Grolistic…No-Excuses Growth Blog

Leadership and Challenge

Bob Schultek
Author of The Gauntlet

 There are times when leaders must confront adversity that threatens their business. Other times, to improve performance, they disrupt the established order by challenging the status quo. Whether the challenge is external or internal, leaders make things happen. Leadership and challenge are inseparable.

Business leaders you admire are likely remembered for launching an entrepreneurial venture, developing a novel product and service, transforming a failing business, or revolutionizing an industry. Challenge was the context in which these leaders operated and productive change was their message.

The best leadership stories describe triumphs over trouble, departures from the past, doing what has never been done, or going where no one has ever been.  Every story is about challenge and change.

There’s no need to study historical leaders to learn this lesson. You can find it in committed leaders like you, working at every level of an organization. They may be fighting complacency and seeking improvement by disturbing the status quo, challenging what is possible and pursuing new opportunities. Or, they may be guiding people through uncertainty, disruption, transition, recovery, new initiatives and other significant challenges.

The uncertainty and fear often triggered by challenge and change may be seen by some as negative, de-motivating […]

By |April 19th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

How Customers Assess Value

Bob Schultek
Author of The Gauntlet

Whether you provide a product or a service, its value to your customers depends on their goals. Your success in earning their business depends on your ability to discover what your customer values and why.

If the customer’s business is mature, then proposing solutions that reduce cost typically capture attention.  Cost reduction targets are easily identified and validated; they directly impact net profit. And, unfortunately, they make it easier for your customer to compare you to others. Cost reduction solutions focus on the short term, on some current pain related to the customer’s core business. Proposals that reduce cost usually offer negligible sustained strategic value for the customer. Next time, you’ll again be expected to propose another reduction in their expenses rather than offering an investment in their future, increasing your vulnerability to competitors.
On the other hand, solutions that support an increase in the customer’s sales or productivity produce enduring strategic value. These solutions can be positioned as investments supporting the customer’s growth goals and future. The quantifiable benefits produced by a growth-based solution are more sustainable and cumulative over time. When your solution also strengthens your customer’s distinctiveness, then your commitment to their success is […]

By |April 12th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

3 Questions People Ask About You

Bob Schultek

People take action because it benefits them. If you’re a leader or a salesperson trying to connect with others, your focus must be on them. It’s a simple truth that is often forgotten.

Your target audience will ask themselves 3 questions to discover your intentions:

1. “Do you care about me?” Mutual interest is the impetus for establishing a connection. Trying to learn another person’s perspective regarding a shared goal or concern helps them understand that you genuinely care about their needs. Taking the next step, using what you’ve learned to help others succeed, opens the door to connection, communication and collaboration. It’s this generosity that creates relationships which can become mutually beneficial. And good relationships typically produce positive results: ideas, growth, partnerships, etc.

2. “Can you help me?” These days,people are constantly bombarded with information about products and services, so they tend to tune out the noise. If you want to get someone’s attention, focus on how your connection can benefit them. The more quantifiable those benefits are, the stronger will be the motivation to connect with you.

3. “Can I trust you?” Trust is the foundation of enduring relationships. Since it is earned over time, for a new connection attempt, the most reasonable response […]

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

Your Life – Your Choice

Bob Schultek

Life does not arbitrarily impose itself on you. Rather, you choose how you feel about the circumstances in your life and work. You’re making this choice every day, multiple times a day.

Will you choose to be optimistic, to engage with or to encourage others?

Will you choose to be curious, to inquire, or to challenge the status quo?

Will you strive to make a difference?

It may seem that your attitude depends on how things are going in your life, at work, or in the world around you. But the exact opposite is true. How things are going depends on how you choose to feel. Your feelings reflect your most genuine, heartfelt expectations.

Every fragment of your daily life reveals these expectations.  They’re present in your thoughts, your words, your actions, your habits and your character. Thoughts lead to words, that lead to actions, that become habits, that define your character. And the results produced by all of these are derived from the way you choose to feel – your attitude.

When faced with a challenge, will you choose to feel discouraged or energized? Those with an optimistic attitude expect to succeed. When they encounter obstacles, they try harder, finding ways to overcome […]

By |March 28th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

“The Gauntlet” – My First Book

Bob Schultek

After serving more than thirty years as a senior executive, including a couple of times as CEO & business owner, I’ve enjoyed triumph and disappointment, and accumulated plenty of scars. Grolistic was founded to share those scars with business leaders to accelerate their growth. Whether we’re assisting with strategy, implementation or leadership, it’s increasingly clear that an organization’s people often make the difference. Your people truly are your most sustainable competitive advantage.

A couple of years ago, upon reflection about some unique career events that shaped my methods for building businesses, I decided to tell a story that describes how these experiences became the genesis for my perspective about business development, leadership and change management. That story was just published as an eBook by Amazon under the title “The Gauntlet.”  If interested, you can find it in Amazon under “The Gauntlet-Robert Schultek.”

The Gauntlet tells the tale of a business in crisis, and how the leader, his team and his family experience a transformational journey as they confront the challenge of business survival. Told through the eyes of the senior leader, the story describes his concurrent, integrated struggles to change the course of his business while preserving his family’s well-being. […]

By |March 21st, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Change Begins With 3 Agreements

Bob Schultek

Convincing someone to join you in the pursuit of change begins with three agreements:

Agree on reality. Describe the current situation, validated by facts and proof
 Agree on goals. Specify shared goals, acknowledging diversity in how they can be achieved.
Agree on vision. Having agreed on the reality and goals, envision success.

These three agreements forge a bond of common purpose to pursue change and lay the foundation of
mutual accountability to achieve the shared goals.They enable the respectful, collaborative exploration of barriers
and potential solutions necessary to successfully implement the change.

What are the benefits of promptly, efficiently implementing change?

What are the typical consequences when a change initiative fails?

By |March 7th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

The First Step When It’s Time to Plan

When growth stalls or is rapidly accelerating, or when you’re seeking investment, or when you’re thinking about who will succeed you, these are the triggers that compel you to plan for the future. When the time to plan arrives, what’s the best first step?

Throughout your organization, heads are down and focused on the near term, ever reacting to marketplace changes. Over time, what began as an opportunistic, hopefully profitable venture, becomes preoccupied – first with survival, and then hopefully, with growth, and the need to remain profitable. Along the way, the true purpose that caused the launch of the business, how you were going to make a difference, becomes lost in the daily churn.

When you begin your planning process, your first step should be to consider why you’ve been successful:

Tell your story – why does the business exist? When it was launched, how did you or the founder expect to make a difference in your market, for your customers?
When you reflect on the success you’ve earned, what makes you most proud? Are you making the difference you expected? What would happen if your business vanished?
What makes your business distinctive and valuable? What is your “uncommon promise” […]

By |February 28th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Leading Productive Conflict

A key ingredient of enduring team relationships is productive conflict. Sustaining trust within a team requires the occasional fearless, passionate exchange of alternative, sometimes contradictory, ideas.

Conflict is often considered to be offensive in organizations.  As leaders progress in their careers, they tend to invest increasing amounts of energy avoiding the spirited debates that are necessary for building the most effective teams.

To be clear, productive conflict is focused on exploring ideological differences, not destructive arguments, political infighting or personal attacks. While the same levels of emotion and frustration present in interpersonal clashes may be exhibited in productive conflict, leaders ensure that their teams realize that the purpose of vigorously exchanging ideas and concepts is to produce the best solution as quickly as possible.

Promoting healthy conflict requires that leaders refrain from protecting their team members from harm; prematurely interrupting debate to defuse a disagreement inhibits the team’s development of needed coping skills. No leader wants to lose control of a team meeting, but for the conflicting dialogue to be productive, it must reach its natural resolution.

This doesn’t mean that leaders should remain above the fray. When a debate gets stuck, they can facilitate the achievement of resolution by summarizing the two […]

By |February 21st, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Why Customers Are Dissatisfied

The most productive way to grow sales is to increase orders from current customers. Despite this proven fact, a Learning Dynamics study reports that more than 60% of companies do not consider customer satisfaction as a top priority.

Reasons for customer dissatisfaction include:

Few supplier personnel are aware of what customers actually do with their products or services;

In about 20% of companies, sales people do not follow up with customers; senior managers do not contact customers in about 25% of companies, and this grows to 30% and over 65% for Marketing and R&D respectively;

In approximately 15% of companies, there is no function acting as a customer’s advocate and no formal means to capture customer wants;

Fewer than half of new products are developed or improved based on customer suggestions or complaints, even though a related MIT study indicates that the best innovations come from customers;

Less than 5% of companies make customer satisfaction a key metric in executive compensation.

Many organizations believe that they are in business to make products or provide services, when it is actually the added strategic value produced by their offerings that creates customer preference. Going beyond functional satisfaction, to learn why the delivered quantifiable […]

By |February 14th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

5 Statements to Assess Team Bonding

In his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni offers a Team Assessment questionnaire to evaluate a team’s susceptibility to the dysfunctions. Below are variations of 5 statements that strive to assess the level of team bonding:

All team members are aware of the others’ key activities, and how their actions contribute to the team’s goals.

Team members know what they expect from each other and intensely seek to avoid disappointing their teammates.

During meetings, members confidently address the most difficult issues, challenging one another about their plans and methods.

Team members are first to admit mistakes and slow to seek credit, but quick to credit others.

Meetings and discussions are concluded with clear resolutions and action steps, so all members can be confident that their associates are committed to a decision.

How consistently does your team demonstrate these behaviors?
How might team bonding be strengthened?

By |February 7th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments