The Holistic Executive – Is This You?

By Joe Connelly

In my recently published book The Holistic Executive: Mastering the Ways of the Executive Leader I explore the concept of what it takes to develop hyper-performance in your executive role and achieve the elusive life-balance sought by so many. I think of these ideas as two sides of the same magical coin – a coin that you can discover and own if you so choose. It is my firm belief that achieving life-balance is where true happiness is to be found, and requires a clear strategy for your work life that will allow hyper-performance to manifest, and through this give you the possibility of life-balance.

At the outset two key questions must be considered: (1) Do I know what to do to achieve hyper-performance & life-balance, and (2) Am I willing to do what it takes to achieve both? Seemingly simple, yet highly complex questions.

Leadership demands continue to increase caused by smarter competitors, aggressive customers and entitled staff. With more globalization, and technology advances short-lived, shareholders are looking to executives for leadership, differentiation and best-in-class results. No wonder executives are stressed out and struggling with achieving balance. It’s only through mastering your business life (really mastering it), can you then seek out the holy grail sought by so many – life balance – the only place where true happiness resides. So, is it actually possible, and if so how can both be developed at the same time?

In the Three Personal Keystones I highlighted the foundational elements that all executives simply must master. Think of them as three points of the baseline triangle, and each one being as important and as relevant as the other two:

1. Values stewardship discusses the acute need to be clear on your own personal values, the need to be completely consistent in their application and the essential need of dovetailing them both with your company values and also those of your staff.

2. Time leadership highlights time awareness and being fully conscious of your executive time choices, and how much time you have and for what purpose. It suggests time management is now passé and that time leadership, where you consciously and strategically track and make decisions about your time, while time balancing the various ‘time-buckets’ in your life, is absolutely key.

3.  Focus acuity separates the wheat from the chaff, to focus on the vital few impactful decisions, and to learn how to apply the amazingly powerful 80/20 Rule properly at the executive level for breakthrough performance. At its root, focus is about personal choice, and it’s these choices that compound over a period of time to determine both your business and life happiness.

The second section introduces The Four Foundational Cores that every executive must be fully conscious of. All four make up the whole person that is you, and recognizes that weakness is one area can bring down strength in the other three. Consider the following:

4. Physical potency requires that you look after the vessel that carries in it everything else that is you – your mind, heart, dreams, etc. An optimal (not perfect) body will allow you the energy and motivation to tackle whatever you so choose.

5. Mental resiliency notes the incredible need to stay fully engaged with challenges until they are solved, and discusses the phenomenon that everyone has a level to which they accept change openly and freely.

6. Emotional empathy is all about creating empathy with other people as well as yourself. Being in tune with all that surrounds you is necessary to get the maximum from life.

7. Spiritual harmony is probably the least discussed topic in business books, but is the source from which we all draw our deepest motivation in times of crisis and need. It must be replenished on a regular basis for surely it will be tapped into by life’s many unfolding events.

The third section, The Five Success Accelerators, deals with key thinking patterns that are of vital importance in today’s ‘always on’ society. All must be mastered to achieve hyper-performance and then to systematically protect and maintain it. Consider the following:

8. Customer advocacy reviews the need to keep customers front and center in any internal decision-making, and suggests that if you are not already a Chief Customer Advocate (CCA) you should consider becoming one, and quickly.

9. Strategic capacity explores an area often considered weak for many executives – the ability to put tactical thinking on the back-burner and concentrate on “the big chess moves”, the ones that will differentiate them, their staff and ultimately their company against their ever-hungry competition.

10. Positive buoyancy amplifies the need to be truly positive in all situations and that it’s this positive mindset that in times of adversity separates the good from the truly great.

11. Accountability acceptance acknowledges there are key things both personally and from a business standpoint that you are completely accountable for. It discusses the easier written accountabilities, and the more complex and often less well understood unwritten accountabilities.

12. Performance mind-set exposes results, and normally very good results, are par for the executive course. Knowing what written and unwritten expectations you have and accepting them openly will keep your focus on achieving them.

In the final section (Balance Mastery: The Holistic Executive Way) the 12 previous topics are dovetailed together in a way that is balanced, sustainable and generates consistent hyper-performance business results. With just a little bit of imagination and creativity, the skills, tools and ideas that allowed hyper-performance at work can now be equally applied to your non-work life. It’s through this consistent application that allows for a truly balanced, fulfilled and extraordinary life to unfold. You will undoubtedly know people (and likely only a few at most) that you would classify as Holistic Executives – leaders who are in control, consistently performing at the highest level, and yet seem to have it all by having life balance. Know this is absolutely possible and its all about having a clear personal and business vision for yourself, learning quickly the tools to get and keep your there, and being decisively consistent by doing the right things at the right time.

And, of course, once you reach the utopia state of Holistic Executive Mastery, you will feel the most alive, the most blessed, and be in the best position to lead the fullest life you can live – the life you were meant to live in the first place. On attaining this level of life-balance, the universe encourages you to pass this incredible wisdom and skill-set you now have onto your staff, family, and friends and in fact as many people as might benefit from it. It’s through the ongoing teaching of the timeless wisdom of The Holistic Executive that true mastery is attained.

If your executive life and personal balance are lacking in some way, know that both can be fixed, and fixed as quickly as you so choose. I encourage you to recommit to yourself, to live the life of your dreams and to truly become The Holistic Executive.

Joe Connelly is Founder & CEO of, a worldwide Executive Sales Coaching and Consultancy company, with offices in Canada and Switzerland. Joe can be reached at [email protected].