Hey all my faithful readers of my monthly column for the Kitsap Business Journal, I want your help!
My column for June is due on Monday and I am planning on writing it tomorrow (Sunday). I’ve received many kind words from you over the past couple of months and I am grateful. Now I would like you t respond before the column! Here is what I want…
I want you to tell me what topic you want me to write about. What’s your burning question, your biggest challenge, your most pressing issue? What do you want to read about next month when your Kitsap Business Journal hits your mailbox, or you read my copy on this blog or on social media? I am asking for your input right now.
Here is what you do. Send me your choice via a comment on this blog, a comment on Facebook/Linked In/Twitter/Google+, email (dan@danweedin), or a really fast homing pigeon. I need it by noon Pacific time tomorrow. I know it’s the weekend, but that’s how it works. Hopefully a few of you read this and give me some suggestions. Here are a few topics to get your brain thinking…
- Change Management
- Executive Leadership
- Motivating Employees
- Increasing Sales/Revenue
- Marketing & Branding
- Something else….
Give me a topic and an issue right away. If I choose your topic, you will get a free 20-minute coaching session with me. Hurry up…I need to start writing!
© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
These past two weeks have been excruciatingly challenging for my family and me. My mother has been in and out of the hospital and is now in a skilled nursing facility. I’m the President of the school board charged with making a decision on closing a school in our district.” Add to that the normal, everyday stresses of running a consulting practice, being a husband, father, and dog walker.
I spoke to a colleague who is now being challenged with moving homes; having a 2-year old daughter at home with him while he works; and expecting another child in the next month. This chaos will eventually go away, but will be replaced by a new chaos. That’s the way life is. How you deal and respond with all of it will impact your business, your health, and your life.
Here are a few helpful tips to consider when you go through similar stretches…
* Find time to laugh. Watch a funny movie or television show; read a funny book; dive into your favorite comic strip. You’ve heard that laughter is the best medicine, and you know this is true. Create time for it.
* Have perspective. Life events are part of our existence. Many crises are self-inflicted. Many crises we refuse to let go and allow to rent space in our brains. No matter how bad it may be for you, someone else is being shot at, starving, homeless, or terminally ill. Keeping perspective is crucial to good life balance.
* Avoid becoming a “victim.” Victim mentality can seep into people when they think the world is against them or owes them something. They then become insufferable to others and themselves. Short-lived pity parties are acceptable, as long as they remain that – short. Then toss them aside and don’t allow them to return. The goal is happy.
* Be ruthless with your time. Don’t overextend yourself, especially in time of chaos. You may have to divert, change directions, or simply discard appointments, meetings, and events. Triage your situation and do what’s best for you.People always understand and are willing to work with you.
* Don’t be a “lone ranger.” Find solace and comfort in friends and family. Vent to someone who is willing to help (key word is ‘willing’). Ask for advice, go to lunch with a friend, and simply stay active with people. There are no hero awards for trying to be a “tough guy or gal.”
* Find some quiet times. Do whatever moves you in these quiet times – prayer, meditation, or simply doing nothing. Our brains need a little quiet once in awhile to get back into balance.
* Remember that you don’t have a personal life and a professional life. You have a life. And you only get one, so make sure you are maximizing it!
© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
The public outcry from the devastation and unthinkable events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut continues on 24 hours later, and undoubtedly will stay alive for another week or so. That is the length of attention we as a culture roll with these days. The shooting in a Portland, OR mall just days earlier is all but forgotten, overshadowed by the loss of life of 20 young children and (let us not forget) 6 adults who were trying to protect them.
Our virtual town criers are Facebook and Twitter, and the raw emotions of anger, sadness, and pain are filling cyberspace. Calls and online petitions for gun control are burning like a forest fire in 101 degree heat. Pleas from everyone to hug your kids abound, as if we should be reminded to do this daily anyway.
I have a few thoughts about all of this. Some of you may agree; some of you may get annoyed or angry. I hope it at least it may be cause for civilized and thoughtful debate. Something that the platforms on Facebook and Twitter don’t always lend themselves to.
This has been a sickening tragedy. As a school board president, I can’t help but superimpose the events with one of the elementary schools in my charge and wonder how that pain must feel. As a parent, I can’t imagine what those who lost children are going through. AND don’t forget that the 6 adults lost were someone else’s child. They are also suffering the same anguish. I hope that in the focus of the young that we don’t overlook the other lives lost and affected. The people involved – including the police, the community, the state, and all of you will have this indelibly inked in your memory. My prayers go out to all those who have been affected and touched by this tragedy.
I am not a gun owner. Never have and don’t plan on ever being. I don’t have any issues with people that own guns as sportsmen and hobbyists. The sonorous roar for gun control has been precipitated due to the loss of young lives in a school. Unfortunately, guns are not the proximate cause of all these catastrophes (remember Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, and two weeks ago in Kansas City with the NFL player). Connecticut has some of the stingiest gun control laws in the country. The guns in this situation were legally owned and registered by the mother. Guns end up doing the fatal damage. So do the cars on the road that have killed over 100,000 people on the last three years in the United States. Yet, nobody is calling for a prohibition or control of vehicles. The problem with cars is impaired and distracted driving by people who should know better. This gun control problem runs deeper than guns. You want to have stricter enforcement and tougher laws to control guns…fine. But these issues will not end until the root causes are fixed. In my opinion, here they are in no particular order…
- Our country does a poor job of identifying and dealing with mental health issues in our society. This is not to be disrespectful to those working in the profession. They are doing the best they can. It’s time that we as a society had an outcry for improved education, identification, and solutions to help treat the mentally ill. All these people perpetrating these awful crimes are mentally ill and in each case, information arises that shows there were signs along the way that were missed. We need to get better fast at fixing our sign watching.
- Sorry to some of you video game fanatics but here’s my deal. Video games have become intrinsically violent and I fear this has de sensitized young people from the horror of violence. Games like Mortal Kombat, Thrill Kill, and Postal have a detrimental affect on the minds of young people. Check out who is doing all these killings. They are all under the age of 25. Where is the public outcry to ban games like this? What about pointing the finger at the parents who allow these games. But, that’s just me.
- Our movies have glorified gun violence with increasing special effects and brutal story lines. Don’t get me wrong. I watch a lot of them. You can go back in time to movies like The Godfather and see violence. However, I think we can all agree that the intensity level and graphic nature has raised dramatically over the past decade in a competitive movie environment and younger and younger kids are being exposed to it. The horse head in The Godfather wouldn’t even faze anyone anymore!
- Prohibition doesn’t work. It only makes things worse, Go back and review your history of 1930s prohibition of alcohol. Black markets and organized crime grew their strongest roots in that time. So did NASCAR, but that’s another story! Some of my dear friends are calling for prohibition of guns. I get your anger, but be realistic. That will never happen in this country where there are millions of sportsmen who go hunting all over the country every year. They are not the problem and should never have their rights removed. Prohibition and over-strict laws will lead to more underground crime and new ways to spark mayhem.
Safety is the last issue I will cover here. Let’s start in public areas…
When I was in Bogota, Colombia in 2011, I never felt unsafe. Huge cities like Bogota, New York, and Los Angeles all have their bad spots. Even small cities have those places you shouldn’t be walking around at night. But, while I was there, I never, and I mean never, was in a public place that did not have a show of police force. At the malls, police were perched above parking lots, and they checked the trunk of your car before parking. On the streets, they were ubiquitous. Armed and ready to respond. And, frankly the same is true in New York City. Barb and I were there during one of the Occupy Movement “events.” I guarantee you that my safety was never in question!
We need to figure out that we don’t live in Pleasantville any more. Instead of cutting security and police, we should be adding. The best way to avoid criminal acts is to have a visible presence of protection.
The same goes for schools…
In my own personal opinion, police need to have a more visible presence in schools, and it should not be another unfunded mandate. It should be considered part of total school funding. When there is a police force visible in schools, bad things decrease – vandalism, drugs, violence, bullying, etc. If our number one goal in schools is safety (and YES this comes before educating for me), then we as a society need to get serious about showing a force of protection.
Now it’s time to come together and care for each other…
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
Many of my friends have been posting something they are thankful for each day on Facebook. I’m not that creative. I’m thankful for 7 things. That’s right…7. I’d like to share them with you on this Thanksgiving….
1. I’m thankful for my faith. Life can be challenging with it. Without it, I can’t even imagine.
2. I’m thankful I married up. Big. Meeting my soul mate and spouse at 17 years old and being able to share our lives together was a blessing. Having it be her was icing in the cake.
3. The two greatest things in the world to be called are Daddy and Coach. I’ve been called both. The former by the most amazing daughters anyone could ever dream of. Heck, they even called me the latter, but usually with a twinge of sarcasm. I miss them this Thanksgiving.
4. I’m thankful to live in the United States, where I can grow up to be who I want, change my mind, run my own business, and fly the flag outside my house. God Bless the USA.
5. I’m thankful for my health. I watched a moving ESPN program on former baseball player Ben Petrick. Petrick was a rising star when he was stricken with early onset Parkinson’s Disease at age 23. It’s an amazing story of resilience and gives me perspective on my good fortune.
6. I’m thankful for Rotary. For nearly 19 years, Rotary has been the vehicle to join arms with friends and give back by improving the lives of others around the world.
7. “No man is a failure, who has friends.” Clarence Oddbody (guardian angel to George Bailey) – I have an abundance of wonderful friends. Thank you!
Copyright 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
From my November Kitsap Business Journal column…
Fear not. This is not a political op-ed you are about to read. You’ve probably had enough of that by now!
As this column hits your mailbox, we are within days of finishing the 2012 election that started three years ago. If you’re like me you’ve cast your ballot and can’t wait for the political pugilism to end. However, there are still lessons to be learned from it, and we would be negligent if we didn’t take a little time to explore them.
First, let’s define what these “lessons” are, and what they are not. This has nothing to do with how either presidential candidate might or might not make a good leader. I fear we as a country are now better at attracting candidates (from both parties) with skills to campaign, rather than skills in governing or leading. You as a business leader need to be able to do both. That is, send a message, build a brand, create evangelists, and be a leader. Your “electorate” votes with their feet and their money, making it crucial to you to be good at both. The lessons in this column are not about political parties or platforms. Rather, they are about being a great business leader.
Lesson #1 – The eyes have it
During the presidential debates, much of the punditocracy gave passing or failing grades to candidates based on what they saw, not necessarily what they heard. In the first debate, President Obama was roundly criticized for looking flat, uninspired, and tired. Video of him when he wasn’t speaking caught him looking disinterested. Even his most ardent followers acknowledged this.
As a leader, you need to understand that all eyes are on you constantly. This may mean everything from walking down the office hallway, sitting in a prospect’s waiting area, or listening to someone else speaking at a company meeting. People will watch for your reactions, your body language, and your table manners during lunch. What are you telling them?
You need to pretend there is a camera on you. As a leader, you will be viewed as a role model. You will be judged on whether you can earn the right to be a trusted advisor. Body language accounts for 55 percent of communication. Don’t get caught with spinach in your teeth!
Lesson #2 – Sound bytes
Boy, did we get a few sound bytes this election season! Remember these — “47 percent,” “You didn’t build it,” and “Binders of women?” While many of the sound bytes end up being used against them, presidential candidates understand that we as an audience are more apt to remember small, bite-size portions of powerful messages.
As a leader, you need to speak in sound bytes. That means being proficient in language. Improve your vocabulary, learn to speak pithily, and say things that are powerful and will linger. If you ramble and speak disjointedly, then your message is likely to get lost. Be brief, be exact, be powerful, and then shut up.
Lesson #3 – Don’t rip your competition
It never ceased to amaze me that when given the opportunity to talk about themselves and what value they bring, both candidates eschewed the opportunity and instead went about telling us what was wrong with their opponent. The campaign trail, the debates, and especially the commercials focused on the negatives of the other guy, and only countered that they would be just the opposite.
Don’t get caught in this trap. You all have competition. You need to focus your language and actions on how you improve the condition of your clients, not what the other guy or gal can’t do well. I spent many years in the insurance industry and know that the practice exists. It may not be as egregious as a national political campaign, but it is there. My guess is that this subtle competitive “spirit” exists in all industries. In the end, you are there to bring value to your client. The focus should be on that and not your “opponent.”
Lesson #4 – Keep telling your story
The presidential candidates are experienced and skilled in getting their story out to the country. They work for consistency, repetition, and gravity. If they find something, they will seize on it and never let it go (see Big Bird). They understand the simple business rule that a prospect needs to hear or see you countless times before they begin to trust and buy.
You have a story to tell. It might be the mission and values of your company to your employees. It might be the enormous value that you provide your clients to improve their business and lives. Whatever it is, you need to be consistent in that message and walk the talk. You need to repeat it early and often so it will sink in. People have shorter memories than ever before due to our technology-driven world. Don’t ever stop delivering your story.
Bottom line — The presidential election will end soon, but your business pursuits are ongoing. Take away some of the lessons, both good and bad, from the people vying for the highest-ranking job in the country, and apply them to your business. If you do, I am confident you will get the votes you need for success.
Dan Weedin is a Poulsbo-based management consultant, speaker, and mentor. He leads an executive peer-to-peer group in Kitsap County where he helps executives improve personally, professionally, and organizationally by enhancing leadership skills. He is one of only 35 consultants in the world to be accredited as an Alan Weiss Master Mentor. You can reach Dan at 360-697-1058; e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his web site at www.DanWeedin.com.
I recently received a very nice testimonial from a new coaching client. Aaron Murphy is an exceptional consultant and architect for aging in place. I’ve had the pleasure of working with him the past month. Aaron was very kind to send out this unsolicited testimonial on the value he has received from working with me. Many thanks to you, Aaron!
“Two weeks into a 90 day personal business coaching session, with the wonderful Mr. Dan Weedin. Great conversations, clarification of intentions, and goal setting at each sit-down. He also has me working hard, and accountable to deliverables each and every week. We are sorting some important things out that will keep me at my “highest and best use / value” with my time. Professionally, and personally as well… GOOD STUFF!!! “Work Smarter, not harder…” Thanks Dan!”
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
When I was a kid, Memorial Day was a day off from school. It was a great holiday because it marked the beginning of summer, the nearing of the end of another school year, and baseball. My dad was a World War II veteran, a 30-year Navy man, and we lived in a Navy town. However, Memorial Day was just another holiday.
Today, that’s all changed. Yes, I still do like the perks – my wife gets the day off to stay home; the food; and the return of the sun. But I also more deeply understand the meaning for today. It’s a time to honor all of those who gave their lives in service to our country. Those who served any length of time. And, to those who also serve us in law enforcement and the fire service. Thank you…
Bombing in Colombia killing 5 and injuring 25 people…
Attending the funeral of a 2-year old today…
Just when you think you’ve got a heavy weight to bear…remember there is always something out there to bring you back to reality. Count your blessings!
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
Here are the Top 7 posts for 1st Quarter of 2012 (in order)…
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved