I just bought a new pair of running shoes. The old ones had a puncture hole in one of the heels where the “air support” was supposed to be. Needless to say, without the full support, the shoes didn’t work as well and actually reduced my effectiveness and made me more prone to injury.
How comfy are your business “shoes?”
You may be doing things and behaving in ways that you have for years without change. While these activities and behaviors once worked, they may be losing their “air support” because they are now obsolete and deflated. The risk to you is stagnation and injury to your brand and ability to grow.
Example – You always used a direct mailing piece to get the word out about your company’s services or products. For years, the US Postal Service got the news out to the world about you. Even though technology has made it easier, more effective, and more inexpensive to get the word out, you still spend time and money on direct mail becasue you may have 3 sales a year attributed to it. You can find other examples around your web site, newsletter, and even the products and services you offer. If you’ve not created anything new in the past 5 years, you’re the one that’s obsolete!
The bottom line is you need to identify the 20th century tools you’re still using and then switch over to the 21st century. This is a great time of the year for that type of candid self-assessment. I had to do it with my running shoes. Are you ready to assess how your business is running?
© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
This may be the most asked question known to man. Are you ready for your test? Are you ready to go out tonight? Are you ready for that sales call? Are you ready for dinner? Are you ready to meet with the investors? Are you ready for the game? Are you ready for 2015?
You get my point. The question “Are you ready” is a significant one because our careers and lives go much smoother and happier when the answer is YES. The challenge for all of us is that as we approach a new calendar year, we may still be scrambling to make sure this one gets finished!
Here’s may question for you this morning of the first day of the last month of 2014…Are you ready to be unleashed? Are you ready to trust yourself in everything you do? Are you ready to be confident? To be fearless? To be bold? To get help when you need it? And are you ready to be all you need to be for others both professionally and personally? Being unleashed takes courage and skill. It also requires that you’re ready to face the challenges with confidence, trust, and faith. So answer this question for yourself candidly…
Are you ready to be unleashed?
© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
This week’s quote -
“There is more to life than increasing its speed.”
Weedin Unleashed ~ Join my live, interactive, and FREE broadcast TODAY at 12 pm PST. Click here to join the conversation.
Welcome to the most powerful and dynamic program I’ve ever created for business owners and executive leaders on unleashing your vast potential and maximizing your own unique talent and that of those around you.
My concept of the “open gate” is that unlike dogs, we as humans often tether ourselves inside our own personal gates and due to our own self-imposed limitations and fears, choose not to risk going through the open gate in front of us. The results include dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, poor leadership, bad morale, inefficiencies, and boredom. Bottom line is you and your business leave money and talent on the table.
This is my November column for the Kitsap Business Journal. Read it online here
Fiercely Guarding Your Most Valuable Asset – Your Time
By Dan Weedin
You protect what you most value. This isn’t a startling statement. You would certainly agree that we would vigorously defend our family, our home, our faith, and our country. We all have prized possessions that we would safeguard. And, as many a wealth management expert will encourage you to do, you staunchly guard your money.
Why is it then that we do such a crummy job of guarding what might be one of our most valuable possessions; something that can never be recaptured or insured; and something that we all too often complain we don’t have enough of? That “possession” is time. I submit to you that if you make fiercely guarding your time an early New Year’s Resolution, that all your goals, objectives, and dreams will come true in 2015. The good news is that I’m about to tell you how to do it. You just have to have courage, conviction, and discipline.
Last month, I resigned from the school board that I had been elected to in 2009. I held the office of president since 2012, and had 1 year left in my term. I already decided against re-election. My decision to resign early came after a self-assessment of the current situation. My discretionary time is precious, and over the past year, the negativity emanating from a small vocal group of community members was distracting to a point of encroaching negativity into my personal and professional life. I dreaded everything about the job, from opening emails to board meetings. When I realized I was eagerly waiting for December 2015 as the end of my term, and it wasn’t even December 2014 yet, I knew there was a problem. Life is too short and I wasn’t about to wish my life away. It was time to allegorically throw baggage off the train!
In order to reach all of my goals for the rest of the year and beyond – both professional and personal – I needed to free up space. We can’t grow if we don’t occasionally unload that baggage that holds us back, or is even a roadblock. We need to create metrics for the activities in our lives and determine whether their expiration date is up, so we can bring in new, fresher ones. I didn’t just toss this baggage; I flung it with both hands!
Your turn for self-assessment – What are you doing today that causes you stress or anxiety? What is wasting your valuable time with little return on that investment? Are you allocating that time to things that won’t advance your personal or professional goals? This is the time of year for self-assessment. Instead of thinking about resolutions to add things to your life, perhaps you should resolve to dump your own baggage. Here’s your simple, 3-sectioned assessment tool. The only rule is that you be candid with yourself…
- Career/Job – Are you surrounding yourself with positive people? Do you love what you do? Do you gain personal satisfaction from your efforts? Do you wake up everyday excited about new challenges and opportunities?
Believe me, I understand there are tough days, and even periods of time. However, if you’ve been dealing with negative energy (people, processes, mission), then you might need to look at a change. Life is too short to spend nearly 40% of your life doing something you dislike just for a paycheck.
Change can be scary. I left a good paying job over 9 years ago to start a consulting practice, so I get it. The price you pay for unhappiness though is too steep. You have the choice to change your attitude or the situation.
- Social Media – How many “friends” do you have on Facebook? Probably significantly more than you would really count as true friends. The problem is that you’ve perhaps allowed people to insinuate themselves into your stream of conscience with negativity. You see it all the time. You don’t have to acquiesce to constant complaining, use of bad language, or editorial rants about politics, or religion just because it shows up on your timeline. I’ve started either “hiding” or “unfriending” people on social media. You might just find that dumping some of that baggage is refreshing!
- Volunteer – Volunteering is an investment of your discretionary time. There are scads of great causes out there, yet you don’t need to be involved in all of them, even if you’re asked. Choose one that you have a great passion for and get deeply involved. If there are several, you can allocate different levels of time and financial donations. The point is you can’t possibly lead them all, be on boards for all of them, or manage the upcoming auctions. Volunteering is the finest form of generosity. However, overdoing it can drag you down to a point where it’s bad for you and for the organization.
Bottom line – we humans must consistently grow and develop mentally and physically to enjoy a healthy and happy life. In order to do that, we must fiercely guard our time against forces that try to steal it. Many of these forces are actually good causes and well-intentioned people. The time may just not be right for you. This is where you learn to just say NO! There are other “time thieves” that are more invidious because they are often stealth and masquerade as essentials. You have more control than you think. Choose to spend your time focusing on people and activities that make you better. You can always make another dollar, but you can’t make another minute. Be fierce in guarding it.
Dan Weedin is a strategist, speaker, author and executive coach. He helps business leaders and executives to become stronger leaders, grow their businesses, and enrich their lives. He was inducted into the Million Dollar Consultant™ Hall of Fame in 2012. You can reach Dan at 360-697-1058; e-mail at email@example.com or visit his web site at www.DanWeedin.com.
I attended a very interesting panel discussion this morning on “The Spheres of Sustainability.” The panel was made up of 4 business leaders discussing how they integrated sustainability practices into their companies. The panelists were diverse and brought really valuable information surrounding sustainability of buildings, people, environment, and business practices.
Sustainability is literally defined as “the ability to be supported, upheld, or confirmed.” Sustainability is certainly buzzword for improving our footprint on the environment so it will be “sustained.” It’s important for the health of ourselves and our employees to “sustain” wellness.
All that being said, the discussion got me to thinking about sustainability in a broader scope. How do you “sustain” the talent that resides in your own company? You have a reservoir of skills, strengths, and abilities that reside in your employees (and yourself). How well do you support, uphold, and confirm that talent to squeeze every ounce of goodness out of it?
Sustainability is highly important ideal for our planet and out businesses moving forward. The question I pose to you involves the natural resources living in your people. Some of that talent is being used, but how much of it is left untapped? The bad news is that for many of you, if you don’t help it bubble to the top, that asset will take it’s talent elsewhere.
As you commit to sustainability in your organizational culture, don’t leave out the growth possible to your employees and yourself. This includes skills and development growth in leadership, communication, strategic thinking, time management, and personal self-worth to name a few. The ironic thing is that this opportunity is easier to get to than many other sustainability initiatives. You just have to be intentional about it.
My Unleashed Executive Experience is an open gate waiting for you or some of your key people to run through and gain that sustainability. All the panelists talked about keeping it simple, starting small, and building. That’s exactly what this program does. Click here to learn more about how it might just help you sustain and grow your own organic talent.
© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
So you’re a business owner or executive and you want to handle a crisis with ineptitude and enrage your important business partners, all your employees, and your target audience, right? Then study today’s press conference by NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell.
I’ve been a huge football fan and followed the sport since 1974 when I was 9 years old. Over the decades, we’ve all witnessed crises occur for what has become the premier sport in the United States. Never have we witnessed the erosion of trust that has happened only in the past few months, with a climax of a fiasco such as today. I have no doubts Roger Goodell is a smart guy. He just didn’t show it today.
Here’s how to mishandle a crisis when you’re the head of an organization and your world (whatever that might look like) is watching…
- Start 15 minutes late. Really? You set the press conference. Show up on time. Not a good way to start.
- The opening statement was as obvious as a ham sandwich. We could have all probably written it ourselves. Instead, make a brief (3 minutes) statement apologizing for past errors of judgement and open it up for questions.
- Avoid answering Yes/No questions. When Goodell was asked if he had spoken to NFL sponsors, specifically Anheuser Busch. He never uttered the words yes or no, and proceeded to spin the case around to a point where everyone was confused and a follow up question about his communications had to be asked. His response? “You will have to ask them.”
- Keep referring to your past statements. The commissioner answered almost every questions with, “As I just stated,” or “As I’ve said before…” Here’s the deal, Roger. You lost your right to fall back on past comments. You need to just keep answering what you have in front of you.
- Be the ultimate spin doctor. One journalist asked about the comparison to his ruling on New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton after the infamous “Bounty Gate” scandal. Goodell blasted Payton for lack of control and suspended him for a year. When his lack of control was called into question, he began spinning like a Wolfman Jack in his prime, by not only avoiding any comments about the Saints and Payton (which was the question), and again explaining that he was going to fix everything.
- Keep referring to your nameless “experts.” Goodell kept referring to the league’s “experts.” These are the experts that didn’t see a problem with him interviewing Ray Rice with Janay Rice (the victim) in the same room. These are the “experts” that are advising the NFL on how to move forward with a domestic violence policy. We should all feel better…
- Deny, deny, deny. When asked about the report that the Atlantic City hotel confirmed that they were never asked for the video in the elevator by the NFL, Goodell said they had tried several times. So let me get this straight, the NFL says it asked on multiple occasions and was shot down. The hotel says they were never asked. The TMZ reporter in the crowd said they got it with one request. Someone’s lying. It’s clear, yet Goodell simply skirted the issue.
- Avoid clearing up conflict of interest questions. Rachel Nichols of CNN is really good at her job. She asked about the independent investigation that appears to have more bedfellows than Wilt Chamberlain on a good night back in the day. She drew a correlation about conflict of interest with owners and law firms. Instead of hitting that straight on, Goodell seemed outraged that Nichols would call into question the integrity of a former FBI chief.
- Show them you’re sweating. Speaking of Nichols, she really got under the Commish’s skin (which seems to be getting thinner by the day). You could tell his anger simply by his facial expression. You could also hear it in his voice when he tersely repeated her name, Rachel, when addressing her. I’m thinking there’s not going to be a Christmas basket sent from him to her this year.
- Pick a time when you might be least hurt. How about holding a press conference on a Friday afternoon? That way, sports radio can’t blast it the next day. College football and NFL games take place over on the weekend. By Monday, it’s horror will have dissipated. This one may not…
Heck, throw in a clown from the Howard Stern show that makes a scene right in the middle of the press conference and is dragged away screaming “Not the elevator…don’t take me to the elevator!” (Mocking the ray Rice elevator incident) and you have the makings of a huge calamity. That was a nice scene…NFL bouncers dragging someone away in front of the nation.
Crisis communications is critical after a catastrophe. Ask former BP CEO Tony Hayward who publicly exclaimed that he only wanted to “get my life back” after the Gulf oil spill. He is toiling somewhere in Siberia now and it took BP years to regain its reputation. This press conference (Goodell was silent for the past 2 weeks, other than a CBS News interview) was a great opportunity to fix some real problems. Unfortunately, Mr. Goodell’s performance only exacerbated them. Football pundits and NFL players on Twitter widely panned it. The results are exploding in real time across social media platforms and television.
Crisis communications mean everything when it comes to protecting your reputation and brand. Your employees, your supply chain, your business partners, investors, and community count on you to respond quickly, be candid, admit mistakes, and express a plan. Although Commissioner Goodell did do some of those things, his ability to respond to questions with empathy and believability have deeply damaged his credibility. It will be interesting to see if he can survive this. In your business, you may not have the same chance.
Here’s one hint. Practice. If Goodell got advice, it was either not good or he didn’t execute well. You need to be prepared to face the music when it’s your crisis. Make sure you don’t get flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct detrimental to your business. Goodell just got 15 yards and maybe more for his…
© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
I remember attending a Wild Game Dinner fundraiser several years ago replete with exotic hors d’oeuvres featuring animals that I was most familiar watching roam the prairies and jungles on the old television series, Wild Kingdom. They served antelope, wild boar, alligator and cougar (which struck me as ironic as a Husky alum). The one thing that I most remember of the experience was hearing the servers proclaim about almost all the offerings, “Don’t worry… it tastes like chicken.”
That adage has become a part of American culture, whether you’re describing frog legs, kangaroo, or cane toads. Chicken has become the generic standard that we base all other meats on. If it tastes like chicken, we are “safe.”
Here’s the problem. If everything tasted like chicken, it loses that joy of adventure and curiosity. It becomes stale and uninteresting. It’s just chicken.
The very same problem can happen to you and your business. If your customers and target market consider you to “taste like chicken,” then you’ve sunk into the abyss of ordinary and generic. You’re boring. When that happens, your viability is as threatened as a chubby chicken wandering aimlessly on a poultry farm. Dead meat walking.
How do you know if you “taste like chicken?” Consider these three signs:
1. You have no new clientele. The same people and businesses use your products and services, yet nobody new seems interested in your work. This appears to be success, yet it’s a fatal trap. No new blood means no energy, no interest, and no sustainability.
2. You haven’t produced anything new in years. Whether yours is a service or product, stagnation is a killer. The world-renowned speaking coach Patricia Fripp has said that sameness is the enemy of a speaker. Sameness is also the enemy of a business. No innovation leads to decline.
3. You live in a culture of “same old, same old.” If that’s your mentality when you get up and go to work; if it’s the mentality of your employees; then you’ve got a serious problem. In the rapidly moving business world brought about by escalating technology and global thinking, being in “same old” mode will get you run over. That chicken trying to cross the road today can’t take the same path he did 10 years ago or he will be roadkill.
If any of these signs pervade in your company or in you, then you’re probably beginning to smell like the chicken dinner your grandmother used to prepare. Here are five strategies and tactics that you can implement immediately to mix up the menu to bring new flavors and add spice to your world and to your customers:
1. Create new intellectual property or products. Remember what I said about “sameness?” I don’t care what you do or what industry you’re in, you can create something new and exciting to offer your target market audience. It might be a workshop, a newsletter, a free webinar, or a new product that you created to help them when they didn’t even know they needed help! It doesn’t matter initially how successful it is. What really matters is that you have something new to talk about.
Do something different than what everyone else is doing!
2. Boost your marketing. In the height of the recession, many small businesses hunkered down and hoarded cash for fear of running out. One of the areas they stopped was marketing. It should have been where they placed MORE resources. Boost your marketing by utilizing more technology, ask for more referrals, send out more press releases, seek out more interviews, and attend more networking events.
3. Fix your own swing. My golf swing is terrible right now. I’ve been golfing for over 30 years and it’s time to get it fixed, so I need a lesson from a pro. Regardless of how long you’ve been in business, you can use your own “swing fix” from a professional coach or mentor. In fact, the longer it’s been since you’ve had one, the more you will need it! You can’t be brilliant or as creative by yourself. Seek help and utilize it to maximize your talent and opportunity. It’s worth the investment.
4. Get out of the office. We’ve become too tied down to our desks due to technology. Email has changed how we communicate in good ways (speed of information) and bad ways (stopped actually talking to people). Get out and see people face to face. Visit your best clients and customers. Make phone calls to those that you can’t readily see in person. Business is still about relationships. Remind them of what you look like.
5. Change the culture. If the chicken taste has seeped into your workforce, it’s time to shake things up. How do you do this? Simple. Make work more fun by challenging your employees to create new things; help them grow personally and professionally; and offer mentoring to them to help them more rapidly succeed.
Bottom line — if you are perceived to be chicken, your goose is cooked. The business world demands difference and innovation, speed and accessibility, and technological sophistication and savvy. These are now becoming the new normal and those norms will continue to change and evolve just like menus in the finest restaurants in the world do. Does your business taste like chicken? If it does, don’t despair. You can always change the menu as long as you have the courage to do so.
© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
• Dan Weedin is a strategist, speaker, author and executive coach. He helps business leaders and executives to become stronger leaders, grow their businesses, and enrich their lives. You can reach him at 360-697-1058; e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his web site at http://www.DanWeedin.com.
Earthquake, fire, flood, loss of power, data breach, injured worker, auto accident, workplace violence, loss of key employee, reputation damage, economic downturn, hazardous spill, sued by employee, inability to operate, loss of property….
Crisis happens everyday to small businesses around the world and it can literally cripple you. Not being prepared and ready to meet that crisis and survive is negligent. Too many people are counting on you.
Join me and many of your peers for a very important workshop on creating a disaster plan for your business. Your investment is one hour of your time and $50. It’s recorded so you don’t even have to be there live. You watch it later and it becomes a permanent part of your risk management library.
Today at 12 pm PST / 3 pm EST. It may just be the most important workshop you attend because it might just save your business.
© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved