Grolistic

The Hard Part

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

When I was a CEO, one of the lessons I learned over and over again, was that our business lived on the street, with the customers…not in our facilities. 

While our Operations personnel made essential contributions to the success of the business, delivering on promises made by our marketing, sales and customer service folks, they operated primarily with established expectations and known variables around product, process, and due dates. They challenged the status quo to make us better, improving quality, efficiency and profitability; they generated data to accelerate decision-making, and ensured that we got paid. The business could not have succeeded without their commitment, initiative and consistently fine work. 

But despite reliably meeting the multitude of challenges confronting them, their efforts were not the hard part of growing the business. 

The hard part was, and continues to be, earning a customer’s attention and trust. It’s discovering what a customer values and why, and then appreciating that this insight evolves with time to meet their customers’ changing needs. It’s about recognizing our responsibility to earn their trust every day. 

The hard part is navigating unclear expectations, unknown variables and rapidly changing circumstances to promptly propose viable solutions for the customer, and then helping them choose […]

By |September 25th, 2019|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

3 Ways to Strengthen Emotional Intelligence

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

The better a leader relates to and works with others, the more successful he or she will be in building teams that collaborate, take ownership and deliver results. A leader’s strong interpersonal skills enable the creation of connections and the development of trust necessary to help teams achieve goals and drive change. Understanding how their emotions and actions affect those they lead, and engaging openly and transparently with their team, enables these leaders to guide, challenge and sustain their people. These are qualities that define strong emotional intelligence. 

Emotionally self-aware leaders find it easier to be empathetic. Leaders whose drive to achieve is coupled with a positive outlook and adaptability generate an emotional edge that motivates action. Helping employees realize how they make a difference cultivates a sense of appreciation that inspires the extra effort necessary for teams to deliver improvements. 

Exercising these 3 behaviors on a daily basis can strengthen your emotional intelligence:

Practice 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. If you have difficulty reading an employee’s emotion, ask the person to describe how he or she feels about the information they’re sharing and why they’re […]

By |August 21st, 2019|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Doing Work That Matters

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Doing work that matters is about being vigilant for opportunities to make a difference…for your customers, your associates or your organization. Making something better for one of these groups often creates value for the others. 

Doing work that matters is about leading by example… taking ownership of an issue, without authority, in order to make it better. Acting to resolve a problem, rather than complaining about it, demonstrates commitment, generosity and shared accountability that encourages others to contribute. 

Doing work that matters doesn’t have to involve a big issue; start with a lesser concern. Find a small corner where you can make a difference and get to work making it better. 

Doing work that matters improves results and strengthens culture to sustain high performance. 

How do you encourage and support “making a difference” with your team?

How do you help identify opportunities where they can take action?

By |July 24th, 2019|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Improving Innovation Success

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Significant time, energy and money are invested in the pursuit of innovation so organizations strive to improve their success rate. Optimizing the efficiency of their innovation process begins with their expectations about the outcome. 

Dr. W. Edwards Deming, the renowned quality and management expert, observed that every process is perfectly designed to deliver the results it gets. 

If an organization expects its pursuit of innovation to be imperfect and unpredictable, then its innovation process will be a hit or miss proposition. Relying on assumptions about customer needs rather than on solicited facts, on what competitors are doing, or perhaps on a bit of “blue ocean” providence, will produce predictable results – mediocrity and disappointment. 

Higher innovation success rates are produced by compiling comprehensive market intelligence, understanding the boundaries of an organization’s core competencies, specifying realistic, short as possible time-to-market objectives, and committing to an innovation strategy grounded in these elements. 

Want to launch an innovation quickly, with reduced risk and a higher probability of success? Resolve a challenge posed by a profitable, key customer that helps them realize an aspiration – orders will be soon be forthcoming. Then push the limits of your innovation to consider how future circumstances might evolve to challenge it. How could your innovation be […]

By |July 17th, 2019|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

3 Ways to Help Leaders Coach

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Leaders who invest time to coach their team strengthen the company’s culture, elevate performance and improve results. But in our dynamic, highly competitive economy, it can be challenging to carve out time for the deliberate, sometimes tedious, work of mentoring those we ask to follow our lead. And the process itself can become complicated and prolonged, raising concern about failing. Yet, for leaders, coaching is a crucial priority, and an essential driver of improved performance. Here are 3 suggestions to make the coaching process less complex and more efficient for leaders: 

