awareness that progress has stalled. To accomplish this, they challenge the participants, using comments like: “We’ve moved away from dialogue; let’s get back to it.” Refocusing attention on […]

By |June 3rd, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments