Growth & Leadership Insights

Connecting

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

Credibility

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Credibility is the quality of being trusted and believed.

It’s what motivates consideration of a supplier. It’s the primary reason that people choose to follow their leaders.

Credibility is all about reliability, authenticity and accountability…walking the talk, keeping promises.

Demonstrating credibility as an individual involves living in accordance with your personal core values. Doing so guides direction, decision-making and commitment. When obligations are honored, personal credibility is strengthened.

The same is true for those who seek to lead. With their personal values as a foundation, credible leaders lead by example, modelling expected behaviors aligned with their company’s values. They recognize the responsibility of leading from the front, being first to reach out and listen to their people, first to observe policies, and first to make sacrifices. And through their actions, these leaders earn respect for being genuine, trustworthy and credible.

For such leaders, actions live long after any words they may have uttered. They succeed because people view them as credible and choose to follow them. Their actions inspire others to invest discretionary time, energy and talent, making a difference by improving the business and accelerating progress. And the result is a vibrant, sustainable organization that flourishes and endures.
How do you assess your credibility as a leader?
 
How might you strengthen your […]

By |October 10th, 2018|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Price vs. Value

Bob Schultek
Author of 
The Gauntlet

Price is obvious to all buyers. It’s clear, direct and easy to evaluate. In a retail environment, it’s the same for everyone.

Value is different for every buyer. It is derived from the benefits or experience generated by the product or service purchased.

Selling on the basis of price is easier than selling the value your product or service produces. But doing so makes you a commodity – discounting your expertise, diminishing your brand, and setting you up for a one-way journey down in revenue and profit.

Selling value requires an investment of time and energy to discover a customer’s need and why resolving it is important. This enables the proposal of solutions that leverage your competencies to overcome obstacles and produce benefits which create value for the customer.
How often do you sell price vs. value?
 
How do you discover why resolving a customer’s need is important?

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

Assessing Leadership Competency

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Preparing for a business acquisition or transfer typically triggers a due diligence process that evaluates leadership competency. Here are the leadership behaviors we evaluate to determine how a leader contributes to the achievement of short-term and strategic goals, and enduring business sustainability:

Acting with credibility: more than any other leadership attribute, employees choose to follow leaders who walk the talk, lead from the front and keep promises; they are seen as genuine and worthy of trust.

Thinking strategically: despite the constant pressure to be drawn into day-to-day tactical circumstances, leaders must carve out time to think about the strategic opportunities that enable progress. They are the only ones in the business who determine long-term direction.

Driving change: leaders are hired to improve results, which involves driving change, not just adapting to it. Change requires an investment of discretionary effort by employees that cannot be compelled; overcoming resistance to change mandates that leaders inspire their people to invest extra time and energy to improve process and performance.

Nurturing relationships: there is no business without relationships…no customers, no employees, no investors, no future. Relationships matter; leaders are responsible for building enduring relationships with all key stakeholders.

Cultivating shared accountability: teams bond when they struggle together to overcome barriers and achieve […]

By |September 26th, 2018|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Breaking Innovation Barriers

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Most organizations pronounce their commitment to curiosity, creativity and innovation; yet the reality is that many of these companies can be hostile to the exploration of new ideas.

To achieve predictable growth, it is perceived as less risky to pursue operational efficiency through continuous improvement than to challenge the status quo, encouraging the exploration of innovations that might possibly disrupt a stable business.

But with most organizations being steadily challenged by changing customer needs, technology or processes, isn’t sustaining a stable business a myth? Shouldn’t leaders be seeking to drive productive change rather than always reacting to it?

In a recent HBR article on barriers to innovation, 55% of the responding senior leaders cited internal politics (turf battles) as the most significant obstacle to the pursuit of innovation; and 45% of these leaders cited cultural barriers as the second largest barrier. Specific obstacles reported are:

Lack of time for innovation – people are expected to invest extra time and effort exploring new ideas without specific direction, guidance or incentives;
No support from senior leaders – innovation is not encouraged; there are no rewards or celebrations for new ideas, or for lessons learned from novel concepts that are not adopted;
No process or budget […]

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

Relationships Matter

Bob Schultek
Author of 
The Gauntlet

You’ve heard business people say, “It’s not personal, it’s business.” But nothing could be further from the truth. Because you care about your business, everything about it is personal. The relationships you build, inside and outside your business, are your most important asset. Relationships matter.

Business is a team sport. As a leader, you are dependent on others for your success. You create a direction and context for action; you influence and inspire. Developing trusting, committed and powerful relationships with all stakeholders is a fundamental part of your job description.

An enlightened leader creates a culture where powerful business relationships can flourish. Aligning the culture around a purpose, core values and goals promotes trust and collaboration, enabling employees to take risks, learn from mistakes and adapt quickly, resulting in greater loyalty and a successful, growing enterprise.

An integral part of this culture includes a profound respect for and commitment to customers. Leaders must remain outward-looking, building strategic, partner-like relationships with core customers that help them succeed. Consistently delivering promised benefits that resolve short term needs, while also contributing to a customer’s progress and goal achievement, builds an enduring relationship. Rewards for customer commitment include recurring revenue, higher ROI on […]

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

Battling Commoditization

Bob Schultek
Author of 
The Gauntlet

The market is tilted in favor of commoditization:

information about available suppliers and options is easy to acquire online;
assessment of these alternatives is designed to enable prompt, simple allocation into pre-determined boxes; and
minimal energy and time is invested to gain additional insight about offerings beyond what is evident through readily available information.

In this market, your process for responding to inquiries must be distinctive, separating you from competitors. To avoid confirming that yours is a commodity business, your response must get beyond answering posed questions and quoting prices, to soliciting a discovery conversation.

Establishing dialogue with a prospect humanizes your business, changing it from a data point in a table of alternatives to an actual, tangible team of serious business people who seek to propose the most productive solutions to help the prospect succeed. Conducting this discovery discussion provides your opportunity to be distinctive.

Engaging the prospect in a discovery process:

Identifies the prospect’s stated need and problem, and how they define value or success for them;
Exposes the importance of resolving the need or problem (unmet goals? unfulfilled strategies?);
Uncovers barriers that are inhibiting progress;
Heightens the prospect’s awareness that prompt action is needed;
Expedites your understanding about the prospect’s decision-making process; […]

By |August 29th, 2018|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments