Extra Points: Embracing the Moment

Dan_Weedin_022Father’s Day is bittersweet for me…
This was the ninth Father’s Day without my dad. I miss him every day, but this day is especially memorable. That being said, I have no regrets about our relationship or the amount of time we spent together. I consider myself fortunate that especially in the latter years of his life, we embraced our time together. And today, I still embrace this time without him as it reminds me of our life together. So I guess my opening comment is really inaccurate. It’s just sweet.
I watch the final round of the United States Open every Father’s Day. When my kids were at home, we watched it together. Now my wife very kindly tolerates it with me! It’s interesting to see how many patrons in the gallery are recording events right in front of them with their mobile devices. Many are watching the action through their phones, rather than embracing the moment in front of them. I’ve attended one US Open in my life and for all I know, that will be the only one. I remember every moment of that day.
Embracing the moment doesn’t come easily to me. It’s become a daily discipline that I must work on. It’s easy to get caught up in what’s happened in the past, anxiety of what might happen in the future, or the chaos of the moment. It’s taken a lot of personal effort borne out of my work with my own professional coach to catch myself and re-focus when I get out of balance.
You’ve heard this before: embrace every moment. That includes the challenges, struggles, and obstacles. Allowing them to take you off balance is perhaps the biggest risk you take both personally and professionally. That lack of balance kills innovation, creativity, and confidence. Embracing the moment allows you to be free of negative things you can’t control, and realize that every moment is a chance to help you grow and thrive.
Here’s your assignment for the week: Look back on the challenges of the prior week and find one thing that made you better from each of those experiences. Commit to carrying those lessons over into this week. If you need help in doing this, contact me. We all need help in staying focused on embracing the moment.
Bottom line for your business and your life is that embracing the moments – all of them – and committing to learning and growing from them will accelerate your business and personal goals. And, you’ll have more fun doing it.
Quote of the Day:
“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person; he believed in me.”
~ Jim Valvano, late college basketball coach and analyst
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Abandon Ship

Dan_Weedin_022I was on the ferry over the weekend when from my car I heard the announcement by the captain that the crew would be performing an abandon ship drill. They were recruiting passengers to help; I now wish I had volunteered since it might have helped this missive! Next time.
It dawned on me as I heard the drill being played out on the speaker, that the only way to really simulate an abandon ship scenario was to pressure test the crew on a regular run that includes real passengers. Of course, nobody was actually going to leave the boat, but the process of using real passengers on a real run makes the exercise as real as possible to prepare and train.
When was the last time you pressure tested your business continuity plan?
My question first assumes that you have a plan in place and that you’ve at some point run a crisis simulation exercise. In my experience, neither plan or past simulations are often in place for small and medium sized businesses. Why? The major reason is the age old excuse of lack of time.
It was important enough for the ferry system to run an exercise in the middle of a crowded weekend run. While they are required to do this, the point still stands. If a crisis like an emergency evacuation needs to be done well, it must be practiced and tested.
You have the same obligation for your business to protect property and more importantly, people. If you never pressure test your people to deal with a crisis, why would you expect they can do it?
I’ve helped many clients perform these exercises and without exception, each one comes away with areas to improve and an awareness of the critical nature of this practice.
So what’s stopping you from running your own “abandon ship” drill this summer? Here’s what you do. Schedule a time. Find someone to help you create and facilitate it. And then do it. Learn from the experience and reduce the chance of exacerbating a calamity because you weren’t prepared.
Bonus: Don’t run or operate a business? Do you have a home? When was the last time you pressure checked your personal evacuation plan to assure you and your loved ones (and pets – Captain Jack wanted me to remind you) are prepared to save lives?
Are you and your business prepared to abandon ship? How do you know?
Quote of the Day:
“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.”
~ H. Jackson Brown Jr. – 20th century American author
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: En Fuego

Dan_Weedin_022This past Saturday, ten of us from our neighborhood got together on a beautiful night to sit outside around an open fire and enjoy each other’s company with a few adult beverages and lots of food. It’s one of the things we love about our neighborhood.
As the evening went on, I found myself interested in the fire. As a couple of the guys kept feeding it with wood they brought over from home, the fire would suddenly get bigger and hotter. This sequence repeated itself over the hours we were together. The heat and “vibe” of that fire created energy and life.
Is your business “en fuego (on fire)?
Every business has a vibe (energy) that is needed to keep alive. All too often, business owners lose sight of the fire beginning to go out. It can be a very subtle thing; and if left too long takes a whole lot of extra wood (in your case energy, effort, and money) to get the fire burning with the same vibe again.
So what are the signs that the fire is being extinguished?
Apathy and low morale in employees; increased turnover; decreased sales; stagnant leadership and management; lack of innovation and ideas; overlooking areas around safety and security; and increased client and customer complaints.
Your job is to stay en fuego. That means you have to take charge like my two friends did to ensure everyone is not only staying warm, but being invited to stay and create the energy. Being a business owner requires the ability to be vigilant on the health of the fire burning in the organization, assuring it doesn’t become the wrong type of fire!
Be on the lookout for stagnation and combat it with a collaborative environment that encourages innovation and growth for it’s people. That way, your company and it’s people will continue to stay en fuego…
Quote of the Day:
“He who clutches desperately to security, to every day habits, work, organization, friends, family; no longer lives. More than security, life needs adventure, risk, dynamic activity, self-giving presence to others.”
~ Jean Vanier (Canadian philosopher, theologian, and humanitarian 1928-2019)
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Snap Out of It

Dan_Weedin_022I’m on a regular chiropractic maintenance program to keep me in line. While Barb has tried valiantly to keep me “in line” in life; Dr. Tom has the easier job of making sure that my spine is right. As many of you know, when the spine – which is foundational to the working components of the body – is in line, everything else works better.
Last week at my regular visit, there were two loud cracks when Dr. Tom corrected my neck – one on each side. Although I wasn’t feeling mis-aligned, I was. I asked Dr. Tom if the loudness of the adjustment also indicated how much out of kilter I was. He said, yes. That although it may not always manifest in pain or discomfort, being out of line happens naturally and the “loudness” of the return to normal often indicates how much it was needed.
Businesses often get “out of alignment;” which directly leads to imbalance. Imbalance is the leading cause of a number of maladies including poor employee morale, unfocused marketing strategies, gaps in business continuity protection, and CEO mental and physical health (to name a few).
Just like in a human body, drifting into imbalance is part of the normal process, even when things are positive. It becomes necessary to get snapped back into alignment for the health of the company. Sometimes there will be loud cracks (my code for disruption attributed to necessary change), but in the end the result will be a healthier, happier, and more profitable company. It also leads to a better adjusted business owner.
Just like I need regular chiropractic adjustments to keep me healthy, I also need regular business practices adjustments from my professional coach (which I do twice a month at minimum).
What do you do to stay aligned an in balance? Do you use the services of an expert to crack your organizational spine back into place? Your assignment this week (if you’re willing to accept it) is to take a candid appraisal of your business and your life and take one step towards better balance. After all, every one if us needs it.
Quote of the Day:
“There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things and people who claim to accomplish things. The first group is less crowded.”
~ Mark Twain
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Protecting Your Income

58842029-Dan+Weedin+Unleashed-43 copyI’m going to be speaking to consultants next week on the power of insurance to protect their business and lifestyle. It’s Disability Insurance Awareness month and small business owners and entrepreneurs are apt to insure for things like fire and wind, and bypass insuring what they most contribute to their family…their income.

This is a seven-minute video detailing a consultant who became disabled after a stroke. As you can see, he’s not elderly; and has children in their teens ready to head to college in the future.

If you are a CEO, President, consultant, entrepreneur, or business owner, you need to protect your income. Call me for a discussion at my cost. I’m happy to help you find solutions.

Watch Video

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

Extra Points: Fresh Take Part II

Dan_Weedin_022You might remember last week’s missive on our moving of rooms and giving our house a fresh look, which re-energizes, rejuvenates, and just simply adds a breath of fresh air. What I didn’t include is the process.
Step One of the process is moving all the stuff from one room to another. Labor intensive, but pretty straightforward. Step Two is the visioning; where do things go? Step Three is the placement – which may take several iterations! I was always happy with where the furniture was at the moment, mostly because I didn’t want to move it again! The CEO (Barb) had a much broader strategy which meant more testing and visioning. In the end, the process worked, even though at times I just wanted it to end.
That’s what happens in organizations of all sizes. You start with a plan and then you implement – in other words you move “stuff;” you envision what it will ultimately “look like;” and then you do a lot of testing and moving. This final step is where businesses often give up. Just like me moving furniture, it’s easy to become complacent and allow it to be good enough when best is still out there.
The process is critical to any successful project or intervention. Not staying true to it increases risk: loss of productivity, loss of investment, loss of morale, and loss of opportunity to name a few. Managing risk is often as simple as following though on your vision by assuring that the process runs its course. Make sure your business strategy is as sound as Barb’s decorating skills, and avoid listening to those who simply want to be done.
Quote for the Day:
“Age is not important unless you’re a cheese.”
~ Helen Hayes
© 2019 Toro Consulting. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed® is a registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

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