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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Extra Points: Workarounds

Dan_Weedin_022This past week, I attempted to purchase a business license for a new LLC we formed as part of our insurance brokerage practice. I thought it would be pretty simple. I was wrong.

First, I was forced to wait two weeks because the state doesn’t allow me to get a business license on an LLC prior to it’s formation date (although they were happy to take my money and form the LLC in advance). Seemed odd, but I played along.

On January 2nd (LLC formed effective January 1), I went online to finalize the business license. To my frustration, the system still didn’t recognize the UBI number and wouldn’t allow me to proceed. I called and spoke to someone in the Department of Revenue to get help. She determined that it was a system glitch and would call me back, which she did promptly. She told me that the only way to fix the situation was through a workaround. Those of you familiar with workarounds know this is a secondary method or process to use (often in technology) when the primary way has an issue.

The workaround suggested was using paper. That’s right, paper. She wanted me to print out an application, fill it out, stick it in an envelope, mail it, and then wait for six weeks for approval (online applications take a few days). This isn’t a workaround; it’s a failure. Ultimately, we were able to contact someone that was able to help me deal with this more mercurially. But the point was made…

I had knowledge of the process, as I’ve done it before. I feel bad for those who are attempting it for the first time and don’t know who to ask, or merely succumb to a failed workaround.

Primary methods and processes will fail; sometimes for reasons outside of your control. How effective are your workarounds? If they are as bad as the one I shared, then you have a problem. Your employees will waste time and effort, and consequently lead to lost profits; your clients and customers will become frustrated and ultimately may leave; your brand and reputation will be tarnished as others might think you’re ability to deal with crisis as ineffective, undisciplined, or antiquated.

Here’s the deal – crises happen. They may not seem enormous but when a calamity that impacts your operations in some way rears its ugly head, you’d better be prepared with a good workaround. Regardless of whether its related to technology, employees, or any other critical business factor, your ability to manage workarounds is crucial to your success and viability.

Quote of the Day:

“The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.”

~ Henry Ward Beecher

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Happy New Year

Dan_Weedin_022Today is my birthday and I’m often asked, “How close were you to being a New Year’s Day baby?”

There’s a story to that…

The fast answer is, not close. The story is that my mother was all of 4’10” and 90 pounds, which in 1964 made me an automatic C-section candidate. My mother asked the doctor if there was any way she could move the scheduled date from January 3rd to December 31st. The reason? True to her Colombian roots, she didn’t want to miss her glass of champagne when the clock struck midnight on a new year. She had no qualms with drinking her toast from a hospital bed; she had no intentions of missing that ceremonial libation. The doctor, likely knowing what was good for him, agreed. So I was born at 9:30 in the morning, with plenty of time to recover. And I’m certain Dad didn’t object to the new tax deduction!

Here’s the moral to the story…

Take time to enjoy the year that just finished. Regardless of the adversity and challenges, all of us have something to celebrate. Focus on the thrill of victories, the lessons of defeat, relationships grown with with family and friends, and whatever else you value in your life. If you’re receiving this missive, I’m pretty sure you (like me) have been greatly blessed with the opportunities provided for success and happiness.

So take some time to toast and celebrate 2018, and get ready for a fantastic 2019.

On behalf of my wife, Barb and our two canine companions Captain Jack and Bella, here’s hoping you slide in ahead of the tag in 2019.

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

End of the year opportunities available for one week only. Grow your business and career and save by investing this week for next year. See below for more information.

Extra Points: Life Lessons from It’s a Wonderful Life

Dan_Weedin_022It’s appropriate that this year Christmas Eve falls on my Extra Points day. My favorite movie of all time is Frank Capra’s classic, It’s a Wonderful Life starring James Stewart and Donna Reed. Because as you know if you’re at all familiar with the movie, today’s is George Bailey’s crucial day…

I won’t bore you with recounting the movie. I will offer five lessons that we can all glom on to as we finish off one year and head into a new one:

1. We all have guardian angels, even if we don’t know always see them. Someone is there to help you, instruct you, give you tough love when you need it and a pat on the back when it’s deserved. These guardian angels can be family, friends, co-workers, or coaches. Use them. We can’t be successful by ourselves.

2. Life is about perseverance. Business and personal challenges are often temporary setbacks and situations. Controlling what you can control and accepting what you can’t is key to staying the course.

3. Never waste a good crisis. George Bailey had a seemingly insurmountable crisis. The opportunity was to see what life would be like without him, and then using that knowledge to change his life.

4. Be a guardian angel for someone else. George Bailey had his, but learned he was one for countless people. So are you; and so will you be. Improve the lives and conditions of others constantly.

5. The final scene of the movie shows the book inscription by guardian angel, Clarence to George Bailey that reads, “No man is a failure that has friends.” Isn’t that the truth? I’,m immeasurably blessed to have faithful and supportive friends. You might feel the same.

To those who celebrate, a very Merry Christmas tomorrow. To everyone, best wishes for celebrating family and friends this week. For no man is a failure that has friends…

Quote of the Day:

“Be faithful in the small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

~ Mother Teresa

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

End of the year opportunities available for one week only. Grow your business and career and save by investing this week for next year. See below for more information.

Extra Points: Welcoming Mindset

Dan_Weedin_022This past Sunday during Mass, our pastor Father Mark stopped the service momentarily before the second reading. He beckoned to the people standing in the back to please come in. He said, “I don’t like people standing in the back. Please come in. Let’s all scoot in to make room and welcome everyone in.”

It’s appropriate that during this festive time of the year, the concept of being welcoming comes into play. That being said, welcoming is a concept that should not be relegated to the season or to faith community. It should be part of your business mindset, too.

As we end one year and begin a new one, perhaps this is a good time to do a pressure check on how welcoming we are in our business. Try these basic questions on for size to get started:

How do we welcome new employees into our company? Are they set up to meet everyone and start building important relationships?

How do we welcome new clients? Are we warm and inviting when we onboard them into our organizational family?

How do we welcome new vendors and partners? Do we make them feel like part of the team?

Now let’s take this concept a step further and enter into our mind and mentality:

How do we welcome new ideas and concepts? Are we eager to try new things or stuck in the muck of complacency and sameness?

How do we welcome adversity? Do we consider the opportunities from those challenges and setbacks or do we allow ourselves to go down without a fight?

How do we welcome change? Do we find enjoyment in trying new things or do we cling to the sacred cows of our lives (both business and personal) and waste energy, time, and opportunity?

Welcoming is a mindset. If open to it, you will build better relationships with the people around you while opening up a world of growth opportunities for yourself.

Quote of the Day:

“I want to live my life, not record ir.”

~ Jackie Kennedy Onassis

© 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: Of Bush & Marley

Dan_Weedin_022I admit it.

Until recently, I took for granted the legacy of George H.W. Bush. In the 1980s, I voted for him as part of the Reagan ticket. I also voted for him for President. I knew him as a long-time politician and patrician. I knew he was a contemporary of my parents and like my dad, served in World War II.

It was when I read Flags of Our Fathers a decade ago that a new view of George Bush emerged. The book detailed his war record, his rescue in the Pacific, and his deep sense of grief for the loss of his fellow pilots 50 years previous. The author also wrote about Bush’s deep-rooted loyalty and love for his family, and the reciprocity by them.

This was never more evident that at his funeral last week. While there was much adulation for his public service, the memories and stories of him as a family man and human were ubiquitous. His care and concern for people crossed party lines and was seen clearly in the faces of his family and friends.

Then my mind did a crazy thing as it often does; I thought about another funeral that gets recreated this time each year. One of my all-time favorite movies is Charles Dickens’ The Christmas Carol. In my mind, I pictured the Patrick Stewart-played Scrooge attending the funeral of his business partner Jacob Marley. Outside of the Reverend and one other, Scrooge was the only attendee. We know the rest of the story.

Here’s my point: we all traverse life with the constant opportunity to touch people and change lives. Marley and Scrooge (until his reclamation) chose to be selfish; to be uncivil; and to bring sadness and despair in their “touch.” Bush was clearly a husband, father, and grandfather first. In spite of what must have been an incredibly busy life, he found the ability to touch his family, his colleagues from both parties, and his friends in incredible ways.

Whether one cared for George H.W. Bush as President, there seems to be nary a person that didn’t respect and like him as a human. Bottom line: this season of the year is always a good time for reflection. Watching the Bush funeral reminds me to continue to set high standards not only on myself professionally, but even more so as a human. I hope this brief memo might cause you to do the same.

After all, as Jacob Marley reminds us, “mankind is our business.”

Quote of the Day:

“There is nothing new in the world except the history you don’t know.”

~ Harry S. Truman

© 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: Muscle Memory

Dan_Weedin_022When I coached high school basketball, one of the concepts I taught was muscle memory. In changing fundamental mechanics – like shooting a basketball – it takes 21 consecutive days to create “muscle memory.” If you stop the consecutive and consistent training when trying to change mechanics, you will lose all you gained and will have to re-start the process. Muscle memory is a crucial concept in changing mechanics in sports.

The concept is the same in your business and in your personal life.

What changes do you want to make in your business? Ask for more referrals? Improve communication skills for leaders? Grow your skills or “smarts” in your industry? Regardless of whether you want personal improvement or that of your employees, implementing long-term improvement while optimizing your investment of time and money requires daily discipline. Just like muscle memory of 21 days is necessary to change basketball shooting skills, daily discipline around change is also a requirement for changed business practices.

While we are talking about change implementation, the concept applies to our personal lives. Eating healthier, increasing hours of sleep, exercising more, and advancing skills (e.g. learning a new language) might be on your list. No matter what you want to do better, if you want to create a better life it takes more than simply identification. It requires muscle memory.

Time to flex those muscles…

Quote of the Day:

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

~ Theodore Roosevelt

© 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.

Blocking & Tackling

Dan_Weedin_022It was a satisfying Saturday in watching my alma mater, the University of Washington Huskies defeat our cross-state rivals the Washington State Cougars and retain the Apple Cup for the 6th consecutive year. With apologies to my WSU pals (well, not really), I feel obligated to create a point from the victory…so here it is.

After the game WSU coach Mike Leach summed up why he felt Washington prevailed. He succinctly stated that the Huskies, “blocked better than us, and tackled better than us.” He was right, and he also offers a reminder to our business and lives.

Blocking and tackling are the fundamentals of offensive and defensive football, respectively. The lack of execution in one of these might cause a team to lose; in both it’s nearly always fatal. The same is true in business. Regardless of your position or industry, you have fundamentals that mirror blocking and tackling in football. These skills extend from decision-making at the executive level; to influencing skills at the managerial level; to process skills at the implementation level. Complacency often sets in with the best of us; we block and tackle every day and often forget how important staying sharp and focused on these critical skills are. What are the “blocking and tackling” fundamentals in your business and career? How well are you and your employees performing daily? If you’re not “winning” as much as you’d like, check your fundamentals.

Final thought. Blocking and tackling carries into our personal lives as well. If you want to improve your relationships then hone your communicators by listening and civility. If you want to improve your health, then blocking and tackling morphs into eating habits and exercise. If you want to reduce drama and conflict, focus on positive thinking, empathy, and talking.

Blocking and tackling wins football games. They also help you win in business and life.

On three. Ready…break!

Quote of the Day:

“The game of life is a lot like football. You have to tackle your problems, block your fears, and score your points when you get the opportunity.”

~ Lewis Grizzard (20th century American writer)

© 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.

Thanksgiving Special

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Being Thankful.

It’s pretty easy to immediately think of the things I’m thankful for every Thanksgiving. My beautiful wife of 32 years; my children that have grown into wonderful adults (and I include my son-in-law when I reference children); my perfect granddaughter; 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

© 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: Simple & Speed is King

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Last week I ordered a salad and smoothie from the local drive-thru cafe and salad shop. I paid online for custom-order lunches. They sent me an immediate email acknowledging my order and letting me know that another email would soon arrive as to when my order would be ready. That came about one minute later and gave me a “ready time” that was seven minutes away. That was enough time to jump in my car, drive about half a mile, and pick up my meals. I was back home in three minutes.

It’s time to vote this week. In my state, I already voted. We are an all-mail in state voting system; in other words – no standing in lines, no driving to polling places, no traffic, no issues with picking up kids, no forgetting, no excuses. More importantly, it’s easy and fast.

On the other hand, three organizations I care about and am actively involved in all make me write a check for annual or monthly dues. In every case (unless they are keeping it a best kept secret – but then again I asked), each organization has no method for paying with a credit card online.

I see this same malady among many small businesses who are trying hard to compete with larger brethren. They don’t accept credit cards or have minimums; they make people stand in long lines; they give broad time frames for service; and they offer little to no real-time communications.

The problem is they are placing the burden on the customer or client. In a world where simplicity and convenience is king; and where speed to market or to pay is everything (see Amazon payment to home in two days or less); the adamant attitude of making the client guess, wait, or work harder is the quickest way to organizational demise. Small business actually has the advantage of nimbleness and speed, yet time after time I see many remain in the mode of dictating to customers and clients. If a small business selling salads and smoothies can do it, so can you.

If you aren’t concerned about being relevant, then continue to be hard to do business with. If you want to take advantage of your nimbleness and personal touch, use inexpensive and easy to access tools and resources to make your clients happy to do business with you.

Quote of the Day:

“The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next.”

~ Mignon McLaughlin

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved