Selecting, Retaining, and Developing 
Executive Leaders and Teams

June 2016

"The first requisite of success is the ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem without growing weary."    Thomas Edison
Leadership Tip 
  • To make the best hire, keep in mind the old adage "Past history is the best predictor of future performance."
  • To prevent your business or career from derailing, you need to ask and answer the question "what business am I in?"  For example, McDonald's is actually in the real estate business not just the fast food business. Ray Kroc, who built McDonald's never flipped a hamburger.

During a meeting with the CEO of one of my Fortune 500 clients, the criteria of a successful executive came up. The CEO used the metaphor of "borders and edges" when saying that all leaders need to balance focusing on the edges of the business with the borders of the business. He further described that leaders fail when they are unable to balance their focus.
I asked the CEO to clarify what he considered the "edges" and the "borders" of the business. He replied that the edges represent "tactics and the present" while the borders represent "strategies and the future."
On the plane ride home from my client, I mused over the CEO's metaphor. I realized that many executives derail because they are not able to discern when to focus on the edges and when to focus on the borders. I then realized that diagnosing when an executive is in "focus imbalance" would help prevent his/her career from derailing.
Here are some suggestions for you to continually balance the "edges with the borders."
  1. Think about your business. - What are the details and what is the big picture? Ask yourself if you have a big picture and how each detail impacts the business.
  2. Identify Key Performance Indicators. - This will give you an idea of the details.
  3. Keep communicating about the big picture. Ask your customers to give you feedback about the trends they see in your industry. 
  4. Take out a calendar and think about tomorrow's date, 5 years from now. Write the answer to the question: "If I am happy with my business five years from now, what would that look like."
  5. Make time to read about trends and authors that are considered "futurists."
"Focal Point-A Proven System to Simplify Your Life, Double your Productivity, and Achieve All Your Goals"  
by Brian Tracy    
I chose this book because it will stimulate your thinking and inspire you to use tools that will "dramatically improve your life." The purpose of the book is to help you focus on higher-value activities. The author's 25 years have demonstrated that focusing on critical activities distinguishes the world's most successful and fulfilled people.
The author created the Grand Slam Formula to increase your focus. The Grand Slam Formula is made up of four parts:
S implify by continually reducing and eliminate activities that minimally add to the accomplishment of your goals. Stop any low value activities. Ask yourself "Is there any activity that I need to stop doing, start doing or should do less?"
L everage by using other people's knowledge, energy, money, successes, failures, ideas, and even contacts. For example, successful people usually have paid a high price, in money, emotion, and frustration. Studying their achievements and learning from their experience will save considerable time and discouragement.
A ccelerate by always seeking new ways of achieving tasks and projects quicker. Always be thinking about innovative ways to do things faster for your boss, customers, and key people in your life. One of the best ways is to utilize technology for accelerating the pace of your accomplishments.
M ultiply by organizing and working with other people who have the skills and knowledge that complement yours. Collaborate with others. Assemble a team of competent people who, through synergy, can accelerate the accomplishment of your key goals.


Is Mental Effort Contagious?

Researchers in Belgium investigated why so many people are more productive in coffee shops. The researchers paid participants who could view each other's computer screen during a reaction time test and then placed a piece of cardboard between them so they could see each other but not the other's screens.
The researchers found that as one person worked hard the other person will begin working hard. Even when they could not see each other's screen, the hard working participant "motivated" the other person to work equally hard. Mental effort is contagious.
The next time you find yourself not able to focus, go to Starbucks or try sitting next to someone who you know is always working hard.


Staying focused is critical to being successful. Discipline yourself to balance your focus on the "edges and the borders" as a requirement for being a successful leader. There are many tools you can use that will help you focus.

Use the formula of simplify, leverage, accelerate, and multiply to stay on your focal point.

When all else fails go to Starbucks or find someone to sit next to who works harder than you.

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.