Extra Points: Ready for the Storm

Dan_Weedin_034Last week, the Puget Sound area had its second straight year of significant snowfall. For us, it’s between 8-12 inches and that’s enough to create suspension of operations for many businesses.
I received a phone call from a client in the hospitality industry asking if snow was enough to make a claim for loss of business income. I had to explain that for any loss of income claim, there needed to be direct damage loss from a covered peril, like a fire.
It was a good question to ask. It also brings to light the fact that insurance isn’t the only answer to calamities that can negatively impact business. While properly programmed insurance is a huge help when property has been damaged, there are many perils to be concerned about and prepared for.
If you own or are a key business leader, here are a few obstacles that are very real and can damage a business:
Suspension of operations due to weather; loss of power and connectivity; bad behavior by individuals causing reputation damage; loss of primary client or supplier; loss of key person, including the owner. Too often, business leaders focus on only growth and forget what impact to growth a suspension or reduction in operations has.
While some may be eligible for insurance help, it’s best to create a plan to prevent and recover. Not doing so – in advance – can kill a business, even if insurance is in place.
Your assignment is to make prevention and disaster recovery a part of your overall strategy. That way, you and your business are prepared to thrive in any situation.
P.S. If you think this only applies to a business, you’re sadly mistaken. The same is true for your personal life. Consider yourself the CEO of your family, however that may be structured. Take on the same assignment!
Be Unleashed!
Quote of the Day:
“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies within you.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
© 2020 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Is Your Company Eating Cheetos?

Dan_Weedin_034One of my regular modes of transportation is the Washington State Ferry service. The crossing time is about 30 minutes, so while I often will catch up on emails and other correspondence, I try to take advantage of the time by getting my “steps” in.
Walking the ferry is a very popular thing for ferry travelers. You can often see half a dozen or more walkers circling the track. We pass by each other and sometimes nod or smile knowingly as we cram some exercise in our day.
In the last ferry walk I did, one of the other walkers whom I had passed many times over about a 10 minute span, stopped at the vending machine. My first thought was that I didn’t know of any healthy alternatives in that machine. Sure enough, on the next lap I saw her walking and chomping on Cheetos. Cheetos!
Yes, this woman was showing some commitment to exercise, but the action of eating something that is certainly not a healthy snack was incongruous with the first activity. In other words, one action didn’t line up with the other and – at least in my opinion – eliminated the value of the good action.
How many companies do exactly the same thing?
Have you ever been in an organization that publicly espoused that they cared about company culture but their words and actions said something else? Rather than foster collaboration, the company didn’t listen, didn’t develop people, and didn’t keep promises the result is low employee morale and high turnover.
Have you ever seen companies that said they care about client service, yet offset that with long wait times for service, lack of communication, and not using technology to improve service.
Here’s the deal: If ones words and actions don’t align with what they assert publicly, then no one believes they are genuine and all of the positive stated is lost. Just like I didn’t buy the walker’s commitment to health because of her subsequent food choice, employees, clients, and community will see through duplicitous words and actions.
Here’s your assignment: Check your own company, regardless of whether you are the boss or employee. How does your mission, vision, and value align with what happens daily with your company?
What we say matters. Our actions matter more. Make sure your mission, vision, values, and actions all are in concert. That will lead to a very healthy organization!
Be Unleashed!
Quote of the Day:
“Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.”
~ Bernard Baruch
© 2020 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: How To Avoid Putting Out Fires

Dan_Weedin_022Barb and I had the privilege of having our granddaughters visit for the weekend. Our oldest is at the stage where she “parrots” everything she hears. All of a sudden, I will hear her repeat my, “Bella be quiet!” or “Captain Jack, lay down!.” It was fortunate for me that she was asleep during the Seahawks playoff game!
Parents have learned that what they say might either come back to haunt them or be repeated out loud by their toddler. It’s the same lesson CEOs and business leaders should be learning with their adult employees.
How one talks to their employees and those under their leadership becomes incredibly important to the culture, and overall profitability of the organization. Not that many years ago, the old “command and control” method of running a company was thought to be the fastest way to results. You saw it at all levels of leadership; from the athletic arena to the military to the boardroom. While a certain amount of command and control is needed in a life and death situation like the military, it’s found to be far less effective in the modern world of business.
While my granddaughter has become very adept at “parroting” our language as she learns how to communicate in the world, your employees will also mimic your language and culture. The “command and control” version doesn’t recognize innovation, new ideas, or fresh voices. Rather it stifles all of that to assure that whomever has been around the longest will tell someone how to act, lead, or respond. The result is a detriment to profitability and a potential crisis for the company.
I often tell clients that while a fire is damaging, there is insurance and a plan on how to respond. The real challenges are the proverbial “fires” being out out daily by leadership. These have often ignited due to poor leadership, lack of sound communication, and the command and control method of leadership. And, they are very costly to the bottom line and to reputation.
What you want for your company is a collaborative environment where ideas are fostered and people are recognized for thinking outside the box. Leadership is about listening, encouraging, and communicating. What you want your employees to mimic or “parrot” are positive attributes of the company and its leaders. You can tell a well-led sports team by how it talks after a game, especially after a tough loss. You can also identify the culture of a company by how people respond and how long they stick around.
Your assignment: Start the year of checking on what your employees and co-workers are saying and doing. While it may not be bad, improvement always leads to improved morale, reduced turnover, and increased profitability.
And isn’t that message you’d like repeated?!
Be Unleashed!
Quote of the Day:
“It’s easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.”
~ Leonardo DaVinci
© 2020 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Unleashing the 2020s!

Dan_Weedin_034This is my January 2020 column for the Kitsap Business Journal and Kitsap Sun. I’m celebrating 10 years as a monthly columnist. In fact. my first column was January of 2010! Many thanks to the Kitsap Sun for a great relationship. On to the next 10 years!

Welcome to the Roaring 20s!

While the original Roaring 20s were identified by the Prohibition era, extravagant living, and ultimately financial collapse, these “Roaring 2020s” are open for your own interpretation. One hundred years later, the business world now belongs to more people and has become a global economy, even for the smallest of businesses. Are you ready to begin the next decade like a lion?

You must view this decade as an opportunity unlike any in history to grow your business, unleash your career, and thrive in life. Unlike almost all past decades, the potential of your business is unlimited. The question is; will you be using tools and resources based on past decades or will you be innovating and forging your own path using new ideas, modern mechanisms, and platforms that have yet to be created?

What will be required of you will be far different that 100 years ago. Back then, our lifestyle was unimaginable. The incredible thing for us is what the next decade brings might be unimaginable to us today.

In order to grow, unleash and thrive in the next 10 years, you need to invest time, energy, and resources into short and long term vision. Yes, the cliche isn’t lost on me; creating a 2020 vision for the future. But once we get past the cleverness, we must roll up our sleeves like the old days and get to the business of forging that vision.

There are the three areas to begin focusing on today that will help you plan your company’s next decade: Strategic growth planning, technology to leverage your business, and strengthening your organization through employee recruitment and retention.

Strategic Growth Planning:

Everyone wants to grow their business but not everyone invests the time in strategically planning for it.

Strategic planning means bringing your key leadership or executive team together for a full day (or two) of planning how you will grow your business. That meeting can be done in person or virtually. Utilize technology to include everyone that has a voice, even if they are outside your organization.

I just returned from Montana helping my client do just this. They invested a day with me to shape and formalize their plan for 2020 and beyond. This family-owned company has been in business over 40 years, yet they realize their industry is changing fast and they need to be leading the charge. What about you?

The focus of your session should be on issues surrounding sales and marketing, innovation, new audiences, improved efficiency, and business continuity and succession planning.

Each of these areas deserves conversation and understanding of the organization’s direction. The reason is they all focus on the two most important aspects of business: revenue generation and protection of wealth.

In the next decade, your value proposition and ability to reach your target market profitably and broadly will be critical to your success. Additionally, your ability to recover quickly from any type of calamity may save hundreds of thousands of dollars and keep you in business. This is an area that often is overlooked; don’t make that mistake. Plan that your ability to continue in business through this decade and beyond is assured.

Technology in your business:

You don’t need me to tell you that technology is not only changing rapidly, but also has a volatility that can be both scary and exciting. Certainly, we have little idea today of what technology will look like 10 years from now. A decade ago, we couldn’t have predicted to abundance of changes to how we live and work; things like mobile apps, digital keys, and smart homes and offices.

We all need to be attentive in understanding how technology is changing and importantly, what our clients expect from us in return. Lack of innovation can kill a small business. Fortunately, your ability to be nimble comes in handy when it comes to speed of decision-making.

Here are areas you should be examining, reviewing, and charting innovation in for your business technology:

— Your website. Is it up to date with images, copy, contact information, and tools? Are your clients able to chat or connect with you in real-time?

— Mobile apps. You might say not every business needs one. That’s what we might have said about web sites and blogs at one time! In the next several years, will your clients expect and demand an app from you?

— Social media marketing. How will you most effectively reach your target audience? I’m not talking about your audience today, but rather those that will be buyers in 5 and 10 years. How are they influenced? Do you need to improve your game with video, podcasts, and blogs?

— Infrastructure. If your technology doesn’t work or becomes attacked, you can’t operate. Everyone needs an expert – either internal or external – to assure that the infrastructure is sound and constantly updated.

Employee recruitment and retention:

Just because our world has adopted more Artificial Intelligence, your employees are often still the face of your business. Relationships still matter, and always will. It’s become more important than ever that you recruit people that will value your culture and grow with you.

Once recruited, it becomes your job to properly develop and trained them. Too often, employers don’t invest the energy and resources into assuring new employees are “onboarded” and mentored properly.

Employees of this generation value financial well-being, but it’s not everything to them. How they are treated and what opportunities they have for career growth and development are also high on their list. By creating a thoughtful and intentional program on developing employees in the 2020s, you will be more assured that your company will be creating a legacy for everyone.

The new age “Roaring 2020s” are upon us. Unlike 1919, we have much more to think about when it comes to both our business and personal goals and dreams. Are you prepared to “roar?”

Happy New Decade!

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 360-271-1592; e-mail at dan@danweedin.com or visit his web site at http://www.DanWeedin.com.

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.


Thanksgiving Message


cropped-dan_weedin_034.jpgRe-printed from 2018…Happy Thanksgiving!

Being Thankful.

It’s pretty easy to immediately think of the things I’m thankful for every Thanksgiving. My beautiful wife of 32 (now 33) years; my children that have grown into wonderful adults (and I include my son-in-law when I reference children); my perfect granddaughters (added one in March); my family and friends; my business…. you get the picture. While these people I’m grateful for are foremost in my mind, I’m often guided to think of other areas of thanksgiving.

I’m grateful for the countless things in my life that I daily take for granted:

I was born in a first-world country that offers freedoms, resources, and opportunity to chart my own course in life.

I was born to parents who provided me with unconditional love and the income that could send me to good schools to get an education unlike what millions of children at that time (and still today) can’t even fathom.

I’ve never had to find clean water; been anxious over my next meal; or worry about discrimination or injustice. I’ve had the advantage of the best medical care possible and education to know how to live a long and happy life.

While I have great faith, I also know serendipity is involved. I could have been born anywhere in the world where all those amenities I described wouldn’t exist. While I’m thankful for me, it’s a sobering reminder of the plight of many.

As I write this, it dawns on me that this month, I’m celebrating 25 years in Rotary. Rotary has been a constant reminder to me of how my life is the exception; how I’m in the 1% of the world’s population based on when, where, and to whom I was born. While I made my own decisions which helped me to where I am, those were made simpler by my education and those that mentored me. I’m thankful to be a Rotarian so that in some small way, I am able to give back and support people who aren’t as fortunate as me.

Final thought. This memo today is meant to inspire. You are getting this because you’ve been placed in a similar position to me. Be thankful not only this week, but every day and do something small daily to help improve the condition of someone else. Very often, that might simply be kindness. My guess is that every one of you do this, and it’s a friendly reminder that we should all be thankful of where we are and how we got here. And a reminder that we have a chance to take that thankfulness and help someone else.

As I conclude, my sincere thanks to all of you for being faithful readers and followers of my work. I am grateful for you.

Quote of the Day:

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.”

~ Helen Keller

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

What Should I Write About?


As I turned in my final Kitsap Sun column for 2019, it dawned on me that this would be a perfect time to enlist ideas from my community for me editorial calendar for a new year and decade.

As I begin plotting my topics for 2020, you can help me. What topics would you like me to write about? Keep in mind, I turn all my columns into videos, blogs, and social media posts.

Here’s your chance to help me mold by next three months. Send me your ideas and topics and I will find a way to write or speak on it in the coming months! You can either post here or email me at dan@danweedin.com.

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved