Grolistic…No-Excuses Growth Blog

The 3 “Cs” of Exceptional Service

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Recently, my awareness was raised about the great diversity of customer service experiences we encounter every day. During a recent hotel stay, my perception of exceptional service was redefined. Every staff person I met at this facility – at the door, at the front desk, in the restaurant, in the hallways and in a meeting room support role – shared a common purpose of sustaining their guests’ comfort and satisfaction. They were well trained and ever vigilant, consistently demonstrating these three behaviors.

They were caring.
Heads were up and eyes were focused outward, towards their guests. No cell phones were visible. They were conscientious, empathetic and humble, consistently demonstrating a strong sense of duty, shared accountability and reliability. Greetings were warm and genuine, almost as if we knew each other. A common phrase was: “How else can I assist you or make you more comfortable?” When working near the lobby, I was frequently offered coffee, tea, water or other beverage. The level of care and respect they exhibited to all guests, and towards each other, made it evident that each staff member wanted to make a difference for their visitors.
They were curious.
Curiosity is often described as a person’s hunger for […]

By |October 17th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Discovery Questions That Provoke Awareness

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

When we need help to resolve a problem, none of us wants to be sold; but we do appreciate the opportunity to explore what we value and why, without the high pressure tactics.A customer may have a good handle on his or her specific challenge or goal to be achieved, but often there is less clarity about why achievement is important. Resolving the problem may address a visible, troubling short term pain point, but could the solution be configured to also contribute to the achievement of a longer term objective, one that produces sustainable strategic value?

Asking provocative questions elevates the customer’s awareness of this option. They challenge the customer to think more broadly and to see things differently. They can help the customer align divergent interests, clarify goals, understand inherent biases, and identify mistaken perceptions.

Provocative questions are designed to challenge the customer to think in ways they hadn’t previously considered. “Have you considered . . . ? Can I ask why you . . . ? Where you aware that . . . ? Have you seen . . . ?  What was the motive behind . . . ?” Answers to these questions provide insights for the customer, illuminating how priorities influenced […]

By |October 11th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Leadership Happens in the Moments

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Every day, there are moments when you can choose to lead. Leadership is more about these moments than it is about accomplishing grand initiatives.  Making a difference is all about these moments.

One member of your team might be stuck and need your guidance or suggestions to open another path.

When a choice between two possible options is required, rather than immediately making the decision, you ask your team to consider if one alternative emerges as the better choice when the quantifiable benefits of the alternatives, and timing of those benefits, are evaluated on the basis of which option strengthens the company’s competitive advantage and better fulfills its Purpose.

An associate may reveal an ongoing conflict with a peer, offering you an opportunity to recommend a means of resolution that aligns with your company’s core values.

When speaking to a group about the future of your business, you paint a vision that is grounded in your organization’s culture of recognizing your people as your competitive advantage, challenging the status quo, and encouraging every associate to invest discretionary effort.

Each day, you seek opportunities to thank someone for a job well done.

There are moments like these in every day when you can choose to lead, and […]

By |October 3rd, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Performance Makes the Difference

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

There are leaders who believe that discussing performance with an employee, using a structured process, is a waste of time for the organization and for the employee. If the process is conducted inappropriately, then they may be right. Some businesses have ceased performance discussions entirely.On the other hand, when leaders believe that their people make the difference, then they appreciate their responsibility to invest in their human resources, initiated through individual discussions about performance and development.

It’s the actions of employees that execute strategies and achieve goals. And if you value the role that culture plays in the success of your organization, then knowing how they act to deliver results is vital information.

Performance discussions offer a valued opportunity for a leader and subordinate to share uninterrupted access to one another, investing precious time to discuss issues that otherwise might not be addressed. The impact of this intense, focused interaction on both parties should not be underestimated. When facilitated well by the leader, the subordinate is recognized for contributions and motivated to strengthen professional competencies that may lead to greater responsibility. For the leader, these discussions provide a chance to clarify expectations and to demonstrate a sustained commitment to the development of people which often inspires them […]

By |September 27th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Maximum Output & Human Capital

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Our capitalistic economy promotes efficient business operation as a means to maximize profit. Operating efficiently means that systems which drive the business processes are performing optimally, with functioning elements synchronized to consistently deliver quality work on time and within established cost standards. All components of the system, including the human assets, perform best under these circumstances, and can sustain targeted output with minimal stress.But since competition drives capitalism, there are times when output must be maximized, disturbing optimal performance, increasing system stress, and degrading components. Under traditional capitalism, the mindset is that parts failing under maximum output can be replaced.

But this notion fails with respect to investments in human capital.  Treating people like they are disposable spawns lasting negative consequences for any business that inhibits a return to optimal performance…poor quality, burnout, loss of purpose, higher personnel turnover.

In an age where substitute materials can be are easily acquired, where access to information is readily available, and where technological advantage cannot long be maintained, people are an organization’s most sustainable competitive advantage. People make the difference for customers and for the business. Allowing the degradation of high performing personnel in times of maximum output compromises the ability of people to make […]

By |September 20th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Intimacy and Satisfaction

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

When you last faced a purchase decision, what helped you feel more comfortable with your choice?  What gave you confidence that your judgement was appropriate and correct?

You had worked through the analysis and were satisfied with it…but in retrospect, there was something more that convinced you that your decision was the right one. This level of satisfaction is most often due to a productive experience with your salesperson.

At first, your basic needs were explored…the ones you were prepared to share. But then, the salesperson asked about your business, what you do, why doing it is important to you, and how you try to make a difference for your customers. He or she listened attentively, never distracted, eyes always on yours.

The salesperson then likely shared a bit of his or her story, including why being with you was important; you sensed authenticity in what you heard, with accountability for your satisfaction being mentioned. Next came some additional questions, asked with sincerity and empathy; these inquiries probed beyond your stated needs to discover why the needs you mentioned are valuable to you, how meeting them helps you strengthen your business or provide more value for your customers. There was no pressure to respond; on the other hand, this was […]

By |September 13th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Change Resistance

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Few change initiatives succeed the first time they are launched. Resistance to change is a potent human reaction so expect challenges and outright rejection. It’s what you do next that matters.

If you continue to believe wholeheartedly that your proposed change will increase the value produced for customers and your company, then persevere. Evaluate the basics of your strategy:

Are you appealing to the appropriate audience? Do they have the experience and analytical ability to recognize the potential benefits from the change? Or does fear of change paralyze them?  Win support from those who can advocate for your idea.

What’s the story behind the change?  Is it compelling?  What is missing? Revisit your research, rework your details, clarify your promise, and then refine your story.

Ask open-ended questions to probe the basis for the resistance.  Some of your audience may need to be heard before they can join your initiative.

When encountering change resistance, how do you react?
Why is perseverance the key to winning?

By |September 5th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Leaders Enable Team Success

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Leaders want their people to succeed; success lifts the person and the leader. Leaders cannot succeed if those they lead fail. The most effective leaders invest significant time engaging and coaching their people.

Exceptional leaders appreciate that empathy and emotional intelligence, paired with experience and intellect, enable them to engage and collaborate with their employees such that those they lead gain awareness about how each person makes a difference. This truth is what inspires people to invest discretionary effort to achieve a goal that delivers success.

These leaders recognize that success is contagious – it stimulates enthusiasm. They make themselves available to all, though with varying degrees of access, so that people can interact with them, feel the enthusiasm and sense the opportunity to contribute.  Sometimes, it’s a walk around; sometimes it’s a team meeting.  But the secret is engaging with the people so they can share their ideas and emotions. The meetings these leaders facilitate are less about “reporting” and more about building shared accountability, considering what’s next and what must be accomplished as a team to get there.

Leaders are subject to constant pressure that often causes them to make personal sacrifices. Few discuss the costs associated with […]

By |August 30th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Culture and Value Creation

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

The fundamental premise of any business acquisition is that the merged organizations will be more valuable together than they would be if they continued as separate entities. An acquisition is supposed to be an exercise in value creation. Yet, a KPMG study indicates that 83% of acquisitions fail to boost value, and often, value is actually destroyed. Something goes very wrong along the way.

Of the five key due diligence parameters for acquisitions – risk, price, strategy, management capacity and culture – the least attention is typically paid to culture integration. This is no surprise, since assessing the ingredients of a company’s culture – values, behaviors, relationships, attitudes, and commitment to customers – is not readily quantifiable.

How has the culture of the target company contributed to its success?  How has it motivated its people to invest discretionary effort to achieve goals?

The KPMG study indicates that value creation is more dependent on successful culture integration than on any other factor; it is the root cause of success or failure for an acquisition. Without a full integration of cultures, creating value will not be possible. Get it wrong and nothing else matters. Trust erodes…unproductive conflict increases…commitment fades…accountability is avoided…and results fail to materialize.

To evaluate another organization’s culture, ensure […]

By |August 23rd, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Pulling the Fire Alarm

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

As sales leader, you encourage your team to develop strong customer relationships. Because this takes time, you counsel them about perseverance, commitment and accountability, and enlighten them that they will know that preference has been earned when they are invited to participate in more strategic discussions like new product development meetings.

Like most sales professionals, your team is highly self-motivated, with each member consistently demonstrating initiative. They understand that the trust relationship they have built with each customer can only be sustained if your organization delivers on the promises made by your sales team, on behalf of the organization. They also recognize that their accountability for preserving these enduring relationships rests with promptly solving problems to ensure customer satisfaction.

But are they aware of the limits of their accountability? Which issues are so significant that they require urgent senior leadership involvement?  Do they know when to pull the fire alarm?

Encountering issues like the following can paralyze a sales person who typically knows how to get things done:

Consistently poor service that is causing customers to leave;
Learning that there’s pressure on the shop floor to ship inferior or dangerous products;
Hearing that the customer service phone queue now persistently exceeds targeted response time;

By |August 15th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments