The Roaring 2020s

In just a couple of days, we will pass into a brand new decade. While some may say it’s just another year, we humans have made a custom of dividing out these ten-year increments for retrospective and historical value. It’s that time of life for us again…
I don’t remember the 1960s. Now for many people, that was due to reasons “other” than being too young! I turned five years old on the last day of the decade and really only remember the back half of 1969, specifically moving into our new house in Oak Harbor, for which I would call home for the next 17 years.
The 1970s was all about growing up. I experienced grade school and junior high; played with friends and developed relationships that have lasted the past four decades; and dealt with the challenges that come with that transition from child into teen. There was no Internet, no cellular devices. The coolest technology was Pong (if you don’t know what that is, Google it). It was a simpler life, but not always so easy. I’m fortunate that I grew up with a strong family, good schools, and great friends.
The 1980s was probably my most memorable decade due to the vast life changes that occurred. I began the decade with my first year in high school; which led to: learning to drive a car. getting my first (and only) girlfriend, graduating high school, community college, and the University of Washington; getting married to that same girl; getting my first real job; quitting that job to go to another; seeing the birth of my first daughter and conceiving the second; and witnessing some of the most incredible world events such as the freeing of the hostages in Iran, the nuclear arms race, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now THAT’S a decade to remember!
The 1990s saw us start and fail at a business; move to the area that we still live today; watch our girls grow though exactly the same growth years that I had 20 years earlier; get to coach them in sports, and for us to develop as young parents trying to figure out our way in the world. We also got our first dog.
The 2000s started with the most chilling event in my life; the attacks on September 11, 2001. I will never forget watching the events unfold with Barb that morning as we were getting the girls ready for school. The 2000s saw me get to realize a lifelong dream of coaching high school basketball for six years. I founded my consulting practice midway through that decade and will be celebrating 15 years in 2020. My parents moved close to us and our family was able to enhance that relationship in the twilight of their lives. Our daughters graduated from high school and started college. I even had the unique pleasure of watching my father receive his high school diploma 65 years after he quit school to join World War II. And, we added two dogs to the family, including the incomparable, Captain Jack (Bella joins us in 2010…).
This past decade held a lot of growth and change both professionally and personally for me. I lost both of my parents; watched our girls graduate from their respective universities and then go off and get great jobs; and walked one daughter down the aisle to get married and then provide us with two beautiful granddaughters. My business has been re-invented in several ways over the past 10 years; I wrote three books and became a LinkedIn Learning author with three courses. Most importantly, that girlfriend who became my wife back in the 80s joined me in business and we’ve had the best three years ever. I love having her by my side both as a wife and a business partner. It’s hard to believe that we are about to finish our fourth decade together.
Here’s your assignment: Go through the same exercise I just did. Start with the decade you were born and review your life – both personally and professionally. Take a look at the the events and people that put you where you are today. As a New Year’s Eve birthday boy, I have always taken a somewhat reflective and eager perspective of the year that was concluding and the one ahead. Decades add even more perspective to that. My hope for you is that by doing this exercise yourself, it will be both thought-provoking and exciting.
Here’s my birthday offer for you. I’m happy to offer you a complimentary 15-minute phone call to help you create your game plan for 2020 to start the decade off on the right foot. The only catch is you must schedule it before 4:00 pm PT on December 31st (the calls will be in January; you just need to schedule the date). Email me from this memo and tell me you want to schedule your time and we will get it done. I’m limiting this to 12 people; first-come, first scheduled.
I don’t know what the new Roaring 2020s will hold. What I do know is that I’m excited and eager to find out. I hope you are, too. Here’s to your health and success, and that you slide in ahead of the tag in 2020!
Be Unleashed!
Quote of the Day:
“The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.”
~ Madeleine L’ Engle (20th century American novelist)
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: What’s Your Check-In?

A funny thing happened when I went to write my holiday special today. I found last week’s Extra Points sitting in a draft status. Because I was at a client’s location in Montana, I realize now that I’d never finished it. I shot the video (which you can still watch above), but obviously opted to write the article later…and then forgot. So here’s what we are going to do…
I’d love for you to watch the video. It talks about innovation and change in 2020 and beyond. Let me know what you think. And now, for my special holiday message….
It’s a Wonderful Life by Frank Capra is my favorite Christmas movie. I’m looking forward to watching it again this year with Barb and our daughter, Kelli. No matter how many times I’ve watched it, the story and message never gets old.
George Bailey (played brilliantly by James Stewart) portrays a figure we can all relate to. An intelligent, hard-working business owner who has selflessly given of himself to his family, friends, clients, and community for decades. Crisis happens and all of a sudden it seems like nothing was worth it. Then comes a guardian angel that rocks him back to reality and perspective.
Here’s what this message holds for all of us…
While much of our focus is cast at growing our businesses and careers, we are very much integral into the well-being and humanity of each other. We interact daily with colleagues, co-workers, clients, customers, friends, and even competitors. All throughout, we cast a great shadow on what happens in all their lives, and that transcends to us.
I’m blessed and honored to work alongside great people I call clients and colleagues. All of you have made a positive difference in my life; and some have helped me grow so much personally and professionally that I can say without you, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
My family is perfect. I say that knowing that perfect is unattainable, yet the imperfections we have make us perfect for each other. That family grew again this year and my life is dedicated to them.
To all of you who regularly read my missives and columns, I’m humbled by your interest in my work. I hope I bring some small value to your day.
At the end of It’s a Wonderful Life, George reads the inscription in the book left by his guardian angel Clarence, which reads, “No man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings.”
I thank each of you for the wings you’ve provided me personally and professionally. My best to all of you for a wonderful holiday week, regardless of how and what you celebrate. Take time to enjoy the company of your loved ones and…
Be Unleashed!
Quote of the Day:
“The whole point of getting things done is knowing what to leave undone.”
~ Oswald Chambers
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.


Extra Points: The What Ifs


This past weekend, I traveled to Victoria, BC to meet with fellow Rotarians in my Rotary district to interview high school students put forward by clubs for an exchange program. The students were there as the last part of an extensive interview process. As you might imagine, we asked a lot of future-facing, open-ended questions about the “what ifs” of the future. For example, what if you lose your luggage; lose your money; have relationship challenges with families; get homesick, or a myriad of other things. These students did a tremendous job in their responses; it was clear they prepared.
What about you? Are you prepared?
Your business and career will experience challenges next year, and beyond. We read and watch calamities befall businesses all the time and nobody is immune. The ones that best prevent and recover are the ones that prepared like these students did. That’s a solid preparation in responding to the “what ifs.”
What if you have a fire, a flood, or a cyber attack? What if you lose your best client or employee? What if your competitor moves in across the street or beats you to the market? What if you become disabled?
Many business owners think they’ve figured it out, but they haven’t. The what ifs need to be identified, analyzed for impact, controlled, and insured properly. They solutions need to be written down and then communicated to employees. The what ifs require more than just thinking, they require an investment of skill, time, and financing. In the end, the return of investment may be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to the bottom line of the business and/or you as an individual.
Your assignment is to identify your what ifs and assess how important they are to your business wealth, lifestyle, and peace of mind. Then take action to best answer them in a way that you can survive and thrive, just like these high school students on exchange will. It’s time to clear up those what ifs and to…
Be Unleashed!
Note: It seems that Constant Contact and YouTube are having some challenges. I’m not able to embed the video. You can click here to view on my channel.
Quote of the Day:
“I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.”
~ Lily Tomlin
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Be Careful How You Judge

This past weekend in college football was Rivalry Week. In essence, it’s that weekend when arch rivals clash and fan bases get crazy. Sometimes, too crazy.
I follow Twitter to keep track of all the games and notes that a large number of tweets – including some from people I know and respect – got a little nasty in deriding other college’s fan bases. While I’m all in with good-natured ribbing, expletive-filled social media posts aimed at groups is troublesome in a lot of ways. Here’s why and how it applies to your business:
The insinuation is that ALL of a group of fans are “expletive deleted.” While past individual experience might include poor behavior of members of a group or organization, it should never be an absolute that judges everyone in that fan base or group. We’ve seen this blanket statement go well beyond sports, and deep into our politics, workplaces, and communities.
Here’s the business application: Employers often refer in negative blanket terms to employees; employees speak in terms of management; and I’ve even heard businesses talk about customers in negative terms. Almost all are due to poor behavior by individuals in those groups, and then entrap the entire group that can spread gossip leading to poor morale and loss of reputation. Heck, if one isn’t careful, it could cost them their job, future employment (or promotion), or a client.
Humans are responsible for their own bad behavior. Sometimes they can mass together and make an entire demographic look bad. But in the end, individuals are responsible for behavior that is detrimental.
Your assignment: this season of the year is a great time to stop passing judgments and make assessments based on observed behaviors. Judgments on groups due to a few bad apples will spoil a lot of things, including productivity, morale, reputation, and career.
Make sure you are disciplined in your own observations. It ultimately results in increased fairness and better goodwill and friendships.
Be Unleashed!
Quote of the Day:
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
~ President Theodore Roosevelt
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.