Selecting, Retaining, and Developing 
Executive Leaders and Teams

March 2017

Leadership Tips

  • If you want to prevent career derailment, embrace the power and importance of playing organizational politics. Politics is how things get done.
  • When hiring, ask the candidate to provide you a sample of their thinking. Ask for a proposal for a new project. You will learn their capability for critical thinking and creativity, and initiative.
Leadership Rules to Be Remembered 
A corporate coaching client asked "How do I show more emotional intensity and passion as an executive when I am not a demonstrative person?" I replied, "Take up acting." I made the suggestion because good leaders need to be good actors.
In fact, I took my own advice and began to take classes in improvisation. I am surprised at the number of insights I have gained about expressing emotions, and relationships in general. One insight is the importance of following rules. Another insight is that we are improvising throughout the day. Most of our days are filled with interruptions, surprises, and no script.
Here are five rules of improvisation that are the foundation for improving your capacity to influence others.
  1. Say "yes-and," not "yes-but." In relationships saying "yes-and" will fuel the dialogue while "yes-but" will abort any further conversation.
  2. Make the other actor look good. The corollary in business is to always make your co-worker look better. Find the positive. Don't criticize. Don't judge.
  3. Always inform. Every conversation and every behavior is to inform something about you, the other person, or the world around you. Inform through your words and actions. Think about what information you want to convey.
  4. Use detail. When trying to create a picture in the head of the other person, detail is important. Speaking about the details of the information you are conveying is powerful. Generalities can misinform.
  5. Pronouns are powerful. When building relationships, using "we" or "us" connects people, while saying "you" or using too many "I's" derails conversation.
"First, Break All the Rules-What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently"
by Donal Clifton and Marcus Buckingha

The Gallup organization helped organizations measure the engagement of 30 million employees. The book contains the rules of engagement that break conventional rules.
One broken rule is that there are different kinds of talents. According to the research by Gallup, there are striving talents that explain the "why" of the person, the thinking talent that explains the "how" of a person, and the relating talent that explains the "who" of the person. To get the whole person engaged, each of the three talents need expression and inspiration.
Taking the talent model further, great managers have explicit expectations for every talented employee. Here are the six (6) explicit expectations that every manager has for their talented employees.
  1. Look in the mirror any chance you get. Use any and all feedback tools to improve.
  2. Muse. Sit down each month for 20-30 minutes and mentally "play back" the last few weeks. What did you learn? What did you accomplish? What did you hate?
  3. Discover yourself. Become more detailed in your description of your skills, knowledge, and talents.
  4. Build your constituency. Seek out those relationships that work out well for you.
  5. Keep track. Record you own learnings and discoveries.
  6. Catch your peers doing something right. Each day make your work place a little better.

The Value of Recognition

A study by Deloitte found that "high recognition companies" have 31% lower voluntary turnover than companies with poor recognition cultures.


Once my coaching client began to apply the rules, his level of emotional intensity and accompanying impact increased. When thinking about your career success, spend time to identify the rules. Once you identify the rules, you can then be thoughtful and plan to follow as many rules as possible. Also, as you look back on your career, think about those times that you inadvertently broke a rule and paid the price. Become someone who knows, respects, and follows the rules responsible for ongoing success.
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.