Selecting, Retaining, and Developing 
Executive Leaders and Teams

March 2016

"What Else?"
The Most Important Question You Can Ask
As you know, I am an avid sports fan. During March I relish in watching college basketball. With each game, I am amazed at the athleticism and hard work required to be a winning player. While watching, I began to reflect on what makes one player stand out while other players sit on the bench.
I thought back to a famous athlete who, when interviewed by his coach, said that what made him so successful was his attitude of "what else?" At the end of a long practice when the other players went to shower, he would come up to the coach and ask "What else can I do to prepare?" Other players would ask "Are we done?"

To be the best athlete you need to ask "what else?" and to be the best executive you need to ask "what else?"
Here are a few tips to continually ask "what else?"
  1. What Else? requires that you see your work not as a job but as a profession. Like the professional athlete, always pushing to get better is the difference between excellence and average.
  2. Ask "what else?" can you do to prepare. We are all moving so fast we forget to plan. We react instead of respond. Ask yourself "what else can I do to make sure I am prepared for an upcoming meeting.? Ask yourself if you need to schedule what is called "the meeting before the meeting" to be prepared.
  3. Ask yourself "what else?" do I need to know about someone whom I might hire or work with. What else do I need to know about his/her strengths, weaknesses, and sensitivities. Answering the question "what else?" will help you work more productively and collaboratively with those people.
  4. Ask yourself "what else?" can I expect from myself to make a meaningful contribution to my business or organization. Like the professional athlete who was challenging himself, especially when tired, ask yourself "what else can I become?" We are never completed. Even Abraham Maslow reached a state of self-actualization a few minutes before he died.
To be the best, ask yourself "what else?" before heading off to work - it is the one question that could catapult your career and business.
"Mastering Leadership-An Integrative Framework for Breakthrough Performance and Extraordinary Business Results"
by Robert J. Anderson and William A. Adams

This is a must read. Rarely do books on leadership provide a deep and wide framework for the challenge of "mastering leadership." The authors courageously admit that "most leaders are in over their heads, whether they know it or not." The authors posit a systematic paradigm for leaders to gain control over the acceleration of complexity.

The first paradigm is understanding "the promise of leadership." There are many expectations when one takes on the mantle of being a leader. The easiest expectations are explicit, such as strategic and business results. The more challenging are the implicit or unspoken expectations. These include fair treatment, competence, listening, and providing inspiration, meaning, and direction. Most leaders rarely acknowledge these expectations and therefore find managing them difficult.

Based on research and field experience, there are four universal promises of leadership. These include:

  • Setting the right direction and creating meaningful work.
  • Engaging all stakeholders and holding them accountable for performance.
  • Ensuring that processes and systems facilitate focus and execution.
  • Leading effectively by maintaining relationships of trust to achieve and sustain desired results.
Practice One: Discerning Purpose - Requires purpose and discipline to pay attention and learn to trust moments of clarity when a sense of purpose emerges.

Practice Two: Distilling Vision - The "self-authoring" of a vision for greatness for ourselves and our organization.

Practice Three: Knowing Your Doubts and Fears - We pursue our longing until it distills into vision. The vision then challenges us to "step up" to overcome fears and doubts.

Practice Four: Engage in Authentic, Courageous Dialogue - Speak and act in a way that embodies our vision of greatness. This courage fosters a change of culture that will lead to the greatness we envision.

Practice Five: Develop Intuition, Open to Inspiration - Leaders must learn to "trust their gut" and increase overall emotional intelligence.

Practice Six: Think Systemically - Only when leaders meet the demands of structural demands can structural changes that are meaningful be achieved.


The Value of Improving Leadership Effectiveness

There is data suggesting that if you can improve leadership effectiveness, you have a 38 percent probability of experiencing that improvement translate into increase business performance. In other words, leadership effectiveness is a 38 percent lever, meaningfully contributing to your organization's overall business performance. Since 38 percent exceeds most companies' profit margin, developing effective leaders clearly results in a return-on-investment.


Like the professional athlete, to truly master leadership, see what the critical value of always asking "what else?" can accomplish. By mastering leadership and continual improvement you have a good chance of making a meaningful contribution to your organization's financial well being. Never stop asking yourself "what else?"

In This Issue
Solving People and Management Issues

The Heller Group focuses on coaching for senior level executives.  We facilitate change within an organization that results in more effective leadership,  increased productivity, innovative thinking, and improved employee morale and retention.

Learn more about The Heller Group, Inc. at
Dr. Bruce Heller

Dr. Bruce Heller, founder of The Heller Group, Inc., has over 20 years experience consulting with managers and executives on executive education, leadership development, and organizational.   


He is an adjunct professor at Southwestern Law School. 


Dr. Heller is a consulting psychologist and member of the American Psychological Association Consulting Psychology Division. Dr. Heller holds a Ph.D. and Masters Degree in Education from the University of Southern California.  


Dr. Heller is the author of The Prodigal Executive-How to Coach Executives Too Painful to Keep, Too Valuable to Fire.  

Read the book.