Extra Points: Dogs and Cats

August 22, 2016 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Captain Jack and Bella despise cats. Despise them.

When a cat is spotted on one of their walks, the histrionics begin. Resounding barking, bellowing angst, and powerful lunging that takes all my effort to keep them restrained. The cat, however sits silently, with a mocking glare that exacerbates their fury.

The ‘rivalry” between dogs and cats is centuries old. Our own pop culture characterizes this antagonism through mediums like cartoons, commercials, and school mascots. Ironically, this battle isn’t solely confined to our furry friends. I’ve spoken with many a business owner that has complained that his or her employees (and often leadership) “fight like cats and dogs.”

In any company, this clash leads to less than “unleashed” consequences. Some of the conflict may sound like my dogs obnoxious howling and posturing. Other times, the animosity is as stealth as a cat’s sly, shrewd stare. Regardless of number of employees, this leads to wasted time, poor performance, lost revenue, higher turnover, and high drama that sucks energy and time from your team and organization.

If you’re in a position of influence, it’s your responsibility to be a catalyst for change. I’ve heard and seen dogs and cats co-exist under the same roof. At some point, they were influenced to strike a culture of playing well together for the greater good (they both have agendas, too).

You’ll never be in a situation where you don’t have different styles, personalities, and opinions in your company. Conflict can be healthy if used for good, not evil. By creating a culture of “playing for each other,” as outlined in my book Unleashed Leadership, you’ll be able to harness the talent and skills of both your dogs and cats to accelerate profitable growth and better work conditions.

Bonus: Families are also prone to dog-cat rivalries. If you are part of a family-owned small business, those passions can become inflamed. You’ll be doing yourself a huge favor if you can learn how to influence others to create that better condition for all.

Quote of the Week:

Dogs are wise. They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more.
~ Agatha Christie

P.S. Having trouble with your own dogs and cats? You have the ability to fix this yourself, however if you need guidance and help to it, email me at dan@danweedin.com and let’s talk. I may not be very good at influencing my dogs, but I am better with people! Lets talk.

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

What’s My Lie?

August 18, 2016 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40It looks like the story of the four U.S. swimmers being robbed is a fabrication. If that is clarified, it takes on the impact on the grand scale of former NBC news anchor Brian Williams and his expansion of the truth dealing with his involvement with enemy fire in the Middle East. Believe me, the new “enemy fire” will be aimed right at these four swimmers and will haunt them for years, if not their entire lives.

This morning’s NY Times story – read here – is shedding light on what really happened a few nights ago in Río de Janiero.Ryan Lochte is the most well known of the quartet of athletes and he served as the poster boy for the media. His tale is all about having a gun pointed to their heads and fearing that they wouldn’t make it out alive. Well, he made it back to the United States before his buddies, who were unceremoniously dragged off the plan by Brazilian authorities for more questioning.

You can read the entire story for yourself. Suffice it to say, there appears to be some monkey business going on. This “tall tale” looks like it’s been invented to cover up for some misdeeds committed after the swimming competition was over, and the Americans shone as one of the brightest stars.

How does this affect you?

As a business leader (owner, manager, executive), you deal with people all the time that have reason to be untruthful. Your biggest concern should be with your employees. While I believe you should begin any relationship like this as trusting, you need to be vigilant on what the truth is becasue it affects your company. While you may never get into fabrications as large as this one, small white lies can cost you money. They can range from untrue resumes, explaining why someone is consistently late to work, to thievery (I have one client that had $25,000 stolen over time from their bookkeeper).

You also have an obligation not to be untruthful with employees. There’s ample opportunity to withhold information or stretch the truth for your own purposes.

Look, the bottom line comes down to trust and transparency. This incident is going to have serious ramifications on the swimming program and the United States. Lying is most often used to cover up something that is awkward, unpleasant, or embarrassing. If we are honest, at some point in our lives we have all been guilty to some extent. However, creating a culture of playing for each other (as outlined in my book Unleashed Leadership), will prevent the really embarrassing and potentially damaging consequences for you and your business.

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

Family Matters: Part 1 – The Corporate Conundrum

August 17, 2016 Leave a comment

20 Under 40 20_3This is the first 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 three columns, I will draw attention to the three most critical topics that all family businesses need to address for both profitability and family bliss.

Corporations use boardrooms to create initiatives, develop strategies and settle disputes (among other things). Family businesses frequently use kitchen tables, backyard decks and hospital waiting rooms to do all of those, including determining perpetuation and ownership. The biggest problem I’ve encountered in working with countless family businesses — regardless of success level — is that they don’t treat themselves as a corporation, but rather an amalgamation of family members that all have an interest (and often an agenda) for the family business. Without a process and culture of a corporation, at its best it’s adequate, but not as efficient as it could be. At its worst, it’s a dreadful comedy of errors that merges the Corleone family and Modern Family.

Family businesses are typically founded by someone with skill and passion around a service product and the courage of entrepreneurship. At certain points in the life cycle of the business, spouses, children, siblings and in-laws are inserted into the mix. Frankly, that’s one of the ways that this country has grown and prospered. The problem is that, unlike major corporations that require it, the process of developing and implementing “rules of engagement” around succession, company shares, employment, and individual rights gets tossed to the back of the priority list. They tend to rear their ugly heads at the worst possible moments, leaving the family members scratching theirs.

So without belaboring this issue any further, allow me to dive into ways that any family business can rapidly improve the easily fragile dynamics of their business. It simply falls under the heading of “going corporate.”

Far too many family businesses treat the business — and each other — like family. That’s fine for the Thanksgiving gathering but not for the non-family member employees, the customers, and the partners. Here are my Seven Simple Rules for Converting From Family to Company:

1.    The CEO rules. In any corporation, there is a boss: the CEO. Your family business requires a boss. It’s where the proverbial “buck stops.” It’s the final say; the vision; the voice. It might also be the father, brother, sister, son or daughter. Everyone must disengage the familial relationship and respect the position and person in charge.

2.    Family members must get a job. The best dynamics I’ve seen are when family members must get a job outside before being eligible to join the family business. This improves diversity of thinking; reduces entitlement; accelerates skill development; and improves profitability.

3.    Create a clear path for perpetuation. This is all about “inheritance.” There must be clarity around succession. Having this conversation in the midst of a crisis hurts the entire company. Because this can often be an emotional and difficult conversation, I recommend hiring a facilitator to help with the process.

4.    Never talk about the family outside of the family. Don Corleone made this clear in his family business; you should, too. None of the employees care about the family dynamics. In fact, it makes them uncomfortable. Someone should be able to walk into a business and not be able to identify that it has multiple family members.

5.    No perks allowed. My wife worked for a family-owned bank 30 years ago. She recalled to me the founder/chairman’s wife being incensed when her adult son was properly charged overdraft fees, and then insisted they be waived. I’m pretty sure that advocacy was never passed on to the other customers. While this example sounds extreme, what seemingly unobtrusive perks are taken in a family business that can lead to discontent from employees or customers?

6.    Preparation for the separation. Ever see the founder “retire” but keep coming back and giving “suggestions?” The irony is often the successor to the patriarch takes the company to greater heights! There must be corporate rules about interference from retired family members, regardless of what their role was. The company must prepare and set policy on this and then communicate it.

7.    Perfect the balancing act. As much as “going corporate” relates directly to the business environment, likewise it pertains to family time. There should be a clear delineation and rules about what is appropriate in family gatherings. Just like employees don’t want to hear about your family issues, family members not involved in the business don’t care to hear about the business. In addition, everyone needs a break from the business to secure a strong life balance. Employees get to do it; so should you.

Bonus: You can still enjoy a “family atmosphere” by acting like a corporation. In fact, it’s more likely to be achieved that way!

It doesn’t matter if you’re five or 50 employees in a family business. Do yourself, your employees and your profitability a favor by acting like a corporation. You might be amazed at the results of reduced drama, increased engagement, less strife, improved employee morale, and more enjoyable family gatherings. Owning a family business is a wonderful thing as long as its shadow doesn’t own you.

Next month: Family Matters, Part 2: Why you hate your boss

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All rights reserved

A Special Master Class from Betsy Jordyn

August 16, 2016 1 comment
betsy-jordynMy friend and colleague Betsy Jordyn is holding a personal FREE live masterclass to date that brings to bear all of her personal, professional and spiritual experiences. It is designed to help high achieving women transcend burnout.
 
The purpose of this webinar is to expose the myths about burnout, the true science of burnout, why high-achieving women are particularly susceptible, how to reverse its impact on your body AND how burnout is a hidden wake up call and invitation towards greater personal transformation and growth.
 
Betsy is highly qualified to help high achieving women overcome burnout and lead more rewarding careers and lives. I highly recommend you check out this free course!
 
Categories: Uncategorized

Extra Points: Chip Shots

August 15, 2016 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This Week’s Focus Point: Good Chip Shots

I love watching the Olympics and as an avid golfer, I’m thrilled that golf is back in the Games after a mere 104-year absence. Although some top names golfers opted out due to a mosquito, most of the best players in the world are competing.

One of those competitors is from Canada. Graham DeLaet found himself in second place after the first round (at the time of this writing). DeLaet is a regular PGA Tour player who has had limited success in his career. In fact, a few months ago, he withdrew from a tournament and took a self-imposed hiatus due to what he claimed on Twitter was his “anxiety over my short game.” Basically, a person with the skills to be a professional golfer had allowed anxiety and fear take hold of the mental side, and jarred his ability to unleash the skill he already had. This is not entirely uncommon in golf. Kudos to DeLaet for overcoming it.

While I’ve been known to allow anxiety damage my own golf game, it’s still just a game to me. For DeLaet and his colleagues, it’s their professional career; their business world. If they are susceptible to letting anxiety and fear devastate their talent, then we are as exposed to the same fate in our career. For us, it becomes manifested in different ways: fear of making calls, so you hide behind email; fear of confrontation so you allow a poor behavior in someone else to persist; fear in imperfection so you become paralyzed and get nothing accomplished; fear of looking bad, so you do nothing; fear of public speaking so you miss out on a promotion; fear of not being liked so you allow a problem employee to stay employed; fear of asking for help, so you never improve…

You get my drift. The best golfers in the world lose confidence that – gone unabated – will lead to fear and anxiety. The best business leaders, entrepreneurs and professionals also can lose confidence leading to unmet goals, guilt, and unhappiness. Be resilient. You haven’t forgotten your “skills:” take a deep breath, hit the reset button, go back to your “practice range,” and encourage yourself until you get back to where you need to be… with a simple tap-in for birdie.

Quote of the Week:

“Fear masks talent.”

~ Alan Weiss

Dan is an amazing coach. He not only guides to me a level of clarity that has been instrumental in achieving my goals, but also provided a role model for what I hope to achieve in my own business. He is charming and funny but also fearless and sharp. I recommend Dan with the utmost confidence. ~ Stacie Curtis, President – CW Solutions

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Thoughts about Río

August 11, 2016 Leave a comment

20 Under 40 20_3There was certainly a whole bunch of hubbub heading into these Olympic Games in Brazil. Río de Janeiro was being castigated as the worst ever venue before it got started. Certainly, there was much ado about polluted waters, politics, and Zika carrying mosquitoes.

It’s not quite been a week and what’s happened? The games have been nearly flawless to watch. Great athletes performing incredible feats; terrific stories about real people overcoming obstacles; and remembering how much sports can unite people.

Is it perfect. No. No Olympic Games – summer or winter – that I’ve ever seen have been. There’s no need for them to be. While the concerns had aspects of seriousness to them, the anxiety they created is the equivalent of the mountain and molehill axiom.

Take a look at your life – business and professional. How many times do we make mountains out of molehills, but can’t seem to be as resilient as Río appears to be?

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

Got Work?

August 8, 2016 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Captain Jack loves to work.

No really. I mean loves to work. He knows when I’m done eating breakfast and begin to stand up, that it’s time to work (even though often it’s not – I might just need a second cup of coffee!). He makes a beeline for my office door, which is a straight-shot down the hall. He literally hurls himself at the closed door with both front paws outstretched as if somehow he will knock it to the ground. He just might someday. At this point, he starts jumping up and down while emitting an exuberant bark, which would make you think there was a room full of beef jerky with his name on it inside the room.

Now Jack thinks he works. His main role (of which he is performing magnificently at as I write this) is to sleep in his chair. Yes, his own chair in my office. My wife Barb doesn’t even have her own chair, primarily because she’s not shown the same enthusiasm for “work” in my office. Even though it may seem redundant, Jack is most happy at work.

Are you happy at “work?”

My theory is that a great majority of people work for a paycheck. They don’t really love their job; have a passion for it; see themselves as a tremendous value; and can’t wait to “retire” someday so they can quit working. The most successful people – not just professionally – are the ones that do what they love every day. Their passion for their work magically transforms into fun. They value themselves and their contribution and most often are compensated equitably for that value. Why are you “working” where you are now? You either loved it and one point and now want a divorce; or you settled becasue it was a job. Regardless, it’s never too late to rekindle or discover that fire. Life’s too short.

I try to take Captain Jack’s approach every day. I don’t really “work.” I do what I love and have fun every day, and get paid for it by people who value my expertise. I don’t see a need to retire because I’m having fun. So is Captain Jack. Are you?

Quote of the Week:

“Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long shot.”

~ Charlie Chaplin

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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