Extra Points: Embracing the Moment

Dan_Weedin_022Father’s Day is bittersweet for me…
This was the ninth Father’s Day without my dad. I miss him every day, but this day is especially memorable. That being said, I have no regrets about our relationship or the amount of time we spent together. I consider myself fortunate that especially in the latter years of his life, we embraced our time together. And today, I still embrace this time without him as it reminds me of our life together. So I guess my opening comment is really inaccurate. It’s just sweet.
I watch the final round of the United States Open every Father’s Day. When my kids were at home, we watched it together. Now my wife very kindly tolerates it with me! It’s interesting to see how many patrons in the gallery are recording events right in front of them with their mobile devices. Many are watching the action through their phones, rather than embracing the moment in front of them. I’ve attended one US Open in my life and for all I know, that will be the only one. I remember every moment of that day.
Embracing the moment doesn’t come easily to me. It’s become a daily discipline that I must work on. It’s easy to get caught up in what’s happened in the past, anxiety of what might happen in the future, or the chaos of the moment. It’s taken a lot of personal effort borne out of my work with my own professional coach to catch myself and re-focus when I get out of balance.
You’ve heard this before: embrace every moment. That includes the challenges, struggles, and obstacles. Allowing them to take you off balance is perhaps the biggest risk you take both personally and professionally. That lack of balance kills innovation, creativity, and confidence. Embracing the moment allows you to be free of negative things you can’t control, and realize that every moment is a chance to help you grow and thrive.
Here’s your assignment for the week: Look back on the challenges of the prior week and find one thing that made you better from each of those experiences. Commit to carrying those lessons over into this week. If you need help in doing this, contact me. We all need help in staying focused on embracing the moment.
Bottom line for your business and your life is that embracing the moments – all of them – and committing to learning and growing from them will accelerate your business and personal goals. And, you’ll have more fun doing it.
Quote of the Day:
“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person; he believed in me.”
~ Jim Valvano, late college basketball coach and analyst
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Abandon Ship

Dan_Weedin_022I was on the ferry over the weekend when from my car I heard the announcement by the captain that the crew would be performing an abandon ship drill. They were recruiting passengers to help; I now wish I had volunteered since it might have helped this missive! Next time.
It dawned on me as I heard the drill being played out on the speaker, that the only way to really simulate an abandon ship scenario was to pressure test the crew on a regular run that includes real passengers. Of course, nobody was actually going to leave the boat, but the process of using real passengers on a real run makes the exercise as real as possible to prepare and train.
When was the last time you pressure tested your business continuity plan?
My question first assumes that you have a plan in place and that you’ve at some point run a crisis simulation exercise. In my experience, neither plan or past simulations are often in place for small and medium sized businesses. Why? The major reason is the age old excuse of lack of time.
It was important enough for the ferry system to run an exercise in the middle of a crowded weekend run. While they are required to do this, the point still stands. If a crisis like an emergency evacuation needs to be done well, it must be practiced and tested.
You have the same obligation for your business to protect property and more importantly, people. If you never pressure test your people to deal with a crisis, why would you expect they can do it?
I’ve helped many clients perform these exercises and without exception, each one comes away with areas to improve and an awareness of the critical nature of this practice.
So what’s stopping you from running your own “abandon ship” drill this summer? Here’s what you do. Schedule a time. Find someone to help you create and facilitate it. And then do it. Learn from the experience and reduce the chance of exacerbating a calamity because you weren’t prepared.
Bonus: Don’t run or operate a business? Do you have a home? When was the last time you pressure checked your personal evacuation plan to assure you and your loved ones (and pets – Captain Jack wanted me to remind you) are prepared to save lives?
Are you and your business prepared to abandon ship? How do you know?
Quote of the Day:
“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.”
~ H. Jackson Brown Jr. – 20th century American author
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: The Next 100 Days

Dan_Weedin_022Consider this your very special Public Service Announcement…
The 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the most dangerous days of the year for motorists in the United States. Are you prepared to protect yourself and your loved ones? Your employees? How do you know?
You probably can guess the causes of this statistic: Summer vacation traveling; kids out of school; weddings and other family events; more cars on the road trying to get places faster; more drinking and driving; more distracted driving; more road rage….
You get the picture. The problem is we all “get the picture” but very few of us take notice. Why? Because driving is second-nature to us. Most of us are fortunate enough to go out regularly and avoid serious calamity. The problem is when the activities mentioned above increase traffic, speed, and recklessness, those you most care about (including you) may not only be in peril, but be that cause of the peril!
If you are a business owner that has any size fleet of vehicles OR has employees using their own personal cars for your business regularly (e.g. sales people, contractors), then you’re ultimately responsible for any negligence that comes from them. While they may have been the one who made the poor decision that caused an accident, your name is on the truck literally and figuratively. You can go a long ways towards improving your position and reducing your risk of being the reason for a tragedy:
First, talk to all your employees about safe driving. Regardless of whether or not they drive for you. they are humans that you care about. Focus on distracted driving (especially anything that takes their hands off the wheel like texting or calling), keeping to the speed limit, and leaving early to avoid stress.
Second, schedule at least one safety training around safe driving. While these might often seem tedious, they actually work in raising awareness and reducing accidents.
Third, have consequences. By creating a minimum standard of driving record for those that do drive for you regularly, you are showing that you value the commitment to keeping everyone safer.
Final thought: Your loved ones are in cars every day, both as drivers and passengers. Don’t take for granted that these next 100 days are the same. The hard quantitative statistics don’t lie. And that commitment must start with you as a role model.
As the legendary sergeant on the 1980s television drama Hill Street Blues once proclaimed as the officers left every day on the job, “be careful out there…”
P.S. If you want even more information on how to help your drivers be more alert and safe not only now but into the future, contact me. Part of any good risk management program is prevention. I’m happy to help.
Quote of the Day:
“No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.”
~ Abraham Lincoln
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Memorial Day Special

Normandy
Normandy

This week’s memo is a reprint from last year’s Memorial Day Special. Best wishes to you and your loved ones on this holiday Monday…

In memorium. In memory of. Remembrance.
All words that signify and define the word, “memorial.”
I can’t imaging what it would have felt like on June 6, 1944. To be 21 years old, standing on a Navy ship, and set to be on a landing party to the beaches in Normandy. The odds said that you’d be a casualty and you knew it.
The chill of the wind and the rain in the Atlantic just off the shore of France, and far away from wherever you hailed from.
By the time the fighting was over, there would be 4,414 confirmed dead, and over 10,000 casualties. That scene I describe can certainly be played out over centuries. Men and women facing certain death, yet risking all for all for country.
My dad spent 30 years in the Navy and served in World War II. He wasn’t at Normandy, but was at the North African Invasion and certainly survived the war. He was always quick to point out that Memorial Day was not the day to honor those that served, but those that died. Those that gave the greatest sacrifice. Veterans Day is the day to honor all who served and serve. Memorial Day is the day to honor the fallen. I’ve never forgotten that.
Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor the dead. During the first national celebration on May 30, 1868, former Union General and sitting Ohio Congressman (and future President of the United States) James Garfield made a speech where 20,000 graves were “decorated” for both Union and Confederate soldiers.
Today we honor all those that have fallen in wars, conflicts, and service from the Revolutionary War to the present. Let’s all remember this as we take a holiday break from our labors to recall those that gave the ultimate sacrifice so we can.
In memorium. In memory of. Remembrance.
Quote of the Day:
“Courage is feat holding on a minute longer.”
~ General George Patton
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: En Fuego

Dan_Weedin_022This past Saturday, ten of us from our neighborhood got together on a beautiful night to sit outside around an open fire and enjoy each other’s company with a few adult beverages and lots of food. It’s one of the things we love about our neighborhood.
As the evening went on, I found myself interested in the fire. As a couple of the guys kept feeding it with wood they brought over from home, the fire would suddenly get bigger and hotter. This sequence repeated itself over the hours we were together. The heat and “vibe” of that fire created energy and life.
Is your business “en fuego (on fire)?
Every business has a vibe (energy) that is needed to keep alive. All too often, business owners lose sight of the fire beginning to go out. It can be a very subtle thing; and if left too long takes a whole lot of extra wood (in your case energy, effort, and money) to get the fire burning with the same vibe again.
So what are the signs that the fire is being extinguished?
Apathy and low morale in employees; increased turnover; decreased sales; stagnant leadership and management; lack of innovation and ideas; overlooking areas around safety and security; and increased client and customer complaints.
Your job is to stay en fuego. That means you have to take charge like my two friends did to ensure everyone is not only staying warm, but being invited to stay and create the energy. Being a business owner requires the ability to be vigilant on the health of the fire burning in the organization, assuring it doesn’t become the wrong type of fire!
Be on the lookout for stagnation and combat it with a collaborative environment that encourages innovation and growth for it’s people. That way, your company and it’s people will continue to stay en fuego…
Quote of the Day:
“He who clutches desperately to security, to every day habits, work, organization, friends, family; no longer lives. More than security, life needs adventure, risk, dynamic activity, self-giving presence to others.”
~ Jean Vanier (Canadian philosopher, theologian, and humanitarian 1928-2019)
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Snap Out of It

Dan_Weedin_022I’m on a regular chiropractic maintenance program to keep me in line. While Barb has tried valiantly to keep me “in line” in life; Dr. Tom has the easier job of making sure that my spine is right. As many of you know, when the spine – which is foundational to the working components of the body – is in line, everything else works better.
Last week at my regular visit, there were two loud cracks when Dr. Tom corrected my neck – one on each side. Although I wasn’t feeling mis-aligned, I was. I asked Dr. Tom if the loudness of the adjustment also indicated how much out of kilter I was. He said, yes. That although it may not always manifest in pain or discomfort, being out of line happens naturally and the “loudness” of the return to normal often indicates how much it was needed.
Businesses often get “out of alignment;” which directly leads to imbalance. Imbalance is the leading cause of a number of maladies including poor employee morale, unfocused marketing strategies, gaps in business continuity protection, and CEO mental and physical health (to name a few).
Just like in a human body, drifting into imbalance is part of the normal process, even when things are positive. It becomes necessary to get snapped back into alignment for the health of the company. Sometimes there will be loud cracks (my code for disruption attributed to necessary change), but in the end the result will be a healthier, happier, and more profitable company. It also leads to a better adjusted business owner.
Just like I need regular chiropractic adjustments to keep me healthy, I also need regular business practices adjustments from my professional coach (which I do twice a month at minimum).
What do you do to stay aligned an in balance? Do you use the services of an expert to crack your organizational spine back into place? Your assignment this week (if you’re willing to accept it) is to take a candid appraisal of your business and your life and take one step towards better balance. After all, every one if us needs it.
Quote of the Day:
“There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things and people who claim to accomplish things. The first group is less crowded.”
~ Mark Twain
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Protecting Your Income

58842029-Dan+Weedin+Unleashed-43 copyI’m going to be speaking to consultants next week on the power of insurance to protect their business and lifestyle. It’s Disability Insurance Awareness month and small business owners and entrepreneurs are apt to insure for things like fire and wind, and bypass insuring what they most contribute to their family…their income.

This is a seven-minute video detailing a consultant who became disabled after a stroke. As you can see, he’s not elderly; and has children in their teens ready to head to college in the future.

If you are a CEO, President, consultant, entrepreneur, or business owner, you need to protect your income. Call me for a discussion at my cost. I’m happy to help you find solutions.

Watch Video

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

Extra Points: Fresh Take Part II

Dan_Weedin_022You might remember last week’s missive on our moving of rooms and giving our house a fresh look, which re-energizes, rejuvenates, and just simply adds a breath of fresh air. What I didn’t include is the process.
Step One of the process is moving all the stuff from one room to another. Labor intensive, but pretty straightforward. Step Two is the visioning; where do things go? Step Three is the placement – which may take several iterations! I was always happy with where the furniture was at the moment, mostly because I didn’t want to move it again! The CEO (Barb) had a much broader strategy which meant more testing and visioning. In the end, the process worked, even though at times I just wanted it to end.
That’s what happens in organizations of all sizes. You start with a plan and then you implement – in other words you move “stuff;” you envision what it will ultimately “look like;” and then you do a lot of testing and moving. This final step is where businesses often give up. Just like me moving furniture, it’s easy to become complacent and allow it to be good enough when best is still out there.
The process is critical to any successful project or intervention. Not staying true to it increases risk: loss of productivity, loss of investment, loss of morale, and loss of opportunity to name a few. Managing risk is often as simple as following though on your vision by assuring that the process runs its course. Make sure your business strategy is as sound as Barb’s decorating skills, and avoid listening to those who simply want to be done.
Quote for the Day:
“Age is not important unless you’re a cheese.”
~ Helen Hayes
© 2019 Toro Consulting. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed® is a registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Fresh Take

Dan_Weedin_022This weekend, Barb and I worked on re-shuffling the deck inside our house. Basically, we moved rooms around: the dining and living rooms switched locations. In the 18 years we’ve lived in this house, it’s probably the fourth or fifth iteration of this move, and each time it’s a little different. And as with all of them , this time it added a “freshness” to the house.
Regardless of whether we make a switch in rooms, paint a few walls, or simply make the functionality in a room or area different, there is a newness – a fresh felling – that rejuvenates the spirit. It makes old new again, and often seen with a clearer vision and increased level of excitement.
No matter how long you’ve been in business, the similar exercise or process can create similar results. The corollary in business is innovation. When was the last time you created a new service or product; or re-invented yourself? If it’s been more than a year, then it’s tie to “switch rooms.”
Investing time to re-invent and to innovate creates that fresh take, than rejuvenation that a business (and its people) need to continue to grow and thrive. The opposite effect of doing nothing leads to stagnation. I just recently worked with my own business coach to develop a new program which will not only help my clients but add a sense of excitement to my own work.
Your assignment this week is to uncover something new and simply try it. If it doesn’t work or fit, try something new. Innovation is good for the spirit and your business growth and success. Re-shuffling the decks and “changing rooms” every once in awhile will do wonders for you and your business.
Quote for the Day:
“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.”
~ William Pollard
© 2019 Toro Consulting. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed® is a registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Close Calls

Dan_Weedin_022The time-frame to walk down 20 floors of a hotel, discover the emergency is a false alarm, and then take an elevator back to your room is 15 minutes. I know. Just did it.
I was in Las Vegas to teach a class last week, staying in a nice casino on the strip where the class was to be held. I was happily surprised when my room was upgraded to a suite on the top floor because of my single night stay. Of course, as luck would have it, at 11:30 pm as I’d fallen into a deep sleep, the fire alarm went off.
I did what I was initially trained to do in grade school: checked the door to see if there was fire directly outside; grab my keys, phone, and wallet; and find the nearest exit by stairs and start descending. I was part of a group of people all doing the same thing.
When we got down to the ground, we noticed that Vegas was still Vegas. No fire trucks, no throngs of evacuated guests and customers. As it turns out, it was a false alarm and 99% of the hotel had no idea what happened. Thankfully for me, the elevator to my tower was operational and I ascended happily knowing that taking the stairs back up would not be required!
False alarms can at first blush be considered an annoyance. In reality, they are a great learning opportunity. In my consulting practice, I discuss the concept of “close calls” with my clients. A pattern of close calls generally turn into a crisis if left unattended to. This concept is real in operations both physical (near collision by forklift or vehicle) or mental (data input errors).
We all deal with close calls professionally and personally. I encourage you to not brush them off as happenstance, but to add one important activity – to consider what was learned to be better prepared.
What was my lesson in the evacuation from the 20th floor, you may ask?
While I did seemingly bring the most important things with me, one more thing could have been included. It would have taken no more time to throw my laptop into my bag and bring the entire thing with me. There’s important information stored there and in the event of a real emergency, would have taken extra time to recover.
Bottom line – in your next close call – whether it be a near miss in traffic or a false alarm at work, make sure that you take advantage of the lesson it will offer you.
Post script: The exact same thing happened to me exactly 10 years ago except it was January in Providence, RI and about 70 degrees colder outside. That time, I didn’t bring my cell phone with me, so I’m getting better at it!
Quote for the Day:
“Experience is simply the word we give to our mistakes.”
~ Oscar Wilde
© 2019 Toro Consulting. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed® is a registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.