Selecting, Retaining, and Developing 
Executive Leaders and Teams

November 2016

  • Fire before you hire! Being uncertain about a candidate and saying "no" will protect you from grief and aggravation.
  • If you need a relationship, it is too late.

An executive coaching client is a strong, intense, and gifted executive. He was hired to fix slowing revenues and update antiquated processes. Hemorrhaging money, he needed to respond quickly and surgically. My client barked orders and pushed people to the limit.
Once my client stopped the hemorrhaging, the company began to grow. Yet he continued to bark and push people to the limit. He did not realize the rules had changed.
I was called in by the CEO because of a hostile work environment complaint and a constant turn-over in his staff. During the first coaching session, I told him the rules had changed. He needed to understand the new rules going from a "turn around" executive to a "growth oriented" executive.
Here are 5 strategies to effectively stay on track when the rules change:
  1. Don't deny change - Acknowledge when a new boss, a new executive team, or change in the financial health of the organization occurs.
  1. Pivot - When you experience a change, be nimble enough to pivot to a new style and strategy of leadership.

  2. Achieve fluid objectives - When the rules change, there is an accompanying set of fluid objectives. Work to achieve as many of the changing objectives as possible.

  3. Navigate ambiguity - When the rules change there is an accompanying uncertainty. Know that meeting objectives through the uncertainty will lead to a "season" of stability.

  4. Document the new rules - Writing makes the unclear clear. Make a list of the behaviors that meet the expectations inherent in the new rules.
"Be the Boss Everyone Wants to Work For - 
A Guide for New Leaders"  
by William Gentry
When the rules change, you need to pivot and change. Your old style and focus will be obsolete. Like the snake that shed its skin, so you need to shed the old ways of leading to a new one.
According to the author to change you need to "Flip Your Script." Scripts are the written texts that direct performance. Transitioning from a successful contributor to effective leader requires changing your script.
Here are the six ways to "flip your script"
  1. Flip your mindset - Change the pronouns you use from "I" to "we." Debate your negative "mind chatter," which is the inner dialogue we all have.

  2. Flip your skill set - The platinum rule of "treat others the way they want to be treated." Understand the feelings and influence others through logic, emotions, and connections.

  3. Flip your relationships - Becoming a leader means leaving those relationships that previously helped you. You need to create distance by renegotiating expectations with people you now lead.

  4. Flip your "do-it-all" attitude - Delegate, delegate, and delegate. As a contributor, you were recognized for the work you did. Now you recognize the work others do.

  5. Flip your perspective - See things broadly. Take the bigger view by seeing how organizational politics are at play. Read the political landscape, network strategically, and leave a good impression.

  6. Flip your focus - Remember your impact is bigger. As the leader, people are watching you all the time. Ask yourself if a behavior or decision would be positively received by friends if written in the "Wall Street Journal."


Growth Minded Leaders
Research by Carol Dweck, contrasted executives with a growth mindset (believing one can improve, learn, and grow) to a fixed-mindset ( motivated by extrinsic rewards and a fear of failure). The results demonstrated that growth minded leaders increased a willingness to provide coaching and an increase in the quantity of quality of suggestions from others.


The client mentioned above was able to transition to a growth leader once he realized the rules had changed.
I encourage you to be mindful and pivot whenever you believe the rules have changed. You will stay on track and be glad you did.

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.