Growth & Leadership Insights

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

3 Agreements to Resolve Conflicts

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Leaders driving change to improve results are continually resolving conflicts. They succeed by exercising empathy and securing three agreements: 

Agreeing on reality. The current situation is accurately described and validated by facts. Agreeing on goals. Realistic goals are specified and accepted, while acknowledging diversity in how they can be achieved. Agreeing on vision. Having agreed on existing reality and attainable goals, commitment is secured when the successful outcome is envisioned and shared.

These three agreements forge a bond of common purpose that bridges differing views, laying the foundation of mutual accountability and ownership required to achieve the shared goals. They enable the respectful, collaborative and efficient exploration of barriers and potential solutions necessary to successfully ensure resolution and commitment. 

What benefits are produced when resolution and commitment are promptly secured?

How do you facilitate the productive conflict dialogue necessary to achieve commitment?

By |December 4th, 2019|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Improving Leadership ROI

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Leaders are hired to be influencers and change agents who will improve performance. Their success hinges on motivating people to follow their lead, collaborating with them, rather than directing them, to change what is necessary to achieve their shared goals.   Because leaders are expected to drive change, and not just adapt to it, mastering leadership is increasingly about the continuous process of learning how to inspire and engage with their teams to produce productive change. Building on their natural talents, strengths and experience, leaders are compelled to expand knowledge and skills; knowledge comes from study and skills come from practice. Without practice, leaders cannot hone their new learnings and skills to inspire others in the pursuit of essential changes. Leaders can ensure the ROI and long-lasting effectiveness of their development in these two ways:

Using disciplined reflection. There is an important connection between reflection and action. Disciplined reflection involves leaders carving out quiet time following a learning experience to ask themselves: What did I learn, and how can I practice it today? Effective development exercises include reflection and discussion time, prompting learners to share their reactions about the exercise with other attending leaders. Participants are encouraged to engage in a structured dialogue and propose ideas on how to apply what’s been learned […]

By |November 19th, 2019|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Prevailing in the Customer-Driven Market

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Today’s market is more customer-driven than ever before. Everyone and everything is connected, everywhere and all the time. 

Companies with ready access to formidable technology or “big data” believe that this gives them an advantage, but in reality, high connectivity makes this access available to many. Technical advantage is not long sustainable, and the bulk of generated data is often produced by looking inward at the business, i.e. product margins, run rates, etc., rather than by looking outward at customer or market trends. 

Your business lives on the street, with your customers. It always has, from its beginning, when getting that first order was essential. In this dynamic market, your customers’ needs are continuously evolving, never quite reaching a steady state. What they value changes more frequently. 

Those who are winning today anticipate disruption and drive productive change rather than relentlessly adapting to it. Their leaders encourage their personnel to discover what customers value and empower them to challenge what is possible. They cultivate internal entrepreneurship, commitment and shared ownership, encouraging individuals to collaborate in small, agile and cross-functional teams to improve and innovate. 

They stoke this sense of ownership by transparently sharing information with these teams that links their contributions with the resulting […]

By |November 13th, 2019|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

3 Ways to Launch Productive Change

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

In today’s increasingly flat, networked and collaborative organizations, leaders seeking to drive productive change actively engage with their teams to make something better that improves performance, strengthens competitive advantage and creates strategic value. 

Most teams want to do meaningful work, to make a difference beyond their functional responsibilities; but they need their leaders to provide direction and grounds to act on this aspiration. Their leaders perceive change initiatives as opportunities to produce positive outcomes while enabling them to practice and refine their relational, communicative, interpretive, and affective skills. So all involved share the ownership for a change initiative, and the benefits produced when its promise is fulfilled. 

The most effective way to begin building ownership for a change is for the leader and team to collaborate on identifying the right first project. Here are three ways forward: 

Conduct an operations assessment. The leader facilitates a discussion about which department processes are working well in producing quantifiable benefits for the organization, and which require improvement. Processes targeted for an upgrade are then prioritized by (1) estimating quantifiable benefits expected from a process improvement (moving faster, increasing adaptability, reducing waste), (2) projecting when those benefits might be realized, and (3) identifying likely obstacles to be overcome. The rankings from this exercise then guide the selection of which initiative will be launched. Review a […]

By |November 5th, 2019|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments