Extra Points: Avoiding Organizational Amnesia

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I was having a conversation with a client last week on the incredibly important topic of transferring knowledge. We were discussing the concept of “organizational amnesia” from my book Unleashed Leadership, and the upcoming development program I will be conducting for his company. Here is the crux of our conversation:

Organizational amnesia is best avoided when a company can successfully transfer organizational “smarts” to new employees. Development of skills – be it tactical, leadership, or proprietary – through a process of transfer from the veterans to new employees assures that a company doesn’t simple lose it’s memory when employees transition out.

While that all sounds fine, the transfer mechanism is a little more complicated.

I’ve witnessed organizations trying to transfer skills through infrequent seminars, trainings, and lectures. The information gets stored somewhere and made “available” for future use. Here’s the problem: the newer and younger employees don’t retain and retrieve knowledge that way. I’m sorry to tell you that the plethora of thick binders in your resource library are useless. When someone needs to get information quickly, especially in a crisis, the last thing they will do is seek out a binder and start looking for the answer. This process is as outdated as encyclopedias.

What organizations need to do is find how employees (especially the ones that are now being hired) best learn and retrieve information. The answer is quite simple: this generation and future ones use their mobile devices to quickly get information. They utilize videos and checklists stored in a place they can access without thinking twice. The solution is to assure that you are maximizing your investment in knowledge transfer by making certain it will be utilized in the future in the fastest and easiest way possible for the employee.

Stop using 20th century tools for 21st century employees. Make your knowledge basis easy to access and avoid organizational amnesia.

Quote of the Week:

”We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”

~ John Dryden

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Extra Points: The Decision Domino Effect

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I’m almost done listening to Walter Isaacson’s magnificent book on Benjamin Franklin. It’s an intriguing biography of a fascinating man, who ably wore many proverbial hats in his time on earth. One of them was politician; and he was a leading figure in the American Revolution.

Of interest was the fact that for a long time, Franklin did not want to split from Great Britain. He thought it foolish from many aspects, especially economically. He worked diligently for years to broker a deal with King George that would allow the colonies to govern and tax themselves and we would live happily ever after as British subjects. His efforts proved fruitless and he soon turned his full attention to leading the charge for revolution.

Which leads me to this thought: What would have happened if the opposite decision was made by King George? It’s clear that had the King agreed to Franklin’s proposal, there was little else at the time that would have spurred the colonies to rebel. It’s likely we would have been a colony to Great Britain for many more years – perhaps decades – before some other issue arose to ultimately change it. There would not have been a War of 1812; the concept of Manifest Destiny that ultimately took the country to the Pacific Ocean would likely not have occurred; and the Civil War may not have happened. The domino effect would have been significant to life as we know it.

Business owners make daily decisions on their company and people. Some decisions are major (expansion of operations), while others are more pedestrian (planning the company picnic). All decisions have consequences and results for the CEO, the company, the employees, and the client base. King George didn’t consider his decision to be of hardly any importance as he never considered the colonists would revolt.

Decision-making is both art and science. Decisions are made based on many factors, including the use of a “crystal ball.” I encourage CEOs to be swift and committed in their decisions; yet to make sure they consult others to assure they don’t spend too much time breathing their own exhaust. The smartest person in the room is usually smart enough to not act as a lone wolf. Decisions are too important and have a domino effect that involve many people and lives.

The decision is yours…

Quote of the Week:

”Patriotism is supporting your country all of the time, and your government when it deserves it.”

~ Mark Twain

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Extra Points: Gravitational Pull

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40When I was gone for a week filming my upcoming LinkedIn Learning course in California, my wife Barb took on the seemingly insurmountable task of training Captain Jack and Bella. She worked with them to dutifully sit before getting their dishes to eat and prior to going outside. I admittedly hurried through both processes allowing them to jump, bark, and demand.

When I returned, she gave me strict orders. She explained that she’s made great headway and I was to “not mess it up.” In other words, do as she did, all the time. I started out doing well, but what inevitably happens is that times come up that I missed the training cues. The reasons included being in a hurry, forgetting, and (this is an important one) that it wasn’t the same priority as Barb had. I’m happy to say that the “gravitational pull” that inflicted me has been responded to better, mostly out of fear for the consequences of my boss! And the other good news, both Captain Jack and Bella have also improved. You can teach old dogs (including me) new tricks after all.

Gravitational pull is that human dilemma that forces our best intentions for improvement back down to a default position of mediocrity (or worse). You should be able to recognize the same reasons for gravitational pull rearing its ugly head – time issues; forgetfulness from lack of practice, supervision, or accountability; and lack of similar priority within the organization or commitment individually.

I spoke last week to a client’s employees for their mid-year retreat and this topic came up. We all agreed that gravitational pull exists and that it’s insidious to personal and organizational growth. In order to beat gravitational pull, one must identify factors for it, create triggers for discipline, and find accountability in others. One of the reasons organizations don’t make goals is because they don’t share the same priority or commitment. That’s a leadership issue that must be identified, discussed, and rectified.

Understanding how to overcome the pull is the first step in the process of regular and consistent growth and positive results. You can teach an old dog new tricks.

Quote of the Week:

”Talent  does what it can; genius does what it must.”

~ Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton (19th century English politician)

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Extra Points: Turning Water Into Wine

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I recently had the opportunity to work the assembly line bottling wine. My client is a local winery and every few months, he offers wine club members the chance to take part in the bottling, and offers nice incentives as compensation for “hard labor.” The opportunities had never worked out in the past, but this time it did.

Here’s what I learned: Bottling wine is physically taxing. The process is highly repetitive; with precision being at a premium. You need good teammates to keep the process running smoothly. It takes a lot of discipline and quality control. And if the the very last bottle doesn’t fill up because the wine ran out, well you get to drink it!

Correlation to business: Running a business is physically and mentally taxing. In order to be successful, one must create repeatable processes with sharp precision and attention to detail. Really good employees are needed; ones that have bought into the system and are compensated equitably for that work. Quality control and discipline are vital to viability. At the end of the day, it should be fun.

For you non-business owners, don’t feel left out. The concepts apply to your career and to your life.

The biggest thing I walked away with (other than some wonderful bottles of wine and a little fatigue) was the understanding that the bottle of wine I purchase at the store had a lot of moving parts play a part in its creation. If you want to create “fine wine” in your business, those same skill sets, characteristics, and discipline are needed.

It’s the best way to turn “water into wine.”

Quote of the Week:

”I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.”

~ W.C. Fields

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Extra Points: Find The Helpers

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40As I attended the graduation ceremony at my local high school, I was impressed specifically by one of the graduate speakers. She mentioned a quote by that great American philosopher, Mr. Rogers. She said that Mr. Rogers was influential in her mother’s life (which reminded me of the generation I’m in) and he had once said that in this world, there are “helpers” when people are in trouble. Her mother explained, “whenever you see a crisis on television, look for the helpers. You will see them.”

That simple statement is so very true. Think of even recent calamities like the Boston Marathon bombing, the devastation of natural disasters, and countless school shootings. You always will find the helpers.

You’d like to think that we are all “helpers,” but it’s not the case. We are all wired differently and bring value, however others are intrinsically wired to be helpers.

This week, we will be performing a crisis simulation exercise for a client. These exercises often reveal those that are leaders, those that are talkers, those that are followers, and importantly, those that are helpers. Every organization – for profit and non-profit – need to identify helpers in their organizations. Every neighborhood and community must identify the helpers. And every family should know the helpers. It’s paramount for resilience and survival when calamity hits.

We all play a role in the affiliations we have. Those of you that have a leadership role in business or in your personal life need to take heed of the wise words of Mr. Rogers. Go find the helpers.

Quote of the Week:

”My father gave me the greatest gift anyone can give another person; he believed in me..”

~ Jim Valvano

Happy Fathers Day to all the fathers out there!

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Extra Points: Empathy

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This past week was marked by the deaths by suicide of two prominent celebrities, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. I knew of Kate Spade because I have a wife and daughters who all carry purses (and I think at least one of them is her brand); however I really followed Anthony Bourdain’s work as a foodie and amateur cook always looking to learn. I found his work on television to not only be educational, but edgy, provocative, and entertaining. Both deaths from all appearances seem shocking to even those that knew them well.

I’m no expert on depression, mental illness, or what would compel someone to commit suicide. What I do know is that money, fame, and success don’t deter the action; in fact they might actually contribute to it. I’ve seen countless pleas from people on social media trying to raise awareness of depression and as noble as that is, I’m not sure it leads to people with depression suddenly coming forward, or to make it easier for those that don’t to observe it. What I do find poignant is the testimony of those who are brave enough to share their stories of depression and mental illness to help raise the depth of the discussion.

Life is volatile and we humans are complicated. Emotions and our sheer humanity are shared equally among us regardless of station in life or money in the bank. We all strive for peace in our hearts, acceptance from friends and family, reward in our work, and strong, loving relationships. What I fear is happening in our world is a decrease in empathy; a growing unwillingness to genuinely understand someone else. Social media has become a repository of judgments and opinions meant to harm others emotionally.

We all can become better when it comes to empathy and concern for others. While there’s no proof that a change in this will reduce tragic suicides or alleviate mental illness, it can’t hurt. And, if we do make even slight changes, think about how this will positively affect us individually and improve the relationships we have.

Quote of the Week:

”Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.”

~ Anthony Bourdain

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Extra Points: Re-Creating Yourself

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40The word recreation is well known to all of us. Undoubtedly, recreation means a variety of things to you – vacationing, golfing, boating, hiking, playing music, or simply having fun with your favorite hobby. Recreation rightly is considered a good thing, and I’d like to add a very important aspect to it that might get overlooked…

The word “recreation” literally means “re-creating.” When you embark on recreation, you are endeavoring on re-creating yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Recreation doesn’t have to be formal or even long. My Saturday evening cigar and glass of wine after a day of catching up on work, mowing the lawn, and cleaning the kitchen was re-creating myself on all four of those levels in just about an hour.

One of the greatest “hidden crises” that occur to CEOs, business owners, and professionals is the misguided belief that working long and arduous hours are noble and necessary. At times, it is necessary; however gone unchecked without regular doses of recreation to re-create one’s self is dangerous. In order for you to be of most value to your company – especially as the CEO or President – you must have balance.

Entrepreneurs and executives work hard and take on a ton of stress, most of it self-imposed. In order to make the best decisions, lead teams, and actually enjoy one’s vocation, constant recreation is needed to maintain a healthy balance. Not doing so is negligent to the person, the company, the employees, and the family.

Make re-creating yourself a daily discipline, even if it’s on a small level. Recreation leads to innovation, creativity, a stronger purpose and better overall personal and professional health. I’m as guilty of letting this important concept slide. I’m making it a priority starting today, what about you?

Quote of the Week:

“My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.”

~ Mark Twain

Happy Mothers Day a day later!

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.