Success Matters: #20 February 2010
Are you buried in details and day-to-day deadlines?

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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


“Secrets of the Highly Productive ... 15 hard charging company builders on how they make every minute count!”
This front page headline on INC Magazine’s March 2010 edition really caught my eye! 

With the continued focus in corporate cultures to ‘do more with less’, I thought that the article might give us the secret to having more balance between our personal and professional lives, right?

I started to imagine having a de-cluttered desk and finally checking off ALL the items on my ‘to do’ list. What I discovered was that each ‘hard charging company builder’ who was interviewed for the article had very diverse strategies, often an extreme contrast
For example, Kevin P. Ryan of Alley Corp says that the ‘best way to be productive is to have a great team’, attributing 80% of a business’ success to having the right people.  So, he overinvests in a continuous recruiting cycle and spends at least 1 hour/day interviewing job candidates.

On the other hand, Barbara Corcoran, builder of one of NY’s largest real estate companies, credits setting priorities to her productivity.  She categorizes projects to A, small A, B, and C with A priorities being those that push her business forward.  C priorities don’t make any difference ‘in the grand scheme of things’.  
Scott Lang, CEO of Silver Spring Networks, views a big part of being productive as being agile.

Are you stretched with the back-to-back meeting schedule in many corporate environments?  Scott leaves blocks of time in his calendar EVERY DAY, and on average is 50% unscheduled so he can respond quickly to the unexpected AND allows for big picture, strategic thinking.  
Catrina Fake, co-founder of the photo-sharing site Flickr, considers coming up with a good ideas as being productive, NOT ‘doing more in less time’.  Her perspective is that ‘it’s a sickness in business to always try to do more things in less time’ … that it’s opposite to being productive because one’s brain can’t generate innovative ideas by forcing the completion of more tasks.
So, I thought … all of them have different approaches, but there must be a common theme if INC Magazine invested in the research and published the outcome! 
And guess what I discovered? It gets back to a leadership capability that I hear from so many clients, a capability that is core to their work / life balance, internal promotion, being viewed as a credible and valued leader, and also one of the least understood capabilities … STRATEGIC THINKING!

Read our Feature Article below about this leadership capability to raise your level of leadership presence and credibility.
Enjoy a uniquely perfect day.


Features:  What's Included ...

Unique Genius Virtual Café: Upcoming Events

Our Unique Genius Virtual Café Event is scheduled on 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.

An Update about Our New Process:  In order to ensure that everyone gets on the call, we’ve moved to a ‘Registration’ process and conference service, and will send a separate Announcement about each Unique Genius Virtual Café Event and a Reminder on the day of the Event. 
For example, for our Virtual Café Event on February 8 with Jennifer McLean, almost 700 people registered and over 1600 people downloaded the mp3 file that required more phone lines and a system for high volume mp3 downloads.
What We DIDN’T Change:  We will continue to send an mp3 file of the call to everyone who registers, as we know that many of you aren’t able to participate LIVE. 
I’m having a lot of fun being a ‘matchmaker’ … connecting topics that YOU want to hear with Guest Experts.  Below is our line-up of Guest Experts with the audio recording in mp3 format from our previous Virtual Café Events, before our new Registration process.

  • March 9, 2010: Guest Expert – Matt Levy, Founder of ‘It Only Takes One’, Social Media Expert, and HR Leader who provides unique solutions to talent challenges,

Topic:  The Secret to Reaching the Top 3 Position out of 50 Million on LinkedIn … and lots more!  Watch your in-box for upcoming announcement.
Matt is a well-rounded HR leader with broad experience in both specialist (e.g., recruiting) and generalist (e.g., HR business partner) roles at blue-chip companies, Merck, Amgen and Johnson & Johnson, poised to provide and deliver successful solutions to your talent challenges.

Topic:  Career Leadership & Your Brand … more details to follow
Nancy was named one of the top 45 leaders under 45 by PharmaExec Magazine, and has navigated many corporate changes, including her most recent experience in the acquisition of Wyeth by Pfizer.  Nancy is very intentional about her brand and career leadership, and will share tips and strategies that she has found most valuable in her success.

  • May 11, 2010:  Guest Expert – Maria Gamb, former Fortune 500 executive trailblazer, Founder of "The Change Agent™ Academy", Host of "The Change Agent™ Radio Show”, author of "The Healing of Corporate America: Leadership for a New Beginning" due to be released in 2010

Topic:  Maria’s ground breaking work as founder of NMS Communications ("No More Stress") in 2007, helping other successful corporate managers and entrepreneurs reclaim their ability to lead, while also introducing and celebrating a new model of leadership.

Previous Unique Genius Virtual Café Events, mp3 Recordings:

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Speaking Events!

To celebrate the message about ‘Unique Genius’, organizations are sponsoring speaking events to share the ‘5 Secrets for Sustainable Success' to their clients and members! Watch for upcoming events in future Success Matters broadcasts.

  • March 17, 2010: Panel - “How To Improve the Quality of Your Job Search”
    Topic: “Discover Your Unique Genius … stand out IN a crowd … don’t be one OF the crowd”

Sponsor: American Society for Quality, Philadelphia Chapter
Location: Greater Plymouth Community Center 2910 Jolly Road, Conf Room A, Plymouth, Meeting, PA 19462 610-277-4312
Admission: $10 (Free if you are unemployed). Free pizza and refreshments

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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Feature Article:
“Are you buried in details and day-to-day deadlines?”

Whether you’re in a C-level, senior executive, or middle manager role, strategic thinking continues to be a challenge for many leaders.  As much as you try to keep your vision with a high level focus, it is so easy to get pulled into the details.
Many of you have heard me reference the ‘3 bullet executive’ … the leader who I worked with during my corporate career, the one who only needed a one page summary with 3 bullets describing a complex issue to make a decision.  He was masterful at integrating the one page, 3 bullet summary to act decisively and effectively. 
Through his mentoring, I learned to take risks with thoughtfulness, be discerning when leveraging opportunities, and be in integrity with my style, especially when faced with resistance and conflict.

  • Doesn’t it sound like strategic thinking is closely correlated with an ‘inside-out’ transformation?

Yes, it is.  It’s often a matter of letting go of control, turning the details over to someone else once you’ve delegated effectively.

  • But, I often hear clients who ARE thinking AND operating strategically, but undervalue their leadership capability. In fact, they are thinking strategically, but haven’t defined it as such.

I’ve outlined a few very simple definitions of strategic and tactically thinking for you to ask yourself, “Do I actually perform at a higher level than I give myself credit for?”

1. Strategic Thinking, the What and Why:  You see goals from a larger perspective.  You take the big picture into consideration with your thinking, planning, and actions; you recognize patterns and trends, respect priorities, anticipate risks and forecast outcomes, and identify alternatives for a backup plan. 

Coaching Tip:  Create a ‘Strategic Thinking Worksheet’ with these different categories, and use it with each new project.  You’re actually training your brain to think strategically!

2. Tactical Thinking, the How:  Many teams jump to solution before the team reaches consensus on the BEST solution.  Tactical Thinking is different … this is the discipline of performing each task in a quality manner, making sure that the strategic goals are achieved. 

Surprisingly, strong leaders are strategic thinkers and are also aware of the tactical plan for effective execution… they are often seen as ‘tactically credible’.  They also develop an engaged team effort by painting a picture of how the team’s tactical work makes the strategic outcome possible.
If you’re struggling with day-to-day deadlines and need to think more strategically, let’s go back to the hard charging company builders interviewed by INC Magazine for a few Coaching Tips:

  • Set healthy priorities
  • Recruit the right people on the team
  • Book time for the unexpected and creative brainstorming.  

For personal reflection:  What are the 3 motivators that will move YOU to embrace strategic thinking more consistently?

Your Coaching Challenge this month . . . How does your strategic thinking line up?

     How would you rate yourself on the characteristics below?
  1 = Rarely            2 = Sometimes            3 = Frequently

1. I consistently take time to reflect on the broader perspective of challenges and opportunities, and successfully develop and implement solution strategies, playing to my authentic style, my leadership strengths and natural talents.

Your Personal Rating:              

2. I am fully aware that strategic thinking creates a higher value to implementing an initiative or idea, and consistently engage my team in thoughtful planning BEFORE executing on the idea.

Your Personal Rating:             

3. On a personal level, I have a clearly defined career strategy that outlines leadership milestones over the next 3-5 years.

Your Personal Rating:             

Tune into future editions of Success Matters and identify what you can do to discover more secrets to sustainable success!

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Gerrie Recommends

Secrets of Six-Figure Women … Surprising Strategies to Up Your Earning and Change Your Life.  Author, Barbara Stanny.  Publisher: HarperCollins, 2004
“Barbara Stanny, journalist, motivational speaker, and financial educator, identifies the seven key strategies of female high earners: A Profit Motive, Audacity, Resilience, Encouragement, Self-Awareness, Non-attachment, and Financial Know-How.
Based on extensive research and hundreds of interviews, including more than 150 women whose annual earnings range from $100,000 to $7 million, Barbara Stanny turns each of the six-figure traits into a specific strategy for upping earnings. By rigorously fine-tuning them, readers can, step-by-step, climb the income ladder.”

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