Archive for the ‘Business Strategy’ Category

Unleashed Case Study #3 – Can You Make the Chair Turn?

March 5, 2014 2 comments


I enjoy watching NBC’s The Voice on television. I like it better than American Idol for several reasons (including that they boast my Colombian paisana, Shakira as a judge, but I digress)….

The four judges (also including Adam Levine, Usher, and Blake Shelton) listen to just the voice of the singer in the blind trials. That singer can only impress with their voice. Their looks, their dress, their dance skills, won’t help them. Just their voice. The judges that want to coach them then turn their chairs around within the 90 seconds allotted. If there is more than one, they “fight” to influence the singer to choose them as a coach.

Two important things that you need to know based on this show becasue it can make you better in whatever profession you are in…

1. These singers get 90 seconds to make a BIG impression. That’s it, that’s all. They need to be supremely influential and an object of interest with their most powerful gift (or “value”). Think about your business. You also need to be influential and become an object of interest to your audience quickly. While you may have more than 90 seconds, you don’t have long to engage and capture their attention. Whether you’re speaking publicly to a large group or having a first meeting with a prospective client, your “voice” needs to be more than just heard in those first few minutes. You need to turn a chair.

2. Coaches often duke it out in trying to influence a young artist to choose them as the coach. Even though much of it is based in good humor, there is always a strong plea based on the talents and how they align with a coach. If I was an aspiring country artist, why wouldn’t I choose Blake Shelton? If I was a young R&B artist, Usher would make the most sense. Shakira is skilled in not only music, but choreography and building a global base. Adam Levine would attract the eclectic and rock side. From whom do you seek advice from? Is it from people that are where you currently are (peers), or is it from people that have achieved what you want to achieve and can quickly guide you there? Mastermind groups are fine for what they are – accountability and support. Everyone needs a “coach” that will take them to their desired state rapidly. That’s what these young artists on The Voice want, and that’s what these judges deliver.

Look, if you want to accelerate your ability to be influential and grow your business, you’d better get really good at the first 90 seconds. The best way to do that is to get coaching from someone that can help you maximize your talent.

© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Wht Do You Need a Crisis Plan?

February 20, 2014 Leave a comment

umbrella_riskIt never ceases to amaze me when executives and business owners delay or simply refuse to put a strategic crisis plan in place for their business. I see it over and over again with small businesses. Quite honestly, it’s negligent on their part. They risk their profit, their revenue, their employee’s future, their reputation, and the impact to their supply chain. Other than that, it’s not a big deal.

Later today, I am hosting a webinar for executives in the assisted living and elder care community on the topic. These are some quick bullet points on the reasons to invest time and resources towards a plan. If you are in a position where you’re ultimately responsible for the sustainability and resiliency of an organization, you should all me. Or, allow me to put it this way – If you want to assure that no crisis is fatal to your business, you should call me. You will get a plan that meets these objectives:

  • To maximize the prevention of crisis or disaster situations from ever occurring.
  • To minimize the likelihood of any suspension of operations.
  • To minimize interruptions to the normal operations.
  • To limit the extent of disruption and damage.
  • To minimize the economic impact of the interruption.
  • To establish alternative means of operation in advance.
  • To train personnel with emergency procedures.
  • To provide for smooth and rapid restoration of service.
  • To assure that no crisis is fatal to the organization.
  • To set up a communication procedure for employees, supply chain, media, and community.
© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

The Time Ruse

February 19, 2014 Leave a comment

“And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death..”

~Pink Floyd – “Time”

Let’s be clear. Time is not a resource issue. It’s a priority issue. We all get 24 hours a day of time. Donald Trump can’t even buy any more of the valuable commodity. We all treat time as something to save; something to manage; something to find; and something to look forward to. The ruse is that if we give in to this thinking, we are just kidding ourselves.

It never ceases to amaze me when someone says, “When I have more time, that’s when I’ll do X!” OR ~ “My time is so busy now because it’s our busiest time of year. When this is over, I will have more time and will do X.” Or ~ When I tell my wife, “I didn’t have time to unload the dishwasher. Oops.”

Memo – X (whatever X is) is simply not that important to you. X might be writing a book, going back to college, investing in yourself through coaching, or dealing with an important yet not urgent item. (X might be that I simply didn’t want to empty the dishwasher and that soon became an urgent item for me!) The bad news is that non-urgent item normally becomes urgent at the worst possible time! I often tell my clients that crisis doesn’t schedule it’s events on a calender. It comes when it wants to and doesn’t send an announcement.

There is never a good time to do anything. Our lives are busy and we do a pretty good job of filling them beyond capacity. We complain when sitting in a doctor’s office when they overbook on purpose expecting cancellations. We complain when an airline books more passengers than the plane can hold. Yet when we can’t control our own time, aren’t we just as much to blame?

Do yourself a favor and be honest with you. When you really don’t want to do something, don’t use time as an excuse. Say it’s not a priority. This works in your personal life as much as your professional life (actually we only have one life, which makes this conversation even more important). The result should be that you take a harder look at your priorities and start considering upsides and downsides to your decisions. It only takes a second…you are all smart. If you refuse to use time as your excuse and candidly admit you’re constantly making priorities, you might just find that the things that need to get done, get done and on time.

© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Have you been putting off buying Unleashed? Now better TIME than now!

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Weather Woes

February 13, 2014 2 comments

Atlanta snowCrisis management is an executive function and should never be relegated down the chain of command. A good case study is what is happening on the East Coast today.

In case you missed it, the Eastern seaboard is getting pummeled by snow. New York City is expecting up to 15 inches. The storm is affecting states along the coast all the way down to Atlanta. I watched the pictures on CNN this morning on my treadmill walk. What resonated with me is the amount of chaos happening with transportation. Many roads are simply inaccessible. People are abandoning their cars and walking. Airlines all over the country are being affected.

CEOs of a companies based out of the East Coast that haven’t made contingency plans for this, are simply negligent. Everyone who lives over there knows from empirical evidence through the years that these storms occur and what the impact is. Plans to combat these storms and mitigate damage to ongoing operations, employee safety, communications, and potential structural damage should have already been written, practiced, and  repeated frequently over the course of the year that isn’t affected. If transportation is critical to the business, what plans are in place to deal with that?

CEOs that delegate this strategic thinking get caught in the storm. The implementation and manifestation of the plan is always done by others. However, the strategy, communication, and accountability rests with the boss.

If you’re not in the midst of the latest weather debacle back East. consider yourself fortunate. Also consider acting on your OWN crisis strategy plan because you might be next. We are offered these lessons all the time. The really savvy CEOs and Presidents act on them. The ones that don’t end up blaming someone else for inefficiency. My suggestion is that you be the former and conquer crisis before it conquers you.

P.S. To all my friends, colleagues, and clients back on the East Coast…be safe, stay warm and dry, and best wishes to a quick return to “normalcy!”

© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Kicking Ass Doesn’t Entail Yours Getting Kicked!

February 12, 2014 2 comments

I had a recent conversation with a client of mine. I have tremendous respect and admiration for her as a person and business owner. That being said, she provided a teachable moment…

I owe her an hour of coaching and asked her about scheduling some time to do it. Her response was that she would love to except she is working incredibly long and brutal hours to assure that she has a strong year. In other words, her mindset was that in order to kick ass, it meant getting hers kicked! She never said that, but it’s what she’s doing. There seems to often be this prevailing thought among hard workers that hours grinding the stone is the best way to be successful. No, it’s the best way to die too early.

Think about this… If you’re too overwhelmed with work that you can’t invest ONE HOUR on improving yourself, this is the brightest red danger flag. Your problems start with poor planning, improper setting of priorities, time management mishaps, and inability to delegate. It also most often involves you thinking that the only way to get ahead and stay ahead is to be constantly working. If you ever say “I don’t have time for help,” that’s your first clue that you actually need it!

Life balance is one of the top 3 things I’m asked to speak on. As technology escalates, so does the pressure to be “virtual” and “just in time” for everyone. The problem is that your clients don’t expect that. You do.

