Why Energy Makes a Difference

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 …

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Leveraging Lessons Learned

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 …

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Controlling the Price Discussion

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, …

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3 Ways to Launch Productive Change

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 …

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3 Keys to Evaluating Culture and Value Creation

Multiple studies agree that value creation is more dependent on successful culture integration than on any other factor; they cite poor cultural compatibility as the root cause for the high rate of acquisition failure. Without a timely and extensive integration of cultures, creating value will not be possible.  The traditional due diligence process evaluates multiple quantifiable parameters to validate the intuitive sense that a specific deal will create value, but often, the least attention is paid …

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What Customers Value

A customer’s inquiry typically solicits a resolution to a stated, short-term problem. If your solution relieves the customer’s immediate pain, without contributing to their long term progress, then you’ve produced transactional value like any other commodity. And you’ve wasted an opportunity to reveal your organization’s experience, expertise and competency in a way that differentiates your business.  But, if prior to proposing your solution, you discover why resolving the customer’s need would contribute to their success, then your …

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Questions for Leaders

The pace of economic change continues to accelerate, driven by global competition, rapid developments in technology, and the shift in transaction power from seller to buyer. Businesses are perpetually disrupted by the need to respond faster in creating strategic value for customers, or suffer the consequences if they cannot do so quickly enough.  It’s an economy that demands agility and innovation to create value and sustainability. Creating value is difficult work, much more challenging than extracting it …

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Adapting to Customer Centricity

Bob Schultek Author of  The Gauntlet In this increasingly customer-centric market, here are some organizational issues to consider: To generate growth, profitability and sustainability, ensuring that a business is continually creating strategic value for customers is a primary responsibility for leadership. Creating value for the business begins by first creating value for customers; customer value is monetized to validate its contribution to business value. To reliably create strategic value and strengthen sustainability, the business: –Discovers what customers value, …

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5 Keys For Teams That Move Faster

Bob Schultek Author of  The Gauntlet Profitable growth relies upon the preservation of enduring customer relationships. Sustaining these relationships demands that a business consistently produce more strategic value for a key customer than can be gained elsewhere – value that contributes to the customer’s progress. A key factor in creating strategic value is moving faster – faster in delivering results, adapting to changing needs, and innovating. When Google wanted to move faster, they formed small, cross-functional teams to …

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Prioritizing Opportunities

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet Promptly and efficiently evaluating multiple business opportunities can accelerate your reaction to them; move too slowly and the best opportunities may vanish. Ask these three questions for each opportunity to prioritize the alternatives by potential strategic value produced for your business: What quantifiable benefits are produced if the opportunity is successfully exploited? How soon will these benefits be realized? How likely will identified obstacles be quickly overcome? This prioritization will enable you to …

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