Extra Points: Your Uniqueness Quotient

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I was recently driving home from the ferry and heard the re-make of the legendary song Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel. The re-make by the artist Disturbed in 2015 has a more edgy, haunting sound than the original softer and more melodic song that came straight out of the Greenwich Village scene and intonation of the turbulent 1960’s. I love the original as it’s all I heard for nearly four decades. I really enjoy this cover by Disturbed as well. I’ve heard it many times and for some reason, it caught my attention on this trip and literally gave me goosebumps.

Remakes and covers are not unusual in the music industry. I just watched Ann Wilson from Heart in concert and she covered songs of her contemporaries. In fact, Robert Plant once said that Heart did Led Zeppelin better than Led Zeppelin did Led Zeppelin after their rendition of Stairway to Heaven at Radio City Music Hall when Plant’s band was being honored. When Disturbed re-made Simon & Garfunkel, I didn’t find myself comparing or judging; I just found myself enjoying the unique talent.

When you consider your competition in whatever industry you’re in, there is almost always some cause to seek out differentiation. While this is important, it’s not really that hard to find. The difference is you.

Your “uniqueness quotient” is that thing that makes you different from anyone else that does what you do, whether that’s selling real estate or insurance; building homes; creating new technologies; or running a bank. Whatever it is you do, your uniqueness comes from your experiences, your education, your successes and failures, and even just your personality. Nobody else can be you. Why is this important? Because no matter where we evolve in this new digital world, people do business with people they like and trust. What makes you unique is what people who can buy your product or service will gravitate to. Don’t compare yourself to the competition; instead accentuate your uniqueness quotient. That way, the sound you hear won’t be silence but new business!

Quote of the Week:

”Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”

~ Albert Einstein

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Dealing with Distraction

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I’m spending my Sunday morning glued to the television watching the final round of The Open being played at Carnoustie Golf Club in Scotland. One of golf’s four major championships, The Open was being played for the 147th time, by far the most of any other golf tournament.

A young American golfer name Xander Schauffele is about to hit one of the biggest shots in his young career on the 17th hole. He trails the leader by one shot and this upcoming play is critical for him. He’s hitting from where the spectators were standing and in the background you can hear a child crying, likely protesting the fact she’s been out on the golf course for five hours. One of the announcers makes a comment about it, yet Schauffele seems unaware of it. That is, until he’s about to swing and the child makes an even louder cry that cuts through the silence like a hot knife through butter. Schauffele steps away from his ball, glances in the direction of the mother and child and smiles. In fact, you can see him almost chuckle. He proceeds to start his routine all over again, hits a nice shot and continues to play the hole. This 24-year old dealt with this situation far more graciously than most players many years his senior (and likely even me if I was in that position!).

Schauffele could have let this distraction affect him negatively; could have used it as an excuse for a poor shot. He could have lost his temper and the moment at hand. He could have attached blame. Rather, he smiled, chuckled, re-started his process, and played on. It’s a great lesson for business and life.

We all get distracted and diverted by things we can’t control. It’s very easy to attach blame and conceive excuses to others for our failures – the government, our employees, our clients; the weather, the bank, our family, the alarm clock, or that crying child. You don’t have to spend too much time on Facebook or other social media to find individual op-eds on the woe created by someone else. The reality is, we are all responsible for our own thoughts, actions, and behaviors, and no other distraction should have that kind of control over us.

The next time you find yourself angry or bitter over a bit of bad fortune, remember you have control over the next thing you think about and do. If a 24-year old professional golfer can quickly forgive a loud child and her mother for interrupting his concentration on the biggest stage of his career, we should be able to quickly regroup, recover, and play through our own distractions.

Quote of the Week:

”Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”

~ Confucius

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Extra Points: Avoiding Organizational Amnesia

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I was having a conversation with a client last week on the incredibly important topic of transferring knowledge. We were discussing the concept of “organizational amnesia” from my book Unleashed Leadership, and the upcoming development program I will be conducting for his company. Here is the crux of our conversation:

Organizational amnesia is best avoided when a company can successfully transfer organizational “smarts” to new employees. Development of skills – be it tactical, leadership, or proprietary – through a process of transfer from the veterans to new employees assures that a company doesn’t simple lose it’s memory when employees transition out.

While that all sounds fine, the transfer mechanism is a little more complicated.

I’ve witnessed organizations trying to transfer skills through infrequent seminars, trainings, and lectures. The information gets stored somewhere and made “available” for future use. Here’s the problem: the newer and younger employees don’t retain and retrieve knowledge that way. I’m sorry to tell you that the plethora of thick binders in your resource library are useless. When someone needs to get information quickly, especially in a crisis, the last thing they will do is seek out a binder and start looking for the answer. This process is as outdated as encyclopedias.

What organizations need to do is find how employees (especially the ones that are now being hired) best learn and retrieve information. The answer is quite simple: this generation and future ones use their mobile devices to quickly get information. They utilize videos and checklists stored in a place they can access without thinking twice. The solution is to assure that you are maximizing your investment in knowledge transfer by making certain it will be utilized in the future in the fastest and easiest way possible for the employee.

Stop using 20th century tools for 21st century employees. Make your knowledge basis easy to access and avoid organizational amnesia.

Quote of the Week:

”We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”

~ John Dryden

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Extra Points: The Decision Domino Effect

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I’m almost done listening to Walter Isaacson’s magnificent book on Benjamin Franklin. It’s an intriguing biography of a fascinating man, who ably wore many proverbial hats in his time on earth. One of them was politician; and he was a leading figure in the American Revolution.

Of interest was the fact that for a long time, Franklin did not want to split from Great Britain. He thought it foolish from many aspects, especially economically. He worked diligently for years to broker a deal with King George that would allow the colonies to govern and tax themselves and we would live happily ever after as British subjects. His efforts proved fruitless and he soon turned his full attention to leading the charge for revolution.

Which leads me to this thought: What would have happened if the opposite decision was made by King George? It’s clear that had the King agreed to Franklin’s proposal, there was little else at the time that would have spurred the colonies to rebel. It’s likely we would have been a colony to Great Britain for many more years – perhaps decades – before some other issue arose to ultimately change it. There would not have been a War of 1812; the concept of Manifest Destiny that ultimately took the country to the Pacific Ocean would likely not have occurred; and the Civil War may not have happened. The domino effect would have been significant to life as we know it.

Business owners make daily decisions on their company and people. Some decisions are major (expansion of operations), while others are more pedestrian (planning the company picnic). All decisions have consequences and results for the CEO, the company, the employees, and the client base. King George didn’t consider his decision to be of hardly any importance as he never considered the colonists would revolt.

Decision-making is both art and science. Decisions are made based on many factors, including the use of a “crystal ball.” I encourage CEOs to be swift and committed in their decisions; yet to make sure they consult others to assure they don’t spend too much time breathing their own exhaust. The smartest person in the room is usually smart enough to not act as a lone wolf. Decisions are too important and have a domino effect that involve many people and lives.

The decision is yours…

Quote of the Week:

”Patriotism is supporting your country all of the time, and your government when it deserves it.”

~ Mark Twain

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Extra Points: Gravitational Pull

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40When I was gone for a week filming my upcoming LinkedIn Learning course in California, my wife Barb took on the seemingly insurmountable task of training Captain Jack and Bella. She worked with them to dutifully sit before getting their dishes to eat and prior to going outside. I admittedly hurried through both processes allowing them to jump, bark, and demand.

When I returned, she gave me strict orders. She explained that she’s made great headway and I was to “not mess it up.” In other words, do as she did, all the time. I started out doing well, but what inevitably happens is that times come up that I missed the training cues. The reasons included being in a hurry, forgetting, and (this is an important one) that it wasn’t the same priority as Barb had. I’m happy to say that the “gravitational pull” that inflicted me has been responded to better, mostly out of fear for the consequences of my boss! And the other good news, both Captain Jack and Bella have also improved. You can teach old dogs (including me) new tricks after all.

Gravitational pull is that human dilemma that forces our best intentions for improvement back down to a default position of mediocrity (or worse). You should be able to recognize the same reasons for gravitational pull rearing its ugly head – time issues; forgetfulness from lack of practice, supervision, or accountability; and lack of similar priority within the organization or commitment individually.

I spoke last week to a client’s employees for their mid-year retreat and this topic came up. We all agreed that gravitational pull exists and that it’s insidious to personal and organizational growth. In order to beat gravitational pull, one must identify factors for it, create triggers for discipline, and find accountability in others. One of the reasons organizations don’t make goals is because they don’t share the same priority or commitment. That’s a leadership issue that must be identified, discussed, and rectified.

Understanding how to overcome the pull is the first step in the process of regular and consistent growth and positive results. You can teach an old dog new tricks.

Quote of the Week:

”Talent  does what it can; genius does what it must.”

~ Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton (19th century English politician)

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.