Extra Points: Calamity Doesn’t Call

This past week, Southern California and Nevada were rocked by two earthquakes. If you were watching the news, you saw plenty of video footage of people at home, at work, and recreating when the last quake on Saturday night hit. Having been a part of several earthquakes in my life, I know that sinking feeling when you realize the world you are standing on is no longer stable. The duration seems like forever; and in fact the last one did last 30 seconds, which must have felt like an eternity!
These incidents serve as reminders for all of us, whether we experienced it or not. Yes, if you live in an earthquake zone (especially on the West Coast), then you are likely reading news reminding you about readiness and safety. However this quake should serve a reminder to business owners that their employees must be prepared for ANY calamity because calamities don’t send a calling card ahead of them. They just show up unexpectedly.
Your business – whether you are CEO or employee – must be prepared to respond quickly to any calamity. Each one has different response requirements for safety and business continuity. In earthquakes, safety means getting under tables because falling objects are the biggest concern. Get away from windows, even if you’re outside. From an operations standpoint, the building and contents might be fins, but what about the infrastructure, communications, and transportation?
Here’s the deal: It’s never the wrong time to prepare your employees, co-workers, and family to respond to calamity. Safety is job one, continuation of business is second. My analogy is if no one knows how to use a fire extinguisher, that resource is useless. There are plenty of perils to be concerned of: earthquake, fire, water, wind, and weather. You might have to evacuate or shelter in place. How confident are you in your team? How do you know?
Here’s your assignment for this week: Pick one peril to prepare your team for and do it. Then update your business continuity plan. If you don’t have one, then call me because that plan is a necessity to run a business.
Calamity never sends a calling card, but is always expected to come when you least expect it. Why not be ready for it?
Quote of the Day:
“The return we reap from generous actions is not always evident.”
~ Francesco Guicciardini
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: The Cost of Waiting

Dan_Weedin_022I enjoy cooking. While weekends seem to allow me more time to try new recipe ideas, the weekdays can also be a good relief from the work day. Barb and I try to share the duties, although I often need reminding (which won’t shock many of you who know me well). When it’s my turn, I have great intentions of starting the process early by taking out anything that’s frozen and making sure that I have all the accompaniments ready to go.
Then the day gets started, and I decide to wait and do it when I take a break. I’m reminded about 4 pm when Barb says, “So, what’s for dinner?” I have a definite cost of waiting (or cost of not doing anything). It usually entails loss of my time and money in running to the store to buy something I can quickly put together! The meal is never as good and keeping up my part of the bargain is diminished.
We all are guilty at times of waiting on things we know are important. We are waiting for some extra time, the right time, or we aren’t sure if we even want to do it. Whenever you do a cost benefit analysis on your decision-making for moving forward, ask yourself this question, “What’s the cost of waiting – or the cost of doing nothing?”
Let me share with you three examples from my business and industry:
The cost of not creating a business continuity and disaster recovery plan is that a crisis happens and you lose hundreds of thousands of dollars to your profitability and company value.
The cost of delaying purchasing life and disability insurance is that you suddenly can no longer work – due to death or disability – and the people who are most counting on your income no longer have it available.
The cost of not developing leaders in your company through strategic planning and training turns into decreased employee morale and increased turnover, damaging your brand and company value.
Here’s the deal: We are all very busy and often don’t intentionally procrastinate. If you make asking yourself the question I posed above a part of all your decision-making, the cost benefit analysis will determine it’s priority.
Here’s your assignment for this week: What have you been putting off until “the right time” that would have a terrible consequence due to the delay? We all have one. Identify and fix it this week and you’ll be one step closer to improving your costs!
Quote of the Day:
“We aim above the mark to hit the mark.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Leader-Shift

Dan_Weedin_022Last week, my Rotary Club kicked out our President and replaced him with a new one. It’s our annual “Installation-Outstallation” ceremony. Rotary Clubs around the world are all doing the same thing as our official new year starts July 1st. It’s a time to honor (and at least in our case “roast” a little) the outgoing leader and welcome in the new one.
Transition in leadership is nothing new in Rotary Clubs or democratic governments. They are part of the system and process of running organizations and countries. There is a plan for all contingencies, ranging from death, disability, and resignation.
Curiously, many small and even medium-sized businesses don’t have as strong of a plan to deal with a sudden transition in leadership. The reason is pretty obvious – business leaders don’t have “term limits.” Unlike my Rotary Club, the President or CEO is normally the founder and face of the organization. The loss of this leader – whether it be due to retirement or sudden inability to lead – can create a major crisis in the company. All good Business Continuity Plans must include what to do when a “Leader-Shift” occurs; especially if it’s unplanned.
If you’re the CEO or President of your company, is your team prepared to keep the business operating with no hiccups if you’re no longer there? How do you know? Are your loved ones taken care of financially?
If you’re part of a leadership team or a key employee of a company, do you know what the plan is if your boss no longer can lead? Does that make you nervous for your future?
Your assignment this week is to look at your own plan for leadership transition. How well is articulated and communicated is it? Will your legacy continue and will your loved ones be financially secure? Or will an unexpected calamity sink the ship? Take one step toward improving your Business Succession Plan. If you need help, call me. Your company and your loved ones will have greater peace of mind.
BONUS: If you don’t own a business and think this missive doesn’t apply to you, think again. When was the last time you updated your will? How about the last time you reviewed your life and disability insurance? How confident are that your loved ones will be financially secure if something happens to you? Leadership happens at many different levels, both professionally and personally. Make sure you are secure in both.
Quote of the Day:
“Nothing is work unless you’d rather be doing something else.”
~ George Halas, 20th century Hall of Fame owner and coach of the Chicago Bears
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

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: The Next 100 Days

Dan_Weedin_022Consider this your very special Public Service Announcement…
The 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the most dangerous days of the year for motorists in the United States. Are you prepared to protect yourself and your loved ones? Your employees? How do you know?
You probably can guess the causes of this statistic: Summer vacation traveling; kids out of school; weddings and other family events; more cars on the road trying to get places faster; more drinking and driving; more distracted driving; more road rage….
You get the picture. The problem is we all “get the picture” but very few of us take notice. Why? Because driving is second-nature to us. Most of us are fortunate enough to go out regularly and avoid serious calamity. The problem is when the activities mentioned above increase traffic, speed, and recklessness, those you most care about (including you) may not only be in peril, but be that cause of the peril!
If you are a business owner that has any size fleet of vehicles OR has employees using their own personal cars for your business regularly (e.g. sales people, contractors), then you’re ultimately responsible for any negligence that comes from them. While they may have been the one who made the poor decision that caused an accident, your name is on the truck literally and figuratively. You can go a long ways towards improving your position and reducing your risk of being the reason for a tragedy:
First, talk to all your employees about safe driving. Regardless of whether or not they drive for you. they are humans that you care about. Focus on distracted driving (especially anything that takes their hands off the wheel like texting or calling), keeping to the speed limit, and leaving early to avoid stress.
Second, schedule at least one safety training around safe driving. While these might often seem tedious, they actually work in raising awareness and reducing accidents.
Third, have consequences. By creating a minimum standard of driving record for those that do drive for you regularly, you are showing that you value the commitment to keeping everyone safer.
Final thought: Your loved ones are in cars every day, both as drivers and passengers. Don’t take for granted that these next 100 days are the same. The hard quantitative statistics don’t lie. And that commitment must start with you as a role model.
As the legendary sergeant on the 1980s television drama Hill Street Blues once proclaimed as the officers left every day on the job, “be careful out there…”
P.S. If you want even more information on how to help your drivers be more alert and safe not only now but into the future, contact me. Part of any good risk management program is prevention. I’m happy to help.
Quote of the Day:
“No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.”
~ Abraham Lincoln
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Memorial Day Special

Normandy
Normandy

This week’s memo is a reprint from last year’s Memorial Day Special. Best wishes to you and your loved ones on this holiday Monday…

In memorium. In memory of. Remembrance.
All words that signify and define the word, “memorial.”
I can’t imaging what it would have felt like on June 6, 1944. To be 21 years old, standing on a Navy ship, and set to be on a landing party to the beaches in Normandy. The odds said that you’d be a casualty and you knew it.
The chill of the wind and the rain in the Atlantic just off the shore of France, and far away from wherever you hailed from.
By the time the fighting was over, there would be 4,414 confirmed dead, and over 10,000 casualties. That scene I describe can certainly be played out over centuries. Men and women facing certain death, yet risking all for all for country.
My dad spent 30 years in the Navy and served in World War II. He wasn’t at Normandy, but was at the North African Invasion and certainly survived the war. He was always quick to point out that Memorial Day was not the day to honor those that served, but those that died. Those that gave the greatest sacrifice. Veterans Day is the day to honor all who served and serve. Memorial Day is the day to honor the fallen. I’ve never forgotten that.
Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor the dead. During the first national celebration on May 30, 1868, former Union General and sitting Ohio Congressman (and future President of the United States) James Garfield made a speech where 20,000 graves were “decorated” for both Union and Confederate soldiers.
Today we honor all those that have fallen in wars, conflicts, and service from the Revolutionary War to the present. Let’s all remember this as we take a holiday break from our labors to recall those that gave the ultimate sacrifice so we can.
In memorium. In memory of. Remembrance.
Quote of the Day:
“Courage is feat holding on a minute longer.”
~ General George Patton
© 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.

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.