Extra Points: Fresh Take

Dan_Weedin_022This weekend, Barb and I worked on re-shuffling the deck inside our house. Basically, we moved rooms around: the dining and living rooms switched locations. In the 18 years we’ve lived in this house, it’s probably the fourth or fifth iteration of this move, and each time it’s a little different. And as with all of them , this time it added a “freshness” to the house.
Regardless of whether we make a switch in rooms, paint a few walls, or simply make the functionality in a room or area different, there is a newness – a fresh felling – that rejuvenates the spirit. It makes old new again, and often seen with a clearer vision and increased level of excitement.
No matter how long you’ve been in business, the similar exercise or process can create similar results. The corollary in business is innovation. When was the last time you created a new service or product; or re-invented yourself? If it’s been more than a year, then it’s tie to “switch rooms.”
Investing time to re-invent and to innovate creates that fresh take, than rejuvenation that a business (and its people) need to continue to grow and thrive. The opposite effect of doing nothing leads to stagnation. I just recently worked with my own business coach to develop a new program which will not only help my clients but add a sense of excitement to my own work.
Your assignment this week is to uncover something new and simply try it. If it doesn’t work or fit, try something new. Innovation is good for the spirit and your business growth and success. Re-shuffling the decks and “changing rooms” every once in awhile will do wonders for you and your business.
Quote for the Day:
“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.”
~ William Pollard
© 2019 Toro Consulting. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed® is a registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Close Calls

Dan_Weedin_022The time-frame to walk down 20 floors of a hotel, discover the emergency is a false alarm, and then take an elevator back to your room is 15 minutes. I know. Just did it.
I was in Las Vegas to teach a class last week, staying in a nice casino on the strip where the class was to be held. I was happily surprised when my room was upgraded to a suite on the top floor because of my single night stay. Of course, as luck would have it, at 11:30 pm as I’d fallen into a deep sleep, the fire alarm went off.
I did what I was initially trained to do in grade school: checked the door to see if there was fire directly outside; grab my keys, phone, and wallet; and find the nearest exit by stairs and start descending. I was part of a group of people all doing the same thing.
When we got down to the ground, we noticed that Vegas was still Vegas. No fire trucks, no throngs of evacuated guests and customers. As it turns out, it was a false alarm and 99% of the hotel had no idea what happened. Thankfully for me, the elevator to my tower was operational and I ascended happily knowing that taking the stairs back up would not be required!
False alarms can at first blush be considered an annoyance. In reality, they are a great learning opportunity. In my consulting practice, I discuss the concept of “close calls” with my clients. A pattern of close calls generally turn into a crisis if left unattended to. This concept is real in operations both physical (near collision by forklift or vehicle) or mental (data input errors).
We all deal with close calls professionally and personally. I encourage you to not brush them off as happenstance, but to add one important activity – to consider what was learned to be better prepared.
What was my lesson in the evacuation from the 20th floor, you may ask?
While I did seemingly bring the most important things with me, one more thing could have been included. It would have taken no more time to throw my laptop into my bag and bring the entire thing with me. There’s important information stored there and in the event of a real emergency, would have taken extra time to recover.
Bottom line – in your next close call – whether it be a near miss in traffic or a false alarm at work, make sure that you take advantage of the lesson it will offer you.
Post script: The exact same thing happened to me exactly 10 years ago except it was January in Providence, RI and about 70 degrees colder outside. That time, I didn’t bring my cell phone with me, so I’m getting better at it!
Quote for the Day:
“Experience is simply the word we give to our mistakes.”
~ Oscar Wilde
© 2019 Toro Consulting. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed® is a registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Eye of the Tiger

Dan_Weedin_022For a period of about 10 years, Tiger Woods was the best golfer in the world. Arguably, he was the best athlete in the world. He was dominant; to the point of being super human in his play and stoic personality.
And then came the fall. Both personal and physical calamities damaged his reputation and skills. His brand was so strong that he remained relevant, however it was starting to look like at a young age, his time was over. His body and his game were in need of great repair and he was at an age, that even in golf, future glory wasn’t likely.
Yesterday, he won his 15th Major and fifth green jacket at The Masters in Augusta. He held off a field of the top golfers in the world and resembled that super hero who stalked the course over a decade ago. But a lot happened in between, and that is relevant to all of us in business.
Life happens and all of us – including Tiger Woods – are subject to the downfalls. We are all vulnerable to personal and professional travails; we all make mistakes; we all have failures. In fact, many times – just as with Tiger – these failures (often devastating) come after great success. Being an entrepreneur or a business professional isn’t an easy road. It’s filled with potholes and sand traps. So what can we learn from the Tiger Woods story?
Build a team. We can’t be brilliant by ourselves. In my little world, I have my business and life partner, a coach, an accountability partner, CPA, attorney, and countless other team members that that allow me to focus on what I do. Golfers like Woods have their own teams. While it appears they are out there on their own (often like entrepreneurs), the most successful are surrounded by a team.
Be resilient. Woods had to overcome significant injuries. Those of you in business have felt the body blows that occasionally (and sometimes often) happen when trying to forge a path. It might seem best to quit; yet those that are able to be resilient; to honor the process; and to see crisis as a temporary setback, will be in a position for redemption and success.
Be patient. I heard Tiger interviewed after the final round and he talked about being patient; that in fact he thinks this was the most patient he’d been in years. I can attest that patience is a hard virtue to master. In the “want it all now” world we live in, patience can often lead to changing course right about the time redemption and success was within the grasp. Trusting and honoring the process and your skills requires patience.
Finally, trust yourself. Lack of confidence is the enemy of the entrepreneur and business professional. It’s easy to place blame on ourselves when things go awry. It’s better to learn from the lessons mistakes teach us and always believe in yourself. Confidence is a tiger and it is required to do successfully achieve your dreams.
Bottom line – be prepared to both succeed and fail; and then succeed again. This cycle is part of the journey of being able to thrive both professionally and personally. Now, it’s your turn to hit off the next tee….
Quote for the Day:
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
~ Steve Jobs
© 2019 Toro Consulting. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed® is a registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Taming CEO Frenzy

Dan_Weedin_022My April column for the Kitsap Sun…

Have you ever been in a hurry to get to a meeting and couldn’t find a place to park?

You’re already running a little bit late because of being delayed at your office. The parking lot is full. You find a compact spot (for your non-compact car) and try to squeeze in. You do, but realize you can’t get out and the people next to you can’t re-enter their vehicles! You back out carefully and hope to find someone walking to their car. You do and realize they just forgot something and aren’t leaving. You’re in the midst of a frenzy.

Tick tock…

You most likely have at least a few times been in this situation, especially if you go into Seattle or Bellevue once in awhile for business. There’s a certain level of chaos and frenzy that accompany this exercise. Ironically, it might also exemplify what many CEOs do on a daily basis. I call it the CEO Frenzy.

You don’t have to be a CEO or business owner to experience this plight. As technology has advanced, so has the furor of being a business professional. There’s more expectation to deliver results faster and be available more frequently. It can create an internal frenzy that causes anxiety and stress. Frenzy is defined as an uncontrolled state or situation. If you feel this way frequently during your week (and potentially into the weekend), keep reading.

This frenzy occurring from time to time is normal. It can’t be completely avoided, and is part of what you sign up for as a business owner. However, if it becomes a part of your daily routine, it will lead to burnout, bitterness, and ultimately poor performance. It will impact you, your employees, clients, and company profits.

Let’s find a way to mitigate the CEO Frenzy. I offer three strategies to significantly reduce this burden and keep you running in harmony and balance.

#1: Create a Buffer System. This is a strategy that I’ve recently implemented with the help of my own professional coach. I was famous for stacking meetings one right after another; even if it was just a phone call. If one ended early or was postponed, I’d find something else to fill its spot. I found that my days could be one lengthy run-on sentence! Sound familiar?

What I’ve done to temper this is to create “buffers’ in my calendar. In other words, I actually schedule down-time in my schedule to account for rejuvenation of mind. It’s as simple as putting a 15-minute calendar event called BUFFER right after each meeting. This allows you to slow down, clear your mind, and get mentally prepared for what’s next.

Here’s the deal: If you don’t take care of yourself mentally and emotionally duding the day, the last meetings of that day (and maybe the most important) will not be getting your best. We aren’t machines; in order to achieve peak performance and results, we need to have balance and energy throughout the day (and coffee doesn’t count!).

#2: Don’t over schedule: You’ve probably heard the expostulation that kids today are over-scheduled. Compared to when I are up in the 1970s, that’s a fact; and they don’t even set their own schedules!

When I work with clients, they often must produce their weekly calendars to me for review. They must include ALL commitments, including personal. What I find is that in almost every case, they have over-booked themselves. The consequence is that they are running overcapacity and something must give.

We all have a time capacity. If we shove too much in, one of two things happen. We either do everything inadequately or something gets completely dropped.

Be frugal and honest with your calendar, Include travel time as part of the process. Make it visual. And limit your commitments so that you can give your best to every activity. Finally, schedule to 80% capacity. By doing this, you are scheduling in the unexpected and it will reduce the frenzy.

#3: Control what you can control. In my car parking example (which has happened to me many times), I couldn’t control that the parking lot was full; I could only control how I responded to it. By becoming agitated and stressed, all I did was raise my own blood pressure and put myself in a less that optimum mindset for my meeting. It’s easier to apologize for the delay and laugh about the situation, than to go running in with papers flying and frantic.

In my experience, more than half of our frenzy comes from worrying or stressing about things that we can’t control – the weather, other people, technology, traffic, etc. The Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus wrote, “You can be externally free and internally a slave…conversely you could be externally obstructed or even in literal bondage but internally free from frustration and disharmony.” In other words, don’t enslave your mind over things that you can’t control. You always have control of your thoughts, emotions, and responses. Focus on those to more efficiently (and happily) go through your day.

Bottom line: You will be challenged every day by the unexpected. It might be bad luck, unfair, poor timing, or any other number of things that you can’t control. Accept the circumstances for what they are – a part of the journey – and then keep moving forward.

I read a book about the mental part of golf. The author noted that professional golfer Chip Beck would always respond the same way to a wayward shot into the woods or water. He’d smile and say to himself, “You’ve got to love it.”

Friends, you’ve got to love what you’re doing and the best way to maintain that passion is to reduce the frenzy. You can do that by finding your own perfect “parking space” wherever you go.

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Exit Plan

Dan_Weedin_022I’m doing an inordinate amount of air travel over the next six weeks. It often comes in chunks and I’m in a chunk!
It’s interesting that most people ignore the safety information given by flight attendants prior to departure. Most of us have flown enough to know the spiel by heart, right?
That’s a problem because too many people may have a general knowledge of what to do in an emergency; but will panic in the event one actually happens. The “warning” has been heard so many times that before long, it’s no longer “heard.” But it’s still as important…
One of the most crucial is how to evacuate; and I mean exit any place you are. That can be an airplane, a grand ballroom, a house, and most especially your place if work. Do you know how to safely exit your house or work in the event you must leave in seconds?
There is a lot of research done on how people react and respond in crisis. The results are clear; people who know how to exit a plane, building, or situation are less likely to freeze and more likely to escape. If you are in a position of leadership of employees, it’s your responsibility to assure they know what to do. For any individual, we all must take ultimate responsibility for ourselves and then our co-workers and families.
You’ve heard flight attendants say, “Place the oxygen mask on yourself first before trying to assist others.” The same concept is true on your business and life. No how and where to escape so you can save yourself and others.
As an epilogue, let’s be clear. An exit plan to save lives is most important; however an exit plan to leave your business or career is also, critical. Exit planning saves lives and profits. Make sure you know how to save both…
P.S. My normal place to sit in a plane is the second to last row on the aisle. I’m next to the bathroom and exit with no one in front of me!
Quote for the Day:
“Set your course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.”
~ Omar Bradley
© 2019 Toro Consulting. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed® is a registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: What You Keep

Dan_Weedin_022You may have noted the change in the format of this newsletter. I’ve made a change to a different provider. It’s part of a process I began last year to really examine my business costs.
I realized that I was paying a premium price for a service I wasn’t nearly coming close to optimizing. While the platform was fine, I was utilizing only about 50% of the capabilities and wasn’t in need of what was being missed. Even though the transition has had come short term “pain” from a labor standpoint, it will ultimately result in at least a 40% reduction in costs without sacrificing any benefit. It’s worth the pain and should have been done long ago.
It’s not about what you make, it’s about what you keep.
I was at an annual meeting of the economic development association in my area and an entrepreneur that was being honored talked about a new $4,000,000 contact her company received. She quickly quipped that she had to remind her employees and family that the net would not be that amount!
Part of a proper business continuity and disaster recovery plan is proper accounting for profitability. New business is hard to acquire; and keeping your best clients takes effort and attention. Allowing your bottom line to drain money when you can control operational costs can be insidious to your success. Any expense that returns and investment (e.g. leadership development and marketing) is a good thing; costs like utilities should be monitored.
Bottom line: your bottom line is a critical part of your profitable growth and business value. Protect it as diligently as you do your property and people.
Quote for the Day:
“Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves.”
~ Abraham Lincoln
© 2019 Toro Consulting. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed® is a registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.