Extra Points: The Mental Side of Your Business

Being in business is a daily mental challenge. Heck, life is a daily mental challenge. How we deal with and respond to that mental side means everything when it comes to our businesses, careers, and lives.
October is Mental Health Awareness Month. While I’m not a therapist or counselor, I’ve been an entrepreneur or business professional for my entire career. The mental side of our business can become challenging as we deal with adversity, other humans we disagree with, and calamity we had no control over. That mental wear and tear over years can take a toll. They will keep any of us from being “unleashed.” In today’s missive, I’d like to share three concepts with you that I hope you can immediately implement for your best mental health today and moving forward.
First, you must identify when there is a challenge. Most of us who own businesses and/or are reliant on ourselves for our income, often eschew admitting when we need help. It’s easy to proverbially “rub dirt on the injury” and carry on. It’s almost become the way we define our resilience. The problem is that too much of this can become overwhelming and lead to a myriad of problems. This first step is being vulnerable and confident enough to identify these challenges.
Second, ask for help. There are many professionals in the mental health industry that one can lean on. Additionally, there are also colleagues and peers that can provide support. It takes someone with great confidence and self-awareness to ask for help. I don’t believe we can be successful on our own; and that includes taking care of ourselves in our won heads! Ask for help well before you need it. In fact, make it a part of your business and personal life.
Third, focus on what you can control. So much of life is outside of our control. We can only take charge of how we react, what we think, and our attitude. There’s plenty of research to show that good mental health and a positive attitude go hand in hand. It’s easy to say’ harder to accomplish. That’s why we all need the first two steps! By focusing on your response and thinking – things you an control – you will avoid the chaos and crisis that comes from being overcome by the things you can’t control.
The world we live in is demanding, fast-paced, and volatile. By being able to slow things down in your own world, you’ll be armed and ready to take on anything both mentally and emotionally. And that’s a good thing for you, your business, and your life.
Be Unleashed!
Quote of the Day:
“Greatness is a road leading towards the unknown.”
~ Charles de Gaulle
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Beyond the End Zone

While you all have read the exploits of my dog Captain Jack, you may not be as familiar with our other Jack Russell mix, Bella. In today’s missive, you will get an opportunity to learn more about her and – importantly – gain a lesson for your business and career.

Both Captain Jack and Bella are confined in the living room whenever Barb and I leave. We use simple gates that for about the past 10 years have worked perfectly. Until last week. It seems Bella has found a way to escape her confines and become unleashed (or at least un-gated!). After a few efforts to curtail this, I left the house and spied on them with the doggy-cam we have. I watched her in action create a method of escape. The quest for us continues to make sure Houdini and her partner in crime stay safely restricted in their area!

Last week I discussed defining your end zone. The concept of business continuity and succession planning needs to go “beyond the end zone.” While you may have plans to one day sell your business or “retire,” you should actually have many more years of life left to live and enjoy. What’s your plan beyond the end zone?

Bella is about 14 years old, which is the age most dogs begin slowing down. To the contrary, she’s used her advanced wisdom and cunning to seek out new adventures and opportunity. She’s found a way to innovate and create regardless of her age.

You will have the same opportunity one day. No matter how far away it may seem, part of your succession planning should include the next big thing. What gates do you want to sneak through – or knock down? How will you finance it? What skills will you need? These opportunities beyond the end zone (and the gate) may be for profit or charitable. They may involve family, friends, or community. Ultimately, they must generate an excitement and passion so that you know something else awaits you in the future.

Barb and I have already started thinking about our plans beyond the end zone. Bella’s escapades have reminded me that you’re never too old to find new adventures, AND you need to plan for them in advance in order to be prepared to find those cracks in the gate.

Your assignment for the week is to start dreaming about what your next big thing will be. And then, build it in to your plan. Have fun!

Be Unleashed!

Quote of the Day:

“Nobody ever forgets who buried the hatchet.”
~ Kin Hubbard, 20th century American journalist

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

The High Performing CEO

Dan_Weedin_022My October column for the Kitsap Sun examines how to make sure you are a high performing CEO (or any business owner), business professional, and human. After all, we want to avoid the tricks and enjoy the treats!

October is my favorite time of year. The weather is subtly changing from summer into fall; football is now in full swing; and the holiday season is beginning to take shape starting with my unofficial start of it with Halloween. At the end of this month, if you live in a place like my neighborhood, you will have little goblins and ghouls ringing your doorbell and demanding a trick or a treat. For them, they only expect the latter!

Small business owners regularly “dress up” as CEOs daily. They look and act the part. Unlike Halloween however, the trick also comes into play. They often “trick” themselves into thinking that they are performing at a high level commensurate with what they expect from their employees and business. If they aren’t actually doing it, the trick is on them and the treat isn’t sweet.

Let’s first define “high performing.” Performance gets confused with hard work and effort. The mere act of showing up daily, working long hours, and keeping the doors open don’t truly define performance. They provide a facade that masks what a true rating basis should be.

Performance must be based on results. A CEO of any sized business must demand that performance standards in his or her business are met. These qualitative and quantitative factors include sales performance, speed of delivery, focus, collaboration, prompt correspondence, and courteous service to name a few. When these aren’t achieved, the CEO must take corrective action.

But what about if the CEO isn’t meeting performance standards because he or she aren’t operating at their maximum capabilities? What if the CEO is only generating 50% out of their own potential? That would never be acceptable in any other measure, but it happens all the time. The reason? We as humans don’t always fully grasp the consequences of not taking proper care of ourselves to maximize our own results.

For those who regularly read or hear my work, you’ll recall that I talk about treating ourselves as athletes. This is your friendly reminder as we sprint into the stretch run of the year with the goal of picking up speed into 2020.

The problem: We think hard work translates into results. In reality, working beyond your best energy levels means inefficient results. Not allowing for proper nutrition means the machine is getting clogged up and not maximizing its output. Ultimately, it results in the breakdown — physically and emotionally — of the most important asset the organization has. Namely, the CEO.

Being an athlete requires taking care of one’s own physical, mental, and emotional requirements in order to function best on the field of play. It’s easy to immediately think of athletes in football, basketball, baseball, and track because they have what appear to be highly strenuous and physical sports. Allow me to offer another example: golf.

Being a professional golfer has changed in the 40 years I’ve been actively playing and watching the sport. It used to be that golfers focused on practice of their skills rather than concerning themselves with diet and other forms of exercise. It wasn’t uncommon to see golfers that were out of shape physically and that started “wearing down” in their early 40s.

Tiger Woods changed all of that forever when he came on the scene nearly 30 years ago. Today, golfers take their physical conditioning very seriously, devoting untold hours to improving strength, flexibility, and endurance. They have mental coaches that work with them on their decision-making, mindset, and emotional responses. The results are that professional golfers are maximizing their potential through better play, and are extending their ability to perform at a high level into their 70s!

I know this is an issue for CEOs because they tell me it is. There’s likely nothing that you’ve read so far that you’d disagree with. The biggest challenge in this problem scenario is taking action to make long-term changes.

Your solution: The solution begins with mindset. Consider yourself an athlete for your company. The organizational results are dependent on your performance. The better you are, the better it will be. Here are my five recommendations for making an immediate change to improve your game:

1. Eat healthier. This is the one most within your control. “Time” isn’t a factor. You don’t need me to tell you the benefits of eating healthier because you know it. Eating well has nothing to do with resources and time, it’s an issue of priorities. Your results will mirror the fuel you give yourself. Invest the time in creating a lifestyle of eating healthier for maximum results.

2. Hydrate. That means more water, not more soda or coffee. Lack of hydration results in reduced mental acuity and lack of energy. That means decision-making is hampered and you are more likely to be out of energy well before the day is over.

3. Get enough sleep. Don’t cut corners on your rest. Research is clear that good brain health is a result of adequate and consistent sleep. Say you don’t sleep well? It’s likely from not doing some of the other items on this list, like…

4. Exercise. Just like all the others, exercise isn’t a time issue, it’s a priority issue. Stop making excuses (if you are) and invest in 30 minutes a day of exercise. Find something you enjoy and put the routine on your calendar. Start slow as to not injure yourself, and be consistent.

5.  Consult your health expert regularly. Athletes have coaches and trainers. The ones in your corner include your doctor, chiropractor, massage therapist, acupuncturist, physical trainer, and health coach. By consistently staying in touch, you increase accountability and your best health.

Bottom line: Don’t simply play a role of CEO by hiding behind a costume. By implementing these best practices into your daily life, not only will your business dramatically improve, but the bonus treat will be your own improved lifestyle and longevity.

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: What’s Your End Zone?

You don’t need to be a sports fan to comprehend to concept of an “end zone.”
In a football game, the offense has a game plan derived to score a touchdown based on the distance to the end zone. Likewise, the defense has a game plan to avoid calamity and defend (and protect) it’s end zone.
When I coached high school basketball, every play we practiced was designed to score a basket. Throughout the game, we made changes to our overall game plan on both scoring and defending (protecting) based on the ever-changing situation in the game.
Your business, your career, and your life deserve the same strategic planning, and it always starts with identifying and knowing your “end zones.”
Business owners, what’s your end zone? Will you leave vertically (selling your business) or horizontally (keeping it until death to you part)? How you draw up a succession plan for your family and legacy? What opportunities will present themselves and are you prepared to take advantage when they do? Conversely, do you have a contingency plan to deal with your own ever-changing realities?
Professionals, you may not own a business but you do have a career. What’s your end zone look like? How do you want to exit your current situation, and what will you do when that occurs? What are your contingencies to protect your lifestyle?
In my video, I detail one offensive and defensive principle that I use personally in my own professional/personal game plan. You see, the two are intertwined. When creating a game plan that has an end zone to reach and a plan to overcome obstacles, you must include all aspects of your life – professional and personal.
Consider this as part of your assignment (the rest is in the short video – about three and a half minutes); you have greater control than you might think. Control what you can and be disciplined. You all have the ability to be wildly successful (even more than you already are), and it’s not merely talent but discipline that will assure it.
What will you do today to better understand your “end zone?”
Be Unleashed!
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.

Extra Points: What Do You Value?

At this past week’s Unleashed® Summit, I spoke to the participants about my time coaching high school basketball. They heard me recount the time I was in a seminar with two Hall of Fame coaches, Lute Olson from Arizona and Jim Calhoun from Connecticut.

I recall Coach Calhoun espousing that he should be able to walk into any practice of the year and know what a coach valued. For example, if they most valued rebounding, every drill would have a rebounding component to it.

My message to the group – and to you – is that I should be able to do the same in your business. Would I be able to tell what you value as an organization? Is your culture evident?

Here’s the deal…I’m probably not walking into your business this week but your employees and clients will. What will they see?

There are three important areas you can immediately focus on to pressure test your culture. The first is communication. Are your employees able to effectively communicate with each other to promote high performance and efficiency? Additionally. are your clients and customers communicated in a way that that extends your value proposition and message (not to mention welcoming and service)?

Second, are employees and clients treated with the proper respect? I was recently at a café and trying to purchase a coffee. The employees behind the counter barely noticed me and when they did, appeared to be disinterested in talking my money. I know this has happened to all of us as clients or customers. What message of respect is this sending?

Finally, Have you identified your value proposition? What do you do to improve your client’s condition? As importantly, how do you improve the condition of your employees? What do you improve, increase, accelerate, and/or reduce?

In order to be a great basketball team, the coach must identify and commit to a value. In order to have a great organization, one must do the same. What will you do today to improve your culture?

Be Unleashed!

Quote of the Day:

“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”
~ Lyndon B. Johnson

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Fantasy Football and Your Business

I love fantasy football.
Okay, it’s almost solely because of my love for the game and expanding my reason for watching all the teams in the National Football League. However, there are lessons that business can take away from it. Allow me to explain…
Fantasy football is all about quantitative performance data. Both good performances (touchdowns, yards gained, catches) and bad performances (fumbles and interceptions) are taken into account. At the end of the weekend, the team that performed the best overall – based on points scored – wins the game.
Because of that, I’m constantly keeping track of the players on my team and how they are performing. I can’t afford to not play the best players.
You can’t afford not to “play your best players.”
It’s easy to go week to week not focusing on performance. In your case, that means appointments set, proposals made, sales meetings, sales, products manufactured, etc. Who’s in charge of your quantitative data?
Coaches wear head sets on the sidelines and every conversation goes through the head coach’s headset. Are you aware of your “stats;” your performance?
Bottom line: If you don’t keep track weekly of your performance, then you will be less profitable and that impacts your company profitability and value. By staying attuned to your “stats,” you will be more likley to in every week of the year.
Be unleashed!
Quote of the Day:
“Most business is lost every year through neglect than through any other cause.”
~ Rose Kennedy
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Be The Storm

I’m writing this missive here in the middle of a huge lightening storm in the Puget Sound. It’s delayed (if not postponed) the University of Washington game in Husky Stadium. It’s chased our small neighborhood party on the lawn into our homes. And it made a bird run for cover in the safety of our home!
That’s right, just a little while ago – this is real time writing at its finest – I opened the sliding glass door to our deck to go outside and marvel at the lightning storm when a little bird made a beeline into our house trying to escape the same storm! Between Barb, Captain Jack and me (Bella was uninterested and stayed on the couch sleeping), we believe the little guy flew back from whence he came. At least a thorough search didn’t uncover him so we believe he took the bait and braved the storm. We hope he found refuge.
Nature’s fury is incredible. Had it not been for Jack’s enmity for the storm, we likely would have sat on the porch with a libation marveling at the show.
As a business, you have the choice of running (or flying) away from the storm or being the storm. With all due respect to my little bird friend (whom I believe did the very smart thing in seeking refuge), the bounty of success comes to those who create the wind and the rain.
Here’s the deal. Storms create their own ways, regardless of what’s in front of them. There is no “fear.” All too often, solopreneurs and small business owners allow fear of failure to keep them from crating their own storms. It takes courage to stand up and not fight the storm but BE the storm.
What about you?
Your assignment this week is to do something that really scares you; that will make you uneasy but be a source of creating opportunity. That makes all around you stop and take notice; something that creates a storm.
If you need help, contact me. Your business and you have the same strength of a storm. The difference is that storms aren’t capable of fear. They blast forward with strength, conviction, and majesty. And you should, too.
Go be the storm, and be unleashed.
Note: Watch the video because I argue from the bird’s point of view!
Quote of the Day:
“Beware the fury of a patient man.”
~ John Dryden
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Celebrating Labor Day

In the United States, we are very fortunate when it comes to labor. For many, if not most, on this planet, “labor” involves finding food and clean water; avoiding disease and destruction; and simply surviving another day.
It’s easy to take our labor for granted. To that end, you are encouraged to consider these points:
  • If you’re reading this, you have the ability and opportunity to do what you want for a career. You are not stuck doing something you hate unless it’s by your own free will.
  • If you’re a W-2 employee, never think of yourself that way. You have your own small corporation (whether it be just you or your family) of which you are CEO. Make sure you have a passion for your work and are being remunerated for your talent.
  • If you’re a CEO or entrepreneur, you are in the noble position of employing good people and allowing them to take care of families and be active community members.
  • In addition, you get to choose your own path; you’re own destiny. That’s not common in the world. Take advantage of it.
Celebrate Labor Day because you – WE – are so fortunate to be in a position to love what we do, create labor opportunities for others, carve out our own path, and fulfill dreams that others around the world can’t comprehend. So while you’re enjoying a day off with your loved ones and friends, remember that the next day, you’ll back at it with hopefully a little extra zip in your stride!
Happy Labor Day and Be Unleashed!
Quote of the Day:
“Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.”
~ Confucius
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

 

Extra Points: Recovering from Business Sand Traps

Sports is a game of failure.

Last week, my wayward golf shots – my “failures” – resulted in penalty strokes, awkward situations under trees, and a few sand traps. Especially in the latter, I needed to have the right tools and skills to be able to recover. In every “recovery” situation on the golf course, the player must not only have the tools and resources, but the vision to fond the best course of action based on experience and help.

Business is also a game of failure.

Failures in business include everything from lost sales, poor communications, failure to promptly respond, forgetting an appointment, and simply dropping the ball (sports metaphor for a reason). You likley experienced a few failures in business last week; I know I did. They are so common that we tend to overlook them as a cost of doing business and move on. While this ability to put mistakes in the past is often seen as good, let’s not forget learning from them.

Failure is a great teacher if we allow it. On the golf course, my failures are pretty apparent during the round. If some become trends, I know that in order to lower my scores, this must be a place of emphasis to improve through practice.

In business, the failures aren’t always readily apparent. If you are consistently losing sales, a review of the process should be done to see where the issues lie. If you’re not getting enough opportunities, this is a sign of a flaw in your marketing process. If injuries occur too often and cause challenges in operations and morale, these must be addresses to reduce the number.

We humans are prone to failure. Because of that, we need to surround ourselves with the tools, resources, and intelligence to recover quickly and effectively. If we don’t invest the time in procuring the tools, resources, and smarts to do that, then we are negligent.

Here’s your assignment: Review last week’s failures and how you (and your employees) responded. If you didn’t “recover” as well or as quickly as you’d like to, then find out why. What was missing? Keep track on a weekly basis to see if there are trends that need to be addressed.

While we all love the revenue growth part of the business process, the only way to assure we are able to continue that growth is through the ability to recover from calamity. I can’t afford to give away shots on the golf course because I landed in a few sand traps. Similarly, you can’t afford to give away money because you weren’t prepared to recover from your own traps that are littering your course to success.

Quote of the Day:

“Let us be grateful to the mirror for revealing to us our appearance only.”
~ Samuel Butler

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Being Influential

Hola. Me llamo Dan Weedin. Y eso es Puntos Extra…
Okay, I admit that this open may be more impactful in person or on video, but perhaps you noticed it here, too. If it made you wonder what the heck I’m up to, it did it’s job!
Last week, you read or watched me talk about heading to a “rebound” weekend with returning Rotary Exchange students. During the weekend, we gave them pointers on how to begin the presentations they will give to their sponsoring clubs back in the United States and Canada. One of my recommendations is to begin the speech with a greeting in the language of the country they just returned from. The reason? It creates curiosity with the audience, and results in more attentiveness. That’s the goal of every presentation.
In business, you give presentations every day. They can range from one person to 1,000. Every time to speak to employees, co-workers, investors, clients, potential clients, and the community and media, you are tasked with delivering an influential “presentation.” Public speaking isn’t about being up on a platform; it’s the ability to transfer your ideas and motivations to others. And it’s crucial for business success.
Successful CEOs and Presidents of companies of all sizes regularly work on developing their influencing skills. This is NOT in a manner to be manipulative; but rather to exert influence for improving the condition of people and the company. One can be the smartest person in the room, but if they can’t transfer that influence, they will not be as successful as they could be.
Here’s your assignment: Find one way to improve ho you start presentations. Invest 30 minutes into integrating it into your conversations and presentations where you want to influence someone (or a group of people) to think, feel, or do something that will make the company or them better.
My Extra Points Extra: I love starting presentations with a story. You’ve even seen that in many of my missives. Find personal stories – NOT retread jokes – that increase curiosity, add humor, and engages your audience. When you do that, you’re off to a great start to be truly influential.
Quote of the Day:
“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”
~ Ayn Rand
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.