Investing in Appreciation

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

During this prolonged time of disruption and stress, those you lead benefit from your personal attention in letting them know that they are appreciated and valued. The return on these efforts is higher individual and team performance, greater collaboration, increased willingness to invest in changes that deliver improvements, and enriched job satisfaction for your people. Good employees are hard to find, develop, and keep. And replacing trained, experienced people is often quoted as the #1 non-productive cost for businesses. Of those employees who are doing cognitive work (not repetitive production work), and who voluntarily leave a company, 80% cite “feeling unappreciated” as the primary reason for their decision to move on; it’s not about earning more money. Here are 3 keys for communicating genuine appreciation:1.   Communicate appreciation regularly. Defining ‘regularly’ varies by work setting, the frequency of interaction between coworkers, and the nature of the relationship. But it definitely needs to happen more often than once or twice a year during a performance review. In a production setting, where things move quickly, it’s important for a leader who notices improvement in an employee’s performance and/or behavior to immediately express appreciation for the progress the employee has made. Shift change or start-up meetings […]

By |February 3rd, 2021|Grolistic, 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

Leading with Attitude

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

A leader’s attitude is always on display; but during a crisis, people pay closer attention. 

While no one can control the virus attacking us, every employee is watching to discover how their leader is reacting to the challenge. Effective leaders focus on what they can control, and that includes their attitude. It’s a choice they make every day. Acting with a positive mindset provides a model for their personnel, a direction to follow. 

Life does not arbitrarily impose itself on us. Rather, we choose which of life’s many offerings to accept. We can’t change how things are, but we can change how we will approach today. Rather than being negative or disoriented by our current challenge, leaders look for opportunities to energize and inspire their teams. They know that a positive attitude is more contagious than the virus. 

Leaders appreciate that their attitude reflects their expectations, and it’s those expectations that generate energy for their people. They recognize that their thoughts, words, actions and results are influenced by their attitude. 

These leaders are mindful that their thoughts become their words…that their words become their actions…that their actions reveal their character…and that their character validates their effectiveness as a leader. 

What attitude will you express today?

How can you leverage a positive attitude to […]

Controlling the Price Discussion

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Price is obvious to all customers. It’s clear, direct and easy to evaluate. It simplifies, and so expedites, their buying decision with minimal consideration. It’s why they like to hear the numbers as early in your discussion as possible. 

But talking price too early, without first learning more about the customer’s need and why its resolution is important, just confirms their initial perception of your offering as a commodity. And like every other commodity supplier, they then assume that your primary motivation is to sell, not to solve. They sense that you’re seeking the one-time transaction, not a contribution to their success or an enduring relationship; like them, you agree that price is the dominant deciding factor. 

Talking price too early enables the customer to treat you like a vendor, wasting an opportunity to reveal your organization’s experience and competency, and your genuine interest in their success. It discounts your expertise, diminishes your brand, and sets you up for a one-way journey down in revenue and profit. 

For your offering to be seen as more than a transaction -…for it to be recognized as a solution that resolves a need while contributing to a strategic aspiration,…for it to […]

By |February 4th, 2020|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

The Impact of Observation

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Having signed 52 baseball prospects who would later become major league players, Tony Lucadello is known as baseball’s greatest scout. His discoveries included Hall of Famers Ferguson Jenkins and Mike Schmidt. 

The number of his signees making it to the big leagues is far greater than any other scout. And he accomplished this with a territory that included Ohio, Indiana and Michigan, rather than the good weather states of Florida, Texas or California where more opportunities to discover talent existed. 

In his book, “Profit of the Sandlots,” Mark Winegardner explains how Tony accomplished this feat. He “spurned the radar gun and stopwatch” preferring to observe prospects from different spots around the perimeter of the field versus watching from behind home plate like other scouts. Rather than judging how each performed, Tony sought to assess how coachable a kid might be, if a “hitch in a swing or a throwing quirk might be corrected,” which was best accomplished by observing from different perspectives. This enabled him to envision a player’s potential versus relying solely on a prospect’s current talent to determine if he should be signed. 

Tony’s successful methodology offers lessons for leaders when coaching or mentoring those they lead. The most meaningful insight about a person’s potential is […]

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

Practicing Productive Conflict

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

The quest for improved results dictates the need for change. It’s a journey filled with conflicting opinions that require resolution before commitment to the change can be secured. 

In his latest book, “Thriving in Conflict,” Doug Johnston presents his definition of conflict as “a gap between what we expect and what we experience that leads to deeper understanding and better results. 

The “deeper understanding” described in Doug’s definition is enabled by ensuring that the exchange of differing opinions remains productive. There are proven tools that facilitate positive momentum towards resolution, but none are more important than humility and some agreed rules of engagement. 

Practicing productive conflict dialogue begins by developing principles to guide how the two parties will engage each other, providing conversational boundaries intended to minimize the amount of conflict. The first such rule involves adopting a mindset of curiosity that shifts away from “I’m going to convince you” to “What can I learn by first asking and listening, before declaring my position?” 

Asking the other party to launch the discussion by stating their goal, explaining why it’s important, and describing what is needed from you, while you listen without interruption, expresses respect and reduces defensiveness, accelerating gap discovery and ultimately, resolution. 

How frequently do […]

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

Investing Your Irreplaceable Time

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

With the holidays behind us, the routine of our life returns, bringing its heightened awareness of time. The digits we use to measure it will dominate once again, and since time is irreplaceable, the choices we make about investing it will dictate results. Before your routine reasserts its impact on your life, consider how you invested your valuable time last year.

What did you accomplish? What worked, and what didn’t? Why is that? Did your accomplishments fulfill your purpose as a business? What unmet goals or objectives should be carried forward into 2020?

How did your business make a difference for your customers? How often were you able to quantify the benefits you produced? How did creating value for these customers subsequently create value for your business? How can you build on this to help them progress towards their 2020 goals? What new idea can you propose that would strengthen their business and yours?

How could you work smarter in the new year? What can you simplify to move faster? What processes can be improved? What obstacles must be overcome to make your business more nimble and your response to opportunities more rapid?Why do your people invest their time and talents in your business? How might you better recognize those who make a difference for your customers and […]

By |January 8th, 2020|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

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