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Archive for July, 2012

Extra Points – Sniffing Around

July 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Sniffing Around.

Jack in chair

Dogs sniff everything. Often multiple times to make sure. It often drives me crazy when I take the dogs out at night in between commercials, hoping for a quick turnaround. Bella especially has to find just the right spot.

As is often the case, dogs probably have it right. They understand their surroundings. They have a clear picture of who has been where; how long ago they were there, and what they did. They are poised to and prepared for that rabbit, squirrel, or snake to pop out of nowhere.

How well do you understand your surroundings? When you walk into a prospective client’s office for the first time, are you walking in blind or do you know something about them? When you have to have a tough conversation with an employee, have you thought it through in your head before you start talking? At a ballgame, do you shout out an expletive-laced tirade before realizing how you are affecting others near you? The bottom line is that we don’t do as good a job as dogs in understanding our surroundings and being prepared for the unknown or the consequences of getting it wrong.

Perhaps we should do a better job of sniffing around before we start barking!

This week’s quote – “Go back a little to leap further.”

– John Clarke

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points – Tough Love

July 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Tough Love.

I watched the finale of The Next Food Network Star last night and I was struck again by a real-life business and personal lesson. Food Network Senior Vice-President, General Manager and Judge for the show, Bob Tuschman said something very important for all of us. He said the challenge of the show is to try and turn a person into a star in only 11 weeks. He pointed out that star mentors Bobby Flay, Giada DeLaurentis, and Alton Brown had taken years to cultivate their craft and get where they are. In order to do it in just 11 weeks, mentors needed to dish out real tough love.

Are you given tough love?

In my relationship with my personal mentor, Alan Weiss, I have and still get tough love. In fact, Alan may be the master! His theory is this. In order to accelerate the growing process; the results process; and the success process, you simply don’t have time to beat around the bush. It takes tough love to move and change behavior quickly. Those that can take it and change, thrive. Those that can’t, well…they don’t.

Who gives you tough love in your professional and personal life? You must have someone you trust, respect, and are willing to believe and make changes. Everyone needs someone like that, but often as we get older, we eschew that tough love and become defensive. Those that are willing to be humble and vulnerable, while retaining tremendous self-confidence will go on to great heights. Are you one of those people?

This week’s quote – “He who comes first, eats first.

– Eike von Repkow – 1220

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Superstars Are Coached…Why Aren’t You?

July 17, 2012 Leave a comment

From my July column in the Kitsap Business Journal…

In June, I watched two celebrated sporting events — the French Open in professional tennis, and the U.S. Open in men’s professional golf. These two sports feature great individual athletic prowess. They also illustrate what is widely acknowledged and accepted in all sports, arts and entertainment. Superstars are well coached.

At the French Open, champions Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova receive constant coaching and support from their coaches. At every break in play and regularly from the sidelines, they get suggestions on how to improve both tactically and strategically. At the U.S. Open, every golfer from champion Webb Simpson to Tiger Woods, and to the amateurs competing, receive input from swing coaches, mental coaches, putting coaches and caddies.

Regardless of the sport, athletes simply can’t maximize their skill and ability without strong coaching. The same is abundantly true in business. Executives and business owners who accept coaching are more likely to be “superstars” than those who don’t. But unlike sports, where all athletes understand the value, most business owners eschew the concept of coaching. The question is … why?

Why You Say No

I’ve worked closely with small business owners for over 25 years. In my experience, there are five key reasons that business leaders don’t take advantage of coaching:

  1. No concept of value. Coaching is viewed as a cost, rather than an investment. The owner only thinks about what they are losing (money) rather than the value they will receive (more discretionary time, enhanced skills, ability to earn higher revenue more quickly, and a sounding board for frustrations).
  2. Arrogance. “I’ve been in this business all my life. I know what I’m doing!” That’s exactly why you need coaching. This myopic view leads to the downfall of many because they don’t have a firm understanding of the traps and opportunities around them.
  3. Ignorance. You don’t know coaching even exists. You think you have to traverse the world of business as a self-made (or self-destroyed) man or woman.
  4. You’re not broken. It is a fallacy to think that only those that are broken need coaching. Actually, “coaching” is for those who are already really good, and want to maximize their talent. If this excuse were real, athletes like Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, and Serena Williams would all be walking around “coach-less!” In fact, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant hires five new coaches every summer to find out what he doesn’t know, or new ways to improve what he does know.
  5. Lack of vulnerability. Owners can be reticent to open up and let someone else hear that they want/need help. They feel that they will appear weak. In fact, the business leaders who are vulnerable and allow themselves to be coached demonstrate tremendous self-confidence.

The Value

There is a myth that a coach must be superior in tale——not to the person being coached. Last time I checked, Tiger Woods has won more major golf championships than all his coaches combined! The truth is that athletes have the talent. Coaches have the innate ability to transfer their knowledge to maximize the talent, and take them to heights they could never reach on their own. Consider this — we are all able to stretch on our own before or after exercise. But, our own bodies limit us. If a trainer or therapist stretches you, they are able to use leverage to maximize the stretch and attain optimal results. That’s how it works with coaching.

Reason #1 above was no concept of value. Here is a list of values I’ve heard from business leaders who have been coached, and from personal experience:

  • Improved ability to prioritize results in more discretionary time for you.
  • Reduced stress through better communications with management and employees.
  • Enhanced ability to communicate leads to more sales and improved bottom line.
  • Improved ability to lead, respond, and accept changes and volatility in business.
  • A sounding board. The last place you want to bring your challenges is home!
  • Improved efficiency at your own job.

Coaching can take the form of many areas that small and medium-size business owners can improve on. For example — improved speaking skills; better time management; enhancing life balance; strengthened leadership skills; and focus on specific goals, outcomes or projects. Coaching sessions can last for a month or a year. It can take the form of accessing a coach’s “smarts” on a retainer basis. However it ends up looking, good coaching will improve the condition of the “player.”

That “player” is you!

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

 

Extra Points – Baggage

July 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Baggage.

My two daughters travel very differently. Daughter A (I’m not giving names and if you have kids you know why) travels lightly. One bag with essentials. Daughter B usually ends up taking more than she brought and often the rest of us have to take some of her extra “stuff” because she’s over the weight limit. Some baggage is essential – medicine, underwear, and clothing appropriate for the destination. Others are not. Seven pairs of shoes for a three day trip is an example.

We all carry baggage. Contrary to what you often hear, all baggage isn’t bad. Some of it is essential. Your life experiences and lessons learned; the people who you have known and learned from; and even the adversity you’ve faced and risen from. This baggage you must keep. The other baggage – stress, anxiety, cynicism, victim mentality, negativism, and greed – these shouldn’t just be thrown off the train. They should be thrown off at the point where they drop off the steepest precipice! All this negative energy that often gets carried around by all of us at some time will build over time if it’s allowed to. It will suffocate you and keep you from maximizing your talents and succeeding in life. Make sure you recognize when your bags are getting full with all those “shoes” and throw them forcefully of your train.

Life is not about the destination, but the journey. Travel light!

This week’s quote – “Insanity does not run in my family. Rather, it strolls through, taking its time, getting to know everyone personally.”

– I saw this on my pal Kevin’s Facebook page. I thought it was very funny!

 

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

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Standing in Line

July 11, 2012 Leave a comment

I am always intrigued by lines out the door.

Last week, I took my family to Pike Place market in Seattle. There are several small, hole-in-the-wall type restaurants and cafes that literally had Disneyland-style lines waiting to get in. Contrary to what you might think, I develop a great desire to go stand in line and buy something! Why? There is a reason for the long line!

Mercedes-Benz is not even close to inexpensive, yet people with the means to pay for them do so in droves. Apple is more expensive than it’s PC competitors, but Apple stores are always packed and the evangelists are all over the place singing their praises.  Nordstrom is not known for cheap suits and purses, but it’s built a clothing empire.

You know the reasons as well as I do. Quality trumps price all the time. You gotta’ have it. The best is worth the wait and the price. The return on investment is great.

How do people view your business, and most specifically you? No matter what you do, you are the brand. Will people ask for you, stand in line for you, and pay more for you? What is the image you want?

It still amazes me. We all know this to be a reality. Yet so many still try to build a business based on cheapest price. When you have tremendous quality; great service; and become an object of interest, you will be sought out. Once you are sought out your value increases and people are willing to compensate you well for that. Why? Because they view their return on investing in you worth it!

Business is about relationships. Period. Do you think people standing outside the door at Starbucks are all about a cheap cup of coffee? Nobody wants cheap. They want value; they want to feel good; they want to be taken care of; they want to shine. Do you do that for your customers and clients?

Once you do, you will soon find the line out your door, too!

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Serving Up Your Strengths

July 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Serena Williams

I enjoy watching professional sports on television, not only for the pure enjoyment of the sport, but for the great parallels and lessons it teaches us. Last weekend’s Wimbledon Tennis Championship is an excellent example.

In the Women’s Championship match between Serena Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska, Williams found herself in a precarious situation. She had easily won the first set, stumbled in the second, and now had lost focus in the third and decisive set. Down 2 games to 1 and serving, Williams decided to just focus on her strength…her serve. Throughout the tournament, she lapped the field in aces. In this pivotal game, she served up 4 straight aces. Radwanska never recovered and Serena cruised to her 5th Wimbledon title.

How often do we get caught up in minutia and lose focus? How many times do events derail us and we panic or lose direction? In my experience, the answer is too many. In a world where we desire self-help books and looking to improve our weaknesses, we should instead focus on our strengths.

Athletes over-think in pressure situations. The true champions actually turn pressure into an ally by simplifying the situation and going with what got them there. For Serena Williams, it was her dominant serve. What is it for you?

Where do your strengths lie and what can you do to enhance them? Your focus should be on making what you do really well even better. Don’t spend time and effort on weaknesses. Delegate, subcontract, or simply don’t worry about them.

As an example, one of my strengths is public speaking. One of my weaknesses is setting up and organizing speaking events. So, my focus is on making myself a better speaker. I like it and it’s what I’m good at. I hate making arrangements and doing the heavy lifting of administration. I delegate this to my assistant who likes to do it and it’s her strength. This produces a win-win situation.

Your time is valuable and finite. Your energy level and passion needs to be focused and strong. You can only be passionate about what you like and what you’re good at. Build on your strengths. It will come up aces for you!

 

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points – De-Clutter

July 9, 2012 Leave a comment

This week’s focus point…

De-Clutter…  

This past week my family had a yard sale for the first time ever. We “hired” my sister-in-law to come over from Wenatchee and commandeer the event. I stayed as out of the way as possible. A yard sale is a lot of work and I’m thankful my wife, daughters, and sister-in-law did the heavy lifting. In the end, we got rid of a lot of “stuff.”

How much “stuff” do you have overflowing in your life? “Stuff” that is personal, professional, old, new, and everything else in between. Barb and I know we need to de-clutter. We’ve known it for years, but after taking on a ton of my parents “stuff” after my dad died, it became a real life issue. We made at least a 50% dent and went a long ways towards getting us to where we need to be. Most importantly however, it is a great burden that seemed to lift off of our shoulders. Carrying around “stuff,” whether material or emotional, will weigh you down and bury you. In order to ultimately move forward, gain momentum, and reach your goals, you must eliminate that “stuff” or you will never even get on the tracks. Don’t wait for the “right time” because it will never come. The real “right time” is now.

This week’s quote – “Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.”
– Pablo Picasso

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