A Tribute to Arnold Palmer

September 26, 2016 Leave a comment

thIf only we had cell phone cameras in 1987…

The GTE Northwest Classic was being played at Inglewood Country Club outside of Seattle. The GTE was the senior tour where all the legends of golf (over 50 years old) played. My brother-in-law worked for GTE at the time and got me passage into the tournament to watch. I followed Arnold Palmer for 18 holes.

I started playing golf at 13 years old in 1978. Jack Nicklaus and Seve Ballesteros were my first golf heroes. Mr. Palmer by that time was nearing 50 years old and wasn’t a regular on the PGA Tour anymore. However, if you golfed, you knew Arnold Palmer and I was no different.

So when I had a chance to watch The King in person, I devoted the entire round to him. I followed tee to green for all 18 holes, stopping at every shot behind him to eagerly watch him in action. Had I only had my iPhone, you’d have seen a few selfies!

My favorite story of him came midway through that round. Mr. Palmer had hooked a ball a little to the left and found himself stymied by a tree. He stood behind the ball and pensively considered his options. The crowd was hushed in anticipation. Then suddenly breaking the silence, a woman exclaimed, “But Arnie, I’ve seen you hit these in your videos all the time…” The crowd nervously chuckled. Mr. Palmer turned around, made eye contact with the woman, then reached out his club to her and replied, “Okay then. Here, you hit it for me!” He smiled and the crowd erupted. He then on cue hit a beautiful shot right at the green.

Arnold Palmer – like Muhammad Ali who passed earlier this year – transcended his own sport. His dedication to fans, to the game, and to people was an unmistakable hallmark of the man. He touched everybody in the game in some way; and his list of accomplishments and awards outside of golf is impressive, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Medal of Honor. I even noted in reading his biography today that he’s a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow, which adds a common bond with me.

Arnold Palmer was a brilliant businessman, basing his entrepreneurship and philanthropy on helping improve the lives of people. He will be sorely missed, however it’s clear his legacy will continue and help others though what he’s made sure to leave behind. The game of golf, the business and philanthropic community, and the world will miss him.

I’m thinking a toast in his honor, lifting a cold Arnold Palmer, is in order…

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

Extra Points: A Series of Sprints

September 26, 2016 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40My favorite television series began it’s new season last week with several key changes. NCIS is now in its 14th season and introducing two new agents, one of which is replacing an original star, Micheal Weatherly (who now has his own new series).

My wife Barb and I enjoyed the “new blood,” however she found in reading social media, that there are many who don’t. She noted throngs of people upset that significant characters have come and gone and lamenting on why changes to a successful show would occur. To add to the topic, I have a friend that chided beer maker Dos Equis on Facebook for parting ways with the popular commercial character, “The Most Interesting Man in the World.” The actor, Jonathan Goldsmith is 77 years old and undoubtedly will get his chance to explore more Interesting things in retirement.

Here’s the deal folks. Just like in our normal lives, people (and characters) come and go. Life is not a television series or commercial where characters live on well past their prime. In fact, the most successful shows and campaigns make changes to stay up with the times. While both Weatherly and Goldsmith may have requested a change, both NCIS and Dos Equis got younger. They now are in a position to attract and engage millennial viewers, thus making it more likely to grow and sustain their “businesses.”

Life and business is a series of sprints. Each sprint has a life cycle to it, filled with different characters, situations, and opportunity. When one sprint ends, another begins. So it is with your business and life. If you’re unwilling to let go of characters and situations that no longer serve your best interests and provide new opportunity, then you’ll go the way of the dinosaur, video stores, and transistor radios. However if you consistently seek to embrace bold change aimed at expanding opportunity (and actually act on them), you will find that you’re unleashing your potential and prosperity to be successful, sustainable, and significant.

And winning all your races….

Quote of the Week:

If there is no struggle, there is no progress.

~ Frederick Douglass

NEW

Join my co-host Brad Berger and me in our brand new podcast where we interview CEOs pf small and medium-sized businesses on what made them successful. The podcasts will air every two weeks and you can listen in our website. First streaming podcast is on September 27th at 4 pm PST!

Shrimp Tank Seattle Website

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Make a Decision Already

September 19, 2016 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40As we begin the closing quarter of another year, it seems to me that this century is more and more being defined by the ability to make decisions.

Technology is becoming more adept at running tasks. I would venture to guess that in my lifetime, most (if not all) business functions that can be done by a robot or machine, will be. You can see it prevalent already in manufacturing, traditional office functions (e.g. answering phone, taking messages, and dictation) and health care. Jobs that require mere physical ability will be dying away; you’ll need to use your smarts.

“Smarts” is critical in making decisions. Note that I didn’t say all decisions must be right, because that’s impossible. However, the process of rapidly assessing a complex situation, breaking down the upside and downside, trusting your brain and instinct, and then implementing will be more important than ever as we race through this century. We learn through decisions that both succeed and fail.

We need to be teaching our children to think; to be problem-solvers;  and to be resilient (overcoming failure and adversity and turning it into opportunity). We are going to need them when we get old! That means we’d better be good at it ourselves.

As a post-script, assess your business (whether you own it or not). Is your organization full of decision-makers and problem solvers, or do you have a bunch of human robots mindlessly performing tasks for a paycheck?

The age of decision-making is upon us…you might want to rush through that open gate and be unleashed into it with a full artillery.

Quote of the Week:

Start by doing what is necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.

~ Saint Francis of Assisi

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Are You Available?

September 12, 2016 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40As the National Football League season kicked off this past weekend, it’s a reminder that unlike many high school and college teams, the NFL is a “cut sport.” In other words, not everyone makes the team. All 32 teams must cut down to 53 players (with a few extra for a practice squad). One of the critical factors in one player making the team over another that might be as equally qualified is availability.

My favorite team the Seattle Seahawks, cut a player that had been a member of their squad for the past three years. He lost his job to a rookie. When asked to elaborate why the veteran was released, Coach Pete Carroll indicated that he was just never able to get over an injury and get on the practice field…which had also plagued him the three previous years. Carroll said, “he just wasn’t available.”

Are your employees (or those that directly report to you) “available” at work? I’m not referring to injury or illness. Rather I am wondering if they are mentally available to giving full effort while they are working. It’s probably to most insidious of categories related to absenteeism, because the person is there…sort of.

Are you an entrepreneur or employee that isn’t “available?” Sometimes, we need to look in the mirror and make sure our own focus and attention is where it needs to be. Granted, there are days we all are not as available as we should be. The problem is if it becomes chronic.

Leadership, culture, and observation go a long way towards assuring that your employees and subordinates are available. Self discipline will take care of you.

Quote of the Week:

Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative.

~ H.G. Wells

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Why You Hate Your Boss

September 8, 2016 Leave a comment

20 Under 40 20_3This is the second of a three-part series for my Kitsap Sun business column…

This is the second of a three-part series on running a family business profitably and equitably. Over the past 27 years, I’ve worked with hundreds of family businesses. Even though the industries differ, the challenges surrounding them are very common. In the next two columns, I will draw attention to the three most critical topics that all family businesses need to address for both profitability and family bliss.

So you work for “the man,” do you? Or maybe, “the woman?”

So much of our popular culture revolves around the conceptualization of the persecuted and overburdened employee who works for a horrible boss and uncaring business. A modern day Willy Loman character that is doomed to a dreadful employment while the boss lives a carefree existence carousing on their yacht and mansion.

When it comes to small family businesses, the true picture is often very different.

I find that a very high number of business owners fled one horrible boss for an even worse boss…themselves! So many of you — yes, you — have started or inherited family businesses and find yourselves being treated more contemptibly than you’d accept from any other employer.

Let’s do a quick check:

Do you start work at 6 a.m. and then stop at about 8 p.m. (or later)?

Do you take fewer vacation days than your employees?

Do you accept and return work calls and email until you go to bed?

Do you go to work sick, even when you’d not allow employees to do the same?

Do you fear leaving your business unattended by you for more than a week? So much so that you constantly are checking in when you’re away?

Do you hate your boss?

Let’s be clear. I’ve seen all of these iterations in small family-run businesses over the past 27 years. I’ve heard all the usual excuses:

“I have to make sure the work is done to the company standard…”

“No, I really thrive when working in chaos for 12 hours a day…”

“I have to set a good example of work ethic or else nobody would work hard…”

“I’m not a micro-manager; it’s just that I need to know everything that goes on in my business…”

“My employees feel empowered when I’m always around. They hate it when I’m gone…”

“Oh, I’m only being controlling until (fill in the blank)…”

I could go on for the entire column. In fact, you may have others to share, especially if you are employed at a family business!

Here’s the stark reality of the situation — if you own and operate a small family business and can’t walk away for two months without touching it, then you don’t have a business, you have a job! In my experience, entrepreneurs start their businesses not to have a job, but to create jobs; create value; do what they love; and eventually sell that business to fund the rest of their lives. If you work yourself to the bone and create a condition where you’re always stressed out, burned out, and dreading your work, you may not have a much of a life left to enjoy.

The answer is to stop hating your boss. Here’s my five-step process to doing that quickly:

1. Empower your employees: That means train and then trust them. They want autonomy and the permission to fail and learn. That means delegate things that you shouldn’t be doing anymore. It means that you must create a culture and operation where you’re working yourself out of a “job!”

2. Take time off: Force yourself to take vacation time. You can still make yourself accessible in the event of an emergency, but in most cases it won’t happen. Your life balance requires relaxation and recharge. Take it.

3. Give yourself a break: Too many CEOs by their own actions seem to require perfection in themselves. If you do that, stop. You don’t require perfection from employees (and if you do, stop that, too). Allow yourself to be human, to make mistakes, and to be resilient. By doing this, you’ll alleviate stress and anxiety in yourself and your employees.

4. Ferociously guard your time: I cover this in my book, Unleashed Leadership. Learn how to prioritize by triaging what is urgent, important, and normal. The bulk of the time will actually be spent on the last one. Your time is extremely valuable. Save it for what only you can do and what you want to do.

5. Commit to having fun: That’s right. You can have fun. What does this look like? For the savvy CEO of a small family business it looks like actually enjoying what you do and manifesting it through your self-talk, your behavior, and your leadership. You must have a passion for your product or service; must enjoy people; must be a lifelong learner; must be a risk-taker; and must be an encourager. You must be able to reward and forgive yourself; seek out new challenges; create and innovate; and be a positive influence in your company.

People don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses. You’re stuck with yourself. You’d better come to a lifelong “employment agreement” where you wouldn’t even dream of working for anyone else.

Next month, Part 3: Dysfunction junction — What’s your function?

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Rave Reviews

September 7, 2016 Leave a comment

I am thrilled to have received this morning a new testimonial from a happy client. These are important to me because my goal is never to be an “expense,”but rather an investment for my clients. Everyone has different reasons to utilize my services and often seek to accomplish different objectives. What’s always the same is they seek rapid results. You will see from this client, Lindsey Carnett from Marketing Maven PR, that she realized both quantitative ans qualitative value. Thanks for your kind words, Lindsey!

P.S. After reading this consider that I can help you quickly accomplish your business and personal objectives. Call (360-271-1592) or email me (dan@danweedin.com) to find out how…

When I heard about Toro Consulting I wondered what Dan could offer to me that any other leadership consultant hadn’t already pitched to me. I was already a Vistage member, already a Women Presidents Organization member and had an outsourced business advisor, among other resources. Dan and I discussed using his services not so much for my own personal development but for the development of key staff members who would benefit me from having fewer “freak outs” and staff conflicts, especially when having that key staffer embark on a larger role within my organization.

I told Dan that if he could help this key employee have a greater sense of confidence, set boundaries with needy subordinates, establish appropriate communication protocol with peers who were influencing team morale, and not burden me with what I call “freak-outs” due to a sense of being overwhelmed, I’d give Dan the testimonial of a lifetime.

So here it is: As the CEO of a multi-million dollar, rapid-growth, nationally ranked marketing agency, I owe Dan a heap of gratitude for the headaches I haven’t had to experience over the last 6-months. I can thank Dan for retention of key employees, a key employee who now shares the same values and concerns as me, an improvement in team morale and an improved sense of confidence and drive, two traits vital to success within my organization.

Since I’m the rainmaker, I’ve been able to spend my time focusing on lucrative opportunities to grow my business as opposed to getting caught up in the minutia of interpersonal relationships among junior level and senior level staff.

I’d recommend Dan and Toro Consulting to any business owner looking to improve their own leadership skills or to have Dan help one or more of your key staff members to help you stay focused on your company goals without distraction. Dan is a pro at asking the right questions, presenting appropriate challenges and remaining steadfast in his accountability expectations for the best outcome possible. He used your goals as the thesis for his regular interactions so every interaction will lead to a positive outcome for the goals set forth at the beginning of the campaign. I set some very lofty goals and told Dan to make a believer out of me. He has accomplished in 4 months what I didn’t believe was possible in  a full year.

If you are on the fence, you should give him a try. What do you have to lose?  Stress, headaches, attitudes. Just be very transparent about your goals so he can use these as the guiding lights for his work within your organization.

Lindsey Carnett
CEO & President
Marketing Maven Public Relations, Inc.

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Extra Points: Labor Day Special

September 5, 2016 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Labor Day signifies a lot of things in the United States. It’s the start of school, the first weekend of college football, and that last chance to celebrate summer before the leaves start falling. It’s also a chance to be grateful for labor.

According to the United States Department of Labor website, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

Dedicated to social and economic achievements; a tribute to the contribution workers have made to the country. It’s certainly easy to overlook the meanings and origins of holidays like Labor Day. We can simply turn them into long weekends or we can take a few minutes to sit back and ponder what we have done as a people. In a political season that too often lingers on negativity; in a time where news media capture the worst in humanity; and when labor itself can become overwhelming and drudgery (if we allow it) – take pause to reflect on the work you do and how you create an improved condition for others. I recently advised a client to consider at the end of the day just one way in which she helped someone else, regardless of whether that person even knew it. Every day, through our daily labor, we improve ourselves, others, and ultimately our country. For that, we all should celebrate!

Best wishes for a safe and happy Labor Day. You deserve it.
Quote of the Week:

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

~ George Bernard Shaw
© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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