When coaching performance.Most coaching focuses on a performance issue, to help resolve a specific challenge. The dialogue around this issue is usually well-defined and the objective is clear – to guide an employee to a resolution rather than specifying one. Guiding may take a bit longer as the person works through alternatives with you, but ultimately, she or he learns the process for resolving a problem so that accountability is increased and dependence on you is reduced as future challenges arise. When coaching for development.The more complex coaching challenge is guiding an employee’s development, which turns the focus from an issue to the person dealing with it. This […]

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

3 Factors For Leaders Driving Change

Three factors enable leaders to drive change: 

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

The leader is perceived as genuine and credible, consistently demonstrating conviction and modelling values-based behaviors, while being positive, transparent and open to feedback. People trust that their leader has their back – that he or she understands what motivates and concerns them, and keeps this in mind when setting high, but realistic, expectations of them. People feel respected and appreciated for their contributions, driven by the leader’s confidence in them and gratitude for their commitment.

Which of these 3 factors require more of your attention?How else do you inspire people to invest discretionary effort in a change initiative?

By |June 18th, 2019|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Valuing Discretionary Effort

When an employee fulfills obligations and achieves assigned goals with expected behavior, we recognize this as acceptable performance. The job is getting done. 

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

But when one contributes more than the common standard, more than what’s expected, then that’s discretionary effort. 

To improve results, leaders need advocates who can collaborate with them to drive productive change. For them to invest discretionary effort, these advocates need to appreciate how the change creates value for the business and how they can make a difference by making the change a reality.

So, the value generated by discretionary effort is significant…for the business, for the leader, and for those who contribute their energy and time to the effort. 

For the business, improved results resulting from a successful change initiative create value. 

For the leader, driving productive change validates their credibility and competency, but it also identifies high performing advocates who might have the potential, and aspiration, to lead.   

For the investors of extra effort, the challenge of implementing valuable change offers an opportunity to make a strategic contribution to the organization’s future, to be exceptional, to breakthrough and be recognized. Discretionary effort creates careers. 

How are you inspiring discretionary effort?How do you recognize those who choose to invest […]

By |March 18th, 2019|Grolistic, 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

The One Thing a Business Leader Must Do

 

Bob Schultek
Author of 
The Gauntlet

When small and mid-size business leaders are polled about the key factors that impact their success and that of their business, the responses include:

Ensuring customer satisfaction
Building a strong leadership team
Executing the plan
Driving change
Pursuing innovation
Hiring the right people
Creating value

Each of these contributes to success, but studies cite that the most important thing that a leader should do is focus – it’s the single most critical factor in determining a leader’s success.

Focus means realizing what your priorities are in every hour, day, month, quarter or year. It means knowing what’s most important for the success of your business – sales, service, people, execution, innovation, etc., and then concentrating on that one thing. It means communicating and acting consistently with this one factor in mind, strengthening credibility.

Focus also means knowing what’s not as important at any given time. Without focus, it’s easy to get distracted, pursuing every interesting idea or business opportunity, becoming more reactive than proactive. Lack of focus makes it easier to fail.

Focus on what’s most important. Your team will follow your lead and your progress will accelerate. Your customers and employees will thank you.

What is the most critical factor impacting your business?
 
Does your organization operate with this priority in mind?

 

By |October 30th, 2018|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Assessing Leadership Competency

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Preparing for a business acquisition or transfer typically triggers a due diligence process that evaluates leadership competency. Here are the leadership behaviors we evaluate to determine how a leader contributes to the achievement of short-term and strategic goals, and enduring business sustainability:

Acting with credibility: more than any other leadership attribute, employees choose to follow leaders who walk the talk, lead from the front and keep promises; they are seen as genuine and worthy of trust.

Thinking strategically: despite the constant pressure to be drawn into day-to-day tactical circumstances, leaders must carve out time to think about the strategic opportunities that enable progress. They are the only ones in the business who determine long-term direction.

Driving change: leaders are hired to improve results, which involves driving change, not just adapting to it. Change requires an investment of discretionary effort by employees that cannot be compelled; overcoming resistance to change mandates that leaders inspire their people to invest extra time and energy to improve process and performance.

Nurturing relationships: there is no business without relationships…no customers, no employees, no investors, no future. Relationships matter; leaders are responsible for building enduring relationships with all key stakeholders.

Cultivating shared accountability: teams bond when they struggle together to overcome barriers and achieve […]

By |September 26th, 2018|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments