Growth & Leadership Insights


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

Doing To Improve

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

In their pursuit for improved performance, leaders nurture a team culture that is comfortable challenging the status quo, and sharing the commitment and accountability for embracing change. Recognizing their responsibility to develop those they lead, these leaders counsel that natural talents can only take a person so far. They promote change initiatives as learning experiences that expand knowledge, strengthen skills and open opportunities to make a difference. From their own experience, they appreciate that beneficial learning is best accomplished by doing, by practicing. Why is “doing” so effective? Because this experiential learning process relies on the basic human memory process in which we learn how to do things. Our minds are programmed to integrate new experiences, or more accurately the memory of those experiences, into our existing memory structure. This integration process is triggered by new data generated from these experiences. When new data is simply described to us, we don’t know where in memory to put it because we don’t really understand how the data may be used. But when we experience the data ourselves, we simultaneously experience other related sights, sensations, feelings, remembrances of goals achieved, goals we still aspire to achieve, etc. In other words, all of this related data provides enough context for […]

By |March 31st, 2021|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Assessing Culture

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Emerging from months of virtual-only connectivity, many businesses are discovering that the long-term lack of in-person interaction among their staff has compromised their culture.  

Control, dependence and short-term thinking have grown more dominant over collaboration, risk-taking, initiative and more strategic thinking. 

Businesses are living entities, with cultures built and nurtured by all those whose energy and commitment have produced the company’s progress. Their culture is what binds them to one another, enabling their execution of strategy in pursuit of shared goals, and empowering them to create value for customers, the business and each other. The virtual-only experience has frayed this bond. 

As part of their shift back towards normalcy, companies who have observed some culture deterioration are assessing its status with questions like these: 

What do you like most about the Company’s culture?

What is the one thing you would most like to change about our Company?

What are the characteristics of the people who are most successful in our organization?

When people don’t succeed in our culture, what is the most common reason?

How consistently do your associates and our leaders model our values?

How much interaction do you have with your associates, and what’s the tone of these interactions (formal or […]

By |March 25th, 2021|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

The Customer Experience Advantage

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

The customer-driven market grows stronger every day, propelled by relentless disruption and change. Those who thrive in this market deliver exceptional customer experiences, synced with their product or service, and based on their awareness of customer goals, as well as needs. 

Such experiences build enduring relationships which subsequently provide awareness about trends, changing customer demands, feedback on strategy, and innovation opportunities – all valuable inputs for decision-making and value creation. 

Your company’s customer-service personnel, serving as your front-line relationship reps, are a key ingredient in delivering exceptional experiences. They should be doing more than answering the phone and helping with orders. A committed customer experience team strengthens relationships when empowered to listen more than talk, demonstrate empathy, and provide insight that helps the customer succeed. Such demonstrations of appreciation and respect delight customers and validate why they chose your company. 

Creating the exceptional experience relies on leadership’s commitment to invest in the people, competencies and resources necessary to execute the strategy – a strategy which ensures a preference for your products and services based on your reliable delivery of promised value. Planning the experience should be part of your product or service development process; it should not be optional. 

Failing […]

By |March 17th, 2021|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Consensus Is Not Commitment

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Achieving goals requires a team commitment. Consensus is not commitment, but leaders can confuse the two outcomes in the pursuit of collaboration. 

Fostering a culture of dialogue in which teammates are encouraged to share their opinions, suggestions and concerns is a necessary first step towards commitment and shared accountability. But the objective is not to build team agreement or to create harmony versus conflict. On the contrary, the objective is to discover and assess differing perspectives that enable the team to choose the best way forward and commit to it. 

Pursuing consensus, or shared agreement, about a critical business issue, undermines team commitment by avoiding healthy, essential discussions about conflicting ideas. It’s the easier way, allowing team members to surrender to the majority opinion rather than exposing themselves to the risk of expressing their views. A team member suggesting a delay to re-analyze, ducking eye contact, shrugging shoulders or saying “whatever,” are warning signs that this person has stopped participating and is not committed. Consensus slows decision-making, encourages unstated opinions, produces ill-will, and ultimately, breeds division. 

Commitment is a promise by the team to act together to achieve its shared goal. The exchange of differing opinions that produces commitment is intended to […]

By |March 3rd, 2021|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Faster ROI on Leadership Development

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Measuring ROI on leadership development is elusive. At the strategic level, it can take time to generate the improved results expected from leaders in whom such an investment is made.But achieving those results is actually the culmination of multiple, interim actions, taken by the leader’s team who were motivated by the leader to do more than fulfill assigned responsibilities, to invest their energy and talent in making something better. Each change initiative included KPIs which identified projected quantifiable benefits to create value, while generating momentum towards the larger goal.Strengthened competencies, including newly learned methods of influencing and inspiring, should enable the leader to foster a team culture of collaboration, curiosity and shared ownership that produces these incremental, accumulating benefits.So, measuring ROI on leadership development investments can be accomplished in a shorter term by evaluating the quantifiable benefits that are the output from the leader’s ability to motivate his or her team in challenging the status quo and delivering progress towards the projected results improvement.

How are you assessing leadership development ROI?

By |February 23rd, 2021|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Preserving Culture in a Downturn

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

When business turns down, and layoffs are necessary, preserving culture can be challenging for leadership. 

Leaders who sustain the dignity of those who must depart, who communicate clearly and honestly, employ a fair, ethical process, and offer resources to assist are seen as modelling a company’s core principles, thus preserving some trust with the survivors. 

A poorly managed downsizing damages that trust, perhaps irrevocably. It also crushes morale and loyalty, increases resentment, and reduces employee engagement just when leaders must rely on survivors to stem declining performance.  

During and after a layoff, it’s essential for leaders to behave in accordance with core values to re-energize and re-motivate those survivors. These tips can make the difference: Communicate the relationship between the downsizing, corporate strategy and the preservation of culture so that employees understand why the workforce reduction was necessary and how it supports the long-term success of the business. Clarify the fairness of the reduction process to generate support for a new strategy, and to foster a culture that promotes collaboration, innovation and improvement. The survivors’ judgement of fairness depends upon both the substance (taking the right actions) and the style (doing things right) regarding how the layoff is handled. When asking […]

By |February 9th, 2021|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Investing in Appreciation

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

During this prolonged time of disruption and stress, those you lead benefit from your personal attention in letting them know that they are appreciated and valued. The return on these efforts is higher individual and team performance, greater collaboration, increased willingness to invest in changes that deliver improvements, and enriched job satisfaction for your people. Good employees are hard to find, develop, and keep. And replacing trained, experienced people is often quoted as the #1 non-productive cost for businesses. Of those employees who are doing cognitive work (not repetitive production work), and who voluntarily leave a company, 80% cite “feeling unappreciated” as the primary reason for their decision to move on; it’s not about earning more money. Here are 3 keys for communicating genuine appreciation:1.   Communicate appreciation regularly. Defining ‘regularly’ varies by work setting, the frequency of interaction between coworkers, and the nature of the relationship. But it definitely needs to happen more often than once or twice a year during a performance review. In a production setting, where things move quickly, it’s important for a leader who notices improvement in an employee’s performance and/or behavior to immediately express appreciation for the progress the employee has made. Shift change or start-up meetings […]

By |February 3rd, 2021|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments


Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

We defeat disruption, fear, and uncertainty by relying on our beliefs, values and stories. Challenging situations can dismay and paralyze, or they can inspire and energize. Each of us chooses which path we will take.I’m writing this on Martin Luther King Jr. day. Dr. King chose to take control rather than be controlled. And on this day, we honor his choice, his decision to persevere with his message and methods which continue to be reasonable, positive and universal today.Core to Dr. King’s message was how we should treat one another. Given today’s challenges, and our ability to choose how we will deal with them, I share this Seth Godin blog below in honor of Dr. King:

Three types of kindness(Godin)

“There is the kindness of ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’  And the kindness of “I was wrong, I’m sorry.”  The small kindnesses that smooth our interactions and help other people feel as though you’re aware of them.  These don’t cost us much, in fact, in most settings, engaging with kindness is an essential part of connection, engagement and forward motion.”“And then there is the kindness of dignity.  Of giving someone the benefit of the doubt.  The kindness of seeing […]

By |January 20th, 2021|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

It’s Not The People…It’s The Leadership

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

We begin our careers by accepting an entry level job with specific requirements and responsibility only for ourself. If we do well, and increasingly master our assigned duties, we get promoted; if we sustain our high performance, then we continue to earn greater responsibility.Eventually, given our reliable performance and high mastery of skills, we’re promoted into a leadership role and required to lead others who are responsible for doing the tasks we excelled at doing. We’re expected to transfer our mastery to those we lead. And our success is no longer about us getting results – it’s about helping our people get results. Leadership is all about making our people the priority. It succeeds by leveraging influence, inspiring initiative, and sacrificing ego, taking no credit but accepting all blame. If we lead well, then our people will choose to follow our lead, discovering how they make a difference, and creating value for customers and the business. This is what defines successful leadership – it’s not about getting the most out of people, but rather helping people do their best work.If one person on your team is performing poorly, do you challenge that person to do better, to turn things […]

By |January 13th, 2021|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments