Growth & Leadership Insights

Relying on Feedback

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

All automated systems rely on feedback loops to sustain accuracy and repeatability. These loops compare results against system settings, and adjust variables to ensure alignment and expected performance.  

Then, when change compels a system’s performance to improve, there’s a ready baseline of consistent data against which to measure and generate improved results. It’s a logical, unemotional process that delivers higher performance. 

The performance of people is similarly subject to unrelenting change that disrupts their status quo. And because the workings of people are more complex than those of a system, progress depends on helping people discover how they are currently making a difference, and how their future impact can be magnified by reacting with agility to change. 

Gathering feedback from others is an essential tool for exercising agility. It projects what others see and advises precisely what they want or need. Once the feedback is given, the choice is to accept or reject it. 

Leveraging feedback to improve performance drives learning and growth. Reacting positively to it conveys respect for those who provided the feedback, converting vulnerability into credibility. And key relationships, the lifeblood of business and of life, are strengthened.  

The outright rejection of feedback using argument or ingratitude typically results in no further feedback being given. It’s a lost discovery and improvement opportunity. And […]

By |June 16th, 2021|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Why Purpose Matters

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Human beings are designed for more than mere survival. Once our basic needs are met, and we’re feeling reasonably secure, we begin to ask why we survive, for what? Why do we exist? 

Purpose is the answer to these questions. It’s that yearning to be part of something bigger than ourselves, something that motivates us to connect and contribute for a better future, something that makes our lives meaningful and fulfilling. Purpose creates satisfaction and happiness. 

Businesses are living organisms, communities of people who share this quest for purpose. The most successful ventures appreciate this basic human need. They seek to bond their people around a shared company purpose, and the values which personify it, to yield a sense of fulfillment in making a difference, for each other, their customers, and the business.  

It’s our emotions, more than our knowledge or skills, that drive our actions. The bond of shared purpose provides the emotional trigger that sparks our curiosity, that enables us to risk change in pursuit of improvement, that prompts us to explore new possibilities. Every successful endeavor can be traced back to someone who cared deeply. 

Prosperity results, and personal purpose can be fulfilled, when people contribute their energy and talent to […]

By |June 2nd, 2021|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Building Organizational Resilience

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Organizational resilience is the proportion of energy that an organization consumes in productive activities. An agile organization relies on resilience to adapt in reaction to significant change or challenge. The combination of 4 elements enables organizational resilience:

Personal Alignment: Individuals in the business, particularly the leaders, walk the talk – their behaviors are aligned with the company’s values, demonstrating credibility and integrity that builds trust.Structural Alignment: Teams within the business act in accordance with the company values and culture, in addition to its rules, structures and systems of governance, showing a collective integrity of shared commitment and accountability that facilitates progress.Values Alignment: The values and behaviors of individuals, and the collective values and behaviors of their teams, are aligned so that everyone is acting in accordance with the company’s culture, creating coherence, collaboration and productivity. Purpose/Mission Alignment: There is alignment between the company’s purpose/mission motive and its profit motive. Its purpose is the core of an organization’s culture, its values and behaviors reveal how that culture lives within the business, and all employees understand how they make a difference for customers, each other, and the company, fostering clarity, focus and trust.

Leaders buildCulture drives employee fulfillment. Employee fulfillment drives customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction […]

By |May 27th, 2021|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Precedents vs. Possibilities

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Two components define a company’s culture: 

1.      Its perspective towards people interactions and coordination (codependence vs. independence). 

A codependent culture emphasizes collaboration, managing relationships, and generating team success. Independent cultures value autonomy, individual action, and competition. 

2.      Its response to change (stability vs. agility). 

Cultures that favor stability prioritize consistency, predictability, and preservation of the status quo to drive efficiency and risk aversion. Those that value agility stress flexibility, adaptability, and receptiveness to change, prioritizing innovation, openness and a longer-term orientation.

The ‘response to change’ dimension is often characterized as contrasting a culture that focuses on objection versus one of that favors opportunity. Preserving the status quo pits precedents against possibilities suggested by flexibility or change.

Precedent looks back to maintain what was, while possibility looks forward to pursue what’s next.

Possibility begets more possibility. Opportunities multiply.

On the other hand, fixating on objection tends to lead to more objections or grievances.

Businesses that effectively focus on possibility don’t deny that there are reasons for objections, that there have been actions and omissions that must be addressed. But in response, they adopt a posture of forward motion, towards better, as the best way to address the problems that came before.

How is your company’s culture oriented?

By |May 19th, 2021|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Agile Productivity

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

People are often a company’s most expensive resource. So, optimizing people’s productivity often means keeping everyone busy on their functional duties, increasing the likelihood that every employee, of every skill type, will be fully utilized.  

The downside? No department’s workers know how their labor affects other departments in the operation of the business. One department’s productivity may be high, but the company as a whole may not be moving faster or with more flexibility. 

In this age of agility, in which businesses need to respond faster, leaders are discovering how to boost cross-functional productivity which improves their flexibility and responsiveness, enabling customers to accelerate their own progress and value creation. 

Rather than striving to maximize departmental productivity, these leaders are expanding the awareness and capabilities of their people to improve cross-departmental workflow. This more strategic perspective produces many benefits including higher throughput, faster reactions, quicker order fulfillment, accelerated cash flow and increased capacity. All of which improve agility and create value for their customers. 

And having gained momentum in productivity, leaders expand their pursuit of agility by asking questions like these: 

How can we accelerate decision-making to help our business move faster?

How can we better motivate innovation when our established procedures are dedicated to preserving efficiency and risk aversion?

How can we encourage creativity and cross-functional collaboration when our current operating structure is departmentally oriented with managers who do more telling […]

By |May 12th, 2021|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Cultural Capital – the New Frontier of Competitive Advantage

Bob SchultekAuthor of The Gauntlet

We’ve begun returning to the office, emerging from months of virtual-only connectivity. Many leaders are discovering that the lack of in-person interaction has caused their company’s culture to fray. Businesses are living entities, communities with cultures built and nurtured by all those whose energy and commitment have produced the company’s progress. Their culture binds them to one another, enabling the execution of strategy and achievement of goals, creating value for customers, the business and each other. Culture is how things get done. Leaders have increasingly realized that their company’s culture is a primary source of competitive advantage, a key differentiator between success and failure, so there’s urgency in revitalizing the cultural bond. Resources are being invested not just to strengthen their cultural capital, but to measure it as well. Leaders cultivate culture. Through words and actions, they shape it by modelling its mindset, values and expected behaviors. Then they ensure that the right structures are in place to support those desired behaviors, monitoring them, as they do with goals, to develop the consistency that enables a collaborative culture to take root and grow. Ultimately, an organization’s culture reflects its leadership. Leaders may define culture, but it takes the commitment of the company’s people to drive it forward – a commitment which reflects how the […]

By |May 6th, 2021|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Who Are You Competing Against?

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

In this dynamic market, the most agile, growing businesses compete more against themselves than against any competitor.Competing companies, offering comparable solutions, struggle to differentiate themselves over time, resulting in declining prices and margins which impede sustainable growth.Your customers care only about the value you produce for them, and however you accomplished this last time, they will expect more next time. Producing more value than last time, without just reacting to what your competition is doing, requires that you challenge yourself to be better. Your real competitor is you. 

Listen to what your loyal customers are saying; what do they value, what’s inhibiting their growth? Use these insights to challenge your status quo, to perfect what you do, and to fuel creativity and innovation. 

But realize that challenging your status quo may require you to respect precedent without being paralyzed by it. That precedent was developed to promote efficiency and minimize risk, so there will be resistance from those responsible for preserving the precedent. To overcome that resistance, describe why a change creates more value. 

The most common stated barrier to improvement or innovation is the lack of time. Without goals for these initiatives, and someone responsible for achieving them, no time will be allocated […]

By |April 28th, 2021|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Craving Dialogue

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Without dialogue, there can be no conflict resolution, no shared commitment, no progress.The word dialogue implies a two-way conversation as opposed to monologue. But this is misleading because dialogue is actually a contraction from the Greek words for “through” and “words” which suggests a focus on discovering meaning.The ancient Greeks learned that people reasoning together, rather than as individuals, are more likely to uncover the truth about an issue. By questioning each other, carefully analyzing ideas, identifying inconsistencies, and searching for shared perspectives, without attacking or insulting each other, people gradually gained deeper understanding and insight.What passes for communication today is often crosstalk that renders no genuine meaning or resolution. Speaking at or past each other is the norm, and most times, no one is listening.During these days of rapid change and growing uncertainty, making progress, achieving results, in business or in community, demands dialogue. Without it, we can’t overcome differences, build meaning and purpose, or establish shared goals. Dialogue is the necessary ingredient for productive collaboration within our organizations and communities. Doing it well requires listening with empathy, searching for common ground, exploring new ideas and perspectives, and exposing unexamined assumptions.

The basic […]

Employing Empathy

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Empathy, the capacity to understand another person’s perspective and feelings, is often described as the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes. But don’t confuse empathy with making people happy or being nice.Empathy is a skill that enables leaders to scan large sets of data and establish priorities, sorting out what’s noise and what’s essential information by assessing signals, anomalies and novel patterns that compel their attention. For those who master it, employing empathy produces many benefits.It provides a productive feedback mechanism for leaders, enabling them to know if the people they’re trying to reach are actually being reached. It helps predict the impact of a leader’s decisions and actions on target audiences so the leader may strategize accordingly.Empathy helps discover the root cause behind poor performance, or what motivates excellence. It allows leaders to build and develop relationships with those they lead. Without it, a leader cannot inspire followers, elicit loyalty or build a cohesive team.

Empathy is essential in negotiations and sales, exposing the aspirations and risk tolerance of those on the otherside.

It’s an effective data gathering tool which enables leaders to understand the human environment that drives business…building […]

By |April 15th, 2021|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Resilience

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Today’s tech driven world tends to increase our sense of predictability, helping us complete our functional tasks on a timely basis, sustaining our competitive posture. Starbuck’s coffee is the same worldwide; Amazon will deliver your package as close as possible to tomorrow.But working against this predictability, and undermining the expected outcomes, is the continual disruption of routine, perpetual change that challenges us to reassess what is valuable. Change willcontinue to occur, with increasing frequency, and resilience is our best response.Resilience is a commitment to an attitude of agility, to a process that works even when things occur that are not expected…especially then. It requires flexibility, collaboration, and a sense of possibility to react promptly to changing circumstances so the business isn’t paralyzed by uncertainty. It’s a response that is grounded in your values and culture, the commitment of your people, the “high touch” side of your business.Resilience requires balance between your high-tech competency and your high touch skills that tell your customers you care about them, and enable your people to remain healthy, creative, and energized. Too much focus on technology, like automating every business transaction without human interaction, is a recipe […]

By |April 7th, 2021|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments