Growth & Leadership Insights

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

Your Leadership Is Reflected in Your People

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

In a rapidly changing market, with accelerating workflows, responding to urgent operational issues is an increasingly common occurrence. Often, there is no time to wait while senior leadership decides how best to respond, so front-line, customer-contact employees are challenged to make “in the moment” decisions which can have a serious impact on the company’s reputation, brand awareness and finances. Situations like these provide teaching opportunities that support talent development. High impact, urgent and rapidly evolving scenarios will continue to multiply, so leaders are compelled to train and nurture their customer-contact personnel to manage these circumstances in accordance with their expectations. In 1999, Charles Krulak, a highly decorated, deeply experienced, retired General in the United States Marine Corps published an insightful article about leadership in such situations. His core leadership principle, 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.” The premise is that leaders are “ultimately judged by the quality of the leadership reflected in their subordinates.” Ensuring that their employees make the right decisions is a leader’s primary responsibility. As familiarity with Krulak’s Law grew among business […]

By |July 14th, 2021|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

Leadership is a People Business

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Leaders learn by leading, and they learn best by leading in the face of obstacles. As weather shapes mountains, problems shape leaders. ~ Warren G. Bennis  

The pace of change challenges leaders to be bold. But the unpredictability of bold actions can cause fear and anxiety within a leader’s team, inhibiting them and potentially compromising the expected outcome. For such actions to be successful, it becomes a leader’s priority to minimize the team’s stress, to help them become more agile, and to confirm that their leader has their back. 

Leaders can boost their team’s resilience and help them shine in tough circumstances with these tactics:

·        Clarify the Goal: Ask your team, “What are we trying to accomplish by our actions and why is this important?” When people are engaged with a clear, meaningful goal, they are more likely to see a challenge as an opportunity, and to show greater resilience in their efforts to achieve the goal. Help your team envision a successful outcome and how it will feel to win; then, warn them that there will be peaks and valleys on the journey towards that outcome. 

·        Know Your Team: Your people are your most sustainable competitive advantage. Get to know them, […]

By |June 30th, 2021|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

Why Purpose Matters

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Human beings are designed for more than mere survival. Once our basic needs are met, and we’re feeling reasonably secure, we begin to ask why we survive, for what? Why do we exist? 

Purpose is the answer to these questions. It’s that yearning to be part of something bigger than ourselves, something that motivates us to connect and contribute for a better future, something that makes our lives meaningful and fulfilling. Purpose creates satisfaction and happiness. 

Businesses are living organisms, communities of people who share this quest for purpose. The most successful ventures appreciate this basic human need. They seek to bond their people around a shared company purpose, and the values which personify it, to yield a sense of fulfillment in making a difference, for each other, their customers, and the business.  

It’s our emotions, more than our knowledge or skills, that drive our actions. The bond of shared purpose provides the emotional trigger that sparks our curiosity, that enables us to risk change in pursuit of improvement, that prompts us to explore new possibilities. Every successful endeavor can be traced back to someone who cared deeply. 

Prosperity results, and personal purpose can be fulfilled, when people contribute their energy and talent to […]

By |June 2nd, 2021|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Building Organizational Resilience

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Organizational resilience is the proportion of energy that an organization consumes in productive activities. An agile organization relies on resilience to adapt in reaction to significant change or challenge. The combination of 4 elements enables organizational resilience:

Personal Alignment: Individuals in the business, particularly the leaders, walk the talk – their behaviors are aligned with the company’s values, demonstrating credibility and integrity that builds trust.Structural Alignment: Teams within the business act in accordance with the company values and culture, in addition to its rules, structures and systems of governance, showing a collective integrity of shared commitment and accountability that facilitates progress.Values Alignment: The values and behaviors of individuals, and the collective values and behaviors of their teams, are aligned so that everyone is acting in accordance with the company’s culture, creating coherence, collaboration and productivity. Purpose/Mission Alignment: There is alignment between the company’s purpose/mission motive and its profit motive. Its purpose is the core of an organization’s culture, its values and behaviors reveal how that culture lives within the business, and all employees understand how they make a difference for customers, each other, and the company, fostering clarity, focus and trust.

Leaders buildCulture drives employee fulfillment. Employee fulfillment drives customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction […]

By |May 27th, 2021|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Precedents vs. Possibilities

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Two components define a company’s culture: 

1.      Its perspective towards people interactions and coordination (codependence vs. independence). 

A codependent culture emphasizes collaboration, managing relationships, and generating team success. Independent cultures value autonomy, individual action, and competition. 

2.      Its response to change (stability vs. agility). 

Cultures that favor stability prioritize consistency, predictability, and preservation of the status quo to drive efficiency and risk aversion. Those that value agility stress flexibility, adaptability, and receptiveness to change, prioritizing innovation, openness and a longer-term orientation.

The ‘response to change’ dimension is often characterized as contrasting a culture that focuses on objection versus one of that favors opportunity. Preserving the status quo pits precedents against possibilities suggested by flexibility or change.

Precedent looks back to maintain what was, while possibility looks forward to pursue what’s next.

Possibility begets more possibility. Opportunities multiply.

On the other hand, fixating on objection tends to lead to more objections or grievances.

Businesses that effectively focus on possibility don’t deny that there are reasons for objections, that there have been actions and omissions that must be addressed. But in response, they adopt a posture of forward motion, towards better, as the best way to address the problems that came before.

How is your company’s culture oriented?

By |May 19th, 2021|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Agile Productivity

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

People are often a company’s most expensive resource. So, optimizing people’s productivity often means keeping everyone busy on their functional duties, increasing the likelihood that every employee, of every skill type, will be fully utilized.  

The downside? No department’s workers know how their labor affects other departments in the operation of the business. One department’s productivity may be high, but the company as a whole may not be moving faster or with more flexibility. 

In this age of agility, in which businesses need to respond faster, leaders are discovering how to boost cross-functional productivity which improves their flexibility and responsiveness, enabling customers to accelerate their own progress and value creation. 

Rather than striving to maximize departmental productivity, these leaders are expanding the awareness and capabilities of their people to improve cross-departmental workflow. This more strategic perspective produces many benefits including higher throughput, faster reactions, quicker order fulfillment, accelerated cash flow and increased capacity. All of which improve agility and create value for their customers. 

And having gained momentum in productivity, leaders expand their pursuit of agility by asking questions like these: 

How can we accelerate decision-making to help our business move faster?

How can we better motivate innovation when our established procedures are dedicated to preserving efficiency and risk aversion?

How can we encourage creativity and cross-functional collaboration when our current operating structure is departmentally oriented with managers who do more telling […]

By |May 12th, 2021|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments