Bogota Journal # 6

Down to my last 2 days and it really has been a whirlwind “tour.”

Yesterday, my cousins took me to the Salt Mines at Zipaquira. It’s one of only two salt mines in the world with a cathedral underneath. The entire mine and all its relics and sculptures are made of pure salt. When you touch the salt structures, they feel just like marble. I took a taste and I will tell you pure salt is so much better than the refined stuff!

The facility is unique. They’ve basically turned it into a small theme park. It’s apparently the #1 tourist attraction in Colombia. After visiting, I know why!

On the way home, we ate at a very cool spot in Sopo where there is a large dairy plant. They have a cool little place to eat with products from the dairy. On the way back, we came into Colombia a different way and were able to view the city from a spectacular view.

Last night, was a much-needed break to just relax and catch my breath. More fun in store today and tomorrow, so stay tuned!

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

The Nativity sculpted out of pure salt










with my cousin Eduardo at Sopo












Specacular view of Bogota

Bogota Journal # 5

The last two days have again been filled with wonderful family, delicious food, and a terrific city and country.

On Sunday, I went with my cousins to their “finca.” Finca translates directly into English as “farm,” but it’s really not. It’s a weekend home where people in the city go to relax with family. Bogotá is a lot like New York City. Many people live in apartments because it’s easier in a city of 9 million or so. At the “fin de la semana,” they book it out-of-town to the country.

My cousin’s daughters and their husbands are my age. Funny that although we’ve only met once or twice, as I said before, it’s as if we’ve always known each other. We are able to laugh and tease each other (although I NEVER do any teasing) as family and friends. I am glad that I was able to bring them some American colloquialisms that they didn’t know such as “blackmail (long story but let’s just say it’s part of the teasing),” “chill out,” and “dude.” I’m glad I can do my part for the cause.

Yesterday, I spent time with my Tia Clara and her husband Hernando, my Tia Elena, and both of their families, which include many cousins and second cousins. Head to my Facebook page to see photos and names. This was the house I stayed at 40 years ago on my last visit. It’s funny how memories of the house and people quickly get unlocked from your memory when coming back. My aunts are a kick and I enjoyed listening to “cuentas” of my mother when she was young. Many of them I had never heard. They were also kind to share some old pictures with me and we talked about their lives and family. Oh…and the food. The beat just continues. The homemade food is out-of-bounds (again in Dan terminology this is really, really good). The Bogotá voodoo is that it just never runs out!

Today it’s off to the famous salt mines. Looking out the window as I type it is blue skies and chirping birds. Going to be another great day. More to come…

Tree at the finca












Cactus flower found only in Colombia












Getting my shoes shined at the best shoe shine in Bogota!














© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved


Extra Points – Going home again…

This week’s focus point

I was cute once, huh?

You can go home again.

I’m in Bogota, Colombia this week giving a presentation on occupational safety and health to 350 executives. I’m glad we have an interpreter because my conversational Spanish leaves something to be desired. I’m solid on asking where the nearest bathroom is, but after that I’m nervous about accidentally causing an international incident. (Actually, I’m not too bad and I hope this will springboard me to improvement)

The really cool part of this whole thing is my return trip to Bogota after 40 years. My mother is Colombian and I made two trips with her in 1966 and 1971. I eschewed return trips over the years because I was just too busy chasing golf balls and girls (I actually caught one girl, or maybe it was the other way around, and we got married, so that one was worth it). Now is my chance to “go home” to my roots and re-connect with about 45 cousins and a myriad of aunts and uncles.

Family, heritage, and community shape individuals. No matter where you’re from or how long it’s been since you were there, “going home” is good for the spirit. In our culture of instant gratification, just in time learning, and high speed everything, I’ve found that going “old school” and taking the time to cultivate relationships and your history go a long way into creating a well-rounded and holistic individual.

Usted puede ir a case de nuevo!

This week’s quote – “”Tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the universe and he will believe you. Tell him a bench has wet paint on it and he will have to touch it to be sure.””
– Murphy’s Law

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Note – I wrote this Extra Points before I left for my trip. I hope you will read as I chronicle my adventures in Bogota Journal on this blog…

Bogota Journal # 4

I had dinner with my Tia Lucia’s family last night at the legendary Andres Carne de Res. My cousin Bernardo told me there are two “must go” places in Colombia and they are the Gold Museum (check) and Andres (now check). This place is unbelievable. The food, the festivities, and the fun that spreads out over a vast area is pretty much indescribable…even for me;)

One thing I’ve learned on this trip (among many), is that when you are with “familia” it doesn’t take long to feel like you’ve known each other forever. It became obvious we all have the same blood flowing through us! What a wonderful group of people I get to call “familia.”

OK…enough mushy stuff. Here’s my review. When you go to Andres (next time you’re in the area, order the Lomo de Res (loin if beef). I was an idiot and didn’t take a picture of it. Thanks to my cousin’s wife Liliana for giving me the recommendation! The waiters keep bringing you other foods like empenadas and others that I can’t remember the name of. It’s that voodoo thing that you keep eating but more food keeps showing up!

One other tip. If you are with family and your native languages are different and you are all sitting at a large rectangular table, here’s what to do…

Park yourself squarely in the middle and put the best two English speakers next and across from you (gracias a Daniel y Laura). That way, you can just swivel your head and get great interpretations! That being said, I’ve found that most of my family (and most Colombians I’ve met) understand English very well even if they have trouble speaking it.

No rest on Sunday for me (which is fine). It’s off to the Finca to be with otros primos (other cousins). Mas manana!

P.S. I also got to meet our exchange student’s parents who made a special 2 1/2 hour trek from there home to meet me. These are wonderful people who are committed and sacrificed for their daughter to come to the States as a Rotary exchange student. I was touched and impressed by their humility and love.

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved









Bogota Journal # 3

After two wonderful days at the Hotel Sofitel, I was picked up by my cousins. The Hotel Sofitel must be the best hotel in Bogota…I can’t imagine better service. Thanks to Mario and his team for treating me so well.

I enjoyed another wonderful day. Here’s a quick rundown…

  • I visited my Tia Lucia. I’m certain we met back in 1971, but I don’t remember. She is delightful and has a spectacular view of the city from her apartment. Going to have lunch with her today.
  • Enjoyed the day with my primos (cousins) Maria Eugenia and Eduardo, my Tia Lolo who lives with them, and then got a chance to see their daughter and son-in-law Diana and Jorge. Diana is probably the one person I know best because she had visited the States on two occasions before, however the last one was almost 15 years ago!
  • Was invited out to dinner with my cousin Alberto and his girlfriend Sandra. We went to an outstanding restaurant called Club Colombiano (I think). I had this out-of-bounds ( a good thing) seafood chowder in coconut milk. I think there must be some Colombian voodoo going on as it seemed like I kept eating and the bowl never went down! The food and especially the company was terrific. Many thanks to Sandra who helped us as “interpreter;” her English is perfect and Alberto and I can’t say the same about our opposite languages. A great night!

Today I will get to meet our exchange student’s parents. I think I will get to spend more time with them than I did with her when we picked her up!

One thing I learned that was interesting. In Colombia, there are two days of the week you can’t drive our car. Really. It’s based on the last number on your license plate. Depending on what days that falls in (other than weekends), you have to find another way around. The intent was to get fewer cars on the road, but the result was just the opposite. People started buying more cars so they could alternate when the other couldn’t be driven! The auto dealers must love this law.

That’s all for now. I will keep you updated on my adventures!

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

with my cousin Alberto and Sandra

Bogota Journal # 2

View of the Park in Bogota

My first full day In Bogotá just rocked. The people are all wonderful and the food is out-of-bounds (that’s a good thing).

I met Mario, the General Manager of the hotel and he pointed me in the direction of a beautiful park right next to the hotel. It’s 2 and a half miles if you walk or run the entire thing. The sub came out and I took a walk mid-day. Sort of reminded me of Central Park – not as big but the variety of people and activity are the same. I saw jugglers, business people, mothers with kids, boys playing soccer, and a whole lot of dogs walking (Captain Jack and Bella can learn manners from these Colombian dogs).

I enjoyed a terrific massage in the hotel. I’ll tell you, a full day of traveling (especially 9 hours in the plane) can be brutal on body and mind, and the massage was a needed treat to be ready for today.

Now the food. I told you I got a tip on a great Colombian dish called Ajiaco (Ah-ee-yaco). It’s a chicken soup with Colombian potatoes, spices, capers, cream, and a whole lot of flavor. The capers are what brought it for me. The side dish was rice, corn on the cob, and a delicious slice of avocado. I think we should be doing more of the avocado on the side in our restaurants. I had a terrific house “tinto”…red wine with dinner. For dessert, I had Postre de Natas. No idea what it was but my server Tatiana recommended it and she was right! Not bad for a smooth $46,164. Oh…pesos. About $27 in dollars;)

I ended the evening meeting with one of my fellow speakers, Tim Ludwig. Tim is a professor and consultant out of North Carolina. He’s an expert in behavior science as it relates to safety o the job. I’m eager to hear him speak.

Well, now it’s game time. I’m ready to knock it out of the park for these folks. It will be a different experience using an interpreter. As you know, humor in stories is predicated on timing and gestures. I really use the audience reaction as part of my speaking. This might have a “delay” through being interpreted. I will let you know how it goes.

Another great day in Bogotá in store!



















© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Bogota Journal #1

A beautiful morning here in Bogotá. As far as the weather goes, I might as well still be in Poulsbo or Seattle. It’s about 60 degrees, gray overcast, but very pleasant. It will probably get up to 65 or so today.

I ate breakfast in the hotel restaurant with the doors to the patio open so I could see the street. Like I said, with the weather, it seems like I’ve never left the Puget Sound. I ate a terrific scrambled eggs and bacon breakfast with a mocahchino. Hey, I’m in Colombia…I’ve got to have coffee, right? My favorite barista at Starbucks know I take decaf, however that didn’t seem to translate here. Full octane for me so I will be ready to prepare for my program tomorrow!

One thing I found unique that I didn’t expect. I watched a little television before turning in last night and I was surprised to find at least a third of not more of the channels were in English. CNN, TNT, and others were on just like on my TV at home and had Spanish subtitles. Heck, I watched the end of Flashdance on VH1 trying to brush up on my Spanish and reading the captions!

Full day to enjoy the hotel and prepare for my presentation. It’s advisable to any business traveler, especially if you are a speaker, to get to your destination a day in advance to relax and rejuvenate. Game time tomorrow!

I will keep you posted on my activities so you can learn a little more about this wonderful city and country!

P.S. The waiter gave me a great tip for dinner. I’ll let you know how it goes…

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Bound for Bogota # 4 – Crisis Balance

This is a blog post preparing for my presentation on August 25th in Bogotá, Colombia a at the Occupational Health & Safety Management Summit. These posts will be precursors for my presentation and I welcome any and all comments. I will attempt to translate in Spanish below the original post through the magic of Google Translator!

Crisis balance seems to be an odd concept, right? Aren’t we trying to avoid crisis in our business?

I submit no. In order to be truly effective, you must embrace crisis as an opportunity to grow and thrive. Read on…

I’m heading to Bogota tomorrow for the Occupational Safety & Health Management Summit. My goal is to bring as much value and strategy to the audience of executives on the topic of crisis leadership in a 2-hour program, as I can. Hopefully, many will then join my mailing list, want to learn more about my services, and most importantly improve their organizations. If that happens, it’s a win-win-win. In order to achieve this objective, I need to take a few risks. I need to travel by car to the Seattle airport (transportation by auto is even more dangerous than flying), take off and land in an airplane twice; go to a country I haven’t been to as an adult; and speak to a group of executives who may not speak my native language. There is a lot that can go wrong.

However, without the risk, there is no reward. I need to strike a balance between risk (potential crisis) and business objectives.

As an employer, you take risks by even hiring employees. Crisis can occur through a myriad of ways – accidents, lawsuits, poor morale, bad efficiency, absenteeism and “present-ism,” employee theft, and the list goes on. If you spend too much time thinking about it, you wonder why you want employees! However, without maintaining a balance between the risk of employing humans and meeting business objectives, you wouldn’t succeed.

Even when crisis does occur, it lends itself to balancing it out with rewards. If someone gets injured on the job, there should be a process where the fault of the accident is investigated and changed. For instance, if not using eye protection on a machine caused an injury, then requiring eye protection in order to run the machine will virtually eliminate that peril from happening again AND ultimately improve productivity and moral, plus reduce insurance costs.

You have to balance risk and reward. Crisis can lead to devastation or it can lead to opportunity. The answer lies in your readiness and response.

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

En Espanol…

Balance de la crisis parece ser un concepto extraño, ¿verdad? ¿No estamos tratando de evitar la crisis en nuestro negocio?

Yo no presentar. Para ser realmente eficaz, debe abarcar la crisis como una oportunidad para crecer y prosperar. Sigue leyendo …

Me dirijo a Bogotá mañana para la Seguridad y Gestión de la Cumbre de la Salud. Mi objetivo es llevar el mayor valor y la estrategia para la audiencia de ejecutivos en el tema de la crisis de liderazgo en un programa de dos horas, lo que puedo. Con suerte, muchos se unirá a mi lista de correo, quiere aprender más acerca de mis servicios, y lo más importante mejorar sus organizaciones. Si eso ocurre, es un ganar-ganar-ganar. Para lograr este objetivo, tengo que tomar algunos riesgos. Tengo que viajar en coche hasta el aeropuerto de Seattle (transporte por automóvil es más peligroso que volar), despegar y aterrizar en un avión dos veces, ir a un país que no han sido como un adulto, y hablar con un grupo de los ejecutivos que no hablan mi lengua materna. Hay muchas cosas que pueden salir mal.

Sin embargo, sin el riesgo, no hay recompensa. Tengo que encontrar un equilibrio entre el riesgo (potencial de crisis) y los objetivos de negocio.

Como empleador, usted toma riesgos, incluso la contratación de empleados. La crisis puede ocurrir a través de una miríada de formas – accidentes, pleitos, la baja moral, la eficiencia malo, el absentismo y “presente-ismo”, robo de los empleados, y la lista sigue. Si usted pasa mucho tiempo pensando en ello, te preguntas por qué quieren que los empleados! Sin embargo, sin mantener un equilibrio entre el riesgo del empleo de los seres humanos y alcanzar los objetivos de negocio, usted no tendría éxito.

Aun cuando la crisis se produce, se presta a que el equilibrio con las recompensas. Si alguien se lesiona en el trabajo, debe haber un proceso donde se investiga el fallo del accidente y ha cambiado. Por ejemplo, si no se utiliza protección para los ojos en una máquina causó una lesión, a continuación, que requieren protección para los ojos con el fin de hacer funcionar la máquina virtualmente elimina ese peligro que vuelva a suceder y en definitiva, mejorar la productividad y la moral, además de reducir los costos de los seguros.

Usted tiene que equilibrar el riesgo y la recompensa. Crisis puede llevar a la destrucción o puede conducir a la oportunidad. La respuesta se encuentra en su preparación y respuesta.

© 2011 Dan Weedin. Todos los derechos reservados


Extra Points – Aware & Prepared

Being Aware and Prepared.

Last week, I performed a table top exercise for a client where we simulated a major data breach. Throughout the exercise, I threw in a few curve balls to add spice to the experience. More importantly, it actually adds reality because seldom does only one event occur when decisions are made and consequences of those decisions realized.

I spend a lot of time talking about business preparedness and resiliency, so let’s make this more personal. How prepared are you and your family to respond to situations (both good and bad) that unfold? Let’s be honest – probably not as well as you know you should. Why is that?

My friend Larry Kaminer (the personal safety guru) tells me all the time that the biggest enemies of preparedness and awareness are apathy, complacency, and denial. Don’t tell me you don’t have the time. Time isn’t a resource issue; it’s a priority issue. The people in your life are a priority and we need to do a better job of preparing to respond. I’m just as guilty, so this is a reminder to myself!

So here is your call to action – Find one (only one) impact area to work on this week (i.e. a house fire or earthquake). Discuss it as a family. Create a plan. Practice the plan. Eat ice cream (remember we are always about rewards). Captain Jack already has his red jump suit ready to go by the door. What about you?

This week’s quote – “A man always has two reasons for doing anything; a good reason and the real reason.”
– J.P. Morgan

Bound for Bogota # 3 – Resiliency

This is a blog post preparing for my presentation on August 25th in Bogotá, Colombia a at the Occupational Health & Safety Management Summit. These posts will be precursors for my presentation and I welcome any and all comments. I will attempt to translate in Spanish below the original post through the magic of Google Translator!

One of my consulting colleagues was putting on a webinar for her mentorees and invited me to attend. We are both Master Mentors in the Alan Weiss global consulting community and she thought I might be able to add some value. I logged on at the appropriate time (about 5 minutes early) and found several of her mentorees on the webinar. The one missing person…was her.

As I sat and made conversation with the group, I quickly texted her to see what was going on. Turns out she WAS on the call; could hear all of us; but nobody could hear her. A presenters nightmare! She tried several times to get back on to no avail. It was during our texting that I realized that if we could text, we could talk! I had her phone in on my land line and put her on speakerphone so all could hear her. She was able to go on with an excellent presentation that was well received by her audience.

Resiliency is defined the ability to “bounce back.”

Now it wasn’t just pure brilliance to use the phone. I have had my own communication conundrums of epic proportion before. One time for a teleconference where nearly 30 people were registered for, I sent out the WRONG identification code. I was sitting on the phone with a minute to go flabbergasted that I was the only one on the call. That is, until I started receiving a flurry of telephone calls, e-mails, and texts from frantic audience members! I was able to go back in and send mass e-mails with the correct identification code and we started 15 minutes late.

The bottom line is this – you need to scrape your knees a few times in order to learn resiliency. It’s one thing to talk a good game, but without having experienced the pain a few times, you can’t really know how to respond.

I work with business owners on how to be resilient. It works because they’ve skinned their knees a few times, and so have I. We all had experiences and “war stories” to share and learn from. In order to be a resilient leader and a resilient organization, you must take time to discuss the habits and best practices of organizations who both fail and succeed in the face of adversity. You must be able to identify vulnerabilities; prepare for the worst; and (here’s the important part so pay attention) PRACTICE your response. Why do you think you always have to re-do CPR and First Aid training? It’s because muscle and mind memory needs practice!

Learn from your mistakes and those things that happened which were out of your control (more often than not the case). By practicing resilience, you will find yourself better prepared to thrive.

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

En Espanol

Uno de los colegas de mi consultorio estaba poniendo en un seminario para su mentorees y me invitó a asistir. Los dos somos mentores maestro en la comunidad global de consultoría de Alan Weiss, y ella pensó que yo podría ser capaz de añadir valor. Me he registrado en el momento adecuado (unos 5 minutos antes) y se encontró a varios de sus mentorees en el seminario. La única persona que falta … era ella.

Cuando me senté e hizo una conversación con el grupo, que rápidamente le envió un mensaje para ver qué estaba pasando. Resulta que ella estaba en la convocatoria, podía oír a todos nosotros, pero nadie podía escucharla. A los presentadores pesadilla! Intentó varias veces para volver a en vano. Fue durante los mensajes de texto que me di cuenta de que si el texto podría, podríamos hablar! Tenía su teléfono en línea en mi tierra y la puso en el altavoz para que todos pudieran oírla. Ella fue capaz de seguir adelante con una excelente presentación que fue bien recibido por su público.

Resiliencia se define la capacidad de “recuperarse”.

Ahora bien, no era sólo pura brillantez de usar el teléfono. He tenido mis enigmas de comunicación propios de proporciones épicas antes. Una vez para una teleconferencia donde cerca de 30 personas se registraron para, me envió el código de identificación errónea. Yo estaba sentado al teléfono con un minuto por jugarse asombrado que yo era el único en la llamada. Es decir, hasta que comenzó a recibir un aluvión de llamadas telefónicas, correos electrónicos y textos de los miembros del público frenético! Tuve la oportunidad de regresar y enviar correos electrónicos masivos con el código de identificación correcta y que comenzó 15 minutos tarde.

El fondo es éste – que necesita para raspar las rodillas un par de veces para aprender la resistencia. Una cosa es hablar de un buen juego, pero sin haber experimentado el dolor de un par de veces, realmente no se puede saber cómo responder.

Yo trabajo con los empresarios sobre la forma de ser resistente. Funciona porque han pelado las rodillas un par de veces, y yo también hemos tenido todas las experiencias y las “historias de guerra” para compartir y aprender. Para ser un líder resistente y una organización flexible, usted debe tomar tiempo para hablar de los hábitos y las mejores prácticas de organizaciones que no tanto y tener éxito en la adversidad. Usted debe ser capaz de identificar las vulnerabilidades, prepararse para lo peor, y (aquí viene la parte importante así que presta atención) la práctica su respuesta. ¿Por qué crees que siempre hay que volver a hacer entrenamiento en RCP y Primeros Auxilios? Es porque la memoria muscular y la mente necesita práctica!

Aprenda de sus errores y esas cosas que pasan, que estaban fuera de su control (más a menudo que no es el caso). Mediante la práctica de la resistencia, usted se encontrará mejor preparado para prosperar.

© 2011 Dan Weedin. Todos los derechos reservados