I don’t know…maybe it’s just me. At this time of year, I delightedly look back on the year and take stock of the experiences that impacted my life. We get running so hard and fast at times that it’s easy to overlook significant things that occur to you. I try very hard as it approaches my birthday and a new year, to become just a little retrospective. I’d like to share that with you…
1. Certainly, the most impactful thing for me in 2011 was losing my dad in March. Coming into the year, we knew it was going to happen. Just not when. The ability to say goodbye over time and be with him when he passed is something I will never forget. An experience like that changes you in many ways, specifically in contemplating your own mortality and moving on without someone who has always been there. I also gained so much from the love and support of family and friends. It’s one thing to think you know you have it; it’s another to see it in action.
2. I had the opportunity to return to my roots. After 40 years, I returned to Bogotá, Colombia in both a professional and personal way. I had the pleasure of speaking to 300 business executives in a conference held in Bogotá. After that, I spent a glorious week with my mother’s family re-acquainting and meeting family for the first time as an adult. I made many friends in Bogotá, both family and non-family. I This experience is hard for me to put in words, I will be returning soon and look forward to enhancing those relationships and sharing them with my wife and kids.
3. In addition to Bogotá, I found myself in New York City, Boston, Dallas, Pittsburgh, and Las Vegas.
4. I saw my daughter graduate college in May. This was an amazing moment for Barb and me. It seems like only yesterday that I was holding her in my arms moments after her birth. To watch her reach the dream of becoming a college graduate was simply awesome.
5. I passed my final exam and earned my Certified Risk Manager (CRM) designation. This was a 5-year process and I’m looking forward to next year where I can attend a class and NOT have to take the test!
6. I gained many new clients, colleagues, and friends in 2011. Too numerous to list, but you know who you are. This is the fabric of our lives. Each year, we need to add important people in our lives to enrich it. We also need to cultivate the “old” ones and I hope I did that.
7. I learned to cook. If you ask Barb and the girls, they may say this in and of itself is a minor (or even major) miracle.
8. We added a new “member” to our family this year. Tati was our Rotary exchange student for 3 and half months and she became a lifetime fixture in our family. We call her our “Colombian” daughter. She and her family have become great additions to our extended family.
9. Family “stuff” – I continue to be amazed with what great daughters I have. Mindy and Kelli are doing great in college, getting jobs (woot woot); and becoming incredible young adults. I’m living with my mother again. Only this time, I guess she is living with us. The transition from losing her husband of 52 years to moving in with her son is challenging. But things continue to go well and you even more so realize the value of family.
10 . The best for last. I celebrated my 25th anniversary of being married to the best human on the planet (to all you other humans, I hope you understand where I’m coming from!). Barb and I have been together now over 30 years in total. How she continues to put up with me, I will never know, but I can assure you I am eternally thankful that she does. Going through life with the one you love is a true blessing, and I am very much blessed.
2011 may have been one of the most incredible years I’ve ever had. Filled with joy, sadness, and a multitude of other emotions; filled with significant events and passings; and filled with experiences that will never be forgotten.
What about you? How was your year? I encourage you to take a look back on your year and reflect on the good, the bad, and everything in between. Consider how you have grown personally and professionally, and how that will catapult you into 2012.
On behalf of my family, I want to wish each one of you a joyous, prosperous, and exciting 2012. Happy New Year!
This week’s focus point –
When I played quarterback on my junior high football team, my role on the team was clear. As the backup, I played behind the second-string (and sometimes third-string) offensive line against the first-string defense. I spent most of my time running for my life, eating dirt, and wondering if this was how Roger Staubach started out. The reason I was a backup QB was because I had terrible “vision.” I had 20/20 eyesight, but I couldn’t see the field in slow motion. As chaos rained around me, I couldn’t do what the great ones do and see the field.
Tom Brady may be the best quarterback in the NFL. He has an incredible ability to slow down the game, see the field through huge men’s flailing arms, escape disaster, and make the big play. He does this well because in addition to being talented, he has excellent coaches, practices countless hours, done film study on his opponent, and has tremendous confidence.
What kind of vision do you have for your business or career? Do you employ excellent coaches? Do you spend countless hours improving your skills? Do you study your competition? How strong is your confidence? These are questions you should ask yourself as the 2011 game clock ticks down and a new game is on. Tom Brady has tremendous vision, but he hasn’t become the best on purely talent. To become a rock star in your career, you need to do what Brady does…be visionary, get help, never stop learning, and develop a high confidence level. That’s how you end up throwing a lot of tuchdowns in your career and your life.
This week’s quote – “My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.” – Anais Nin
I’d like to take this moment to extend a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of my family, friends, and community.
