Success Matters: #26 August 2010
Is your boss your champion?

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Gerrie Dresser,
The Leadership Strategist / Executive Coach for Mid-Career Leaders and Leadership Teams . . .

Coaching you to articulate your unique value, stand out IN a crowd, and create sustainable career success!

Conversations and strategies about how to stand out IN a crowd and create sustainable success while making a difference through high impact contributions.

A Message from Gerrie


Have you seen the theatre production of the musical comedy “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”?

It was playing at the university theatre last week, and reflected the light and insightful story about the legendary Charlie Brown, his sister-Sally, his dog-Snoopy, his ‘friend’-Lucy, her brother-Linus, and Lucy’s crush-Schroeder! I was really hoping to see the ‘little red-haired girl’, but she wasn’t one of the featured roles – only disappointing part of the production!

I was intrigued with the interpersonal dynamics among the very diverse characters – which reminded me of the dynamic interplay among executive leaders, direct reports, peers, and stakeholder groups with the additional gender and generational differences

In the musical comedy, Charlie Brown had a lot of self-doubt and lacked confidence along with conflicts between the characters. Lucy even conducted her own ‘360 assessment’ for feedback about her ‘crabbiness’. As musical comedy goes, there was a happy ending in which Charlie Brown realizes that being a "good man" means trying your best and making the most of the things you've been given in life.

  • I couldn’t help but wonder, ‘How self-confident would Charlie Brown have been if he had a Mentor or been given positive feedback from his peer coaches?

Based on feedback in the Unique Genius 6-Question Survey, having a Mentor is a critical factor in many leaders feeling self-confident in their career and leadership role. In the survey, leaders also indicated that fear, self-doubt, and lack of self-confidence were obstacles to embracing a strategic focus on achieving targeted goals.

So, it’s a catch-22. If you have self-doubt like the loveable Charlie Brown [and many leaders do!], you may not ASK for mentoring, especially about two challenges that are frequently noted . . . managing up or contradicting your boss.

Are you ready to stretch your thinking about mentoring as a boss or direct report? Read our Feature Article, “Is Your Boss Your Champion”!

Enjoy the last few weeks of Summer, %$firstname$%.


Gerrie Dresser
The Leadership Strategist to help leaders
stand out IN a crowd . . . DIFFERENTIATE YOURSELF!

Features:  What's Included ...

Unique Genius Virtual Café: Upcoming Events

Our Unique Genius Virtual Café Event is scheduled on the second Tuesday of each month from 12:00Noon – 12:55pm to help you create sustainable success and stand out IN a crowd for your unique, credible expertise.

  • September 14, 2010: She’s in demand, so I invited her for a second show! Guest Expert – Pam Boney, MA, Founder, CEO & Partner of Tilt, Inc.

You asked to know more about the impact of Tilt 360 after hearing the History of Tilt during our August 10 Café conversation with Pam, so she is returning on September 14.

In September, you’ll learn about the potential for YOUR leadership performance to be exponential instead of incremental through self-leadership and development of conscious leadership presence.

Paradoxically, when you, as the leader focus most on what you have the most control over (self), your influence becomes most expansive.

For more information about Tilt 360, click here . . .

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Speaking Events!

To celebrate the message about ‘Unique Genius’, organizations and corporations are sponsoring speaking events to inspire and motivate their leaders! Watch for upcoming events in Success Matters.

October 6: “5 Secrets to Successful Career Re-invention”
  Focus: My Story of Career Re-invention


Sponsor: Drexel University's LeBow College of Business, Drexel Women in Business


Location: Drexel University, Philadelphia PA


Date/Time: Wednesday, Oct 6 – 5:30pm to 8:30pm


Register: Watch here for registration link:


December 3: “Stand Out IN a Crowd with Your Unique Promise of Value That Is Relevant and Memorable”
  Sponsor: Greater Philadelphia Senior Executive Group – CIO Roundtable, Sub-group
  Location: Aldo Lamberti, Cherry Hill NJ
  Date/Time: Friday, Dec 3 – 11:30am – 2:00pm
  Register: Open to GPSEG Sub-group or Guests who are sponsored by an existing member of the roundtable or obtain pre-approval from the chair or co-chair.

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

Phone: 610-429-0359

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Unique Genius 6-Question Survey

Snapshot of the Results!!

My heartfelt thanks to so many of you who completed the ‘anonymous’ 6-question survey!

Because it was anonymous, we couldn’t track who completed it / or not, so you may have received a few Reminder messages. As it turned out, the anonymity provided the value that we intended – you provided honest and forthright responses to the questions.

Snapshot of the Results: The 6 questions were designed to uncover the trends and challenges you are experiencing in your career and leadership role and the products and services that would help you to stand out IN a crowd with more elegance and leadership presence.

After extensive analysis of your responses, the consistent themes reflected leaders who fit into five categories
  • Leaders who desire to advance their careers and feel uncertain about how to articulate their value, promote their contributions, keep current about the industry trends, thus, be competitive and stand out IN a crowd. A few need additional credentials (license, certification) while many indicated the need for an ‘inner circle’ of mentors, advocates, peer coaches, and master mind community.
  • Leaders who are undecided or unclear about their ideal career and feel confused and stuck.
  • Leaders who want to change careers, and are hesitant to explore the options because of financial concerns, decreased career / job opportunities, and uncertainty in corporate direction. As a result, they also feel stuck.
  • Leaders who want to stand out, be recognized and rewarded for their high impact leadership, resulting in exceptional business outcomes through initiative, influence, innovation, and highly effective social awareness and self-management.
  • Entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs who have development needs in business start-up, marketing, and business expansion.

One strong theme throughout the survey was the influence of internal factors, such as self-leadership and personal development on the respondent’s ability to strategically focus on and achieve their desired outcome. Although external factors, such as the economy and the corporate environment were indicated, these did not reflect a strong impact factor.

Which category fits your situation? Watch for more feedback in future editions of Success Matters.

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Feature Article:
Is Your Boss Your Champion?

Whether you’re the boss or direct report now, read further …

Over the past 10+ years, I’ve researched the factors that result in sustainable success and identified the ‘5 Secrets’ that are most impactful. Secret #3 is “Endear Yourself to Your Boss or Your Direct Report!”

This is often challenging, but it is one of the core factors in your success – whether you’re the boss or direct report, or both!

Research findings quoted by Nancy Rehbine-Zentis, PhD, reflect the value of mentoring, “a study of Fortune 500 CEOs found that 75% cited mentoring as one of the top 3 key factors in their career”.

She also noted that “30% of women executives and 24% of CEOs pointed to a lack of mentoring as one of the most significant obstacles for women and CEOs.
  • I know that some of you are thinking, “There is NO WAY that my boss [or direct report] would be my mentor, and definitely NOT a champion!”

However, I’ve observed a few leaders turn around a highly intense and non-supportive reporting relationship to one that is a catalyst for their growth. David D’Alessandro in his book, "Career Warfare", describes the reciprocal nature of the relationship between a boss / direct report, outlining a number of ‘characters’ that a boss could play – one is the “Little League Parent” in that they treat you as their son or daughter and expect a debt of gratitude from you. There are others that are quite humorous!

“The Good Sergeant” is the one to hope for! (page 63-65) Personally, I think that David played a major part in developing the positive relationship he had with his boss. He could have seen his boss’ behavior in a more negative light, but he saw the positive in the circumstances.

For example, David's boss was tough, but he built a solid team and promoted his key players as he developed greater responsibilities. These key players protected their boss, as well. Rather than joining the gossip and complaining about ‘the boss’, they communicated his strengths and good points. The boss also recognized their contributions and effort, making sure that other influential leaders were aware of the value that the key players brought to the table. In addition, he took time to share his knowledge and experience with them, i.e., acting as a ‘boss/mentor’.

This may be one of the most challenging mentor / mentee relationship for you to manage – whether you’re the boss or direct report.

It can also be one of the best opportunities for growth and advancement for you. One of my clients had what appeared to be a no-win situation with his boss. However, he saw no other option except to have the ‘crucial conversation’ with his boss. Much to his surprise, they reached a better understanding of each other’s style and built a stronger trust between them as a result of the conversation. AND, he learned that his boss had a very high regard for him and his work!

  • What can you do today to “endear yourself to your boss or direct report?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject … drop me an email at

In September edition of Success Matters, we will explore the selection of informal mentors – what makes for an effective mentor?

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Gerrie Recommends

Career Warfare: 10 Rules for Building Your Successful Brand on the Business Battlefield. Author: David F. D’Alessandro Publisher: The McGraw Hill Companies, 2008

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