Cultivating Team Accountability

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Since leaders are responsible for the performance of their teams, they often assume the role of primary accountability monitor for each team member.  

In team meetings, each teammate reports to the leader, in turn, on her or his activities. The result is a one-sided presentation of information between team member and leader, with little dialogue occurring among the rest of the team. This creates an environment in which team members assume that the leader is the only one responsible for sustaining accountability, so others on the team withhold their comments that might support their teammate’s performance, or worse, that might raise a concern that something is not working well. 

The most effective means of ensuring individual accountability, and exceptional team performance, is peer pressure. Having made a shared team commitment to an objective, nothing motivates individual accountability more efficiently than the fear of disappointing valued teammates who are relying on each individual’s performance to achieve their targeted team outcome. 

It falls to the leader to transform this individual peer pressure fear into a productive shared team accountability by creating a culture where the team serves as the ultimate arbiter of its performance. It’s a culture that commits a team to […]

By |July 28th, 2021|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Creating Customer Value

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

The marketplace is noisy, filled with commodities of all sorts, pitched to the masses, often using low price as the seductive hook.When the objective is to get orders, as many as possible, quickly and easily, then offering a low price can attract the crowd. Low price is obvious, direct and easy to evaluate for these buyers; its benefit is the same for everyone.If your growth strategy is to market your offering as a commodity, then selling on price is a simple, effective strategy. But it’s a one trick pony, discounting your expertise and requiring that you resellyourself with each transaction.On the other hand, if you seek to grow your business by marketing solutions to customer problems, creating trust and building relationships that generate recurring orders with customers, then discovering what your customer values, in addition to their stated need, is the key to this strategy’s success. Because each customer defines value differently, there’s an opportunity to focus your unique knowledge and expertise on delivering the exact benefits needed to create the customer’s value, those benefits generated by your product or service. Resolving a short-term pain in a manner that contributes to the customer’s progress converts a transaction into an investment in […]

By |July 6th, 2021|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Overcoming Obstacles to Improvement

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Leaders are expected to improve results, which means something must change.

People often see change as risky, so they resist it until they are convinced that the expected improvement will outweigh the risk of the change. Surviving in a competitive world demands that improvements continue, so motivating people to change, to improve a product or process, consumes much of a leader’s time.

Leaders may launch an improvement effort by explaining why the change is necessary, how it will produce an improvement, and how the improvement will create value for the company and its people. But then, the leader must engage in a dialogue about the pros and cons of the proposed change to secure the commitment necessary to pursue the improvement. The two most common barriers to commitment are:

The fear of change. Defeating this fear requires that leaders show optimism in considering what is possible, confidence in assessing the risk of change, and courage to act in implementing the improvement. Remaining engaged throughout the change assessment dialogue generates the momentum that overwhelms the fear.The change will disrupt a precedent which has delivered efficiency, quality and risk . This objection most often arises from those responsible for preserving […]

By |June 23rd, 2021|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Relying on Feedback

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

All automated systems rely on feedback loops to sustain accuracy and repeatability. These loops compare results against system settings, and adjust variables to ensure alignment and expected performance.  

Then, when change compels a system’s performance to improve, there’s a ready baseline of consistent data against which to measure and generate improved results. It’s a logical, unemotional process that delivers higher performance. 

The performance of people is similarly subject to unrelenting change that disrupts their status quo. And because the workings of people are more complex than those of a system, progress depends on helping people discover how they are currently making a difference, and how their future impact can be magnified by reacting with agility to change. 

Gathering feedback from others is an essential tool for exercising agility. It projects what others see and advises precisely what they want or need. Once the feedback is given, the choice is to accept or reject it. 

Leveraging feedback to improve performance drives learning and growth. Reacting positively to it conveys respect for those who provided the feedback, converting vulnerability into credibility. And key relationships, the lifeblood of business and of life, are strengthened.  

The outright rejection of feedback using argument or ingratitude typically results in no further feedback being given. It’s a lost discovery and improvement opportunity. And […]

By |June 16th, 2021|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Who Are You Competing Against?

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

In this dynamic market, the most agile, growing businesses compete more against themselves than against any competitor.Competing companies, offering comparable solutions, struggle to differentiate themselves over time, resulting in declining prices and margins which impede sustainable growth.Your customers care only about the value you produce for them, and however you accomplished this last time, they will expect more next time. Producing more value than last time, without just reacting to what your competition is doing, requires that you challenge yourself to be better. Your real competitor is you. 

Listen to what your loyal customers are saying; what do they value, what’s inhibiting their growth? Use these insights to challenge your status quo, to perfect what you do, and to fuel creativity and innovation. 

But realize that challenging your status quo may require you to respect precedent without being paralyzed by it. That precedent was developed to promote efficiency and minimize risk, so there will be resistance from those responsible for preserving the precedent. To overcome that resistance, describe why a change creates more value. 

The most common stated barrier to improvement or innovation is the lack of time. Without goals for these initiatives, and someone responsible for achieving them, no time will be allocated […]

By |April 28th, 2021|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Employing Empathy

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Empathy, the capacity to understand another person’s perspective and feelings, is often described as the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes. But don’t confuse empathy with making people happy or being nice.Empathy is a skill that enables leaders to scan large sets of data and establish priorities, sorting out what’s noise and what’s essential information by assessing signals, anomalies and novel patterns that compel their attention. For those who master it, employing empathy produces many benefits.It provides a productive feedback mechanism for leaders, enabling them to know if the people they’re trying to reach are actually being reached. It helps predict the impact of a leader’s decisions and actions on target audiences so the leader may strategize accordingly.Empathy helps discover the root cause behind poor performance, or what motivates excellence. It allows leaders to build and develop relationships with those they lead. Without it, a leader cannot inspire followers, elicit loyalty or build a cohesive team.

Empathy is essential in negotiations and sales, exposing the aspirations and risk tolerance of those on the otherside.

It’s an effective data gathering tool which enables leaders to understand the human environment that drives business…building […]

By |April 15th, 2021|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Investing in Appreciation

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

During this prolonged time of disruption and stress, those you lead benefit from your personal attention in letting them know that they are appreciated and valued. The return on these efforts is higher individual and team performance, greater collaboration, increased willingness to invest in changes that deliver improvements, and enriched job satisfaction for your people. Good employees are hard to find, develop, and keep. And replacing trained, experienced people is often quoted as the #1 non-productive cost for businesses. Of those employees who are doing cognitive work (not repetitive production work), and who voluntarily leave a company, 80% cite “feeling unappreciated” as the primary reason for their decision to move on; it’s not about earning more money. Here are 3 keys for communicating genuine appreciation:1.   Communicate appreciation regularly. Defining ‘regularly’ varies by work setting, the frequency of interaction between coworkers, and the nature of the relationship. But it definitely needs to happen more often than once or twice a year during a performance review. In a production setting, where things move quickly, it’s important for a leader who notices improvement in an employee’s performance and/or behavior to immediately express appreciation for the progress the employee has made. Shift change or start-up meetings […]

By |February 3rd, 2021|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Inspiring Energy

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

We celebrated Labor Day this week, a day dedicated to the contributions that working people make to our country’s progress and supporting us all. It’s a remembrance that we appreciate more this year because the Covid disruption has created a stark contrast. We honor those who have defied the risk and worked, often tirelessly, to keep products flowing and shelves stocked, to care for us, to teach us and to protect us; likewise, we remember and respect those whose jobs have been sacrificed, hopefully on a temporary basis, to slow the spread of the disease, those who are fighting the emotional and financial battle that daily uncertainty has forced upon them. 

Our work is vital to our lives. Through our work, we earn dignity, respect and confidence, as well as compensation. We learn and discover what matters to us, realizing how we make a difference for others and ourselves. And the output from our efforts is the energy that motivates action and drives production, transforming the ideas and ambitions of an organization into the goods and services we all need. That organization will survive only as long as it enables its employees to continue generating the energy which sustains […]

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

Leading with Attitude

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

A leader’s attitude is always on display; but during a crisis, people pay closer attention. 

While no one can control the virus attacking us, every employee is watching to discover how their leader is reacting to the challenge. Effective leaders focus on what they can control, and that includes their attitude. It’s a choice they make every day. Acting with a positive mindset provides a model for their personnel, a direction to follow. 

Life does not arbitrarily impose itself on us. Rather, we choose which of life’s many offerings to accept. We can’t change how things are, but we can change how we will approach today. Rather than being negative or disoriented by our current challenge, leaders look for opportunities to energize and inspire their teams. They know that a positive attitude is more contagious than the virus. 

Leaders appreciate that their attitude reflects their expectations, and it’s those expectations that generate energy for their people. They recognize that their thoughts, words, actions and results are influenced by their attitude. 

These leaders are mindful that their thoughts become their words…that their words become their actions…that their actions reveal their character…and that their character validates their effectiveness as a leader. 

What attitude will you express today?

How can you leverage a positive attitude to […]

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