This is a time that I hope wish filled with joy, love, family, friends, and food. It’s always been my favorite time of year. It’s a little bittersweet this year for our family. My Dad is gone and our daughter Mindy had to stay on the East Coast due to work commitments (happy she is working, though). We certainly understand how blessed we are and are grateful for that.
Okay…my gift to you today (easy to wrap and send via cyberspace) is my Top 10 Christmas Movies of all time…
1. It’s a Wonderful Life (C’mon – there’s no discussion, right?)
2. Christmas Carol (George C. Scott version)
3. Miracle on 34th Street (Newer version – sorry old schoolers)
4. White Christmas
6. The Santa Clause
7. Christmas Carol (Patrick Stewart version)
8. The Santa Clause 2
9. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (Love Burl Ives)
10. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (cartoon)
Yes, I know there are some honorable mentions like National Lampoon and Christmas with the Kranks. But…I only had room for 10!
Best wishes to you and yours for a very Merry Christmas from the Weedin family. Ho Ho Ho…
© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
A great quarterback on the football field, and a great point guard on the basketball court “see the field.” In the midst of a lot of flailing arms and legs; crowds roaring; and people yelling at them, they can slow down the action and make the play.
My football career was limited to a backup quarterback in junior high. My best friend was the starting quarterback (he later went on to play in college, so I guess it was the right call). He got to practice behind the first-string offensive line against the second-string defense. I was just the opposite. My protection were guys who were just learning to walk and chew gum at the same time. My large and aggressive friends were on the defensive line waiting to attack me.
I remember dropping back to pass in practice. I would take my drop and start to survey the field. I knew there were receivers out there somewhere, running a pattern that I had called in the huddle. But all I saw was big guys with big arms chasing me all over the place. I ended up running for my life more often than not. I wasn’t talented enough to be able to stay calm in the pocket; move around as needed; and see the entire playing field.
Crisis management is like that in business. When crisis happens (and it will happen) are you running around like Dan Weedin at North Whidbey Junior High, or are you cool like Tom Brady? Would I get the same answer from your management team or employees?
Being a great crisis leader involves several things that great quarterbacks and point guards do or have…
1. Coaching. Tom Brady has a coach. In fact, he has several – Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks Coach, Strength & Conditioning Coach. You may have all the talent in the world, but if you can’t maximize it, you are just another quarterback. Coaching maximizes talent for athletes and it does so for business leaders. You know your business. You probably need help in other areas. Get good coaching on how to avoid, respond to, and manage crisis.
2. Vision. For Quarterbacks, this tends to be a physical feature. Yes, you can be trained, but there is an innate ability for the great ones to see the field with tremendous vision. For business leaders, the vision is in your head and it is also innate. You got to where you are by being visionary. In my experience, that is the common trait that employees use when describing their successful boss. However, when it comes to managing crisis, being visionary is tougher. If you don’t understand your vulnerabilities or the consequences, it’s tough to understand how you react. In this case, vision needs some homework. Learn your organizational vulnerabilities. Communicate and learn from your team. Decide in advance how you will handle a crisis. Make the decision before the decision needs to be made.
3. Practice. You’ve probably heard it said that becoming a rock star in your field takes 10,000 hours of “practice.” Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Magic Johnson, and John Stockton all put in extra hours on the field, on the court, and in the gym. It shows up when they play the game. How often do you practice crisis response? When was the last time you tested your insurance? How do you know your team will respond well to crisis if you’re not there? Practice is essential to being a tremendous player and seeing the field. It is also essential to you being able to survive a disaster.
Leadership means more than looking good in the corner office. It involves powerful communication skills, courage, vision, and humility. It also means that you have the understanding that the future of your business, its people, and your supply chain are counting on you to be Tom Brady. When you are facing an all out blitz, can you make the right read and complete the pass on 4th down? You may not be on a football field. You may instead be dealing with an issue that determines your business continuation and survival.
Are you prepared to be Tom Brady?
© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
I got absolutely terrific news yesterday. My daughter who is the nurse back in Pittsburgh just got her semester grades for her first year in her Masters program. She received a perfect 4.0! She is now working full-time, going to school at night, and living 2400 miles away from home. Our other daughter, the sports management guru, is working two jobs and has an internship. She recently led the country in one-day sales for the retailer she works for; just started a job at the university in a research position; and is active as an intern for the Pittsburgh Marathon. And, oh yeah, she is doing very well in school.
There are two reasons for this blog post today. The first is to brag about my kids. It’s my blog, so I guess I can do that, right?
The second is to give you pause to think…
Certainly, our daughter’s accomplishments are theirs and theirs alone. They have worked hard, been committed, sacrificed, and made hard changes in their lives. They’ve done all of this by living a long way from family and friends. That being said, I would like to think they picked up some of their work ethic, morals, and behaviors from what their mother and I have tried to drill in them growing up. The hardest and most rewarding job I’ve ever had is raising kids. For those of you who do it, or have done it, you know. In addition to all the joy, there is a certain amount of leadership and role modeling that must be done.
In your business, there is much the same dynamics. I have spoken to many a business owner who compares themselves to a parent. Leadership, role modeling, and “parenting” are a large part of running any organization. The question to ask yourself is, “Are my employees better because of me, despite me, or not at all.” If you are the leader of any part of your business – owner, manager, supervisor – you are mentoring at some level. Your mission is to make the person you are mentoring better. How will you know?
- They will tell you. This doesn’t always happen in parenting, but it often happens in business.
- They will show you. You will have empirical evidence that there work and/or behavior has improved.
- Others will tell you. Fellow members of your team will tell you they’ve noticed improvement or growth.
Just like a tremendous point guard makes the players around his basketball team better, you have that ability to. Take advantage of the opportunity to improve the lives and condition of others.
© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
Being underinsured or improperly insured on your business can have devastating effects on your cash flow and your ability to survive a crisis. Most small business owners overlook this critical part of their business process. Yes, you may have a fine agent, but how often have you tested their work to make sure it is right for you? Too often, you don’t spend enough time talking with your agent and that leads to gaps in protection and overpaying for your insurance.
For the past 6 years, I’ve performed insurance diagnostic assessments for my clients. Basically, I become an unbiased set of professional eyes to make sure you are protected as you think you should be. Here are the results you realize…
- Reduced total cost of insurance (In English, you save money)
- Improved financial protection (In English, you’re covered for more stuff)
- Enhanced ability to lead and respond to crisis (In English, you’ll be able to stay in business because you knew what to do when a disaster strikes)
- Check your agents work. (That’s a bilingual translation – both Insurance and English)
- Peace of mind (maybe the most important)
Here’s what you receive…
- I will provide a complete review of your insurance policies to identify gaps in coverage and places you can save money.
- You receive a comprehensive (yet painless to read) report providing you recommendations, suggestions, and guidance on how to fix your problem areas.
- You receive 2 weeks of unlimited e-mail access to me to help you with questions that come up after the report and on implementation of recommendations.
Note: Over the past 6 years, I’ve uncovered an average of 3 “gaps” in protection and a 10% savings per assessment. These aren’t guaranteed. Sometimes I’ve found less and sometimes more. That’s why it’s average! That being said, I have never walked away without finding at least one gap in protection or suggestion to save money!
My normal fee for this service is $1,500 for a business insurance diagnostic. I know we are still in a challenging economic period, so here is my holiday gift yo you… (read closely as dates of when you do this save you money)
- Starting today through Friday, your investment is only $500 for a business assessment and $750 for a combined business and personal insurance assessment.
- If you wait until next week, the investment goes up to $750 and $1,000 respectively.
- If you wait until after Christmas, your investment goes up to $1,000 and $1,250 respectively.
- After January 1st, we are back to our regularly scheduled programming.
- Between now and January 1st, any personal insurance diagnostic assessment only is $350.
The investment is based on when I receive payment (I accept checks and all major business credit cards). You can start the assessment whenever you want, however I recommend as soon as possible so you can make plans for the new year. I turn around the report to you within 48 hours.
Don’t chance your business continuation. Call me today to get set up for your insurance diagnostic. This offer may well never happen again. Invest in your business’s future and get an assessment on your insurance to protect your life’s work.
© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
I think I broke my wife’s toe.
Last Friday morning, the alarm went off and Barb got out of bed first. Her meeting was before mine, so I got to stay in bed longer. Until I heard the crash. Seems I left my running shoes in the direct path between our bed and the bathroom. In the dark, Barb “encountered” them and went down. Ouch!
The good news is, she didn’t sock me (which I deserved). The bad news is she is now hobbling. The lesson learned is that I have to put my shoes away. But, wait! There’s more!
This isn’t the first time in my life (including my adult life) that I have left my shoes out. I’ve almost “encountered” them myself on many occasions. I ignored these close calls and the end result is Barb got hurt. How many things do we overlook in both our personal and professional lives? What shoes do we have sitting in the middle of the floor waiting to be tripped over?
Close calls offer us opportunities to improve and avoid crisis. When crisis happens, we should not let it go to waste, but find the opportunity in it. My wayward shoes taught me both those lessons. What close calls and crisis can you improve, grow, and thrive out of?
This week’s quote – “Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.” Dorie Walker from Miracle on 34th Street