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

Two Paths for Accountability

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

The recent celebration of our nation’s birthday prompts reflection about our distinctive idea of individual freedom, and our persistent pursuit of the aspirational vision and values so perfectly expressed in our founding documents. During our journey, we’ve celebrated achievements and suffered failures, but we persevere, continuing to experiment, to learn, to evolve and to improve as we strive to fulfill the promises that sustain our unprecedented liberty. 

Being a free people, we have the option of choosing, but then must be accountable for the consequences of our actions, be they good or bad. History teaches that our choices thus far have been more worthy than not, so we’ve endured as a land of opportunity, ever moving towards the vision first expressed by our founders. 

Embedded in the story of our nation’s journey are lessons for business sustainability. Every day business leaders make choices that are expected to improve results and create value. Their success in doing so often rests in how they manage accountability. 

Some perceive accountability in a punitive way. Failure to achieve a goal, or challenging the status quo, may indicate a lack of competency or respect for authority. Chronic failure may develop if these issues are not addressed, negatively impacting the leader as well as the individual. To motivate behavioral change, these leaders […]

By |July 11th, 2019|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

Promise Makers and Keepers

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

For customers, it’s your sales person who creates the first impression of your business. If that person listens more than talks, probes to discover why resolving a need is important, and proposes multiple viable solutions that address the customer’s aspirations as well as their stated need, then it is highly likely that the customer will want to do business with your company. 

The effective sales person appreciates that she or he will continue to be the primary face of your business for that customer, and recognizes that a trust relationship can only take root once your proposed promise is realized. To ensure this result, the sales person takes ownership of the relationship by clearly communicating the customer’s needs, expectations, challenges and related goals to your operational personnel, and by collaborating with them to ensure that your promised value is delivered. 

Taking ownership implies a deeper commitment to the customer, an accountability that far exceeds just booking the order. Its premise is that the sales person’s responsibility is not fulfilled until the promise made to the customer is. It acknowledges that having made the promise, preserving the customer relationship depends on sharing ownership of it with those in your company who deliver the promised value, the promise keepers. 

Measuring sales performance by only […]

By |June 12th, 2019|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Make Things Better

The objective of change is to improve something – a product, service, process, etc. – so that value is created for our customers, our employees, our business, or hopefully, all of these. 

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

The positive benefits of changing for the better are evident around us. Our products and services, our food, our environment, our communication tools, our number of options and many other things have improved because someone decided to make them better. Our survival in a competitive world demands that improvements continue, compelling us to make things better. 

But making something better can be stressful; here are three reasons why:

Better involves change, which can generate fear. Overcoming fear requires optimism to consider what is possible and confidence to act. Better also implies that the current state is imperfect, which may cause some to object. Challenging the status quo disrupts precedent, altering something that they feel is currently working well. Making implies that someone needs to act to make something better, and it might be you. In fact, if you don’t choose to pursue improvement, then you’re part of the status quo, which can be problem.

Most people seek to make a difference, to do work that matters, to make things better. This takes courage and hard work, […]

By |June 5th, 2019|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

The Genesis of Trust

We know that trust is the basis for enduring customer relationships. 

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

The depth of that trust goes well beyond the reliability of your offerings, or even the fulfillment of your promises. It largely depends on how well your people create a human connection with your customer’s people, enabling a personal touch when it’s most needed, i.e. to resolve a problem. 

So before there can be trust, there must be a personal connection. Connections develop when people share stories, discovering that they also share common experiences and values which define their humanity. Investing time to hear your customers’ stories allows them to feel seen and respected by you. When something goes wrong, these connections help you promptly learn who was harmed and what would help the customer move forward, while acknowledging that it may be impossible to completely make amends. 

And for a personal connection to grow, there must be empathy and generosity. Listening to understand what the customer values, and why it is important, enriches a personal connection. So does acting with generosity to resolve a problem without expecting a quid pro quo. 

People buy from people, not organizations. Customer relationships endure when your people act with empathy and generosity, creating personal connections that build trust. 

How do you encourage the […]

By |May 30th, 2019|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Do You Value Innovation?

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

If your business is customer-centric, then you appreciate that your growth is linked to how well and consistently your products, services and people create strategic value for your customers – generating quantifiable benefits, strengthening their competitive advantage and accelerating their progress.Creating that value transcends the fulfillment of an immediate customer need, to ensuring that your solution also contributes to their future, to the achievement of their goals. This is only possible if you’ve discovered what your customer values and how that insight contributes to the realization of their strategies and aspirations. But this knowledge is dynamic, ever evolving to meet the shifting challenges and needs of their markets and customers. Maintaining your awareness about how and why these evolutions may be altering what a customer values, and responding with urgency and agility to propose new value-generating offeringss, reflects a culture that values innovation. Few businesses can justify the investment in a research competency, but by leveraging the strategic insights learned from your key customers, you can create new, premium offerings that customers are eager to buy because they resolve challenges and simultaneously fulfill strategic aspirations. This innovation strategy accelerates time to market and reduces risk, while building enduring relationships that […]

By |May 22nd, 2019|Grolistic|0 Comments

3 Keys to Evaluating Culture and Value Creation

Multiple studies agree that value creation is more dependent on successful culture integration than on any other factor; they cite poor cultural compatibility as the root cause for the high rate of acquisition failure. Without a timely and extensive integration of cultures, creating value will not be possible. 

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

The traditional due diligence process evaluates multiple quantifiable parameters to validate the intuitive sense that a specific deal will create value, but often, the least attention is paid to assessing cultural fit because it’s not readily quantifiable. 

Business acquisitions are expected to create value. Yet, most fail to do so and often destroy it.  

Yet culture is a primary driver of performance, more so than products or services. How committed and synchronized are the leaders of the business in cultivating culture? How consistently do the organization’s people behave in accordance with their purpose and values to produce expected outcomes? How thoroughly do they grasp their role in creating value for the business by producing it for customers? Consider these keys to assessing culture compatibility:

How aligned are the company’s purpose and profit motives? How is purpose inspiring discretionary effort and driving change? How are collaboration, shared accountability and innovation cultivated? Why do its people choose to invest their […]

By |May 14th, 2019|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Your Business Lives on the Street

The primary challenge for every new business is to win that first customer. Your product or service may be exceptional, but if its value proposition fails to attract customers, then there is no business. 

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Once you’ve earned a customer’s trust, the challenge shifts to retaining it. Your customer evaluates your relationship by asking: does your offering deliver the promised value? Is your quality reliable and your service personal? Are innovation and improvement, guided by their input, key components of your culture and your means for enhancing the value you offer? How do your offering and your people make a difference for them, contributing to their growth and progress? 

Your first customers launch your business, but it’s their enduring trust that sustains it. 

Regardless of how big you’ve grown, your business lives on the street, with your customers. Preserving their trust compels that your highest priority remain what it was when your business was founded – appreciating what your customers value, and exploring how you may help them overcome their challenges to achieve their goals and aspirations. 

During your journey, the need for better efficiency or higher productivity or reduced risk may seek to detour you away from your focus on market and customer. […]

By |May 8th, 2019|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments