Growth & Leadership Insights

Accelerating Team Commitment

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

To build a culture of shared accountability, a team must be capable of constructively debating conflicting perspectives about an issue that requires action. There can be no team commitment to a decision without resolving these differences. Mastering this conflict management process is a vital leadership skill. 

Productive conflict dialogue identifies gaps in team members’ positions on the target topic based on their individual experiences and expectations. The skillful use of questions and related discussion are used to explore the reasons for these gaps, and to determine points of agreement.  

The objective is to resolve the gaps and gain a deeper understanding of the issue at hand so that a team commitment can be secured which enables the necessary action. The challenge for a leader facilitating this dialogue is to refrain from prematurely inserting his or her perspective into the conversation to expedite a resolution. Achieving the objective, while strengthening the team’s bond, requires that the team have an opportunity to exchange views and resolve differences without the leader’s proactive influence.  

Guiding a conflict resolution discussion that will lead the team to reach a mutual understanding is like weaving a thread to connect ideas. Asking open-ended questions to discover the motivations behind the […]

By |February 26th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

The Work of Leaders

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Creating value is the work of leaders. 

It’s a perpetual challenge, involving the preservation of key customer relationships, the constant quest for innovations, and the relentless pursuit of quality, productivity and sustainability, all simultaneously occurring in accordance with the company’s culture. 

Preserving proactive, strategic customer relationships yields insights about evolving aspirations, goals and needs, which enable adaptations to ensure that these valuable relationships endure. 

Observing and assessing trends from industry or market engagements encourages the curiosity and anticipation that inspires innovation. 

Aligning operating functions to improve cross-functional performance and produce strategic value for customers while maintaining equilibrium between those tasked with challenging the status quo and pursuing innovation, and those responsible for quality, efficiency and risk aversion. 

Leaders are expected to create value by securing commitment and cultivating shared accountability that improves results. Leveraging their credibility, influence and ability to inspire, they mobilize their people to challenge what is possible, transform goals into actions, model core principles and strengthen culture so that value is created for customers and for the business. 

What can you do differently to strengthen your value creation?

How does your team share accountability for your company’s overall performance?

By |February 19th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Two Languages of Business

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Business discussions regarding value creation or the utilization of resources employ two languages. 

Those who work within the operation most often speak in terms of things – units, hours, etc. Senior leadership speaks in the language of money – dollars earned or saved. 

To attract senior leadership attention, middle managers in these businesses are required to translate the language of things into the language of dollars. Decisions are always made using the language of money. 

The same translation is necessary for those proposing solutions to customers. The projected benefits created by your proposed solution must be quantified in the language of money so that decision-makers can easily assess their value to the business. If you don’t know the worth of a unit or hour to the customer, rely on your experience to specify an incremental amount that is included in your proposal. At the very least, the customer may react to your assumption and enlighten you. 

Connect the generated value in your proposal to a customer’s goal or aspiration and they will see your solution as an investment in their future rather than as a one-time expense that relieves a short-term pain. Go one step farther and describe how your solution also strengthens their competitive advantage, and your generated value will be perceived as strategic. 

Speak the […]

By |February 12th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Controlling the Price Discussion

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Price is obvious to all customers. It’s clear, direct and easy to evaluate. It simplifies, and so expedites, their buying decision with minimal consideration. It’s why they like to hear the numbers as early in your discussion as possible. 

But talking price too early, without first learning more about the customer’s need and why its resolution is important, just confirms their initial perception of your offering as a commodity. And like every other commodity supplier, they then assume that your primary motivation is to sell, not to solve. They sense that you’re seeking the one-time transaction, not a contribution to their success or an enduring relationship; like them, you agree that price is the dominant deciding factor. 

Talking price too early enables the customer to treat you like a vendor, wasting an opportunity to reveal your organization’s experience and competency, and your genuine interest in their success. It discounts your expertise, diminishes your brand, and sets you up for a one-way journey down in revenue and profit. 

For your offering to be seen as more than a transaction -…for it to be recognized as a solution that resolves a need while contributing to a strategic aspiration,…for it to […]

By |February 4th, 2020|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

The Impact of Observation

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Having signed 52 baseball prospects who would later become major league players, Tony Lucadello is known as baseball’s greatest scout. His discoveries included Hall of Famers Ferguson Jenkins and Mike Schmidt. 

The number of his signees making it to the big leagues is far greater than any other scout. And he accomplished this with a territory that included Ohio, Indiana and Michigan, rather than the good weather states of Florida, Texas or California where more opportunities to discover talent existed. 

In his book, “Profit of the Sandlots,” Mark Winegardner explains how Tony accomplished this feat. He “spurned the radar gun and stopwatch” preferring to observe prospects from different spots around the perimeter of the field versus watching from behind home plate like other scouts. Rather than judging how each performed, Tony sought to assess how coachable a kid might be, if a “hitch in a swing or a throwing quirk might be corrected,” which was best accomplished by observing from different perspectives. This enabled him to envision a player’s potential versus relying solely on a prospect’s current talent to determine if he should be signed. 

Tony’s successful methodology offers lessons for leaders when coaching or mentoring those they lead. The most meaningful insight about a person’s potential is […]

By |January 29th, 2020|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Practicing Productive Conflict

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

The quest for improved results dictates the need for change. It’s a journey filled with conflicting opinions that require resolution before commitment to the change can be secured. 

In his latest book, “Thriving in Conflict,” Doug Johnston presents his definition of conflict as “a gap between what we expect and what we experience that leads to deeper understanding and better results. 

The “deeper understanding” described in Doug’s definition is enabled by ensuring that the exchange of differing opinions remains productive. There are proven tools that facilitate positive momentum towards resolution, but none are more important than humility and some agreed rules of engagement. 

Practicing productive conflict dialogue begins by developing principles to guide how the two parties will engage each other, providing conversational boundaries intended to minimize the amount of conflict. The first such rule involves adopting a mindset of curiosity that shifts away from “I’m going to convince you” to “What can I learn by first asking and listening, before declaring my position?” 

Asking the other party to launch the discussion by stating their goal, explaining why it’s important, and describing what is needed from you, while you listen without interruption, expresses respect and reduces defensiveness, accelerating gap discovery and ultimately, resolution. 

How frequently do […]

By |January 22nd, 2020|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

3 Team Characteristics That Drive Change

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Successfully tackling change initiatives is most often due to these team characteristics than it is to the types of individuals on the team:

Accountability: Team members are comfortable taking risks; the team relies on its leader for support and on each other to act with urgency, commitment and thoroughness. Clarity: Team roles, goals, and implementation plans are clearly documented and understood. Impact: The project goals are personally important for each team member; they feel valued and believe that their efforts will make a difference for customers and the organization.

Teams that demonstrate these characteristics are more energized and invested in the project, and they appreciate the journey. 

What characteristics are evident in your change initiative teams?

How might these characteristics be employed in team member selection?

By |January 15th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Investing Your Irreplaceable Time

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

With the holidays behind us, the routine of our life returns, bringing its heightened awareness of time. The digits we use to measure it will dominate once again, and since time is irreplaceable, the choices we make about investing it will dictate results. Before your routine reasserts its impact on your life, consider how you invested your valuable time last year.

What did you accomplish? What worked, and what didn’t? Why is that? Did your accomplishments fulfill your purpose as a business? What unmet goals or objectives should be carried forward into 2020?

How did your business make a difference for your customers? How often were you able to quantify the benefits you produced? How did creating value for these customers subsequently create value for your business? How can you build on this to help them progress towards their 2020 goals? 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 to move faster? What processes can be improved? What obstacles must be overcome to make your business more nimble and your response to opportunities more rapid?Why do your people invest their time and talents in your business? How might you better recognize those who make a difference for your customers and […]

By |January 8th, 2020|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

What Are You Missing?

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

There are 8 folks behind me in the checkout queue. All are talking on or looking at their phones. None are observing their surroundings or engaging with others nearby. In response to my conversational probe, I receive a grunt in reply…the person never looks up from his device.

Our culture presents us with many distractions. When eyes are focused only on screens, we become oblivious to the people nearby us and to the places we share.  This failure to recognize the world around us inhibits our ability to learn, to restore and to grow, because what we see determines what we think and do.

In his new book, “Look,” James Gilmore explores this phenomenon and offers tools to strengthen our observation competency.  Jim’s concepts are based on the lateral thinking methodology of Dr. Edward de Bono.

Jim reminds us that creating value relies on this simple progression, which is always at work:

Looking >>> Thinking >>> Acting

What we observe informs what we think, which influences what we act upon.

This holiday season, make time to mindfully be with others, to share and discuss meaningful experiences, and to refresh your relationships, at work and at home. It will lift your spirits and invigorate you in preparation […]

By |December 18th, 2019|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

The Core of Emotional Intelligence

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Leaders with high emotional intelligence (EI) understand their own emotional state, enabling them to more accurately gauge the emotions of others, and to exercise empathy to better understand the genesis of these emotions. Employing empathy stimulates more thoughtful and productive dialogue, accelerating conflict resolution and producing more deliberate decisions. It’s the core ingredient of strong emotional intelligence. Leaders driving change appreciate the role that emotions play in motivating people to invest in change initiatives. Those who master the use of empathy, appreciate that its application has two levels:

The first level involves active listening, being mindful and in the moment with the speaker, observing what emotions are evident in how the message is being delivered, asking clarifying and confirming questions to provide feedback, and deferring judgement. The deeper level of empathy typically follows after the active listening phase, and is a reaction to what has been learned thus far. This level involves asking the speaker why he or she holds the belief embedded in their position, encouraging the speaker to reflect and share more about its underlying motivations. What emerges is a more comprehensive understanding of what drives the speaker’s viewpoint so that constructive dialogue may follow.

Facilitating productive conflict discussions is a necessary step towards securing commitment […]

By |December 11th, 2019|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments