Extra Points: Like a Dog With a Bone

JackYou’ve heard that old axiom, “like a dog with a bone.” It means holding on to what you love with a ferocious intensity. Maybe the person that coined the phrase owned a Jack Russell terrier.
Captain Jack has two speeds: Off and Jack modes. When he’s in “off mode,” he appears to be the sweetest, most serene dog you’d ever like to see. He “attacks” his rest period with the same level of concentration that he exhibits when he moves to Jack mode.
Jack mode is an intensity, desire, and ferocity that is unrivaled. The key attributes of it is are steely stare, a body position that appears ready to strike after a snake or rodent, and a dogged indefatigability that refuses to give up regardless the odds against. As I write this missive, I just watched an Under Armour commercial that declared, The Only Way Is Through. That’s Jack Mode.
In business, we often start our careers and businesses out in full “Jack Mode.” We have everything to lose so tenacity is our mindset. All too often, it’s easy to lose that mode subsequent to some success and comfort. The problem with this trap is that it’s really difficult to escape once ensnared. Falling into a “comfort mode,” like a dog who has given up on bones, may be one of the top financial and viability risks to any business. And there’s no insurance to cover it. Once in this mode, stagnation and decline follow. Morale drops, revenues, drop, and before one knows it, company valuation and wealth are all chewed up.
The goal is to have a healthy balance of “Off and Jack” modes. We need to approach our businesses and careers with that high level of determination and resilience; in other words moxie, grit, and doggedness. This means a steely focus on revenue growth, marketing, profitability, employee morale, brand and reputation, and (this one is really important) emerging opportunities and risks.
The balance part means to know when to be like Captain Jack and turn it off to refresh and rejuvenate. Dogs are innately aware that rest is critical to being on top of their games when the time to “work” comes. We should do the same. Practice your own balance activities to make sure when it’s “Jack Mode,” your way is “through.” That will lead to dog-gone great results for your business, career, and life.
Be Unleashed!
Quote of the Day:
“The suspense is terrible. I hope that it will last.”
~ Oscar Wilde
© 2020 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Love: Let Me Count the Ways

Dan_Weedin_022As we approach Valentine’s Day, it got me thinking about how we show love to those we care about. There are the normal signs of “affection,” from flowers, to chocolates, to dinner out (or maybe even a home cooked romantic dinner!). I’m not going to wax poetic on what you should concoct for your spouse or significant other. What I do want to discuss is ways to really express love for your company and your loved ones. Let me count three ways!
First – A current personal will and Buy-Sell Agreement: Everyone has a will; some have a formal one that has been legally created and vetted with your exact wishes cleanly laid out so that nobody can misunderstand your intentions. The others who don’t have this legal document; their will is presided over by the government. The state will be the judge of how your estate gets transferred and how long it will take. How do you feel about that?
A Buy-Sell Agreement is a business will for the partners of a business. Even in a closely-held family corporation, a Buy-Sell Agreement will detail what happens in the event of one of the four “Ds:” Death, disability, divorce, and disengagement (including retirement).
In both cases, it shows “love” to your heirs and company that you cared enough to leave nothing to doubt on how your estate and company will financially deal with your demise. While not everyone may “love” your final wishes; they won’t have to guess at what you want.
Second – Lifestyle insurance (aka life insurance): Yeah, I know; nobody likes to talk about life insurance. The reality is, that for both loved ones and company, the benefit left to beneficiaries might mean the difference between financial freedom and disaster. My guess is that in the history of life insurance, no beneficiary ever said to an insurance company, “No, that’s way more money than we need. Go ahead and keep it.”
I call life insurance “lifestyle” because when done properly, it assures your loved ones their current lifestyle for the remainder of their lives. In business, life insurance “funds” the Buy-Sell Agreement. In other words, in the event of the death of the CEO or business owner, the company will be able to deal with the financial challenges that come from that without worrying about getting loans or using cash reserves. Now that’s love.
Third – Long-Term Care: This one hits close to home for me as both my parents required long-term care at some level for nearly five years (at the same time). They didn’t have the same opportunities to purchase insurance like we do today.
Here are some facts: First, there is the growing population of elderly. By 2030, it is projected that the number of individuals age 65 and older will be more than 71 million, almost twice the number today. Second, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 70% of individuals over age 65 will require at least some type of long-term care services during their lifetimes. Over 40% will need care in a nursing home for some period.
Of men turning 65 years old, 58% will need some long-term care. Women are more at risk than men once they turn 65 years of age; 79% of women will need some long-term care at some point before death. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
P.S. Men are now living longer than in past generations. We will catch up…
We are living longer than ever before and we have four options to pay for our long-term care, if needed: The government can offer limited assistance, if you make under $10,000 per year; your personal investments and savings (though I’m guessing you might have wanted those for your children and grandchildren); your children’s money, and insurance.
Long-Term Care is starting to become a bigger topic in political campaigns, however my crystal ball never sees it as something that can be funded by taxpayer money. The cost of skilled nursing today is about $120,000 per year. Think about what will happen in 30 years. How will you pay for it if you need it? The money you worked so hard to accumulate over decades? Your children’s money? I encourage you to “show the love” by putting the financial burden of your elder care needs on a faceless insurance company and let your money be for you and the ones you most care about.
Bottom line: Love is expressed in many ways. The normal commercialized forms work great for Valentine’s Day. However, your life and your business loved ones need some love, too. You can show that love by making sure their financial futures and lifestyles are safeguarded. Now that’s a love that will last for generation…
Be Unleashed!
Quote of the Day:
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.
© 2020 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Groundhogs Day

IMG_2123Groundhogs Day seems to trigger one of two (or maybe both) visuals. The first is that little furry creature named Punxsutawney Phil who tells all about the upcoming Spring season based on if he sees his shadow or not. The second is the face of Bill Murray in his classic movie where he lives the same day over and over. So will this missive be about coming out of the shadows or living the same day over and over? Well…both.

Legend has it that on the morning of February 2nd, if a Punxsutawney Phil can see his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If he cannot see its shadow, spring is on the way. At the time I write this, Phil hasn’t come up to check out the day, so I don’t know what 2020 holds for us yet!

That being said, people allow other “groundhogs’ to influence their thinking about their business and lives. Predictions abound from pundits about the economy, politics, the financial marketplace, world events, sports, and business. These “groundhogs” don’t always live within social media. All too often, those most close to us can become the predictors if we allow them. It can be well-meaning family and friends, competitors, and other “experts” that can influence thinking. And the worst offender…might just be ourself. We can become prone to allowing negative thinking, bad experiences, bad luck, and bad timing cloud our perspective of the future. The consequences are far worse than additional six weeks of winter. Which brings me to Bill Murray…

In the move, Murray’s character lived the same day over and over. It’s human to nonchalantly fall prey to the daily grind of “same old, same old.” If that daily grind becomes focused on the negative attitude and poor prognostication of the future, one can start dreading the next day, the next month, and the next year.

The biggest risk to business and financial success is allowing the negative groundhogs in our lives (including us) to prevail. We all have those positive groundhogs in our lives that will keep us focused on a course for bright future days. We should listen to those.

Bottom line. Don’t believe all the prognosticators who forecast cloudy days. They likely don’t know what they are talking about. Heck, Punxsutawney Phil probably wonders why he is forced from out of a warm sleep early every February 2nd. Don’t get stuck seeing your own shadow and racing back into your den of fear; instead keep that inner groundhog speeding ahead towards new opportunities for your business, career, and life.

Be Unleashed!

Quote of the Day:

“Every failure is a step to success.”
~ William Whewell (19th Century English Philosopher)

© 2020 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Creating a Clear Vision for Your Business

He is ready to fight for success

I have a new “toy” as part of my office equipment. I’ve wanted a stand-up option for my computer because I always felt tired of sitting so long during the day. I’m now the proud owner of a standing desk so I can stand and sit when I want. This is an extremely valuable addition to my work process.

An interesting adjustment has been with my glasses. I wear progressive lenses when working on a computer. I’ve found it works well for moving my gaze from the computer to the keyboard and occasionally to the television in my office. It can also turn around and keep a focus on what Captain Jack is doing behind me!

My progressive lenses work fine when I’m in the sitting position, but when I stand, they become blurry and more than a little annoying. The lift in the desk creates a different eye angle. That angle requires a different pair of lenses, so I use my cheap readers. The adjustment I had to make was important because without a clear vision, I couldn’t effectively work, and my results would suffer.

What pair of glasses are you peering through for your business? Isn’t 2020 the perfect time to make sure your vision is crystal clear?

Every business requires specific vision and clarity to improve performance and productivity. Without this specific and clear direction, then nobody in the organization would be seeing the path to success, and results would be less than expected, morale would be lower than desired, and the financial risk to your business would increase exponentially.

Every January, I visit my optometrist to get an exam. This exam clarifies the health of my eyes and resulting vision. Let’s do a quick check on your vision. Here are my five best practices to improving your corporate vision and clarity.

1. Get a new “exam” on your company mission, vision, and values (MVV)

Some of you may not have a written MVV which means you are long overdue for your exam! The MVV is critical to clarity because without it, you’re flying blind. If you do have one, congratulations. Now check the expiration date. If you haven’t reviewed or worked on it for more than two years, you’re overdue. Just like your eyes can change over time, so can your mission and objectives around it.

A review shouldn’t be painful; it does need to be honest and involve other key people in your organization.

2. Focus on activities and results

Too many MVVs suffer the same fate as New Year’s Resolutions. The resolution is to “lose weight;” yet misses the daily activities, disciplines and accountabilities required for positive performance and success.

This is where reverse engineering success comes in. What’s your objective? Is it to increase gross revenue by 15%? That’s a good quantifiable metric, but how will you do it? Reverse engineer your sales process. What do you need to do to improve from the year before? Is it more sales calls, more referrals, new equipment, an improved social media presence, or something else specific to you?

Your MVV must include the disciplines around activity that are required to achieve ultimate success.

3. Accountability

Someone must be responsible for all these daily disciplines or they won’t get done. We are all human; very few of us can robotically work through our action plan daily. We all need someone to hold us accountable.

While accountability is easy to understand conceptually, the hard part is the process. Most accountability requires some level of consequences for not getting done. In decades gone by (and unfortunately in some businesses even today), the old “control and command” method was in vogue. I tell you what to do and you do it, or else you’re demoted or fired. I prefer a more collaborative approach, but still with some level of consequences. The consequences might small at first; however, if they persist, it may become apparent that someone might be self-selecting themselves out of the company! If the accountability is on us as the business owner, then vision might be the problem. That would require a re-commitment to a new vision with better clarity.

4. Get a different perspective

The most successful business owners I know all invest in some form of advisory or coaching. This is important for two reasons.

First, we all need someone to examine what we are doing and challenge us. It’s easy to get myopic and start breathing our own exhaust. Those results are deadly! A coach will be able to expand your worldview and make you do your own vision testing to become more focused on your goals.

Second, everyone needs another person to share both failures and successes. While spouses, children and the family dog (all of which might be part of your company structure, by the way!) might offer a sounding board, a coach offers both sounding board and next steps.

5. Make this process fun

If you’re like me, you like to do fun things. While we all have parts of our work that aren’t quite as enjoyable, what we do better be fun or else we are in the wrong business. Life is too short to waste on going through the motions.

While “process” sounds daunting, it’s not. Think of it as the building blocks to the ideal business and lifestyle. Just like going to the optometrist on a regular basis improves the likelihood of lifelong eye health, investing time and finances into this process will have the same results for your business. You have control over the process and if it’s fun. There is a correlation to fun and success.

Bottom line: The concept of a specific and clear vision isn’t new. It starts with leadership and moves through the organization. Regardless of what you have in place today, invest the time in creating or updating your Mission, Vision and Values. Your vision will immediately be better and brighter!

© 2020 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

My February column for the Kitsap Sun, part of the  USA Today Network

Extra Points: 84 for 32

I didn’t know Kobe Bryant personally. But I knew Kobe.
I watched him break my heart as a Seattle SuperSonics fan. I watched him compete at the highest level as an athlete and be a role model for that competitive fire when I coached both youth and high school basketball over a 10-year period. And in what was becoming a dynamic second act in his life after the NBA, he was a business leader while at the same time showing that you could also be a terrific father at the same time. His tragic death – along with his 13-year old daughter and two other people – in a helicopter crash in Southern California Sunday was a tragedy. My thoughts and prayers go out to all family and friends of everyone involved.
At the same time, those same prayers go to the family of the poor woman who was shot and killed in a random act of violence in Seattle on Friday when gunfire among gang members right at rush hour by a primary bus station erupted. And then of course, there are those we love and mourn who sometimes live into their 100s and pass away peacefully, yet still leaving a hole in the hearts and spirits of those who love them.
If you regularly read this weekly missive, you know it spans more than just business. It’s about life. Kobe Bryant’s high profile death that includes his 13-year old daughter is a stark reminder about the fragility of life. It’s easy to stay in a routine that makes one think that people will just always be there and live forever. Intellectually, we know that’s not true, but in the daily routine, it sure feels that way. Even though my parents lived to what would be considered an age where death would normally occur, I wasn’t ready to see them go.
When I coached high school basketball, I picked up a phrase from a good friend and assistant coach. It was 84 for 32. This saying became our goal as a team. Here’s what it means…
A high school basketball court is 84 feet long. A game is 32 minutes. Regardless of the results of how the game is going for our team, we committed to playing hard for all those 84 feet over 32 minutes. 84 for 32 isn’t just for basketball players. It’s about life. While we don’t know how many “minutes” our game gets to last, we do have control of how “hard” we run that 84 feet up and down our own basketball court called life.
As I write this, the irony of remembering 84 for 32 on a day when an iconic basketball player was tragically killed is not lost on me. When I’m pensive about something, I write because that’s what I am, a writer. And I wanted to share these final thoughts with you…
Commit to playing 84 for 32 every day. Some of those days may it might be easy, yet for most of us humans, the majority will require discipline, thoughtfulness, and courage to compete. But it’s worth it. If Kobe lived his life like he played basketball, he lived 84 for 32. I’m committing to remembering my commitment. How about you?
Be Unleashed!
Quote of the Day:
“A man who has not passed through the inferno of his passions has never overcome them.”
~ Carl Jung (20th Century Psychologist
© 2020 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Ready for the Storm

Dan_Weedin_034Last week, the Puget Sound area had its second straight year of significant snowfall. For us, it’s between 8-12 inches and that’s enough to create suspension of operations for many businesses.
I received a phone call from a client in the hospitality industry asking if snow was enough to make a claim for loss of business income. I had to explain that for any loss of income claim, there needed to be direct damage loss from a covered peril, like a fire.
It was a good question to ask. It also brings to light the fact that insurance isn’t the only answer to calamities that can negatively impact business. While properly programmed insurance is a huge help when property has been damaged, there are many perils to be concerned about and prepared for.
If you own or are a key business leader, here are a few obstacles that are very real and can damage a business:
Suspension of operations due to weather; loss of power and connectivity; bad behavior by individuals causing reputation damage; loss of primary client or supplier; loss of key person, including the owner. Too often, business leaders focus on only growth and forget what impact to growth a suspension or reduction in operations has.
While some may be eligible for insurance help, it’s best to create a plan to prevent and recover. Not doing so – in advance – can kill a business, even if insurance is in place.
Your assignment is to make prevention and disaster recovery a part of your overall strategy. That way, you and your business are prepared to thrive in any situation.
P.S. If you think this only applies to a business, you’re sadly mistaken. The same is true for your personal life. Consider yourself the CEO of your family, however that may be structured. Take on the same assignment!
Be Unleashed!
Quote of the Day:
“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies within you.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
© 2020 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Is Your Company Eating Cheetos?

Dan_Weedin_034One of my regular modes of transportation is the Washington State Ferry service. The crossing time is about 30 minutes, so while I often will catch up on emails and other correspondence, I try to take advantage of the time by getting my “steps” in.
Walking the ferry is a very popular thing for ferry travelers. You can often see half a dozen or more walkers circling the track. We pass by each other and sometimes nod or smile knowingly as we cram some exercise in our day.
In the last ferry walk I did, one of the other walkers whom I had passed many times over about a 10 minute span, stopped at the vending machine. My first thought was that I didn’t know of any healthy alternatives in that machine. Sure enough, on the next lap I saw her walking and chomping on Cheetos. Cheetos!
Yes, this woman was showing some commitment to exercise, but the action of eating something that is certainly not a healthy snack was incongruous with the first activity. In other words, one action didn’t line up with the other and – at least in my opinion – eliminated the value of the good action.
How many companies do exactly the same thing?
Have you ever been in an organization that publicly espoused that they cared about company culture but their words and actions said something else? Rather than foster collaboration, the company didn’t listen, didn’t develop people, and didn’t keep promises the result is low employee morale and high turnover.
Have you ever seen companies that said they care about client service, yet offset that with long wait times for service, lack of communication, and not using technology to improve service.
Here’s the deal: If ones words and actions don’t align with what they assert publicly, then no one believes they are genuine and all of the positive stated is lost. Just like I didn’t buy the walker’s commitment to health because of her subsequent food choice, employees, clients, and community will see through duplicitous words and actions.
Here’s your assignment: Check your own company, regardless of whether you are the boss or employee. How does your mission, vision, and value align with what happens daily with your company?
What we say matters. Our actions matter more. Make sure your mission, vision, values, and actions all are in concert. That will lead to a very healthy organization!
Be Unleashed!
Quote of the Day:
“Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.”
~ Bernard Baruch
© 2020 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: How To Avoid Putting Out Fires

Dan_Weedin_022Barb and I had the privilege of having our granddaughters visit for the weekend. Our oldest is at the stage where she “parrots” everything she hears. All of a sudden, I will hear her repeat my, “Bella be quiet!” or “Captain Jack, lay down!.” It was fortunate for me that she was asleep during the Seahawks playoff game!
Parents have learned that what they say might either come back to haunt them or be repeated out loud by their toddler. It’s the same lesson CEOs and business leaders should be learning with their adult employees.
How one talks to their employees and those under their leadership becomes incredibly important to the culture, and overall profitability of the organization. Not that many years ago, the old “command and control” method of running a company was thought to be the fastest way to results. You saw it at all levels of leadership; from the athletic arena to the military to the boardroom. While a certain amount of command and control is needed in a life and death situation like the military, it’s found to be far less effective in the modern world of business.
While my granddaughter has become very adept at “parroting” our language as she learns how to communicate in the world, your employees will also mimic your language and culture. The “command and control” version doesn’t recognize innovation, new ideas, or fresh voices. Rather it stifles all of that to assure that whomever has been around the longest will tell someone how to act, lead, or respond. The result is a detriment to profitability and a potential crisis for the company.
I often tell clients that while a fire is damaging, there is insurance and a plan on how to respond. The real challenges are the proverbial “fires” being out out daily by leadership. These have often ignited due to poor leadership, lack of sound communication, and the command and control method of leadership. And, they are very costly to the bottom line and to reputation.
What you want for your company is a collaborative environment where ideas are fostered and people are recognized for thinking outside the box. Leadership is about listening, encouraging, and communicating. What you want your employees to mimic or “parrot” are positive attributes of the company and its leaders. You can tell a well-led sports team by how it talks after a game, especially after a tough loss. You can also identify the culture of a company by how people respond and how long they stick around.
Your assignment: Start the year of checking on what your employees and co-workers are saying and doing. While it may not be bad, improvement always leads to improved morale, reduced turnover, and increased profitability.
And isn’t that message you’d like repeated?!
Be Unleashed!
Quote of the Day:
“It’s easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.”
~ Leonardo DaVinci
© 2020 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Unleashing the 2020s!

Dan_Weedin_034This is my January 2020 column for the Kitsap Business Journal and Kitsap Sun. I’m celebrating 10 years as a monthly columnist. In fact. my first column was January of 2010! Many thanks to the Kitsap Sun for a great relationship. On to the next 10 years!

Welcome to the Roaring 20s!

While the original Roaring 20s were identified by the Prohibition era, extravagant living, and ultimately financial collapse, these “Roaring 2020s” are open for your own interpretation. One hundred years later, the business world now belongs to more people and has become a global economy, even for the smallest of businesses. Are you ready to begin the next decade like a lion?

You must view this decade as an opportunity unlike any in history to grow your business, unleash your career, and thrive in life. Unlike almost all past decades, the potential of your business is unlimited. The question is; will you be using tools and resources based on past decades or will you be innovating and forging your own path using new ideas, modern mechanisms, and platforms that have yet to be created?

What will be required of you will be far different that 100 years ago. Back then, our lifestyle was unimaginable. The incredible thing for us is what the next decade brings might be unimaginable to us today.

In order to grow, unleash and thrive in the next 10 years, you need to invest time, energy, and resources into short and long term vision. Yes, the cliche isn’t lost on me; creating a 2020 vision for the future. But once we get past the cleverness, we must roll up our sleeves like the old days and get to the business of forging that vision.

There are the three areas to begin focusing on today that will help you plan your company’s next decade: Strategic growth planning, technology to leverage your business, and strengthening your organization through employee recruitment and retention.

Strategic Growth Planning:

Everyone wants to grow their business but not everyone invests the time in strategically planning for it.

Strategic planning means bringing your key leadership or executive team together for a full day (or two) of planning how you will grow your business. That meeting can be done in person or virtually. Utilize technology to include everyone that has a voice, even if they are outside your organization.

I just returned from Montana helping my client do just this. They invested a day with me to shape and formalize their plan for 2020 and beyond. This family-owned company has been in business over 40 years, yet they realize their industry is changing fast and they need to be leading the charge. What about you?

The focus of your session should be on issues surrounding sales and marketing, innovation, new audiences, improved efficiency, and business continuity and succession planning.

Each of these areas deserves conversation and understanding of the organization’s direction. The reason is they all focus on the two most important aspects of business: revenue generation and protection of wealth.

In the next decade, your value proposition and ability to reach your target market profitably and broadly will be critical to your success. Additionally, your ability to recover quickly from any type of calamity may save hundreds of thousands of dollars and keep you in business. This is an area that often is overlooked; don’t make that mistake. Plan that your ability to continue in business through this decade and beyond is assured.

Technology in your business:

You don’t need me to tell you that technology is not only changing rapidly, but also has a volatility that can be both scary and exciting. Certainly, we have little idea today of what technology will look like 10 years from now. A decade ago, we couldn’t have predicted to abundance of changes to how we live and work; things like mobile apps, digital keys, and smart homes and offices.

We all need to be attentive in understanding how technology is changing and importantly, what our clients expect from us in return. Lack of innovation can kill a small business. Fortunately, your ability to be nimble comes in handy when it comes to speed of decision-making.

Here are areas you should be examining, reviewing, and charting innovation in for your business technology:

— Your website. Is it up to date with images, copy, contact information, and tools? Are your clients able to chat or connect with you in real-time?

— Mobile apps. You might say not every business needs one. That’s what we might have said about web sites and blogs at one time! In the next several years, will your clients expect and demand an app from you?

— Social media marketing. How will you most effectively reach your target audience? I’m not talking about your audience today, but rather those that will be buyers in 5 and 10 years. How are they influenced? Do you need to improve your game with video, podcasts, and blogs?

— Infrastructure. If your technology doesn’t work or becomes attacked, you can’t operate. Everyone needs an expert – either internal or external – to assure that the infrastructure is sound and constantly updated.

Employee recruitment and retention:

Just because our world has adopted more Artificial Intelligence, your employees are often still the face of your business. Relationships still matter, and always will. It’s become more important than ever that you recruit people that will value your culture and grow with you.

Once recruited, it becomes your job to properly develop and trained them. Too often, employers don’t invest the energy and resources into assuring new employees are “onboarded” and mentored properly.

Employees of this generation value financial well-being, but it’s not everything to them. How they are treated and what opportunities they have for career growth and development are also high on their list. By creating a thoughtful and intentional program on developing employees in the 2020s, you will be more assured that your company will be creating a legacy for everyone.

The new age “Roaring 2020s” are upon us. Unlike 1919, we have much more to think about when it comes to both our business and personal goals and dreams. Are you prepared to “roar?”

Happy New Decade!

Dan Weedin is a strategist, speaker, author and executive coach. He helps small business and middle market business leaders and entrepreneurs to grow more profitably and create a better life. He was inducted into the Million Dollar Consultant™ Hall of Fame in 2012. You can reach Dan at 360-271-1592; e-mail at dan@danweedin.com or visit his web site at http://www.DanWeedin.com.

The Roaring 2020s

In just a couple of days, we will pass into a brand new decade. While some may say it’s just another year, we humans have made a custom of dividing out these ten-year increments for retrospective and historical value. It’s that time of life for us again…
I don’t remember the 1960s. Now for many people, that was due to reasons “other” than being too young! I turned five years old on the last day of the decade and really only remember the back half of 1969, specifically moving into our new house in Oak Harbor, for which I would call home for the next 17 years.
The 1970s was all about growing up. I experienced grade school and junior high; played with friends and developed relationships that have lasted the past four decades; and dealt with the challenges that come with that transition from child into teen. There was no Internet, no cellular devices. The coolest technology was Pong (if you don’t know what that is, Google it). It was a simpler life, but not always so easy. I’m fortunate that I grew up with a strong family, good schools, and great friends.
The 1980s was probably my most memorable decade due to the vast life changes that occurred. I began the decade with my first year in high school; which led to: learning to drive a car. getting my first (and only) girlfriend, graduating high school, community college, and the University of Washington; getting married to that same girl; getting my first real job; quitting that job to go to another; seeing the birth of my first daughter and conceiving the second; and witnessing some of the most incredible world events such as the freeing of the hostages in Iran, the nuclear arms race, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now THAT’S a decade to remember!
The 1990s saw us start and fail at a business; move to the area that we still live today; watch our girls grow though exactly the same growth years that I had 20 years earlier; get to coach them in sports, and for us to develop as young parents trying to figure out our way in the world. We also got our first dog.
The 2000s started with the most chilling event in my life; the attacks on September 11, 2001. I will never forget watching the events unfold with Barb that morning as we were getting the girls ready for school. The 2000s saw me get to realize a lifelong dream of coaching high school basketball for six years. I founded my consulting practice midway through that decade and will be celebrating 15 years in 2020. My parents moved close to us and our family was able to enhance that relationship in the twilight of their lives. Our daughters graduated from high school and started college. I even had the unique pleasure of watching my father receive his high school diploma 65 years after he quit school to join World War II. And, we added two dogs to the family, including the incomparable, Captain Jack (Bella joins us in 2010…).
This past decade held a lot of growth and change both professionally and personally for me. I lost both of my parents; watched our girls graduate from their respective universities and then go off and get great jobs; and walked one daughter down the aisle to get married and then provide us with two beautiful granddaughters. My business has been re-invented in several ways over the past 10 years; I wrote three books and became a LinkedIn Learning author with three courses. Most importantly, that girlfriend who became my wife back in the 80s joined me in business and we’ve had the best three years ever. I love having her by my side both as a wife and a business partner. It’s hard to believe that we are about to finish our fourth decade together.
Here’s your assignment: Go through the same exercise I just did. Start with the decade you were born and review your life – both personally and professionally. Take a look at the the events and people that put you where you are today. As a New Year’s Eve birthday boy, I have always taken a somewhat reflective and eager perspective of the year that was concluding and the one ahead. Decades add even more perspective to that. My hope for you is that by doing this exercise yourself, it will be both thought-provoking and exciting.
Here’s my birthday offer for you. I’m happy to offer you a complimentary 15-minute phone call to help you create your game plan for 2020 to start the decade off on the right foot. The only catch is you must schedule it before 4:00 pm PT on December 31st (the calls will be in January; you just need to schedule the date). Email me from this memo and tell me you want to schedule your time and we will get it done. I’m limiting this to 12 people; first-come, first scheduled.
I don’t know what the new Roaring 2020s will hold. What I do know is that I’m excited and eager to find out. I hope you are, too. Here’s to your health and success, and that you slide in ahead of the tag in 2020!
Be Unleashed!
Quote of the Day:
“The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.”
~ Madeleine L’ Engle (20th century American novelist)
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