Extra Points: Competition

Dan_Weedin_022I’m watching a new Netflix original documentary series titled, “Dogs.” It’s a poignant look at how dogs relate, partner with, and impact humans so being dubbed man’s best friend. I highly recommend it, especially if you like dogs.

That being said, I have to make revisions to my viewing of it based on my BFF. I’m forced to watch it on my phone with head phones. You see Captain Jack hates dogs on television. They can be real dogs or cartoon dogs; it doesn’t matter. He watches TV intently and when spying a dog, he becomes enraged at the competition. He races to the TV with hopes of jumping through the screen to get these celluloid canines. He even knows the theme song for the classic television comedy Frasier, as he particularly doesn’t like his fellow breed brother, Eddie. Ironically, he has no issues with the real dogs he encounters in the world. He wants to be friends and to play with them (they on the other hand are pretty wary of him). His competitive bent is relegated to television.

Bella is the opposite. She doesn’t watch TV; thus doesn’t even know that other dogs exist in that medium. She’s busy with other important tasks, like sleeping. However, she loses her mind when she sees real dogs on her walk, to the point that I have to take the dogs separately as she will attack Captain Jack at the sight of a “competitor.” She is keenly aware of every rival for her position as Queen of the Neighborhood.

While outside competition brings out the inner beast in my dogs, it should bring out the inner beast in you in a different direction.

Many business owners chafe at competition; they fear it leading to anxiety, stress, and often rash decisions on how to avoid losing business. On the contrary, competition is a good thing. Why? Because it forces one to stay sharp; to remain focused; to improve skills; and to constantly innovate. In fact, outside competition should actually fuel an inward competition with one’s self. Here’s how…

Compete every day with yourself to improve. These might involve skill sets, mindset, leadership, communications, creativity, patience, empathy, knowledge, brand, and personal health. Every day we can focus on one or two things to be better at. Over time we become better because of that competition. Ask yourself daily, “how will I grow and improve today?”

Dogs look at competition as a negative as their place in the pack is being challenged. As humans, we should be looking at how competing with ourselves will ultimately bring out our best selves both professionally and personally. And that is something to bark for.

Quote of the Day:

“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.”

~ Carol Burnett

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Extra Points: Workarounds

Dan_Weedin_022This past week, I attempted to purchase a business license for a new LLC we formed as part of our insurance brokerage practice. I thought it would be pretty simple. I was wrong.

First, I was forced to wait two weeks because the state doesn’t allow me to get a business license on an LLC prior to it’s formation date (although they were happy to take my money and form the LLC in advance). Seemed odd, but I played along.

On January 2nd (LLC formed effective January 1), I went online to finalize the business license. To my frustration, the system still didn’t recognize the UBI number and wouldn’t allow me to proceed. I called and spoke to someone in the Department of Revenue to get help. She determined that it was a system glitch and would call me back, which she did promptly. She told me that the only way to fix the situation was through a workaround. Those of you familiar with workarounds know this is a secondary method or process to use (often in technology) when the primary way has an issue.

The workaround suggested was using paper. That’s right, paper. She wanted me to print out an application, fill it out, stick it in an envelope, mail it, and then wait for six weeks for approval (online applications take a few days). This isn’t a workaround; it’s a failure. Ultimately, we were able to contact someone that was able to help me deal with this more mercurially. But the point was made…

I had knowledge of the process, as I’ve done it before. I feel bad for those who are attempting it for the first time and don’t know who to ask, or merely succumb to a failed workaround.

Primary methods and processes will fail; sometimes for reasons outside of your control. How effective are your workarounds? If they are as bad as the one I shared, then you have a problem. Your employees will waste time and effort, and consequently lead to lost profits; your clients and customers will become frustrated and ultimately may leave; your brand and reputation will be tarnished as others might think you’re ability to deal with crisis as ineffective, undisciplined, or antiquated.

Here’s the deal – crises happen. They may not seem enormous but when a calamity that impacts your operations in some way rears its ugly head, you’d better be prepared with a good workaround. Regardless of whether its related to technology, employees, or any other critical business factor, your ability to manage workarounds is crucial to your success and viability.

Quote of the Day:

“The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.”

~ Henry Ward Beecher

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved