Growth Is About Progress

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

You may believe that your business is not changing but is that true for your customers? How do you know? How will changes they are experiencing impact your business?

Contributing to a customer’s growth is the most sustainable means of building enduring relationships that help your business thrive. Growth is about progress, and progress requires navigating change to succeed now and in the future. Change cultivates innovation, which then enables progress.

According to Clayton Christensen’s book, “Competing Against Luck,” customers define innovation as “a new offering that resolves a challenge and fulfills an aspiration.”

How are benefits generated by your products or services resolving a key customer’s challenge and fulfilling an aspiration? How are you helping a customer progress? How are your offerings stimulating your customer’s growth? How are they strengthening your customer’s competitive advantage?

Answering these questions requires that you discover why customers choose your offerings to help them progress. What goals are you helping them achieve? What jobs are they “hiring” your products or services to do?

In his book, Mr. Christensen describes how this “Jobs to be Done” concept can accelerate a customer’s progress, and boost your growth. Understanding what job a key customer hires your product or service to accomplish strengthens your knowledge about your customer’s strategies and […]

By |May 15th, 2018|Grolistic|0 Comments

Speaking to Persuade

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

It requires empathy to convince someone that your stance on an issue is worthy.

We tend to communicate messages the way we like to hear them, without realizing how our listener might hear them. As a result, messages are often not understood as intended.

Asking the other person to explain first, and listening for how they try to persuade you, provides clues about how they interpret what they hear from you. Then, you can adapt how you describe your position to match their communication style

Arguments based on concepts like tradition, fairness or relationships will not be heard as intended by those who prefer to communicate on the basis of science, analysis or studies. Folks who prefer to get directly to the point do not fully hear arguments that hope to lead them to some conclusion.

Communicate your message in a way that ensures that the listener will hear you.
How often do you strive to be first in presenting your position?
How strong are your active listening skills?

By |May 8th, 2018|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

What Drives Customer Loyalty

Bob Schultek
Author of 
The Gauntlet

Surveys assessing business-to-business customer loyalty, measured as increased sales per customer over multiple years, consistently cite “selling experience” as the primary driver with a response rate that exceeds 50%; a “lowest price” response typically receives about a 10% rate. Additional response choices include better products or services, brand familiarity, higher performance than competitors, and others.

When seeking to explain how “selling experience” creates this positive impact, it becomes clear that the salesperson’s commitment to the customer’s long term success is the differentiator, as explained by these insights:

“Educates me on new market trends, strategies and outcomes”
“Seeks to learn our goals, our distinctiveness and why our business has succeeded”
“Presents several alternative solutions and helps me evaluate how each produces value for us”
“Remains engaged before, during and after the sale, to ensure promised results are delivered”
“Provides ongoing counsel to minimize my risk and avoid surprises”

These responses clarify that many customers seek more than a purchase transaction; they want to learn, to identify new opportunities, and to explore perspectives they have not previously considered. And they want a committed, trustworthy salesperson to partner with them in this venture.

Organizations that appreciate this reality convert their sales personnel into business leaders, and synchronize their […]

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

3 Core Values of Exceptional Leaders

Bob Schultek
Author of 
The Gauntlet

Leaders are judged to be genuine when their actions are guided by their personal core values. These three values are particularly relevant for leaders who seek to be exceptional:

Accountability. When there is a problem, accountable leaders look first to themselves. They accept responsibility for the consequences of their decisions. They credit their team when things go well, and when problems arise, accept the responsibility rather than blaming the team. When encouraging autonomy, these leaders sustain their responsibility to guide their more self-directed personnel, highlighting the linkage between empowerment and accountability.

Fairness. The willingness to treat everyone with respect defines fairness and marks the exceptional leader. Everyone wants to be seen and heard, and to have a chance to make a difference. These leaders provide opportunities for team members to contribute ideas or improve a process, enabling self-respect and dignity to grow in those they lead. Those whose actions earn them self-respect and dignity expect more from themselves and seek additional ways to make a difference. They become the advocates that leaders need to drive productive change.

Reliability. Reliable leaders ensure that their teams understand their expectations, about goals and behaviors. When teams know what a leader expects, and the leader consistently operates in accordance with […]

By |April 25th, 2018|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

The Law of Thirds

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

One of the laws governing change initiatives states that those impacted by a change separate into three groups.

One third of the group will immediately support the change. They are the spark that launches it and the energy that sustains it. They ask, “what if?” or “why?” and they’re the first to volunteer with an eager, “I’ll do it.” They are generous with their time and talent, putting in more than they take out, and surprising everyone with their level of commitment.

One third of the group will immediately reject the change. They are the doubters, paralyzed by fear of what the change could bring. They are first to voice objections, barriers and a long list of excuses why the change won’t work. They absorb the energy created by those that advocate for the change, undermining momentum until a positive pace of progress overwhelms them.

The final third are fence-sitters, passive bystanders who attend the meetings and drink the coffee, but do little to add energy to the initiative. They wait to see which group is winning before choosing a side. For a change initiative to succeed, they are the key group that the advocates must win over.

As senior leaders driving change, […]

By |April 17th, 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

What is Discretionary Effort Worth?

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

When a qualified person does the job – completing obligations and achieving assigned goals with expected behavior, we recognize this as acceptable performance.

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

While it can be a bit rare, leaders realize that inspiring this additional energy from those they lead is what makes change possible. If leaders cannot drive productive change that improves results, then they cannot succeed.

So, discretionary effort is worth a great deal…for the leader and for those who contribute above expectation.

For the leader, offering the challenge of discretionary effort produces more than results. It helps identify top performers and advocates needed to implement change. It provides an opportunity to discover which of these high performing individuals can lead others. And, it validates the leader’s credibility and competency.

For the investors of extra effort, the challenge provides an opportunity – to make a strategic contribution to the organization’s future, to be exceptional, to breakthrough and be recognized. Extraordinary contribution creates careers.
How much discretionary effort does your team exhibit?
How do you motivate discretionary effort?

By |April 3rd, 2018|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Inspiring Change

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Improving results means tackling change. Change is hard work, demanding commitment, perseverance and discretionary effort.

Only the people in a business can change it, and they will invest their talent and energy to do so if they believe that their actions will make a difference.

Commitment, perseverance and discretionary effort cannot be commanded…they must be inspired.

Inspiration is possible when people believe that their work is meaningful, a realization that springs from an appreciation that their leaders are credible and supportive, consistently acting in accordance with their Company’s Purpose and Values.
How are you inspiring your people to commit, persevere and invest discretionary effort?
How consistently do you and your leadership team act in accordance
with your organization’s Purpose & Values?

By |March 27th, 2018|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Is This Business Sustainable?

Bob Schultek
Author of 
The Gauntlet

There are a multitude of models used to assess the sustainability of a business. Most evaluate strategy, performance, market growth potential, customer retention probability, governance and the management of human resources.

In a dynamic, competitive market, where customers believe they can find all they need on the internet, and where a competitive advantage built on technology cannot long be sustained, it’s an organization’s culture and people that constitute its most sustainable competitive advantage.

Harvard’s James Heskett argues that “Culture can account for up to half of the difference in operating profit between two organizations in the same business. Shaping a culture is one of a leader’s most important jobs; it can be ignored, but only for so long and at one’s peril.”

The culture of a business is a significant contributor to its success, but evaluating culture can be challenging, involving more qualitative than quantitative metrics. As a result, during a typical acquisition due diligence process, inadequate cultural assessments are the norm as most effort is invested in evaluating more easily measureable parameters. The consequences of a deficient appraisal of cultural impact on the business are significant – a greatly prolonged integration of the acquired organization, wasted time, energy and money, and […]

By |March 21st, 2018|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Is Your Promise Synching?

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Your sales team is making promises that the rest of your organization is expected to fulfill. Are those who must deliver on these commitments prepared to do so? Is your promise to a customer synching with the operational resources necessary to satisfy the commitment?

The most productive strategy for increasing sales is to build enduring relationships with customers that generate more orders. Sustaining these relationships requires that your customers recognize you as a reliable partner, committed to their success. Failing to fulfill a promise made when an order was booked is the surest way to erode this trust; once the relationship is compromised, restoring the trust on which it was built will consume lots of time and energy, if it recovers at all.

The days are long gone when a CEO could urge a Sales leader to do what is necessary to secure more orders, and then promptly challenge the Production leader to increase productivity by limiting flexibility. Avoiding these mixed messages in a dynamic, competitive market, when it’s vital to sustain the shared accountability of a leadership team, is a key responsibility for a senior leader. Customers have many options available to meet their needs, so the CEO must remain engaged with core customers to understand what they value. Similarly, another key obligation […]

By |March 13th, 2018|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments