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Extra Points: Time Keeps On Slipping

March 27, 2017 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This Week’s Focus Point: Time Keeps on Slipping

Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’…into the future…

For those of you who are old enough to remember the early part of the 1970’s, you likely recall Columbia House Records. It was late 1975 and I was in 6th grade when I mailed back my postcard to Columbia House to get my dozen cassette tapes (for you Millenials, go ahead and Google cassette) for 99 cents. It was a great deal; every month Columbia House was going to send me the hottest new cassettes for only pennies. My first cassette album was Fly Like an Eagle by the Steve Miller Band (see opening lyrics above…) By the way, as you all probably figured out, I couldn’t afford what I was really getting from Columbia House and my great deal was soon squashed by my dad. But that’s another story for another time…

Steve Miller was right. Time does keep slipping into the future and if we’re not careful, we will slip away with it without reaching the goals we desired.

How are those New Year Resolutions doing? Have you accomplished all you set out to do in 1Q 2017?

My intent is not to chastise. Heck, I’m as guilty as anyone in allowing “busy-ness” get the best of me at times. Here’s what I hope you take away from this missive…

Without metrics of success, you’re bound to keep chasing that dream all the way into next year and beyond. Whether it’s writing that book, learning that new language, cleaning out your Inbox, or creating better relationships with your colleagues, employees, and co-workers, without metrics they are likely to be falling short.

My tip for you is this – keep your metrics focused on the short term. What do you want to accomplish this week? Maybe it’s writing for one hour a day to get that book done. It could be making three phone calls each day to potential clients you haven’t talked to in a while. Heck, maybe it’s just spending 15 minutes a day cleaning out your Inbox! All of these goals are quantifiable. While you may have more emotional reasons for accomplishing these things, without placing some quantifiable metrics and then (hold on tight now) asking someone else to hold you accountable, then you’ll likely fail. But, if you do set metrics, write them down, be held accountable, and reward yourself for small victories, well you may just spend every week flying like an eagle.

Tick tock tick… doo doo doo doo

Do you or your company need help maximizing the value of your time for your business and life? Check out my Unleashed® Balance Sheets below. They are free to download and send to me for a no obligation perspective.

Quote of the Week:

Reject your sense of injury, and the injury itself disappears.”

~ Marcus Aurelius

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Whack Job

March 20, 2017 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Last week, I attended my first-ever lacrosse game. My nephew plays on the Western Washington University team and they were playing the University of Washington at the UW. Barb and I were very happy to make the much shorter trip to the UW campus to watch Bennie play.

So here’s what I learned about lacrosse after just one game. It’s a combination of basketball, hockey, and soccer where players are armed with sticks that are used both as tool to catch and pitch a ball and as a weapon.

I watched with great interest as these young men dashed around the field in full protective gear and constantly being whacked across the chest, arms, legs, and sometimes even head. The players that were the most successful at avoiding the constant “whacks” to the torso were the fastest and most nimble ones. While never fully escaping an occasional “whack,” they were able to protect themselves better using their speed and nimbleness.

Kind of like business and life, wouldn’t you say?

We go through our days and can pretty much assure that along the way, things outside our control are ready to whack us…hard. We have goals and dreams to achieve, yet obstacles are normally in the way of those goals. That being said, these obstacles – like the defenders with sharp sticks – aren’t insurmountable. Especially if your fast and nimble!

Fast and nimble in your business, your career, and your life doesn’t translate into speed and athleticism. What it does mean is that you use your “smarts” to be decisive, bold, able to change course, influential, and resilient. It’s that ability to get whacked hard a few times, yet find a way to persevere towards your objectives. For the best and most successful at this practice, they not only are resilient but they are able to find alternate routes that get them to success and significance faster and more effectively. Your mission, should you accept, is to continually grow in speed, nimbleness, and resilience to score more goals for your team.

Do you or your company need help avoiding and thriving through the “whacks” in your business and life? Check out my Unleashed® Balance Sheets below. They are free to download and send to me for a no obligation perspective.

Quote of the Week:

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

~ C.S. Lewis

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Shrimp Tank Episode 12: Jeff Levy

March 16, 2017 Leave a comment

Catch the latest episode of The Shrimp Tank with our guest, Jeff Levy. Jeff is a business /entrepreneur guru and worth watching the video and listening to the entire podcast!

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Greetings and Salutations

March 13, 2017 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40“Good afternoon, ladies…”

My mother held two tables of bridge at our house weekly for easily a decade when I was in grade school through high school. For Dad and me, it was great because Mom usually went big in the dessert department and the ladies rarely ate it all, leaving plenty for Dad and me to consume after dinner that night. What Mom required from me in return was the proper greeting to her bridge club members. The verbiage was not left up to me. It was simply, “Good afternoon ladies,” proclaimed seconds from entering the house.

When Mom passed away two tears ago, many of bridge club friends reached out to me with condolences. What resonated most was that to a person they remembered my greeting. Nearly 40 years later, they were still affected by my simple greeting and remembered me fondly because of it. Little did they know – or perhaps they actually did – that Mom was the strong impetus behind those greetings. Nearly 40 years later, I’m grateful she made me do it.

This week’s message is really pretty uncomplicated. In a communications age featuring sophisticated digital technology, the simple act of cordially greeting people; engaging in a conversation; and genuinely caring about building a relationship with another human being is important. The straightforward acts of courtesy, manners, and civility – often lost in the slog of social media tirades and rhetoric – will last longer and have more lasting and memorable value.

When this happens, we all benefit both personally and professionally. It’s easy to forget when things get chaotic and time is short, but a friendly “good afternoon” will go a long ways. It might be a good time to check your own business and behaviors to make sure that you’re creating the relationships and building the legacy you strive to leave.

Do you or your company need to improve your  and messaging? Give me a call or email to discuss how I can help you.

Quote of the Week:

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said; people will forget what you did; but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

~ Maya Angelou

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Lessons in Branding from Lady Gaga

March 8, 2017 4 comments

LadyGagaWas it just me, or were the Super Bowl commercials as a whole this year disappointing? Now let’s not mistake my personal point of view (POV); I’m a Super Bowl viewer for the football and the food. That being said, I’m always interested in watching the commercials because this is where the best of the best marketing campaigns are supposed to be launched, right? Apple, Doritos, Budweiser, e*Trade and others have made splashes with their highly expensive time slots on national television. My response to this year’s crop was a resounding….”meh.”

The vast majority of the commercials focused on something other than their brand. In some cases, you were left to wonder what the product or service was. Marketing execs seemed to go out of their way to make social statements rather than stating their own POV to their target audience.

If I were selling beer, I’d focus the viewers attention on people drinking beer and having fun. If I were selling cars, perhaps a wise strategy is focusing on creating a desire for said make and model of transportation. Bottom line, politics impacted thinking around branding this year. The problem is people watch the Super Bowl to be entertained both by the game and the commercials.

Alternatively, Lady Gaga left no doubt about her brand. Her performance for the halftime show was brilliant because it showed off her main talents – singing and entertaining. There were no overt statements made; the focus was on her music and style. She sang her most popular songs to expand the net of those who only occasionally here her music. I admit I don’t know all her work, however what she sang at halftime, I did.

She added surprise to her routine by starting the show on the roof and then repelled down to the stage. She concluded by jumping off the stage while catching a ball and disappearing to raucous applause. No one watching was left uncertain of her POV or brand.

So what’s this mean for you as a business owner?

It’s very easy to become confusing to your target market, if you’re not careful. If a beer manufacturer can lose it’s POV of what it does with a scattered marketing message, then the same can happen to you. Your marketing focus should be more Lady Gaga than Budweiser. Here’s how…

Be clear about your market. Ideally, who will purchase your products or services?  Are you B2B or B2C? This is important because B2Bs write a company check based on a budget; B2Cs must be influenced to part with a portion of their paycheck. You’ve got to start with this because your marketing will be focused on this buyer.

Be clear about your image. Lady Gaga’s wardrobe and stage was consistent with her brand. What’s your image say about you? Image is portrayed in style (old school vs. contemporary); language (bold vs. tempered); platform marketing (Social media vs. word of mouth); or any number of other characteristics based on your industry. The key question is – are you consistent?

Create curiosity and engagement. There was a lot of pre-halftime buzz about what Lady Gaga would do based on her penchant for being unpredictable (which is in itself consistent).  No matter what you’re marketing, there has to be some allure, some area of curiosity, and some engagement where your customer interacts with you. She had a live audience; what do you have?

Be you. Don’t try to copy others; be yourself. Be clear about your value and how you’re the company (or individual) best suited to improve the condition of your ideal customer.

Be bold. If Lady Gaga is one thing, she’s bold and a risk-taker. However, she has a plan. It’s all done for the benefit of her customer, the audience (whether in person or watching on TV).  If your marketing message is boring or white noise, it gets tossed in the virtual trash can, never to be retrieved. You might think you are bold, but how do you know your target customer thinks so? What kind of analytics do you run? What type of metrics do you use? Have you ever even asked?

Leave them wanting more. Lady Gaga left the stage with pizzazz and her followers can’t wait for the next performance. Does your marketing strategy motivate people to contact you or do they even care? You must be innovative around the idea of getting people to take action. That action is engaging in some way with you.

And she told two friends. And so on, and so on…. If you’re my age, you remember that shampoo commercial exhorting the power of name brand and referrals. The Lady Gaga brand is best spread through social media. Not only did she “trend” on social media platforms for days afterwards, it actually converted into big revenue. According to USA Today, her sales spiked by 1,000%!

Nielsen Music reports she sold 125,000 song downloads. That’s up roughly 960% compared to the day before the game. She sold over 23,000 albums on Sunday, representing a 2,000% increase.

Wouldn’t you take those kinds of returns? Bottom line is this – if you want to avoid having a Bad Romance with your business, increase your revenue, be wildly successful, and have more fun doing it, be more like Lady Gaga. Be clear on your value and messaging, and then pack the house!

Dan Weedin is a strategist, speaker, author and executive coach. He helps small business and middle market business leaders and entrepreneurs to grow more profitably and create a better life.  He was inducted into the Million Dollar Consultant™ Hall of Fame in 2012. You can reach Dan at 360-697-1058; e-mail at dan@danweedin.com or visit his web site at http://www.DanWeedin.com.

Seattle Shrimp Tank Episode 11

March 6, 2017 Leave a comment

Episode 11 of the Shrimp Tank is up and percolating!

Check out our interview with Diana Smeland, CEO of Port Ludlow Resort. Check out both this video wrap up and the audio podcast interview. #shrimptankpodcast

LINK for audio podcast. Also available on iTunes!

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: How to Build a Team from Thorns

March 6, 2017 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Lent began last Wednesday. I still vividly remember my most unique Lenten memory when I was 17 years old. Our high school youth group accepted a challenge put forth by our pastor, Father Ashwell. He said, “Instead of giving up something this year, let’s try doing something as a group.” He handed all of us (about 30 teenagers) an actual thorn with a pin and challenged us to wear the pin for the entire 40 days of Lent as a sign of of our faith. The thorn signified the crown of thorns.

We all started out with a full thorn – some were larger and more prickly than others. We’d all show up at our public school with a thorn attached to our clothes, which forced us to explain this oddity. While that was part of the process, the more significant one started next. All of us at some point forgot our thorn at home, showing up to school thorn-less. Quickly one of us would help that person out by breaking off a piece of our thorn and giving it to them. As the forty days processes, all of our thorns continued to get smaller, but we all stayed the course. By Good Friday, our thorns all resembled a tiny stick. It actually became s trong bonding experience and we had fun with it.

The moral of this story was that we performed and executed as a cohesive team; we were selfless, willing to share, and putting aside any teenage drama, conflicts, and personality differences for the good of the team. And, we enjoyed it…

How cool would that be for a company to run with such genuineness and collaboration?

If you’re in a position of ownership and/or leadership, what would that level of teamwork mean to your company? If you’re an employee, how much more fun would you have at work? How much more would your family, friendships and affiliations be benefit from such unselfishness?

Most companies and organizations have a vision of providing “unleashed” service or products to benefit and improve the lives of others. Employees most generally want to help accomplish this. True leadership inspires and motivates a culture of playing together as described in my book, Unleashed Leadership. In the end, it almost always starts with one person; maybe that’s you.

Whether we want to turn thorns into roses or businesses into thriving enterprises, it all starts by fostering a culture of “we.”

Pass the thorn, please…

Do you or your company need a better process for turning thorns into roses for your company or organization? Check out my Unleashed® Balance Sheets below. They are free to download and send to me for a no obligation perspective.

Quote of the Week:

I am a part of all that I’ve met….”

~ Excerpt from Ulysses by Lord Tennyson

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved