Lauer and Rose and Weinstein, Oh Boy.

LauerThe sudden firing of popular NBC television personality Matt Lauer yesterday is just the latest in a series of high profile terminations stemming from sexual misconduct and harassment. Charlie Rose and Harvey Weinstein are also on the short list of others that have plummeted from grace in a split second. The main thing these three have in common is that they were all promptly terminated from their jobs because the allegations came from co-workers where they wielded power and authority over their victims. That’s where your concern should come in…

It’s easy to be lulled into thinking that this is a big media, high profile, social media fueled phenomenon. The sad truth is that bad behavior, discrimination, harassment, and bullying occurs every day in small and medium-sized businesses and flies under the radar to the detriment of the employees that are victims. That is until you get a lawsuit dropped on your desk.

Employers get sued for a bevvy of discriminatory practices: gender, age, and race are the most prevalent. However you can include wrongful termination, retaliation, unsafe or toxic work environment, and social media bullying as other reasons. With the enormous spotlight being shone on this issue now, more than ever you need to protect your people, your reputation, and your bottom line. Here are three thoughts:

  1. Commit to taking care of your employees by having a zero tolerance for inappropriate behavior. It’s easy to say that you do, but how are you validating it? Do you have annual training; do people in leadership positions confront issues promptly; are there written guidelines and policies communicated to all employees; and is everyone subject to the same disciplinary actions? Talk is cheap; are to taking actions to protect all your employees?
  2. Watch out for water cooler jokes and language. This goes for BOTH genders! If you allow “locker room talk” to become water cooler talk, then you’re setting yourself up for a fall. You know it happens. This is more than political correctness. The issue is creating a work environment that is welcoming to everyone and creates a culture where people want to work for you. You’ll also be dramatically reducing the likelihood of a lawsuit.
  3. Protect your profit by purchasing Employment Practices Liability insurance. Even by doing everything right, employees may still sue you. Don’t tell me you have a “family environment.” Families fight, disagree, and are dysfunctional. If they aren’t really your family, you’ll get sued. The average cost for damages is $150,000 and attorney costs will triple that. If you don’t want to have a catastrophic bill then transfer the financial risk to an insurance company. Just like with cyber insurance, you’re more likely to be sued by an employee than have your building catch on fire. Protect your company wealth.

Take care of your people and you’ll be rewarded with higher performance, productivity, and profits. Finance the risk of being sued through Employment Practices Liability insurance and protect your company valuation and wealth from something you can’t control. If you have questions on your current company culture, practices, and/or insurance, let’s talk. Make sure that you’re heading into 2018 doing the right things for your people and your business.

I’m an expert in resilience, insurance, and crisis planning. I have a proprietary scorecard to assess where you are today when it comes to protecting your most important assets and your bottom line. If these are important to you, then call and let’s talk. I can also buy Employment Practices Liability insurance for you to adequately protect your profit and business. Call or email me at 360-271-1592 to schedule a meeting.

Extra Points: Finish Strong

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40What did you resolve to accomplish last January?

Some of the more popular personal “resolutions” might include increased exercise, improved eating and health habits, more time spent with family and less time on social media, and discovering greater life balance.

I find that professional resolutions pale in comparison. They often seem to be carry-over goals of making more money, improving growth goals, hiring more people, expanding demographics, and boosting the bottom line. Well, how are you doing with one month left?

The problem with many of these resolutions is that once met somewhere in the year, the foot will often ease of the gas pedal and coast into the next year. If you feel that happening to you, it’s a mistake.

While December is filled with holiday parties, end of the year reports, and an enormous amount of other distractions, it doesn’t have to be a time where nothing gets accomplished. In fact, for the savvy business professionals, it’s time to go fast and furious while others enjoy too much holiday cheer.

Look, I’m not suggesting you bypass the spirit of the season. On the contrary, revel in it while at the same time sprinting hard through the end of the year so that the momentum carries you into a fast calendar year-start.

A few suggestions on how to begin that mad dash:

Find ways to help your clients finish their year sprinting. Create new opportunities to meet people that you didn’t get to work with this year. Be innovative and create a new service or product. Stop emailing and pick up a phone to talk to someone. Smile more. Seek out opportunity each day. Improve your self-talk. Set a growth goal (personal or professional) for each day. Ask for help when you need it. Stay enthusiastic.

Life’s too short. I’m as guilty as the next person in taking each day for granted that there will be a day to follow and time to catch up. The time is now. It matters not if it’s the last month of a year or the third. Commit to sprinting through your life each day; not in a hurry, but in running a great race that keeps you living life fast and furious.

Quote of the Week:

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

~ Aristotle

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

I can help you get and your company sprint to the finish line, call me. I have ideas on how you can finish strong and start fast! Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592.

Living Thanksgiving Every Day

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I’m watching my alma mater, the University of Washington Huskies playing the University of Utah Utes in a wild and exciting game Saturday night. The Huskies down late in the game make an improbable comeback and are in a position to kick a winning field goal with only two seconds left. The kicker has had a tough year and had already missed an extra point and field goal in this game. With victory at stake, he calmly boots the game winner and is mobbed by his teammates.

It dawns on me as we head into Thanksgiving week, that this is a lesson on thanks.

Although true, it’s easy to point to family, friends, and health as things to be thankful for. As I get older, I become increasingly thankful for the journey. The journey includes struggle, resilience, good days, bad days, and mediocre days. The journey includes teammates and opponents and ultimately offers opportunities for redemption and glory. Sometimes we lose the battle as Utah did and sometimes we are victorious. But in all cases we are blessed with another day and opportunity until we won’t be and the journey ends.

Here’s what I’m thankful for: the journey, the struggle, the opportunities, the people, the redemption, the uncertainty and the fun. Honor the struggle and the journey and be thankful you’ve got the opportunity to live and craft your on journey and share it with those you want to.

Thank you for being a part of my journey and for continuing to allow me to be a part of yours.

Quote of the Week:

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, becasue I was a different person back then.”

~ from Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

I can help you get your company culture stronger and more robust. Contact me to discuss how you can better and more quickly reach the results you want. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592.

Shrimp Tank Podcasts

shrimptanklogo

What better way to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week than to highlight a whole bunch of excellent ones and their stories?!

You can binge watch all 28 episodes on my You Tube channel. Click here to watch Episodes 1 through 28. Want to listen to the entire podcast for each? I don’t blame you! Go to iTunes and search for Seattle Shrimp Tank (there are other cities so make sure you get ours!), subscribe, and start listening.

Important note: The 29th episode is TODAY at 3 pm PST. Go to our website to listen live with our guest, Ralph Nilssen from eSource Coach.

 

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Being Entrepreneur

58842029-Dan+Weedin+Unleashed-43 copyIt takes a special kind of crazy to be an entrepreneur.

It requires a rare blend of risk taker, visionary, creative thinker, resilience, perseverance, confidence, and tenacity to even start a business, much less run one successfully. It’s not for the faint of heart. Since the week of November 13-17 is Global Entrepreneurship Week, this month’s column will offer entrepreneurs and wannabe entrepreneurs ideas on growing and protecting a successful business.

The dictionary defines entrepreneur as “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.” With all due respect, I would revise that to “always” with considerable initiative and risk to health, wealth, and sanity. While entrepreneurs built this country, it’s never been the easy way to go in creating a way of life. As both a former employee and an entrepreneur, I can confidently say that employees rarely lack the full understanding or empathy for what it takes to start and build any business. It’s the ultimate risk and reward situation. To that end, let’s examine a few thoughts I have for both starting and growing a business:

Starting Out:

  1. You have an idea on how to create a business out of your skill set? Great. You’d better also have a passion for it because you will be tested. Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you will die on a hill for it, and sometimes that’s what it might ask you to do. It’s a two-sided sword you must wield: competence and passion.
  2. You need boldness and confidence. This is no place for the meek. While humility is a personal virtue, nobody wants to hire a humble consultant, attorney, IT expert, contractor, CPA, or brain surgeon. I’m not suggesting arrogance, which is aloofness with no care for the well being of others. Confidence is believing that you are highly skilled and able to improve the conditions of others with genuine concern for their improvement. You must be able to boldly project and communicate that confidence.
  3. You need to line up enough financial reserves for six months. While it may not take that long to get going making money, you don’t need the stress of a financial burden to cause desperation.
  4. Create a marketing “process.” Business plans look good on a shelf, but often don’t ever get looked at. What you need to focus on in as acquiring clients. That means picking up the phone, setting meetings, and solving problems for them.
  5. Plan for obstacles. Bad things happen. Whether in your control or not, you need to create a strategy and plan for being resilient. It’s a combination of adequate insurance, strategic planning, communications, and practice.

Current Entrepreneurs:

  1. Have a board of advisors. Too many entrepreneurs go the “lone wolf” route. The smartest business owners are the ones that surround themselves with experts and sages. Executive coaches, technical experts (finance, IT, Human Resources), and peer groups are crucial for assuring you don’t get caught breathing you own exhaust.
  2. Constantly reinvent. Don’t become stale; rather constantly seek ways to build the better mousetrap; to differentiate yourself from the competition; and to find new ways to help your clients. Business (and life) is about changing realities. Be on the cutting edge of change.
  3. Hire strong people. Building a strong team is paramount to growing and transitioning out of your business. Don’t settle for warm bodies; rather demand excellence from your team. That starts with you. Modeling and mentoring is required to build a top-flight team of employees.
  4. Plan for obstacles. Look familiar? Let’s just say “ditto” for the suggestions from above. Entrepreneurs may be resilient by nature, but often get bloodied and bruised in the process. Make it easier for yourself with proper pre-planning of crisis and critical systems.
  5. Remember to have fun. I’ve met too many entrepreneurs that work themselves to a frazzle. They become a worse boss than the one they left to start a business. Entrepreneurship is supposed to be fun. If it’s not, then you should go get a job working for someone else. It’s not worth the sacrifice if you’re not enjoying the journey.

Bonus: Vibe Coworks in Poulsbo will be offering an exciting lineup of events, activities, and workshops to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week. Check out their schedule at www.VibeCoworks.com. What an opportunity to learn more and engage with fellow entrepreneurs.

Small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) are the engines that run our communities and country. You are responsible for hiring and developing more people that the Fortune 500 companies. You’ve taken a huge financial and emotional risk, with hopes and dreams of making a better life for yourself and your employees. For all of you, I leave you with three final words of encouragement as you end one year and prepare for the next:

  1. Don’t listen to the haters. You know who they are. They are energy suckers and will only harm you and your business. Stay positive and focused on the next step in the journey.
  2. Don’t be one of the haters. Positivity starts with self-talk. Worry is a bully; it gives you nothing and only takes. Keep your confidence and boldness up.
  3. Utilize help. There’s no glory in being stubborn and trying to do it on your own. There are colleagues, experts, and friends that can help in a multitude of ways, be it emotional or financial. Find those friends that believe in you and always keep fighting the good fight.

It takes a special kind of crazy to be an entrepreneur. Go be crazy!

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 My November column for the Kitsap Sun/Kitsap Business Journal.

Extra Points: Smells Like Entrepreneurial Spirit

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This is Global Entrepreneurship Week and we are going to focus our attention on the what I think requires a certain amount of crazy to do…start and run your own business. Additionally, I will share my ideas on the spirit required and you don’t have to start your own business to take advantage of it.

This country was built on the shoulders entrepreneurs. The railways and roads were built; commerce was conducted; and people were employed and able to live out the American Dream becasue of the courage and perseverance of men and women that chose to metaphorically hang up their own shingle, unleash their potential, and create their own destinies.

There’s a unique spirit that entrepreneurs have. It’s a unique blend of confidence, passion, skill, stubbornness, resilience, cleverness, and crazy. Being an entrepreneur is not for anyone that can’t (or won’t) deal with failure, conflict, drama, and the well-meaning unsolicited advise of family and friends that think they are making a mistake.

So what drives that spirit? After having worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs over the past three decades, I’ve observed it’s one main thing that propels people to traverse this often bumpy, but always fulfilling way of life: they simply won’t accept someone else being in control of their lives and futures. They’ve found a skill they they love, turned it into a business that employs people and serves clients, and ultimately creates the life they want to lead.

Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not blind to the reality that many business owners slip into situations where they become despondent, financially strapped, and sometimes have to give up the dream. While this is true, it is also true that the most successful entrepreneurs I’ve ever met have had the unabashed belief in themselves that they could overcome anything and opportunity was knocking daily.

Final thought: I promised to talk about entrepreneurial spirit in those that work for others. The most valuable employees are those that have taken an entrepreneurial spirit towards their work and why the do it. They treat the business as if it were their own, and that spirit catapults them higher and higher on the stairway of success (okay it’s playing on Pandora as I’m writing this and I was inspired…). All of us can share that olfactory sensation of entrepreneurial spirit as Nirvana once sung about. The task at hand is all yours, regardless of your station.

Do your embody that entrepreneurial spirit?

Note: Follow me on social media to get a daily dose of entrepreneurial spirit this week. I will also be posting on my blog. Finally, this week will also be the start of special discounted pricing on services that will last through the end of the year in some cases. If you have that spirit, invest in yourself and your business. It’s the best money and time you’ll spend.

Quote of the Week:

“Life is like the monkey bars: you have to let go to move forward. Once you make the decision to leap into entrepreneurship, be sure to loosen your grasp on old concepts so you can swing your way to new ones.”

~ Leah Busque, American businesswoman

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

I can help you get your company culture stronger and more robust. Contact me to discuss how you can better and more quickly reach the results you want. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592.

Global Entrepreneurship Week Nov.13-17

JackNext week is Global Entrepreneurship Week and that means I will be focusing my attention on helping entrepreneurs to grow and protect their businesses. Every day next week will feature something new regarding entrepreneurship on the blog and on my social media sites.

To follow me on social media:

Linked In

Twitter

You Tube

Facebook

I will also be featuring time-sensitive opportunities to take advantage of services to improve your business with special offers. Captain jack and I want to encourage you to make sure you check out these fantastic opportunities starting on Monday! You’ll be glad you did!

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved