Extra Points

Success trap.

In the past few weeks, I’ve had two different friends become grandparents (one for the second time). My daughter turned 23 years old over the weekend. Funny that it doesn’t seem that long ago that Barb and I were carting our babies to our friend’s weddings. Now we attend more funerals than weddings. It’s part of the maturity of life. You have to be careful that you are constantly re-inventing yourself to stay mentally and physically “young.” New hobbies, new adventures, and new experiences add to your ability to constantly renew yourself.

Your business has it’s own maturity cycle. You do what you’ve done to become successful, but there is a great danger in stumbling over something called the success trap. If you’re not careful, your business can “get old” and fall into a rut where you aren’t getting better, you just tread water. What can you do in your business to re-invent yourself? New products, new services, and new challenges can re-invigorate your business. Be on the lookout for new ideas and be prepared to take similar risks that you took early on in your career to jump over that success trap to land in new and exciting places.

This week’s quote – “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.
– Michael Jordan

Lessons from my Dentist

This morning, I had the great pleasure of sitting in a dentist’s chair for an hour having a tooth re-filled.  My dentist is a great guy, a client, and a golf partner, but I could think of a lot more exciting ways to spend my morning. As he was doing all the work in numbing my mouth and preparing me for his work, we chatted about my teeth. I mentioned that in over 40 years of my life, I had never had a broken tooth. Now in the past 2 and a half years, this was my third. I was hoping to chalk this up to my age, rather than a progressive problem that might jeopardize my teeth .

Gene chuckled and said it was pretty much about age. We do a lot of daily work with our teeth and over the course of time, a tooth breaking is a reality. This one he was working on today wasn’t going to go to a crown yet. We caught it very early and he was going to refill it with a very strong adhesive that would give it about 5 years more life before a crown was needed. He went on to say that proper care of teeth and gums wouldn’t get rid of all the issues that come with age and accident, but would over the course of your life set you up to have a healthy mouth full of your own teeth when you get old. My takeaway…taking care of your teeth by doing all the “not very fun” preventive work will ensure that you stay healthy and are able to deal effectively with crisis.

The same is true with your business or organization. You know that old saying about an ounce of prevention, right? The reason it’s an old saying is because it’s true!

Think of your business as your teeth. A lot of times, you only think about your teeth when they hurt or break. Many business owners only think about responding to crisis when the business hurts or breaks. By then, it’s too late and going to cost you a lot of pain and money.

Take preventative measures with your business. Consistently and regularly “brush and floss” by…

  1. Getting a second opinion on your insurance protection at least every other year.
  2. Performing an annual vulnerability analysis with your team to better understand what can hurt you.
  3. Practicing your team’s response to crisis through simulated exercises like Corporate War Games or Table Tops.
  4. Committing to implementing changes and monitoring them for success.
  5. Surrounding yourself with experts in risk management that will provide you with valuable recommendations, strategy, and insight that you don’t have internally.
  6. Fix your “hot spots” before you need a root canal!

Going to the dentist isn’t any fun (nothing personal Gene – I’d rather meet on the first tee). However, I go at least twice a year and take Gene’s advice on when to fix my “hot spots.” If as an executive or business owner, you don’t do the same thing with your business when it comes to risk and crisis management, you’re liable to be toothless. Let’s be honest – you face crisis every year. If you can be better prepared to respond you will save money; save time; improve morale; reduce your insurance premiums; enhance productivity; improve your peace of mind; and have a bigger smile on your face at the end.

Start today. It’s a pretty painless process. If you don’t know how or where to start, ask. Ignorance is no excuse. Your business continuation and the well-being of your employees, customers, and supply chain count on you.

And, don’t forget to floss!

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved.

Extra Points – Short Memory

Short memory.

Albert Pujols

It doesn’t take long to go from goat to hero. In Game 2 of the World Series, St. Louis Cardinals All-Star First Baseman Albert Pujols made a critical error in the 9th inning that allowed the Texas Rangers to overcome a 1-0 deficit and ultimately win the game to tie the series. In Game 2, Pujols rebounded..slightly. He homered three times in the game to match Hall of Famers Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson as the only players to accomplish such a feat in the Fall Classic. His performance led his team to victory.

If you don’t have a short memory, you’re liable to carry on your failures into the future and make them even more damaging. Pujols could have carried on the memory of his error and most likely failed in Game 3. Fortunately, for his team and himself, he has a short memory. What about you?

It’s not always easy to do. Believe me, when I coached high school basketball, I had to work really hard to obliterate the memory of my failures in order to be the best for my team the next game. This takes strength, discipline, and confidence. Maybe the latter is most needed. I encourage you, in any part of your life, to keep a short memory of your failures. Learn from them; scream and yell if you must, and then move on. Your next “play” may be a home run…

This week’s quote – “A good cigar is like a beautiful chick with a great body who also knows the American League box scores.” – Corporal Klinger – “M*A*S*H (“Bug Out,” 1976)

(For those like me who love baseball and an occasional good cigar…)

Extra Points – Becoming the Best

Becoming the best.

This past week I started reading a book I downloaded on my phone on John Paul Jones. I figured since I was going to Boston for a few days, I could get a history lesson. John Paul Jones is a fascinating character and the father of the American Navy.

One of the interesting facts I read was that Jones wanted to pattern everything the Navy did, down to the uniform colors, after the British Royal Navy. He met with great resistance from the Founding Fathers and was shot down. It didn’t stop Jones from wearing what he wanted to however, and running his ships as he saw fit! Congress wanted to distance themselves from their enemy. Jones on the other hand had a quite different reason for using the British as a model. You see, in those days, the British were the finest Navy in the world. They were the pinnacle of excellence. Jones wanted the same thing for his fledgling Navy. He wanted to learn from the best.

Becoming the best in your business requires learning from the best. The people who came and did what you want to do. While in Boston, I was honored to hang out with my professional community for a couple of days. These people are world class consultants and make up the “best of the best.” I want to continue to learn and be part of that group to not only advance my career, but more effectively help my clients improve their condition.

Who is the best in your world? There is always someone to learn from. I challenge you to enhance your career, regardless of how long you’ve been in it, by seeking out those who can guide, mentor, and model for you.

This week’s quote –“If fear is cultivated it will become stronger, if faith is cultivated it will achieve mastery.”
– John Paul Jones

Extra Points – Legacy

Legacy.

Steve Jobs passed away last week after an 8-year battle with cancer. The Apple founder and CEO had an amazing impact on business because of his creativity, charisma, and leadership. Ironic that he passed away the day after the next version of his iPhone was introduced.

Regardless of your affection for Apple, there is little argument that Jobs was perhaps the greatest innovator in business since Henry Ford. He forged a culture at Apple and a fanatical following for his products. His greatest skills? He was a brilliant communicator; he knew his company’s value proposition and he never wavered from it; he knew how to build customer loyalty and evangelism; and he was able to build a legacy that will live on even after his death.

How are you building your legacy? These skills I mentioned apply to “jobs” outside of being a CEO of one of the most noted brands and corporations in the world. They apply to small business owners, executives, board members, and leaders of non-profits. They also apply to husbands, wives, and parents. Traits like communication skills, vision, walking your talk, and relationship building helped forge a legacy for Jobs. What can they do for us?

This week’s quote –“Put a ding in the universe…”
– Steve Jobs

Gest Post from Dave Gardner – Control

One of my colleagues who I really enjoy reading is Dave Gardner. Dave is a fantastic consultant from the Bay Area and specializes on strategy. His only drawback is that he’s a 49’ers fan, but these days that’s better than a Seahawks fan! He puts out a weekly memo that I religiously read and I wanted to share it from today with his permission…

Focus on the wrong things can be debilitating. Too many people are focused on matters they have no control over. If this was a good thing, I’d not be writing about it.

We don’t have control over the stock market, what then banks are doing, what the government is doing, what’s going on in the global economy, what our competitors are doing, etc.

What we do have control over is setting our own strategy and executing that strategy, irrespective of all the ambiguities that we are exposed to.

We have to manage our businesses.  If that means we need to turn off the news so we can focus, then so be it.

We must set a certain course and follow it, not become a rudderless ship being tossed about in a turbulent sea.  This is key to thriving.


Extra Points – Fitness

Fitness.

Last month, I gave a presentation on occupational health and safety management. The audience was comprised of executives and human resource managers. Part of my program involved how to curb the rising cost of health insurance. It’s easily a Top 5 cost for business, and for many even higher. One of my solutions is a wellness program. Larger companies are going this route, but it’s tougher for small business. But, here’s the harsh truth. It’s always up to the individual to take control of their health.

Here’s what’s in it for you, regardless if you are the owner or employee. Nobody wants to get hurt on the job. Heck, nobody wants to get hurt off the job, either. Unfortunately, in this country we as a society do a poor job of taking care of ourselves once we get past 25 years old. A recent study done by the National Center for Disease Control estimates 2 out of 3 Americans are obese. The results, we are an increased likelihood of getting injured on the job, which has devastating effects for the employee and the employer.

Here’s the deal – you don’t need to be a fitness model. You just need to be healthy. Take these three steps and start today – be more judicious about what you eat (smaller portions and healthier); exercise a little every day (walking, jogging, tennis, swimming, walking the dog); and stretch. As we get older, stretching becomes more crucial to avoiding injuries. Take a step towards a healthier life where you feel better; can work and play more efficiently; and can enjoy that feeling deeper into your life.

This week’s quote –“If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”
– Mickey Mantle, Hall of Fame baseball player