If you’re pushing yourself to work more than 8 hours a day, you’re doing something wrong. The solution may be dropping baggage that you’ve been unwilling to discard. It might mean saying no to others. It might also mean training others to do the work that you are currently doing and are overqualified for. Take a cue from our financial planner friends. Pay yourself first…in this case not with money but with something more valuable. An investment in your personal development, growth, and skills will more quickly earn you more income and provide you with more discretionary time.

Now doesn’t that sound like more fun?

Copyright 2014 Dan Weedin. All rights reserved

How’s Your Portfolio Performing?

February 11, 2014 Leave a comment

I read this on Twitter this morning from Alan Weiss…

“If you hesitate to invest in yourself, you don’t need an investment advisor, you need a shrink.”

Too many business professionals have a poor investment portfolio when it comes to themselves. They either demand that their company pay for it or they don’t think they need it. Way too many entrepreneurs and executives don’t ask for help for fear if looking weak. The reality is that the very best always make investing in themselves a priority.

Apathy, complacency, and arrogance are hard too overcome because these are individual disorders. Hesitancy is a lack of confidence that just needs a push through that open gate to opportunity.

Copyright 2014 Dan Weedin. All rights reserved

Objects of Interest

February 7, 2014 2 comments

Seahawks parade

A couple of days ago, I made my way to Seattle with a friend to join in the celebration of the Seattle Seahawks victory parade after the Super Bowl. In excess of what was anticipated, over 700,000 people crammed into about a 3-mile space to greet the returning heroes. It was an amazing scene. People ditched work, school, and other obligations to spend the day celebrating as a region. One of the remarkable things was that in all the turmoil of transportation woes, and other “challenges,” there wasn’t one arrest made. Talk about a peaceful party! (See photo you see is looking up from 4th Avenue to 5th Avenue. Believe it or not, there is supposed to be an actual road there. The street is packed with people for a block up and down. This was consistent with every block in the 3-mile route).

How do you draw interest to your work, to your company, to the services and products that you offer?

The Seahawks are an object of interest for many reasons. They are champions of the NFL, which is this nation’s national sport (drawing a record 110 million viewers). They have unique characters on the team that turn them from a “vanilla”to a “tootie fruity” brand of team. Their style of play appeals to most fans. And they have a coach that is emotionally charged and is romping up and down the sideline like he’s coaching a JV football team (which in and of itself is refreshing).

What do you do that makes you or your company an object of interest? Do you write books on your expertise? Are you a dynamic speaker? Are you cited in interviews and publications? Do you write fascinating blogs, articles, E-books, or columns? Do you offer contrarian viewpoints rather than be part of the noise? What do you do to offer instant value to people and organizations?

People flock to interesting people, teams, bands, and politicians. They also flock to those that aren’t “vanilla;” that are provoking and humorous; and that challenge and influence. If that doesn’t sound lie you yet, what are you waiting for?

© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

The Open Gate Redux Edition…

January 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Writing a post for a blog I contribute to…thought I would share it with you…my faithful readers. Enjoy…Captain Jack

Dogs don’t wait at open gates…

We don’t have a gate at my home. We have a beautiful greenbelt behind us, and due to the uneven slope, it’s impossible to have a regular wooden gate. My friends tell me that electric fence works well for dogs. They obviously don’t own a Jack Russell terrier.

My JRT (aka the Jack Russell) is named Captain Jack for a reason. During his nearly 6 years with us, he has encountered open doors rather than gates. He has made the most of these opportunities to dash out. An open gate to a dog means new adventures, new smells, and boundless fun. All dogs are wired the same for this. Can you imagine a dog approaching a gate that is left far enough ajar for him to make a break for it – pause deeply – consider the consequences of his actions – and sit silently contemplating if the move has enough upside to run through it? Me neither.

That’s exactly what many executives do on a daily basis. They see a wide-open opportunity out beyond a “gate.” That opportunity looks enticing and full of opportunity; yet it also involves risk. They make an initial sprint to the edge of the gate to get a better look, and then stop to pause and ponder. “What if things go wrong?” “What if I get hurt?” “What if I get lost?” “What if I get blamed?”

The problem is that while they sit and wait, opportunity at that moment is either lost forever or (worse) taken by someone else.

