Extra Points: Facing the Gust

Facing the Gust

Barb and I went to visit friends on Saturday. It was a dinner party with lots of high school pals we had recently seen at our reunion. It’s always fun to get out on a date with my wife. Turns out our trip to other side of Puget Sound came in the midst of a storm. When we started it was raining hard straight down. By the time we got to the other side it was raining hard horizontally.

I had brought along our umbrella. This one happened to be a double reinforced golf umbrella “guaranteed” to withstand big gusts. This was going to be its toughest test!

As we emerged from the ferry, I extended the umbrella out against the force of the wind. I felt like Captain America and his shield as I held on to the umbrella with both hands to keep it extended. We made it down through the terminal and went outside to meet our friend who was picking us up on the other end. As we walked a distance of about 10 feet, Barb and I got drenched. Luckily for me, our hostess was kind enough to offer to let me borrow some sweats so she could put my sopping jeans in the dryer.

No matter what type of “shield” you carry with you to protect yourself from calamity, sometimes the momentum and strength of the force still gets through and causes “damage.” You have a of couple options. You can sit around and mope in wet jeans and complain to people who aren’t interested in hearing about your problems. Or you can find a way to throw those jeans in the dryer and move forward with a positive attitude, a solution, and a smile. You’ve run into those negative nellies in your professional and personal life and they need to be discarded or devalued. Spend your time and effort with those that are willing to help you get your jeans “dry” and find a solution. Better yet – be that person for others!

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

This week’s quote –
“The hardest thing in life to learn is which bridge to cross and which to burn.”
– David Russell

Book Updates

As many of you know, I have a couple of book projects running simultaneously. I wanted to give all you a quick update on them as we are reaching a point that you will soon be able to buy them…

Dan Weedin
Dan Weedin

Insuring Success: An insurance professionals guide to increased sales, a more rewarding career, and an enriched life.

This book is being published by Global Professional Publishing (GPP) out of the United Kingdom. The book is aimed at insurance professionals (agency owners, agents, brokers, company representatives and both real and animated mascots). I am down to one final chapter to write and it’s due to my publisher in November, so I’m a little ahead of the game. The goal is to have it available to purchase in early 2014. If you’re in the insurance business, please buy it and tell me what you think. If you’re not in the insurance business, buy it anyway and give it to your agent as a gift. They probably deserve a gift and this would be a good one!


Capt Jack with ballUnleashed: A guide to maximizing your career and enriching your life

The Best of Dan Weedin featuring Captain Jack the Pirate Dog – This is a compilation of the last 5 years of writing that I’ve been doing. Included is my work with Extra Points (my Monday morning mailing); my monthly column with the Kitsap Business Journal; my newsletters and blogs; and of course the musings and wisdom of the indefatigable Captain Jack the Pirate Dog. There will also be new material that has never been read before, called Fresh Fish. This book is completed and I’m in the final stages of editing and reviewing. My goal is to have this available for purchase in time for the holidays. Stay tuned.

Questions: Why would you want to read all my previous works? What value will you receive? Well, why don’t I let my readers tell you!

“I really enjoy reading  Dan Weedin’s weekly “Extra Points” memo.  He can take the simple things that happen in everyday life and write a story about it.  The story always has a point and is relevant in business even when the story is not about business. I find his ability to write stories with creative analogies every week to be simply genius!  Thanks Dan for entertainment and the little nuggets that come with your stories.”– Donna Himpler, Wells Fargo Bank

“Dan has a special knack of simplifying complex business strategies. His column in the Kitsap Business Journal, using everyday analogies relative to the business world, is especially beneficial for daily tactics and team building. His insightful nuggets are great reading for enhancing business success, whether you’re an entrepreneur or a corporation. I always find some practical take-away to pump up my work.” – Barry Hacker, Group Health Cooperative

Dan Weedin is a rare guy who instinctively finds quick answers to tough issues. I trust him implicitly, and I rarely make that statement. His weekly newsletter–Extra Points–is always relevant and demonstrates Dan’s pragmatism and ability to get to the heart of impactful issues. It would be well worth your while to spend a few minutes with Dan. You’ll thank me for it.”   – Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting, Silicon Valley

P.S. If you’d like to be included in a special mailing list to get early announcements and discount opportunities for BOTH books, email me at dan@danweedin.com and tell me you want to be added to the Book Club!

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Pass the Pizza

Nate Burleson (courtesy of Associated Press)
Nate Burleson (courtesy of Associated Press)

There is a story coming out of Detroit that former Seahawks and current Detroit Lions player, Nate Burleson broke his car in a single-car accident late Monday night after watching Monday Night Football at the home of one if his teammates. Any time you hear of a late night, single car accident, your mind goes to alcohol or drugs. Happily in this case, that is not an issue. However, there is always a reason for a single car accident. Sometimes it has to do with the uncontrollable like a deer running out in the road. More often than not it deals with something much more basic and in our control. For Nate Burleson, it was about pepperoni and cheese.

According to an Associated Press story, Burleson was distracted by trying to keep two boxes of pizza from falling off the passenger seat. He reached to keep them from dumping on the floor and in so doing, dumped himself into a ditch, breaking his arm in the process. The consequences are severe. For him, he’s going to lose at least 8-10 weeks of his season. In terms of the brevity of an NFL career, this is significant and he will never regain that time. For his team, they lose a key member of the team to the sideline where he can’t help them.

If you think my moral of the story is about distracted driving, you’d be wrong (although having it as a sub-plot is certainly a smart thing to remember)…

I have three business applications for all of you who own a business, or are responsible for business continuation of one:

1. The Lions now need a backup plan for Burleson. I’m sure they have one in place because he could just as easily have been injured playing football. That’s good business for them. It’s also good business for you, except most of the business owners I speak to have a poor to non-existent crisis plan in case bad things happen. What’s yours?

2. Nate Burleson is a smart guy who made a dumb decision. A floorboard filled with pepperoni beats out a broken arm any day. In all candor, I’ve been known to make the same mistake, too; yet have not ended up with the same result. I’ve been lucky. Your employees do dumb things sometimes. More often than not, they are just lapses in judgement (like this). Sometimes you just have bad people working for you. Education, training, and good hiring procedures are critical to avoiding disasters to begin with. How often are you doing those things in your business?

3. Burleson knows that taking his eye off the ball in a football game leads to a dropped pass. Taking your eyes off the road leads to broken bones and a broken car. Taking your eyes off your business objectives leads running off your own road and path. How well focused on the ball are you in your business?

Oh by the way, you don’t have to be running your own business to take something away from this story. How often do we as individuals make bad priority decisions in that split second? Can we train ourselves to strategize in advance for contingencies, or will we go through life making sure the pizza is the priority.

Just me…

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points – Reinventing the Rim

Reinventing the Rim Coach from NK Herald Feb 2006

I had a recent conversation with a consultant that I did some coaching for a few months ago. She shared that she was finally coming to a point where she had to stop comparing her results to a time when she had no children at home. Back then, she had more time (and energy) to work on her business. Now, she juggles her time with her career on a smaller level while she does a great job of being a mom (her most important career).

I confirmed her thinking by telling her that at one time in my youth, I could jump high enough to touch a basketball rim (10 feet). Twenty-six years, 20 pounds, and a bad Achilles later, I’m lucky to clear a basketball laying on the ground. If I used the same metrics I had back then today on touching the rim, I would be failing miserably every time and that affects my outlook.

Sometimes you have to change your metrics and your mindset. There are good reasons for change in life (parenthood and age); and good reasons in business (economy, products, mergers, technology). Life and business require reinvention. For some of us, reinvention might happen on a more frequent basis, but it still must happen. When it does, it calls for reassessment of objectives, metrics, and goals. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting your time and energy trying to touch a rim that is out of reach. Rather find new results that match where you are today and where you want to go. That way, you’ll be in position to slam dunk every time!

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

This week’s quote –
“The main thing to do is relax and let your talent do the work.”
– Charles Barkley (former NBA player and announcer)

Immersing Your Way to a Successful Career and Life

I visited my mother yesterday at the memory care facility she lives in. I try to visit her every day for at least 30-45 minutes. I’ve learned the times that work best for her as far as her mood. The later in the afternoon it gets, the worse it gets due to her “sun downers.” The prime time is between 1:00 and 3:30, so that is my new goal.IMG_2605

On this particular visit, I was Jaime. Jaime was her brother. He was only one year younger in age and a doctor. He was someone she trusted implicitly and was very close to. With dementia, important people sometimes get mixed up when the synapses decide to go wonky. I used to try to correct all the time..now I just go with it and enjoy the time.

Since I was Jaime, the conversation we had for 40 minutes was solely in Espanol. Although I tried to work out of it, we always returned to it quickly. When you’re dealing with a dementia patient, they are in control of the conversation, so I submitted to that fate. My Espanol is decent, yet it is tested mightily in conversation. I’ve learned to be able to say the same words and sentences enough times that I sound better than I am in a prolonged conversation. That being said, a funny thing happens when you’re “immersed” in a conversation in a different language. You must conform and get better. Fast.

My wife and I have hosted 8 Rotary Exchange students over the years. Each one has told us that the quickest way they learn English is to totally immerse themselves in it. That means conversations, television shows, and movies. The more they force themselves into the immersion, the more initial “pain” they have, yet the more short-lived that “pain” really is. They learn to become proficient and grow in confidence through their success. Likewise for me, even my brief conversation in Spanish with Mom forced me into an immersion. By the end, I was feeling more confident and certainly being more successful, even if I was still making a few mistakes.

Business success starts with its own “immersion.” In order to rapidly improve and enhance your business and yourself, you must force yourself to grow, even if its initially painful. Any time you go through quick change, you may suffer the same growing pains as a teenage boy over the summer of his 15th year. The reason many people avoid being immersed is because they are afraid of that pain; are embarrassed to show vulnerability; or perhaps don’t really have the passion for it.

Do yourself a favor. If you want to become a superstar in sales, immerse yourself in some program or coach that will help you get there quickly. If you want to have leadership qualities that others would give their right arm for, immerse yourself in a program or coach that will extract every inch of skill and talent out of you. Don’t put it off by saying you need to accomplish something else first. That’s procrastination and it only wastes time. Put up with the immersion and you will find you will more quickly reach your goals.

I plan on immersing myself into my Spanish every time I see my mother, even if I do have to be Jaime. Are you ready to make the same commitment with your career and life?

P.S. The most successful business professionals never quit learning. They constantly immerse themselves in something new. Don’t tell me you’ve got it all covered. You can always learn more.

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: Edition 1

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: Edition 1 – The One About “Dog”Jack and Bella

A gorgeous afternoon here in the Pacific Northwest, so I decided to take my pre-lunch walk with the dogs. I take them separately because together they are not much fun for me. The walk is around the neighboring development and is exactly one mile per lap. The separate walks makes for more exercise for me anyway.

Bella goes first because she is the lady….and demands it. As we hit the ¾ mark, a little dog comes running out from behind a house. Great. The dog is obviously unleashed and has no collar, identification, or passport. He does however like Bella. He is so fascinated with her that he begins to follow us hot on her heels. She is unimpressed. I keep trying to tell him to go home…go back…skedaddle…all of the above. I even try to gently grab him, but to no avail. “Dog” as I now have affectionately call him is all about Bella and me. He continues to follow us all the way home, which means out of his housing area. My plan is now to switch dogs and walk him back.

The plan was good in thought, but Captain Jack didn’t approve. He and Dog became instant enemies as soon as Jack walked out the door. I dragged my pirate dog back into the house kicking and yelping, took the leash with me (for what purpose I still don’t know because Dog had no collar). I decided to walk Dog back to where he picked us up. Bella was happy to be rid of him.

I found it cool that Dog walked, skipped, and generally bounced back with me. Any time I called for him, he immediately caught up with me, jumped on the back of my legs, and happily tailed along. As we turned the corner back up the street he came from, I saw a young lady at the corner house. I asked her if she had ever seen Dog, “Yes. He belongs to the people in that house,” and pointed across the street. The young lady of the other house came out and we delivered Dog back to her sans a thank you. I figured I did my good deed and picked up an extra half mile of walking in the sun.

After getting back, I made lunch and watched a little bit of NFL Insiders on ESPN. Lunch was leftover nachos, so I figured taking Captain Jack for his walk now would be a good idea for both of us. I harnessed him up to his leash and we briskly strolled out of the house and started heading on our route. And then we saw him…


The little white and brown floppy eared mutt was running (and I mean running) back down my street towards our house. The growl I heard emanating from Captain Jack’s throat persuaded me to get Jack back inside. I came back out (again with the leash…now it was a superstition thing) and asked Dog to follow me back again.

Yogi Berra talked about “déjà vu all over again.” He must have known a dog like Dog. Dog again skipped about and dutifully followed me back the same road we just came down. As I again turned the corner, his young owner (guessing early 20s, so not a child) saw us. She sort of looked at us like we each had 3 eyes. I asked her, “Is this STILL your dog?” Her answer was “How does he keep getting out?” I had an urge to share my guess with her, but decided not to.

She continued to stay on her lawn like if coming off of it would vaporize her. Her father and mother had now come out of the house each trying to surmise how Dog got out again. Apparently they feared vaporization, too because they also stayed firmly on the lawn

I walked Dog all the way on to the grass (as you can see, no harm came to me upon crossing the lawn barrier). They pet and gently scolded him for being naughty. I turned to walk away and Dog bounded after me ready to join me on the walk back. I stopped and the girl grabbed him, careful not to set foot on the pavement (I promise I am not embellishing this). Dog looked somewhat forlornly at me as I heard them say he was off to “the cooler” (my term and aka his kennel) until they could determine his route of escape. I said as they left, “Well, there you go.” I did receive a quick “thank you” as they turned into the house with Dog. Based on the behaviors of all three, I think I understand Dog’s desire for new company!

As I walked back, I kept hearing leaves rustling about behind me. I half expected Dog to have ditched his abode like Hogan’s Heroes escaping Stalag 13. But he wasn’t there. To be candid, as I write this I kind of miss him. Our relationship lasted about a mile’s worth of walking, but his personality was so delightful I found him fun to be around (don’t tell Jack and Bella). Who knows, maybe the next time I walk outside, he will be sitting there ready for our brief walk again!

You can’t make this stuff up!

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Hiring Drivers

I had a client ask me if it was acceptable to run a motor vehicle report on a person they are considering for a driving position. I thought I’d share my answer with you…

Yes, it is. In fact, it should be mandatory for a driving position.

A couple of notes:

  1. The company must have a written policy stating this and that it applies to all current and prospective drivers. The interviewee needs to sign a consent form acknowledging that he or she will have their MVR run.
  2. The company needs to have written guidelines as to what is not acceptable to hire. Example – two moving violations would be an automatic decline. It’s their call on their tolerance for moving violations/accidents, but it must be consistent, written, and communicated.
  3. If it’s for a CDL, their personal history also comes into play. They are required to disclose any violations or accidents, even if it was on a personal basis.

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Three Small Steps

In the last week, the news has been rife with crisis.umbrella_risk

If you’ve been following current events, you will have seen deadly flooding in Colorado; a devastating fire on the Jersey Shore less than a year after Hurricane Sandy; another cruise ship debacle off an Italian island; and now a deadly shooting in a Washington DC Navy yard near the Pentagon.

These disasters unfortunately happen way too much and in many cases aren’t avoidable. The crisis comes when business owners are not adequately prepared or ready to deal with them.

September is National Preparedness Month and should be a reminder that none of us are immune from disaster. Prevention is the first step in the process and the most under-used by small business owners. Preventing just one disaster from ever occurring will save you $250,000 at a minimum, yet because it’s never “felt,” can be overlooked. Making decisions before they must be made also gets neglected. I’ve spoke with too many business owners that feel they can handle any calamity thrown their way at the moment. I believe this is a recipe for disaster.

I encourage each of you reading this brief memo today to commit to significantly improving just three areas of your crisis planning before the end of 2013…

  1. Create a working crisis plan that is communicated to all your employees. This is not a template you simply download off the Internet and stick in some electronic file folder. This is a working document that will save your company hundreds of thousands of dollars and perhaps your existence if done correctly.
  2. Determine what you will do with all your employees tomorrow if your building becomes uninhabitable overnight due to fire, flood, or some other disaster. Most of the misfortunes that render buildings unavailable to occupy happen in the middle of the night when nobody is there. Knowing how to operate the next day is crucial.
  3. Have a backup plan for extended loss of power. Over 70% of business stoppages are from loss of power. In today’s world if you have no power or connectivity, you may have a building and people, but you have no business.

Don’t make crisis planning onerous. By taking three small steps at a time, you will over time make huge improvements and protect your business, your employees, your customers, and your personal investment. If you need help in making this happen, contact me.

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved


Extra Points – Heating It Up

Heating It Up  

The other day, I got some beautiful beef tongue from my neighbor. Some of you that know me personally know I’m a foodie and I have always loved beef tongue since my dad used to make it when I was a kid. My neighbor Scott had smoked it and sliced it for me, but he did warn it was only cooked to 169 degrees, so it was on the “red” side.

I like my meat a little more well done and for beef tongue, more tender. My wife Barb had a great idea. She suggested that I slow cook it to get to where I wanted it. I added beer, garlic, onions, salt, and pepper…and slow cooked it for 7 hours. The result was an incredibly tender and flavorful meal.

When you cook beef long and slow with great seasonings, you gain tremendous results. In business, the same concept is true. Being consistent, keeping momentum, staying hot, and constantly adding to your skills will heat up your career and business. Many people try to cook too fast and then either burn their food, or simply mis-cook it. When you focus on being consistent heat and mix in the “flavors,” you’re results will be as good as my beef tongue!

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

This week’s quote –
“So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all the questions for the time being.”
– Frank Kafka