Courageous Leader: #05 July 2014
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Gerrie Dresser, PCC
The Executive / Personal Brand Coach for Courageous Leaders and Innovative Companies to . . .

Maximize their distinctive value and deliver strategic impact through an engaged team effort.

Courageous Leader . . .
“Live Boldly. Embrace Your Value. Lead from the Front.”

A Personal Note from Gerrie


Have you ever felt so overwhelmed with complex and confusing data that your decision defaulted to what you already know rather than factoring in new assumptions?

For example, let’s say you’re driving down the road and you hear a NEW noise coming from the engine of your car. You’re rushing to a business meeting that you’re leading. The top agenda item is a critical decision about the direction of a high priority project.

  • Do you pay attention to the NEW car noise or minimize its importance and figure that you’ll have time after work to handle it?
  • How does it change the scenario if your three children are all sitting in the back seat of the car?

According to Paul Schoemaker, executive chairman for Decision Strategies International, your decision whether to stop and get your car checked or wait until after work to get it checked is often based on your current beliefs and expectations rather than considering new assumptions.

For example:

  • Did you just get your car inspected the day before and you trust your mechanic to have checked for any major current or potential problems?
  • Are you stuck in a traffic jam, and can’t possibly get to a service station anyway?
  • Do you decide to call your mechanic and get another perspective from the expert?
  • Can you call ahead to the office to arrange a back up plan?
  • Is your children’s school just a block away?

Ambiguity is rampant in our personal lives and in our professional lives, especially in today’s fast paced business world with companies restructuring, merging with other companies, and launching innovative products. Sometimes, they collide or intersect like in the above scenario.

Strategic leaders are those who take time to quickly synthesize and interpret complex data and embrace ambiguity. To gain access to key behaviors that will uplevel your strategic leadership, read our Featured Articles, “5 Keys to Embrace Ambiguity and Question Assumptions . . . while building high trust in your team.”

Celebrate Your Distinctive Impact in the World!


Gerrie Dresser
Executive l Personal Brand Coach
Who helps courageous leaders
Accelerate GROWTH through Leadership

P.S. – Feel free to share with your network!

Features:  What's Included ...

Speaking Events


From small, intimate groups to major corporate events, our high content – high energy - high value events - are custom designed to inspire, engage and motivate your organization, so that change happens and sticks. Each participant is motivated to face challenges head on and step up to more courageous leadership!

Upcoming Event:

  • Sept 18: Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) Greater Philadelphia Chapter, Executive Panel
    “From the Executive Suite: Mentoring Models, Strategies and Insights for Courageous Leaders”

Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (, Greater Philadelphia Chapter
Location: Shire Pharmaceutical, Chesterbrook, PA
Date/Time: Thursday, September 18, 2014: 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Moderator: Gerrie Dresser
Panel Team:

Jeff Conklin: Senior Vice President, Worldwide Global Commercial Operations, Bristol-Myers Squibb

Marianne Jackson: Senior Vice President, Global Commercial Operations, Shire Pharmaceuticals

Abigail Jenkins: Head of Market Access / Executive Director, Relypsa; Immediate Past President, HBA Mid-Atlantic Chapter

David Nicoli: Senior Public Affairs Executive / Consultant, Board Member & Lawyer in Life Sciences, Consumer Products & Non-Profit Sectors


Gerrie Dresser, CEO of Unique Impact, is a nationally-acclaimed speaker, known for her dynamic delivery of high content, high energy, and high value presentations laced with real world examples and “how to” strategies for immediately actionable outcomes.

To learn more about Gerrie’s speaking and make a referral to your organization, click on link:

Phone: 484-947-5992

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Feature Article:
“5 Keys to Embrace Ambiguity and Question Assumptions
. . . while building high trust in your team”  

The most extraordinary strategic leaders are those who create a sense of possibility, even during daunting challenges. This often results in a business breakthrough into new markets, a more innovative direction or a higher performing team.

However, these breakthroughs only happen with an open mindset and questioning old beliefs and assumptions to reach the right decision.

It’s a combination of art and science for a leader to elicit complex and conflicting information without meeting resistance when everyone else is moving at breakneck speed and want to make a decision yesterday.

Many leaders are torn, though, because they are positively recognized for being decisive. Yet moving too quickly could result in misinterpreting complex data with a negative business impact.

For example, if your market intelligence group reports that your competitor dropped its prices, what would your assumptions be?

  • Your competitor will gain market share OR will they lose market share?
  • Lowered prices means your competitor is having financial problems OR did the company streamline the manufacturing process that lowered production costs?
  • The competitor’s brand will be devalued OR will its brand be more highly recognized for their high value at lower cost?

Would you agree that these assumptions need to be interpreted against the facts?

By mastering the key skill of strategic interpretation, you’ll recognize patterns, embrace ambiguity, and seek new perspectives on critical decisions. Thus, avoiding potentially disastrous misinterpretation.

5 Keys to Embrace Ambiguity and Accelerate Strategic Decision Making include:

1. Invite perspectives from diverse stakeholders … 3 is the magic number!

  • List at least 3 possible scenarios that are distinctive from what you observe.

2. Zoom in and out … from details to big picture

  • Practice divergent and convergent thinking to ensure you analyze the specifics and envision the big picture.

3. Gather evidence that disconfirms your beliefs or hypothesis.

  • Invite perspectives from customers, suppliers, and partners. Acknowledge any discrepancies to existing beliefs or unexpected patterns.

4. Supplement your assumptions with quantitative analysis.

  • This could be the positive game changer for your company to get ahead of the curve.

5. Promote an open mind that fosters innovative thinking.

  • Be willing to be part of the change so your team feels more assured as you move into new territory. Timing is everything . . . know when to wait and when to move forward.

Your Coaching Challenge:

In the month ahead, hold steady when you’re faced with ambiguity and apply the ‘5 Keys to Embrace Ambiguity’ listed above:

  1. What type of data is available for you to synthesize and identify unexpected patterns?
  2. What has worked for you to reduce resistance and shift assumptions? Now, test those practices in a new situation.
  3. What part can you play in helping your team or peers to embrace new ideas or new ways of doing business?

Reference: Strategic Leadership: The Essential Skills

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Unique Impact Coaching


Coaching is a confidential partnership between you, the Client, and your Coach to help you achieve your next level of success faster and with greater focus and clarity. Some of the benefits include . . .

  • Positions you as a more influential leader
  • Earn the respect and trust of other leaders across all functional areas
  • Other leaders easily recognize what's different, relevant and unique about you
  • Create loyal ‘brand advocates’ who endorse you
  • Helps you forge collaborative partnerships across the organization
  • You are sought out to lead high visibility, highly leveraged and credible projects

Gerrie Dresser is an ICF credentialed Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and practical, innovative executive l personal brand coach and thought leader.

If you’re ready to step into a bigger game for your work / life, contact Gerrie for a complimentary Unique Impact Strategic Consultation at

For more information about Gerrie:

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