I’m pretty sure that if Captain Jack had an electric fence, he would know the ramifications of breaching that barrier. He’s smart that way. Based on my experience with him, he would take the pain to gain the reward. The shock and pain is short-lived and not fatal. The reward is forever (or until I wear both of us out tracking him down). But even then he would have gained through this new adventure and surely risk the open gate again.

You will likely tell me we aren’t dogs and that risk needs to be contemplated, assessed, and prudent. Yawn. At some point you burst through open gates to where you are now. Unfortunately as we age we get more tethered to the yard. Comfort and fear keep us from taking the still smart risks we took before when we weren’t as careful. Don’t turn into an old dog, no matter what your biological age. That actually carries more risk than the alternative.

That’s part of the concept of being “unleashed.” Don’t get caught inside the gate staring wistfully out at opportunity. Life is short and our professional careers even shorter.

What’s out there waiting for you?

© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Qué Dijo? (What did you say?)

January 26, 2014 2 comments

This morning I was eating breakfast at a hotel in Somerset, NJ getting ready to head back home after a long East Coast “tour.” I heard my waitress speaking in Spanish with the hostess and an idea struck me. I’m looking to improve my conversational Spanish. What a great way to practice by speaking it with my waitress!

I asked her when she returned and she graciously said she would be happy to speak to me in Spanish. The problem was, she didn’t follow through. When I would talk to her in Spanish, she would respond to me in English. That doesn’t help me…I’m pretty good in English! Now my Spanish is not so bad that she didn’t understand me because based on her responses she did. After a few attempts, I just gave up and figure I will try it again sometime in the future.

Does your business have a language that is hard to understand for your clients and customers?

Just like I did with my waitress, if the lines of communication are foggy, they will just give up. That means less retained business, less new business, and increased frustration, anxiety, and stress. As business professionals, it’s easy to default to the gibberish that dominates the industry we are in. Acronyms are the worst! Like my waitress, we may not realize we fall into that default language, and the danger is that our clients don’t tell us. They often merely nod their heads and move on…to someone else!

Turn your language into one that is easy to understand for a 3rd grader. I’m not talking about dumbing down your vocabulary. I’m talking about making communications easier for those you are trying to influence. The better you are at that, the more they will be helped, and the more success you will achieve.


Copyright 2014 Dan Weedin. All rights reserved

The Deep Throw

January 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Football is a game of risk and reward. Calculated risk and reward.

If you’re a defensive coach, you must make calculated decisions on when to blitz the quarterback. Your upside is a sack and loss of yardage. The downside is your weakness is exposed and the quarterback beats you with a deep play. It comes down to who executes the best. Most championship defenses are willing to take chances to gain the upside. If you’re familiar with the prevent defense, it’s a passive strategy for when a team has a lead. They play everyone deep to avoid a big play, yet invariably by playing not to lose, they give up too much ground, too many points, and lose momentum. The very best defenses are ones that will take chances because they trust in each other and are willing to bet on themselves.

If you’re an offensive coach, you can also choose how you want to play. Many teams take the less risky route by throwing all the short routes and “check downs.” While often effective to move the ball, they frequently get bogged down in the red zone (20 yards out from the end zone). They often must settle for less points. The successful teams mix in a good amount of riskier, downfield throws. The chances for interceptions and sacks increase, but the upside is a game changing and momentum shifting play. They take prudent risks, based on their skill sets and ability to execute.

What’s this mean for you?

Do you play prevent defense? Do you settle for moving the ball between the 20 yard lines but avoid the big mistake? Championship business professionals are the same as championship football teams. They learn to be smart, cunning, and aggressive when betting on themselves. Being in business is a “game” fraught with peril. It’s not for the faint of heart. You will run into situations where you will have to take risks in your language (how you talk to clients and prospects to be influential); your skill development (investing in professional development and coaching); and new initiatives (products/services). The championships in this game are won not by those that play a prevent defense or a conservative offense. They are won by those that bet on themselves and make bold moves in the spirit of winning the game.

The Super Bowl is next week and the two teams playing (including my favorite team) have done this and look at the results. What about you?

P.S. My previous post was about the “open gate” and what it means to be “unleashed.” This is a great example of running through that gate…

Copyright 2014 Dan Weedin. all rights reserved



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