Extra Points: Free Throws

Dan_Weedin_022There was a study done done about 10 years ago about what the deciding factors in NCAA college basketball games decided by less than five points were. The top three in order were: Free throw shooting, rebounding, and turnovers. I was a little surprised because as a former coach and long-time observer and fan, I thought those would be flipped. As I watched many games over this past week leading into the “Big Dance,” the study results were clearly evident.

As a coach, missed free throws just perturbed me. As a fan watching my favorite team, it might be even worse as these are Division I athletes. I know their coaches are on the sidelines pulling out their hair. It’s not like they aren’t practicing free throws; it is the one shot in the game that is completely predictable and the same without any defense as an obstacle. So why are so many missed late in games?

Missed free throws are mental; not physical. It’s a part of mental toughness that gets overlooked. Being able to focus solely on the process without regards to the chaos and consequences around us. That’s why amateur golfers like me can be flawless on the driving range and then clunk one in the water on the real course with all our buddies watching.

In business, it’s no difference. Sales professionals make uncharacteristic mistakes in important presentations when they are anxious (and sometimes desperate) to make a sale. CEOs and business leaders allow external tumult to distract them from the normal decision-making process they use. Employees under pressure (especially time pressure) more easily succumb to missteps and gaffes because of fear of failure.

We are all humans and will occasionally “choke” at our own free throw lines. That’s a part of the growth and development process. The mistake is often made when thinking mistakes are more physical or skills related. While they sometimes are, the majority of uncharacteristic mistakes still arise when we allow our fear of failure (especially in front of others) to mask our talent and cause us to make sometimes crucial errors.

Bottom line: Learn your craft; have confidence; beef up your mental toughness through disciplined thinking; control what you can control; and then (this is the important one) go have fun. The best athletes in the world make the least mistakes because they are simply having fun and playing. You can do the same.

Be unleashed.

Quote of the Day:

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

~ Helen Keller

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: New Blood

Dan_Weedin_022Last week was wonderful as the newest member of my family was born. Our granddaughter made her grand entrance on Tuesday and I met her for the first time the next day. It’s one of those special moments you always remember. Barb and I were at my daughter and son-in-law’s house when they came home with the baby and video recorded her big sister being so excited to “onboard” her to her new home. I’m sure we will use that video to remind them that they love each other in about 13 years.

There are many grand entrances in our personal lives, and we normally treat them with the aplomb they deserve. How about the grand entrances in our professional lives?

How do we commemorate new clients and employees? Are we welcoming and warm? Do we reward ourselves when we accomplish something great or even when we do something “normal” extremely well? Do we “ring the bell” when others win the day or achieve goals or milestones?

It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day of work and business life. Just like it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day of our personal lives. One of the secrets of great success is to celebrate people and moments; accomplishments and achievement; and do it in a way that can be shared by all.  When you do that, you’ll see your business grow just like a family. And in those moments of conflict and crisis, like a strong family your business will not only survive but thrive together.

Quote of the Day:

“Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.”

~ Boris Pasternak

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: The Language of Business

Dan_Weedin_022In business, you must be multi-lingual.

I don’t mean actual languages as we know them, however that never hurts. Every industry has its own language. They are rife with acronyms, jargon, idioms, and slang. Everyone on the “inside” seems to understand, and “outsiders” must try to pick it up to fit in. I’ve written of this in regards to on boarding new employees. In this missive, I want to delve in how being multi-lingual is essential to acquiring and keeping business.

I work with a myriad of industries and here is my observation; be prepared to understand what your potential and current client values. Some business owners want to understand the scope of work; in other words they value the process. You find this common in technology and manufacturing. Some business owners don’t care how you get there, they want to know how they will be improved and desire quantitative metrics like percentage of revenue growth, increased profitability, and reduction in turnover. Still others most desire qualitative results that aren’t easily measured; things like peace of mind, confidence, and improved employee morale.

Regardless, they all want one common result…how will they be improved and how will it be measured?

The trick is to uncover what your potential and current clients value. This can’t be rushed; but can still be done quickly. It takes research, patience, good questioning and listening skills, and (drum roll) failure. The only way to learn to ride a bicycle is to crash and burn, learn from your mistake, and ride better next time. The same is true here; however many professionals don’t take the time to learn the idiosyncrasies of the language.

Here’s my challenge to you today: Learn what language you speak. Based on your industry, experience, and background, what do you value, how do you express it, and how do you measure success? Then look at your current clients. You in some way managed to speak their language in other to gain their confidence. You may find similarities that drew you together, and that’s fine. To be most successful, learn other languages so you can make a bigger impact on more people, thus helping them and yourself.

Que tengan una buena semana, amigos.

Quote of the Day:

“Everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it.”

~ Lewis Carroll

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Chip Shots

Dan_Weedin_022Watching the World Golf Championships Mexico tournament on Sunday, there was a point in the round where Rory McIlroy did something that I often do when playing golf (and believe me, Rory and I do very little in common on the golf course). He hit his ball right next to a tree. I mean the ball was nestled up directly next to this huge tree with literally no swing available.

McIlroy called over an official to see if he could gain relief and he was denied. He quickly grabbed a club, turned it upside down and proceeded to play his shot left-handed back into the fairway. McIlroy is right handed, as our his clubs. He basically did a McGyver to create a possibility to escape and recover. Although he went in to bogey the hole, it was a remarkable play that minimized damage.

Here are a few business lessons for your consideration:

McIlroy never complained or berated the official as we see in other sports. He owned the fact that he put himself in that situation.

He quickly surmised the quickest and most effective way to get back to the fairway. Faced with other options that would have taken him away from the hole he was playing, he chose an unorthodox play to get back on course.

His short swing left-handed with his club facing the opposite direction was flawless. That means he’d done it before. Likely at some point in his life facing a similar situation, and knowing he might one day again, he practiced the shot until he became more than just competent. If he’s like most golfers, he likely turned the practice into a game.

Your challenge to take into next week and beyond:

Focus always on taking ownership of your actions and behavior. Too many people have a victim mentality where it’s always someone else’s fault. In my experience, the majority of times we find ourselves stymied by a tree is because we hit it there!

Always have a plan to recover quickly to get back in course. You should always know where the exits are in a building or an airplane. Likewise, you should know where the quickest exit to get back to your own fairway is. Not doing so is negligent to your employees and clients; and perilous to your profitability.

Finally, practice your recovery. The reason amateur golfers like me shoot high scores is because we never practice hitting out of the woods; rather focusing on the perfect position created by driving ranges. You must practice your escape and recovery plans in order to be prepared to hit that difficult shot when it’s most needed.

Quote of the Day:

“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you are doing.”

~ W. Edwards Deming

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Are You Prepared to Get Paid Fast?

Dan_Weedin_022On the most recent podcast of The Shrimp Tank (see link to listen and view below), our guest Pat Larson discussed his business of being an accountant for those investors who dabble in cryptocurrency. Most people know the more popular cryptocurrency brand, Bitcoin; but there are many others. It’s an emerging method of investing and ultimately paying for services.

JP Morgan made news this past week as they announced they will be offering their own private cryptocurrency. It will be fascinating to see how this accelerates the process. Bottom line, you need to be prepared to one day be asked if you accept cryptocurrency as a method of payment.

Consideration for services or products has changed drastically over the past decades. From cash or check only; to credit cards; to Square and ApplePay and Venmo. I just purchased my groceries today with my mobile device (not really a phone, is it?) on ApplePay. Still there are business owners that don’t accept American Express and in some cases, no plastic at all. These are savvy business owners that don’t want to pay extra fees.

Here’s my opinion: You as a business should never get in the way of being paid. Instead of being an obstacle, be an open road. While fees exist today (and they are a cost of doing business), those may be going the way of the dinosaur as there are now growing ways to bank and to send money with no fees.

So where does cryptocurrency come into play?

Listen to the podcast and hear Pat explain that one day there will be a way through some function (e.g. Quick Response or QR codes) will rapidly deposit cryptocurrency into your account, which you can then as quickly transfer into cash. He accepts it as a form of payment. Will you one day do the same?

We are in a rapidly changing world of commerce. Don’t get stuck in the tar pits because you didn’t want to accept a form of payment because I guarantee your competitors will. You be the leader and become a gateway to business and profitability.

Listen to podcast

Quote of the Day:

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”

~ Muhammad Ali

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: The Neighborhood

Dan_Weedin_022We are in the middle of a snowstorm. For us in Seattle, it’s a significant deal for three reasons. First, we don’t get these enough to allow us to be as prepared as other neighbors in the country. Second, we get an inordinate amount of melt that turns into ice. Third, we have a lot of hills; and ice and hills aren’t a good mix.

At home, I’ve done all the normal things to prepare, but as with most of my neighbors, I hadn’t picked up any ice melt. We had a neighborhood text thread going on to see if anyone had some to share. Saturday night, I went to take the dogs out and found a humongous bag of ice melt on my porch. Of course there was no indication of who it was from, but I have my suspicion among a couple of neighbors. Nobody is confessing.

We have an “old school” neighborhood. We all know each other; like each other; help each other out; and hang out together regularly (as I write this, we are preparing to host a Snowmageddon get together). We are fortunate to be around neighbors that altruistically are always ready to both help and have fun.

Is the company you own or are a part of neighborly?

On one hand, your employees may have developed the culture of many neighborhoods in this era where people isolate themselves, with head down, staring at monitors and head phones, walk by each other with little more than a nod, and then go home as quickly as possible. The OTHER hand is the one I suggest for improved company culture, better performance, reduced risk, and more fun…

A company that picks up for each other when someone is out (without being asked); that collaborate, engage, and laugh with each other; that encourage and support each other; and that demand a culture where anyone new coming in be onboarded properly to accelerate that culture. By accomplishing this, you will realize reduced turnover and increased profitability. Plus, your employees will become evangelists for your company.

Here’s your challenge for the week. Rate your company on a scale of 1 to 5, with one being completely isolated to 5 being Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. What do you need to do to improve your score and who can help you? Answer that question and get started with just one step. Share with me the step you took and you will get a complimentary 15-minute conversation with me and I will give you my three steps to assure success.

By increasing that neighborly spirit, the results will be remarkable.

Quote of the Day:

“The more we can be in a relationship with those who might seem strange to us, the more we can feel like we’re neighbors and all members of the human family.”

~ Fred Rogers

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: The Flash

Dan_Weedin_022As a kid, I loved comic books, and some of my favorites were of super-heroes. I was mostly into DC Comics which featured Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. My favorite was a guy who had the super power I most wanted. The Flash. The fastest human on earth wearing a cool red suit with a lightning logo on his chest. I wanted to be fast and The Flash was the guy.

Speed is a great super power for a super hero like Barry Allen (aka The Flash). It’s also a super power for those heroes called entrepreneurs. If you’re a CEO or President of an organization of any size (including just you), then you should be striving to wear that lightning bolt on your chest. Because in business, speed is everything.

  • Speed to market gets you to your target market first, so you can optimize your brand and value proposition. If you’re there faster and with more fury, you become the thought and brand leader.
  • Speed to cash in the bank is crucial to cash flow management. I’m always amazed when a business eschews taking credit cards (or charges the fee). Getting money in your bank account fast is more important than ever to surviving and thriving.
  • Speed to respond is often curiously undervalued by entrepreneurs. The “I will call you back at my earliest convenience” line is time-worn and transmitter-biased. With today’s technology, if one can’t respond to a voice mail within half a day, or an email within 24 hours, then they either are time management challenged or don’t care. Current and potential clients care.
  • Speed to recover means the speed to bounce back from a crisis. I’m talking to two potential new clients this week about creating or improving business continuity plans because they want to be able to reduce their “recovery time objectives.” The per minute improvement can result in tens of thousands of dollars…per minute. That’s real money.
  • Speed to human recovery. Yeah, this is different. Bad stuff happens to us all the time. Personally, we have to recover to crises both professionally and personally. How do you respond? The faster you can find your emotional and mental “sweet spot,” the sooner you return to peak performance. This is critical to how your business and company perform.

Here’s your challenge for the week. Pick one of these “speed,” or find one of your own. Then become The Flash. Work to accelerate your speed to improve your business, your profitability, and your lifestyle.

Quote of the Day:

“Kites rise highest against the wind – not with it.”

~ Winston Churchill

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: What Do You Value?

Dan_Weedin_022This past week, I was honored to be the keynote speaker at the NAPA Western District Conference in Seattle for over 200 owners from Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii. I’d like to share the concept shared with them with you…

In 2003, I was in the midst of legends, at least for me. At a Nike Basketball Coaches clinic in Portland, I was in a room with speakers Jim Calhoun from the University of Connecticut and Lute Olson from the University of Arizona (both National Championship winners). I hung on every word!

Coach Calhoun gave advice that I’ve used throughout my career with clients and colleagues. He said, “I should be able to walk into any one of your practices – regardless of the day of the week or the time in the season – and know what you value. If it’s rebounding, then every drill will have a rebounding component; if it’s defense, the same. If you truly value a part of the game and the culture of your team, anyone should be able to see it in your daily practice.”

I challenged my audience on Friday with this statement that I also challenge you with – if I walked into your business today, would I be able to tell what you value?

Organizational culture can be an overused term, yet the behavior and attitudes shown by your employees in how they discharge their duties will always be critical to your viability and sustainability of operations, revenue, and profit. The values that are modeled by business owners and leaders will be apparent; the question is if they match what you want to see.

The key to developing and growing a thriving business culture is by identifying your values (what do want your business to look like to others), objectives (how will we measure our progress) and action (how will we assure we actually get it done). This requires investing time in the process, communicating well with everyone, modeling the actions, and maybe above all else, displaying the discipline needed to do those daily activities to get you to where you want to be.

If a basketball coach wants to be a great rebounding team, every drill of every practice must have a rebounding component. That takes discipline from the head coach, the assistant coaches, and the team. If a CEO wants a company that creates a culture of putting the client first (and in a recipient-biased mode – see last week’s memo), then the daily activities and behaviors should all be guided by that value.

So let me ask you again, if I walked into your business – whether or not you own it – will I be able to tell what you value? Your mission this week is to start the process of making sure of it.

Quote of the Day:

“You don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to.”

~ Unknown, but I heard it from my Shrimp Tank podcast guest Aaron Murphy

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Receiver-Based Engagement

Dan_Weedin_022Client engagement is critical to thriving in business. While that’s as obvious as a ham sandwich, what isn’t so obvious is how a company engages. There are two options – transmitter-based and recipient-based. Guess which one is best?

When companies make it difficult for clients to engage with them out of fear, apathy, or laziness, they engage in transmitter-based engagement. In the 21st century, that’s deadly for business. Examples: A caller to a small business is forced to choose between seven different options to find a human (and none of the seven is what they want and when they push one, they still get no human); a website visitor can’t easily find a way to contact a human directly; a voice mail tells a client that they will receive a call back “as soon as possible,” instead of offering a time limit or alternate quicker options.

Receiver-based engagement puts the client or prospective client first. Examples: They make social media engagement easy and fast; they make phone call engagement easy and fast; they anticipate the easiest routes to communication – things like online chat. Bottom line, the current and certainly future clients in your business expect receiver-based engagement or else they will seek it elsewhere.

My colleague David Mortimore has created a fascinating case study based off the recent challenges faced by Johnson & Johnson. While J&J may be a corporate mammoth, the concept applies even more to small and medium-sized businesses. David has kindly offered this case study for your review. Ask for it below and you will be emailed the case study..

Bottom line: If you want to build a brand, to acquire new clients, to grow, and to thrive, then creating or enhancing a receiver-based engagement should be job #1 for 2019. Check out David’s case study and get started today!

Quote of the Day:

“Failure is a success, if we learn from it.”

~ Malcolm Forbes

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Competition

Dan_Weedin_022I’m watching a new Netflix original documentary series titled, “Dogs.” It’s a poignant look at how dogs relate, partner with, and impact humans so being dubbed man’s best friend. I highly recommend it, especially if you like dogs.

That being said, I have to make revisions to my viewing of it based on my BFF. I’m forced to watch it on my phone with head phones. You see Captain Jack hates dogs on television. They can be real dogs or cartoon dogs; it doesn’t matter. He watches TV intently and when spying a dog, he becomes enraged at the competition. He races to the TV with hopes of jumping through the screen to get these celluloid canines. He even knows the theme song for the classic television comedy Frasier, as he particularly doesn’t like his fellow breed brother, Eddie. Ironically, he has no issues with the real dogs he encounters in the world. He wants to be friends and to play with them (they on the other hand are pretty wary of him). His competitive bent is relegated to television.

Bella is the opposite. She doesn’t watch TV; thus doesn’t even know that other dogs exist in that medium. She’s busy with other important tasks, like sleeping. However, she loses her mind when she sees real dogs on her walk, to the point that I have to take the dogs separately as she will attack Captain Jack at the sight of a “competitor.” She is keenly aware of every rival for her position as Queen of the Neighborhood.

While outside competition brings out the inner beast in my dogs, it should bring out the inner beast in you in a different direction.

Many business owners chafe at competition; they fear it leading to anxiety, stress, and often rash decisions on how to avoid losing business. On the contrary, competition is a good thing. Why? Because it forces one to stay sharp; to remain focused; to improve skills; and to constantly innovate. In fact, outside competition should actually fuel an inward competition with one’s self. Here’s how…

Compete every day with yourself to improve. These might involve skill sets, mindset, leadership, communications, creativity, patience, empathy, knowledge, brand, and personal health. Every day we can focus on one or two things to be better at. Over time we become better because of that competition. Ask yourself daily, “how will I grow and improve today?”

Dogs look at competition as a negative as their place in the pack is being challenged. As humans, we should be looking at how competing with ourselves will ultimately bring out our best selves both professionally and personally. And that is something to bark for.

Quote of the Day:

“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.”

~ Carol Burnett

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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