Growth & Leadership Insights

Price or Value

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Offering your product or service as the lowest priced alternative is a simple, efficient strategy.

Price is obvious to all buyers. It’s clear, direct and easy to evaluate. It’s often the same for everyone. Offering the lowest price is seductive.

But doing so makes your offering a commodity – discounting your expertise, diminishing your brand, and setting you up for a one-way journey down in revenue and profit. A purchase becomes just another transaction, producing no enduring value for the customer and contributing little to the sustainability of your business.The opposite, more challenging strategy is to sell the value that your product or service creates for the customer.Value is different for every customer. It’s derived from the benefits and knowledge generated by your expertise in employing your product or service. It resolves a short term pain in a manner that contributes to the customer’s opportunities and achievement of their goals.Selling value requires a greater investment of time and energy to discover why resolving a customer’s short term need is important for their long term success. It provides the opening needed to leverage your experience and competency, to propose solutions that overcome obstacles and create enduring value for the customer. It changes a commodity […]

By |June 30th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Krulak’s Law

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Charles Krulak is a highly decorated, deeply experienced, retired General in the United States Marine Corps. In 1999, the General published an insightful article about leadership that later led him to become a college President and founder of theKrulak Institute for Leadership, Experiential Learning, and Civic Engagement. The core leadership principle that he cited in 1999, which is often described as Krulak’s Law of Leadership, is “that the future of an organization is in the hands of the privates in the field, not the generals back home.” As its familiarity grew among business leaders, the language of Krulak’s Law evolved, while the insight of its message has remained the same. Business mentor, Seth Godin, recently stated it this way: “The experience people have with your brand is in the hands of the person you pay the least. Act accordingly.” The premise of Krulak’s Law is that leaders are “ultimately judged by the quality of the leadership reflected in their subordinates.” So, ensuring that their employees make the right decisions is a leader’s primary responsibility. In a quickly moving world, driven by technology that continues to accelerate workflow, there is no time to wait while senior leadership decides how best to respond to […]

By |June 24th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Why Strategies Succeed

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

“Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night, with no lights, while looking out the back window. The best way to predict the future is to create it.” ~Peter Drucker 

Most companies rely on strategic planning to help create their future. 

Seeking the best strategy to achieve their goals, one that leverages their strengths and competitive advantage, they compile market information, gather intelligence on their competitors and clarify customer needs. They identify products or services that would best satisfy these needs, and decide how to position and brand them in the market. To better predict the future, they use a variety of planning tools, from SWOT analyses and scenario planning to Balanced Scorecard and Blue Ocean strategy. 

But despite all of this effort, the outcome of strategic planning often resembles New Year’s resolutions – exciting ideas, poor implementation. Companies often focus too heavily on defining the right strategy rather than on implementing it. As a result, 90% of strategies are never executed. 

Strategy is not the plan, but the series of calculated actions required to execute the plan, to move the company towards its desired outcome. Strategy is execution. Strategic planning establishes the direction of the business, but it’s the execution […]

How Do You Make Things Better?

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

The objective of change is improvement. Making a product, service or process better creates value. The products and services we use, our food, our environment, our communication tools, the number of options we have, and many other things have improved because someone decided to challenge the status quo and take on the risk of making them better. Surviving in a competitive world demands that improvements continue, but overcoming the barriers built to sustain the status quo is always challenging. Here are three reasons why:

Making things better begins by defeating the fear of change. Conquering this fear requires curiosity and optimism to consider what is possible, confidence to assess the risk of change, and courage to act in making it happen. It takes leadership to persevere through this process. Making things better may imply that the current state is imperfect, which can cause some to object. Challenging the status quo disrupts precedent, including the bureaucracy that maintains it. It’s the responsibility of leadership to stress the goal of improved results over perfection, articulating the benefits of a change and addressing the presumed risks related to it. Making things better relies on leaders being committed to the necessity of change as the prerequisite of improvement. Progress […]

By |June 10th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Sustaining Change Dialogue

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Disruption compels the consideration of change. Once it’s gained our attention, determining how best to navigate through change requires personal, respectful dialogue. Safely sharing and discussing differing perspectives enables new ideas to emerge, tensions to be relieved and a preferred outcome to be determined. 

Leadership is all about dialogue, contact and connecting, building relationships – with the objective to improve outcomes. Few leadership obligations are more vital. Securing the shared commitment and accountability by affected stakeholders to achieve an agreed change result is not possible without these discussions. And leaders who have experienced these critical moments appreciate the necessity of sustaining the change dialogue to identify the endpoint, to specify the actions required to reach it, and to guide the implementation of these actions until the objective is achieved. They rely on two skills to continue these essential conversations. 

First, they maintain the dialogue. Leaders are constantly assessing the flow of the discussion to determine if it’s progressing, or sliding towards silence or excessive emotion. If dialogue is fading, then recovering momentum begins by raising awareness that progress has stalled. To accomplish this, they challenge the participants, using comments like: “We’ve moved away from dialogue; let’s get back to it.” Refocusing attention on […]

By |June 3rd, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Acting on What’s Been Learned

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Mastering leadership is a continuous process of learning how to adapt to change and how to motivate it. It’s what leaders are expected to do. 

Lately, leaders have been consumed with adaptation. But now it’s time to act on what’s been learned, relying on purpose and values, on encouragement and transparency, to inspire collaboration that can make things better going forward.  

Learning begins by reflecting on what experience has taught, and then finding a better way by applying lessons learned using observation, practice and experimentation. Leading a team through this process is challenging work, involving a passage during which strengths are tested, incompetence is confronted and obstacles are overcome on the way to the envisioned outcome. 

What leaders learn during this journey increases their credibility, enabling a productive, new identity to emerge. It’s an identity that is appreciated and respected for converting knowledge into action, while remaining true to personal values and company culture. 

It’s an identity whose energy attracts those who seek to do work that matters, to make a difference. It’s an identity that bonds a team around trust and commitment to make change meaningful, to make things better.

How are you engaging with your team to make things better?

By |May 27th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

The Way Forward

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Managing disruptions is part of every leader’s resume. You evaluate the opportunities and risks of the situation. You work to stay ahead of fluid circumstances, while seeking to gain control by identifying alternative ways forward, choosing a direction, planning for it, and then communicating it. But very few leaders have faced an interruption as serious and significant as the current one, so it’s heartening to see how many, from businesses large and small, are rising to meet the challenge. They’re refining the crisis reaction norm cited above, and employing a proven model from our past to move forward. 

It’s the model that embraces opportunity over fear, leveraging the vision, initiative and ingenuity that have always been the trademarks for American industry. 

It’s the model that leverages the unequalled power of relationships, public and private, relying on shared mission and on collaboration to overcome obstacles and rapidly convert ideas into actions. 

It’s the model that appreciates how the successful conversion of these ideas depends completely on the willingness of the people in each company to invest their energy and talents in giving form and substance to their leader’s aspirations. It trusts that the purpose and culture which once attracted these people […]

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

3 Steps to Build Momentum

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Time only moves in one direction… relentlessly forward. The time of isolation is ending, and you’ll be moving forward. With 2020 plans in shreds, working to achieve short term goals is key to establishing momentum in the months ahead. Accumulating small wins will accelerate your progress. 

Making progress is a fundamental driver of personal motivation and performance. During my leadership years, I depended on this truth to improve results. More than any words I spoke, my associates responded with more enthusiasm and commitment when we actively engaged together to improve a product or process. They appreciated my support for their efforts, particularly when I listened to their ideas or got my hands dirty with them. These were the moments when our purpose and values became real for us all, strengthening and validating our culture’s role in the success of the business. 

Progress is measured by small wins that generate a sense of accomplishment, creating momentum and elevating performance. When your team’s work is perceived as being meaningful, when they observe how it’s making a difference and is appreciated, then their progress boosts satisfaction and inspires greater effort. 

You can help your team make progress and build momentum with these steps:

Establish a positive, supportive environment, modelling […]

By |May 6th, 2020|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Why Energy Makes a Difference

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

When I served as a leader, it was the more challenging times that reminded me how vital were the contributions of our people in sustaining the business. It was evident after 9-11 when our business slowed dramatically and Steve volunteered to remain on site after hours to support a customer in crisis several times zones away. Or, while serving with a different organization, I discovered that Marilyn had invested her own time, after already working a ten-hour shift, to help improve our shipping process so we could dig out after an emergency production shutdown. 

These may have been exceptional employees who were committed to our purpose and goals, but when they invested discretionary effort and energy without being asked, it validated for me that people make the difference for a business more than any other factor. Your business likely has people like this; their contributions should be apparent during these last days of isolation. How are they being appreciated? 

Each person in your organization is a source of energy, with an exclusive set of gifts to contribute, and the potential to leverage their unique perspective, insight, and experience so that your goods or services may be converted into strategic value for the customer. This energy is focused like a laser when […]

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

Leveraging Lessons Learned

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

I was once presented with a business turnaround opportunity. The company was in trouble, the President was fired, and the Board asked me take the lead in reigniting the business. They gave me 6 months to change the trend or they would shut it down. 

Having never led a turnaround, my confidence was shaken and I was filled with anxiety, doubt and fear of the future. These uncertain times remind me of what I felt back then. 

My leadership style has always tended to focus more on the future than on the near term. But at that moment, I was facing a triage situation, with the sustainability of the business, and the welfare of my and other families, at stake. Living with the perpetual stress, and weight of my decisions, during that time taught me much. Some of these lessons might be helpful now. 

While my first inclination was to start cutting costs, it occurred to me that the consequences of acting too swiftly and broadly on this impulse, versus being more surgical about it, could hurt the business more than help save it. We needed an endpoint, a vision, some sense of control over our future that would provide direction for the actions we needed to take. 

So my first priority became strengthening […]

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