Extra Points: Work Like a Dog

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This Week’s Focus Point: Work Like a Dog

Last week, the speaker at my Rotary Club meeting was a volunteer in K-9 Search and Rescue. It was a fascinating program about the intelligence and value that dogs bring to such a serious and often portentous situation.

I found it very interesting when she explained to us the dog’s motivation. Obviously, the dog has no understanding of the gravity or significance of the search, so they can’t be motivated by sheer emotion of the moment. She related that the dog is motivated solely by fun. The search is a game to them; that when they meet their objective, they receive a reward. The reward is most often not food (which immediately eliminates Captain Jack from consideration) because food might contaminate a site. Rather, they get toys as their reward. For the dog, the thrill is literally in the chase. Find the subject – get a reward – have fun.

Shouldn’t you be doing that with your career?

If your only motivation is based on receiving a paycheck and trading time for money, then you’re in danger of spending a lot of your waking hours during your life in drudgery. Before you think I am exaggerating, go spend 15 minutes reading your Facebook timeline. Watch TV and observe how “work” is often depicted. If you’re a business owner, are you having fun working for yourself? Are you enjoying the chase?

Dogs get it. They are motivated by FUN. They chase the REWARD. They live happy lives. We humans must not forget that we should be more focused on living a fun and rewarding life and by extension, our business career should mirror that. After all, we will spend more time doing that than anything else. We might as well enjoy the chase….

Quote of the Week:

“Dogs don’t rationalize. They don’t hold anything against a person. They don’t see the outside of a human, they see the inside of a human.”

~ Cesar Millan

If you’d like to hear more about this concept, listen to my live Periscope broadcast today at 10 am PST. Information below…

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Low Fuel

58842033-Dan+Weedin+%22Unleashed%22-21I was driving back from a meeting today when my car yelled at me.

You see, on the way in to the meeting, my car gently reminded me that I needed to get gas. A little  gas can shaped yellow light came on indicating that it was time to fuel up and that I only had 41 miles left in the tank. Of course, I forgot and started heading home post-meeting when the light became more aggressive. I decided it was best to eliminate any chance of running out of gas and turn around and head back to the gas station I’d passed a few blocks back.

I wasn’t paying attention to the gas gauge. Normally, I try to fuel up when I get just below a quarter of a tank. That means I rarely run into the situation I just had. Sometimes I admit I get lazy and say, “I’ll get to it later.” If I repeat that enough times, then my car yells at me. The consequences are turning around and spending time I had allotted to other things.

How often are you actively engaged in the metrics and dynamics of your business?

You have your own fuel gauges in play for your business whether you realize it or not. You can see both quantitative and qualitative signs daily, but only if you’re paying attention.

The metrics of your business include your revenue stream, company expenses, professional development investment, sales activity, customer service engagements, safety record, and anything else that is unique to your industry that measures numbers.

The dynamics of your business are more qualitative and normally deal with culture. How’s morale these days around the water cooler? Are you experiencing any drama or conflict among your employees? Are you and your employees all having fun or dreading the day? Are employees maximizing their work day for the betterment of your customers and clients, or actively searching for their next job online at their desk on your time?

Metrics need benchmarks and constant updates to watch the fuel gauge. These are actually pretty easy to track, but you must commit that you r someone else is accountable and tracks them consistently. Dynamics requires being observant. It demands asking questions and being prepared to hear answers you don’t like. It mean being engaged and active in the work of your employees, not some mythical figure hidden being a curtain like The Great Oz.

Small business runs on fuel, just like your car does. You’ll get gentle reminders like I did that you’re running low on both metrics and dynamics fuel, and then you’ll started getting yelled at. Ultimately if you get to this point, you’ll either have to retrace your steps and lose momentum, or run out of gas. One is worse than the other. The best option is constant fueling. I recommend you fill up regularly for maximum performance.

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Want to fuel your leadership and maximize its performance for your company. Check out my new book, Unleashed Leadership. You’ll be going 0-60 in no time! Purchase here

Extra Points: Unturned Stones

This Week’s Focus Point: Unturned StonesDan Weedin Unleashed-40

Last week, Kobe Bryant played his last game for the Los Angeles Lakers. He ended his 20-year Hall of Fame career in grand style, scoring 60 points to lead the Lakers to a comeback win. I guess if you’re going to write a script on how to go out in style, that would be it!

After the game, Bryant was interviewed and asked about his career and two decades of brilliance. He said, “I am completely satisfied because gave it everything I had and enjoyed every minute. I got all out of my career that I could. I didn’t leave one stone unturned.”

I wonder how many of us can say the same thing about our careers when they come to a conclusion. Are you turning over every stone? Are you maximizing your potential? Are you taking advantage of every opportunity?

I’m guessing you’re smart enough to know that answer without being given examples. We have stones labeled opportunity, talent, desire, education, experience, resilience, boldness, and fun scattered before us daily. They aren’t always overturned becasue there might be some obstacle in the way. Obstacles include fear, apathy, and simply not being in the moment enough that you walk over the stone without noticing it.

An NBA career is relatively short compared to our expected lifespan. While a business career may be longer in duration, it also goes by amazingly fast. Before you know it, you could be peering back at a trail of undisturbed stones in your path wondering what lay beneath them. Here’s hoping you can confidently proclaim – just like Kobe Bryant did – that you left no stone unturned.

Quote of the Week:

“I’m 75 years old yet I feel like a 19 year old that’s wondering ‘What happened’?”

~ My dad, Don Weedin. I’ve never forgotten these words when contemplating the passage of time. As I get older, they stick with me even more…

If you’d like to hear more about this concept, listen to my live Periscope broadcast today at 10 am PST.

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Need for Speed

Speed is critical to success in business. Weedin Place image


While this seems like an overly simplistic statement, I’m constantly amazed at how many entrepreneurs and small business owners don’t follow this mantra. Do you ever catch yourself saying something like:

“I just need to wait until I have the money to….”

“I am going to wait for the perfect time to…”

“I need to think about…”

Here’s the deal. Smart and savvy business people don’t need to take a lot of time to make a decision. Here’s the formula: Assess the situation. Quickly determine upside and downside. Create metrics to measure return on investment. Make a decision and commit to it.

Fear is the primary cause keeping entrepreneurs from pulling the trigger with velocity. The consequences of lack of speed – especially in today’s fast-paced, digital world – are severe. They include loss of opportunity, loss of valuable time that can never be reclaimed, and regret and anxiety for not having had the courage of commitment and missing out. The primary fear is manifested in the thinking that a risk will fail. Welcome to being in business. Risks fail all the time. Rarely are failures fatal. Taking risks is the hallmark of an entrepreneur. If you follow my decision-making model above, I surmise you’ll win significantly more than you lose. And even in those losses, there is opportunity.

I’m not suggesting that you take every risk that comes your way. I am suggesting you make speedier decisions. Here’s one important example:

Entrepreneurs often put themselves last when it comes to investing in themselves. They are eager to invest in better equipment and technology, the professional development of their employees, and marketing. While all these are terrific investments, the most important is the growth and development of the owner. It’s the first place that should be considered because without continually improving one’s own self, the rest of the organization will never reach it’s potential. I’ve heard entrepreneurs say, “I can wait on me until we can afford it.” The reality is that they can’t afford to be without it. The faster they grow their skills, the faster the company develops and accomplishes greater things.

Speed to market, speed to being smarter, speed to produce, and speed to reaching your ideal condition as a company are common denominators of successful and significant companies and business professionals. You don’t have to drive 55 on this highway; instead get your engines revved up and speed toward greater success!

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Extra Points: Avoiding the Six-Putt

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40In the first round of the Masters golf tournament last week, an unimaginable “event” occurred. Ernie Els, a four-time major golf champion in a Hall of Fame career took six putts starting from two feet to “hole out” on his very first hole of the championship. For non-golfers, this is akin to Bill Gates having his credit card declined for a $3.27 purchase at the 7-11.

I watched the video three times in utter disbelief. The thought then ran through my mind, “Oh my gosh, he now has 17 more holes to play today! How does he do that?” Els went on to shoot an 80 (8 over par). When you consider he was six over par after one hole, I’d say he collected himself pretty well.

Els is a highly successful professional with immense talent. He ended any opportunity he had to win the tournament on that first hole through what he would even admit was a loss of focus. There is a business lesson here for you, too.

You can be a highly successful entrepreneur or business professional with immense talent. But if you lose focus on your strategic objectives, your planning, and your metrics on how you will measure success, then you’re losing your own “tournament” every single day. It’s easy to lose focus on the big picture when you find yourself battling fires daily. You can immerse yourself so much on the ground battle, that you forget to take a 35,000 strategic view. If you want to avoid losing equity in your business OR equity and earning power in your career, then make sure you take the time to “read your putt” and focus on the larger vision. Els goal was to get the ball in the hole and he whiffed hard on this day. Your objective is maximize your talent and your business for success, stability, and significance.

Els needed to keep his head down. You need to keep your eyes gazing into the future. Now go make a putt…

Quote of the Week:

“It’s good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling.”

~ Mark Twain

If you’d like to hear more about this concept, listen to my live Periscope broadcast today at 10 am PST.

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Fearlessly Stepping on the Scale

58842030-Dan+Weedin+%22Unleashed%22-30This is my April column for the Kitsap Sun/Kitsap Business Journal.

How do you track the success of your business?

Unfortunately, a high percentage of small to middle market enterprises (SMEs) -employers of less than 500 people – track their business success like a hopeful exerciser frightened to step on the scale for fear of what it might reveal.

My daughter is getting married in July. Shortly after hearing the exciting news, I realized that wedding pictures are forever. That thought jabbed me in the pit of my stomach. That same stomach was of late getting slightly bigger than I wanted. It was at that point in mid-November, that I resolved to lose the unwanted baggage. If I was to walk my beautiful daughter down the aisle, I needed to take up less room!

I was a regular every morning at 5:30 at the gym. I couldn’t understand why this was happening. It seemed counter-intuitive, except the empirical evidence proved otherwise. It was time to step on the scale. It read 199 pounds. I think I audibly gasped; I’d never weighed that much before. I realized that just hitting the health club daily and working hard didn’t assure results.

One problem was that after an Achilles injury, I had essentially stopped running. In addition, my penchant for cooking and eating like I was still running was damaging my bottom line, or in this case, my belt-line.

I quickly created a plan to start running again, increase my stretching to avoid injury, and do something I really hated; step on the scale every other day to track my progress.

While the initial results netted a slight decrease of about 2 pounds, for some reason it never really broke below that. Checking dutifully every other day, I became increasingly agitated that my new routine wasn’t working. Even though I felt better and more energetic, the scale was still telling me an unkind truth. I was basically treading water.

That’s when I made one more change; this time to my diet. I cut out almost all bread and went gluten-free. I reduced my portions to only one serving instead of going back for “seconds.” And I eschewed all desserts except for the weekends. This new initiative did the trick. In just a few weeks, I dropped down to my current weight of 193 and on track to hit my goal of 189. I’m still weighing in every other day to make sure I don’t increase (and if I do I take corrective action).

Here’s the comparison of your bottom line to my belt line:

  • Small business owners use the “feel” method for charting success. Instead of reading their own scales (metrics) regularly, they consider that by working hard every day, the results will follow. I was working out hard daily, but that was only masking my lack of improvement.
  • Initiatives for improvement are put into place, but are done without strong metrics to track results. Everyone gets so busy that they assume things are better. Much like I felt better after initiating my running and stretching regime, however the scale told a different story.
  • If I didn’t step on the scale 4 times a week, I’d still be 6 pounds heavier. If you don’t track and monitor your measures for success, you may find that over time, you’ve only kept pace or fallen behind.

It’s time to fearlessly step on the scale. Just like I was hesitant to see the “truth,” you might be hesitant to face the actual reality of your lack of reaching your own goals. Here’s my 5-step plan to accelerate your weight loss – or in your case – path to consistent growth and success.

  1. Create metrics that will chart what you want to measure. Examples include: Profit per employee; Productivity per employee; Rate of absenteeism; Customer compliments given; Rate of turnover; Revenue growth; Cash flow; and days that you are able to get away to take vacation.
  2. Seek expert help. There are a number of resources to find information on how to measure these categories. You can access consultants, trade associations, articles and videos, and even internal “smarts.” Create your own to match your industry.
  3. Gain employee buy-in. They need to understand this isn’t micro managing; rather a system to help them be more productive and happier.
  4. The first sale is to you. You must be willing to persevere and lead through these changes.
  5. Get on the scale daily. Check each of your categories on a dally basis. How do you know how you’re doing if you don’t know the score? A football coach makes in-game decisions based on the score, not on how things “feel.” You make important decisions all the time. You need to know your score.

The biggest hurdle for SMEs is the perception that they are too busy. They are working in their business, not on it. The reality for most of you is that at some point in the future, your business is going to fund your “golden years.” To maximize your business wealth and equity, you must ardently keep track of your success, so that you’re in a position to be nimble and change when needed. The consequences of not doing this are as detrimental to your business health as an expanding waist is to your personal health.

The surest way to protect and grow your business wealth is to step on that scale every day. Why not start today?

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Extra Points: Kryptonite

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I have yet to see the Batman vs. Superman movie that just opened, so there is no need to worry about a “spoiler” here.

I’ve always been a Superman fan. Who wouldn’t be? Here’s a super hero that is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. What’s there not to like? He is seemingly invincible. There’s only one thing that he can’t overcome…kryptonite. That mysterious thing that isn’t readily available on earth, yet often shows up in the hands of villains just in time to weaken our hero. Fortunately, Superman always finds a way to overcome and save the day and of course, Lois Lane.

What’s your kryptonite?

It’s comical how this term has become synonymous with a blatant weakness over the decades since the emergence of the “man of steel.” It is referenced when someone seemingly invincible must overcome their fatal fault, failing, or flaw. There seems to be a thought that even the best of us has our own kryptonite.

Here’s the deal – we do all have weaknesses and failings, however the biggest one for any of us is our own lack of discipline. We all have some amazing talent that can be thwarted by this “kryptonite.” While flying, x-ray vision, and unpenetrable strength may not be our super powers; our knowledge, skills, and innate talents will remain unfulfilled if we allow our kryptonite – our lack of discipline – to unhinge us.

You have a chance to be a super hero daily both professionally and personally. You know the seemingly small, yet important behaviors and activities needed to accomplish this. Don’t let gravitational pull (your arch enemy) drag you down. Leap your own tall buildings by mastering your daily discipline.

Quote of the Week:

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.”
~ Jim Rohn

If you’d like to hear more about this concept, listen to my live Periscope broadcast today at 10 am PST.

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved