Grolistic

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

Sustaining Change

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Because people drive change, sustaining a change initiative requires a commitment from leadership to invest significant time and energy in engaging everyone connected with the effort. By remaining personally involved, modelling behaviors that support the change, and focusing more on why the change is essential than what is changing, leaders can preserve the vision of desired outcome or common goal.

They lead by exhibiting 3 qualities:

1. They remove barriers to success. These can be personal barriers such as fear of change, sense of loss, or wounded egos, and they can be organizational constraints like the time and resources necessary to carry out the change plan, or keeping key stakeholders connected to the vision of successful change through progress updates. Without this support, their peoples’ commitment to the change will waiver.

2. They adapt as they learn. Remaining deeply engaged means asking questions and gathering feedback to acquire accurate information that allows these leaders to make continual adjustments during the change initiative. Adjustments can involve keeping key people involved, breaking a larger initiative into smaller components to build momentum, or refining metrics to better monitor progress.

3. They cultivate collaboration. By encouraging their people to break out of their silos and work cross-functionally to resolve problems and […]

By |August 1st, 2018|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

3 Behaviors That Reveal Leadership Credibility

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

When asked in several studies how they judge a leader, employees cite attributes like vision, experience, communication skills and others; but consistently, the dominant response is credibility.

When pressed to define “credibility,” people typically reply with a phrase like: “they walk the talk.” The consistency with which a leader’s actions align with his or her words defines leadership credibility.

These 3 behaviors reveal how consistently you act in accordance with your words and values:

1. How you spend your time.
The way you allocate your time sends a message. For example, if collaboration is a core value, then a portion of your time should involve directly engaging with others to innovate, improve or solve problems.
2. How you ask questions.
Words are powerful so choose them carefully. The questions you ask can stimulate action in a specific direction. To encourage increased collaboration, you might regularly ask each member of your team to describe the actions he or she is taking to boost collaboration. In a team meeting, seek to maximize participation and raise awareness about the variety of options by soliciting responses from each team member. But don’t ask questions you’re not prepared to answer yourself; you may need to share an example of your behavior to clarify what […]

By |April 10th, 2018|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Intimacy and Satisfaction

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

When you last faced a purchase decision, what helped you feel more comfortable with your choice?  What gave you confidence that your judgement was appropriate and correct?

You had worked through the analysis and were satisfied with it…but in retrospect, there was something more that convinced you that your decision was the right one. This level of satisfaction is most often due to a productive experience with your salesperson.

At first, your basic needs were explored…the ones you were prepared to share. But then, the salesperson asked about your business, what you do, why doing it is important to you, and how you try to make a difference for your customers. He or she listened attentively, never distracted, eyes always on yours.

The salesperson then likely shared a bit of his or her story, including why being with you was important; you sensed authenticity in what you heard, with accountability for your satisfaction being mentioned. Next came some additional questions, asked with sincerity and empathy; these inquiries probed beyond your stated needs to discover why the needs you mentioned are valuable to you, how meeting them helps you strengthen your business or provide more value for your customers. There was no pressure to respond; on the other hand, this was […]

By |September 13th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Change Resistance

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Few change initiatives succeed the first time they are launched. Resistance to change is a potent human reaction so expect challenges and outright rejection. It’s what you do next that matters.

If you continue to believe wholeheartedly that your proposed change will increase the value produced for customers and your company, then persevere. Evaluate the basics of your strategy:

Are you appealing to the appropriate audience? Do they have the experience and analytical ability to recognize the potential benefits from the change? Or does fear of change paralyze them?  Win support from those who can advocate for your idea.

What’s the story behind the change?  Is it compelling?  What is missing? Revisit your research, rework your details, clarify your promise, and then refine your story.

Ask open-ended questions to probe the basis for the resistance.  Some of your audience may need to be heard before they can join your initiative.

When encountering change resistance, how do you react?
 
Why is perseverance the key to winning?

By |September 5th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Managing the “Gorilla” Customer Relationship 

 

Bob Schultek
Author of The Gauntlet

When your business with one customer exceeds 25% of your annual sales, then you have a “gorilla” customer and you’re probably feeling vulnerable. You’ve earned the business by serving them well, and if they offered you more, you’d likely be pleased to expand the relationship, but be wary.

Loss of a gorilla customer can be devastating, and typically that loss has nothing to do with your performance. The 3 top reasons these customers depart are:

There’s a change in your contact(s), and the new person(s) cares nothing about your relationship;
Your customer is acquired by or merged with another large entity, and they no longer need you;
The customer decides to consolidate suppliers or move the work in house.

Here are some warning signs that your vulnerability is growing:

You discover that you are consistently compromising the profitability of your business to serve your largest customer;
So much of your company’s time is consumed serving your most significant customer that there is no time dedicated to pursuing new business; or
You’ve stopped offering uncommon, “against the trend” advice to your key customer because you are afraid to lose them, even though this helped you originally earn their business.

To […]

By |June 26th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|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, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

3 Leadership Factors That Drive Growth

An effective leader realizes that sustaining growth, or reigniting it, depends on the depth to which his or her people are committed. Successful, dedicated teams are bonded by more than their aspiration to achieve a shared goal.

These 3 leadership factors result from the awareness that your people are your most sustainable competitive advantage for driving growth.

Purpose: Commitment cannot be compelled; it must be inspired. People must choose to invest discretionary effort above and beyond their workload, and that choice comes from their belief in the meaningfulness of their work. People who seek to commit, want to make a difference. They want to know how their efforts contribute to the success and value of the business. Leaders who articulate a Purpose that describes why the organization exists and how it makes a difference for its customers tap into this motivation. The resulting commitment empowers imagination and vision, enables the overcoming of obstacles, and provides the fuel that elevates performance and achieves goals.

Principles: The people on committed teams know what to expect from each other because they have developed a set of core values that define how they will act in pursuit of their Purpose and goals. And they […]

By |November 29th, 2016|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Crafting Price Satisfaction

When the selling/problem solving process is done well, both buyer and seller can be satisfied with the final price.

To earn your price, and leave the customer feeling satisfied with that decision, preparation is the key. Use these 3 methods to maximize preparation:

Start early. Ensuring that both parties will be satisfied when the deal is done begins with your decision to do more than resolve a customer’s current pain. Early in the discovery process, position your proposed solution as an investment in the customer’s future success, rather than as just a necessary cost paid to address today’s problem. Learn about the customer’s business.  Why is removing the pain important?  What defines success for the customer? What barriers must be overcome to achieve their goals? How does your solution produce quantifiable benefits that address these questions and move them towards the future?

Help them make money. Convert your promised quantifiable benefits into money. Decisions are evaluated and made using the language of money; it’s the language of management. How is an investment in your solution going to produce a strategic financial advantage for them? Before proposing a solution that reduces a customer’s cost, look first to a means of increasing […]

By |October 25th, 2016|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments