Questions to Ponder

Bob Schultek
Author of 
The Gauntlet

The holiday season can be hectic, but as the last year morphs into the new one, there are also rare, quiet moments that are opportunities for reflection. Take advantage of these occasions – from experience, you know that they will be much harder to find once your active work schedule again beckons.

What were you able to accomplish last year? What worked, and what didn’t? Why is that? How did your accomplishments fulfill your purpose as a business? What unmet goals or objectives should be carried forward into the new year?
How did your business make a difference for your core customers last year? How many of these benefits can you quantify? How did providing value for these customers also drive the success of your business? How will you help them progress towards their goals in the new year? 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 so you can move faster? What processes can be improved? What obstacles must be overcome? How could your business be more nimble and respond to opportunities more quickly?
Why do your […]

By |January 2nd, 2019|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Two Points That Make Performance Discussions Matter

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

With the year-end approaching, ’tis the season of performance evaluations.

Some organizations have abandoned the regimen of formal performance discussions, while others preserve a review process, often replacing annual discussions with quarterly or semi-annual ones.

Opinions and rationales vary about the value of these individual assessments. But in this age of perpetual change, with its organizational demands for greater agility, innovation and improvement, the case for observing some performance management protocol is compelling.

The primary objective for performance conversations in this churning market environment is less about grading an employee’s accomplishments and behaviors, and more about encouraging greater engagement to drive change that increases the value delivered to customers, and to the organization. If the deliverable from these dialogues is an impromptu, short-term set of actions, then the exercise wastes an intimate, meaningful moment when a leader’s influence and commitment can inspire an employee to invest the discretionary effort necessary for change to take root.

People deeply appreciate an opportunity to meet personally with their leader, to have that leader’s full attention focused exclusively on them, to discuss today and the future. In response, leaders who respect the trust being offered them, and want these conversations to be meaningful for both parties, appreciate the value […]

By |December 19th, 2018|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Winning in the Customer-Driven Market

Bob Schultek
Author of 
The Gauntlet

Businesses today operate in a customer-driven market. Everyone and everything is connected, everywhere and all the time.

It’s a world of rapid and unpredictable change in which organizations are constantly adapting to meet evolving customers’ needs, never reaching a steady operating state. It’s a time that challenges the historical devotion to organizational bureaucracy as a means for improving results, placing conformity above all other cultural values at the cost of inhibiting initiative and imagination.

Many companies believe that their access to technology or “big data” gives them an advantage, but in reality, high connectivity makes this access available to many. Those who are winning in this market empower their personnel to challenge what is possible, nimbly utilizing technology and big data to perpetually innovate, simplify and improve, increasing the value delivered to customers, accelerating progress and improving results.

Leaders in these organizations cultivate internal entrepreneurship, commitment and shared accountability by enabling their people to realize how each can make a difference for the business. They encourage individuals to think and behave like owners, urging them to collaborate in small, agile and cross-functional teams that innovate and improve. They transparently share information with these teams to create a direct link between their contributions and the resulting quantifiable benefits produced. And they stress how these benefits create personal growth opportunities for those […]

By |December 12th, 2018|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

The Inspiration Equation

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Every change initiative is met with resistance is met with resistance from critics, skeptics and hold outs.

And since change requires an investment of additional time and energy, above and beyond specific functional duties, people cannot be compelled to change; they must be inspired to accept the challenge of what must be done.

John Maxwell, in his book  “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect,” describes how this inspiration depends first on communicating a message that connects with those impacted by the change, creating a synergy that stimulates action. The message should align 3 factors in an Inspiration Equation to produce this synergy:

What people need to know. Aside from the basic message of what will change, what will remain the same, and why a change is necessary, it’s the context of how this message is communicated that creates the connection. To persuade others, a leader must reassure, addressing aspirations and fears to earn trust. People need to know that their leader understands them, is focused on them and has high expectations of them.
What people need to see. Employees quickly decide whether to listen to the message or turn off. They watch a leader’s expressions and body language. Is there enthusiasm? Is there eye contact? Is there smiling? Are there […]

By |December 4th, 2018|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Are You Preparing for the “Age of Agility?”

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

In their book, “The Age of Agility,” authors Jason Gaulden and Alan Gottlieb describe how “we are in the early stages of a rapidly accelerating revolution that will bring automation and artificial intelligence into sectors of the workforce that have, until now, been spared this latest wave of disruptive change.”

Corporate executives, academics, technologists, and economists agree that this disruption “will rival any technological upheaval in history in both scope and impact.” Within the United States workforce, 47 percent of all jobs are at risk of elimination in the next 10-20 years.

The authors cite 3 drivers of this change:

Technology: AI, robotics, sensors, and data;
Demographics: Longer lives, growth of younger and older populations, and greater diversity;
The power of pull: Customer empowerment and the rise of global talent markets.

For organizations, the implications will cause leaders to:

Redesign work for technology and learning;
Source and integrate talent across functions and networks;
Implement new models of organizational structure, leadership, culture, and rewards.

As has been cited by numerous recent studies, leaders who have mastered empathy and emotional intelligence, who understand how vital it is to engage their people in discovering how they can make a difference for the business, will be better positioned […]

By |November 28th, 2018|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

3 Factors for Mastering Inspiration

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

To drive change, leaders inspire those they lead to invest extra time and energy in making a difference for themselves and their organization.

They realize that mastering inspiration requires the synchronization of 3 factors:

Their people trust that the leader has their back – that he or she understands what motivates and concerns them, is focused on them, and has high, but realistic, expectations of them.
The leader is perceived as genuine and credible, consistently demonstrating conviction, while being positive, transparent and open to feedback.
People feel respected and appreciated for their contributions, driven by the leader’s confidence in them and gratitude for their commitment.

How strong is your mastery of inspiration?
Which of these 3 factors require more of your attention?

By |November 12th, 2018|Grolistic|0 Comments


Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

You may be trying to start a relationship, or a debate. It’s important that your message be received. To succeed, a connection must first be created, and that involves much more than your spoken words.

Just 7% of what is stated is heard and believed; how your message is communicated, and what others see while you’re delivering it, conveys over 90% of your message, 38% and 55% respectively. Consider this the next time you want to use a social media tool to connect with someone on an important issue.

Connecting occurs on 4 levels:

What people see (visual connection): All communication creates an impression of the communicator that either strengthens or weakens the message. For a connection to be received openly, causing a positive dialogue to begin, be aware of how you look to others – dress and act appropriately for the audience, the situation and the message.
What people understand (intellectual connection): A productive intellectual connection requires that your knowledge of a subject be credible and that it reflects your conviction. Sharing a personal experience often opens people’s hearts and minds.
What people feel (emotional connection): People feel your attitude, positive or negative, when you’re communicating. While you speak, they observe your energy, intensity and sincerity. […]

By |November 7th, 2018|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

Sustaining Change

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

You successfully launched an organizational change initiative. You answered questions about what is changing, what will remain as is, and why. You helped people understand how the change will affect them. You collaborated with others to develop and implement a change action plan, and adapted as circumstances evolved. Now you must sustain change momentum.

Sustaining change is about changing habits. Aristotle said it best: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Replacing established habits with new ones takes practice.

Practice can be difficult and time-consuming, which may cause some to resist the need for it. Believing that intellectual understanding is enough, they decide that reading about a new expected behavior or discussing it will enable them to do it well.

As an analogy, think about mastering your golf swing. You can watch lots of golf on TV observing how others swing, or invest hours to better understand what constitutes the most effective technique. You can learn exactly what the best swing should look like. But until you try to do it, and discover how it feels to synchronize your arms, legs, back and head to consistently drive the ball, your swing will never improve. You can learn […]

By |October 24th, 2018|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Why Customers Buy More

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

The most productive way to grow sales is to increase orders from current customers. As a result, many organizations, seeing themselves as suppliers of products or services, consider how to sell more of their offerings to their customers.

But every supplier is just a hired hand…employed to do a job that produces benefits for a customer who doesn’t care about their products or services.

Discovering how these benefits contribute to the customer’s success, how they help overcome obstacles and accelerate progress towards the customer’s goals, is the key for unlocking more opportunities with that customer.

So rather than asking themselves how they can sell more, these organizations should start by asking customers about their aspirations and what’s hindering their progress. Only by asking these questions can it be learned what a customer values and what priorities impact their decision-making. With those answers in hand, the supplier can propose solutions that focus its experience and competencies on accelerating the customer’s success.

This is what drives customer satisfaction and cultivates an expansion of business that builds an enduring customer relationship.
What benefits does your customer derive
by doing business with your company?
What insights do you have about your
key customers’ aspirations, opportunities and obstacles?

By |October 17th, 2018|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments