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.

Protecting Your Income

58842029-Dan+Weedin+Unleashed-43 copyI’m going to be speaking to consultants next week on the power of insurance to protect their business and lifestyle. It’s Disability Insurance Awareness month and small business owners and entrepreneurs are apt to insure for things like fire and wind, and bypass insuring what they most contribute to their family…their income.

This is a seven-minute video detailing a consultant who became disabled after a stroke. As you can see, he’s not elderly; and has children in their teens ready to head to college in the future.

If you are a CEO, President, consultant, entrepreneur, or business owner, you need to protect your income. Call me for a discussion at my cost. I’m happy to help you find solutions.

Watch Video

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

Taming CEO Frenzy

Dan_Weedin_022My April column for the Kitsap Sun…

Have you ever been in a hurry to get to a meeting and couldn’t find a place to park?

You’re already running a little bit late because of being delayed at your office. The parking lot is full. You find a compact spot (for your non-compact car) and try to squeeze in. You do, but realize you can’t get out and the people next to you can’t re-enter their vehicles! You back out carefully and hope to find someone walking to their car. You do and realize they just forgot something and aren’t leaving. You’re in the midst of a frenzy.

Tick tock…

You most likely have at least a few times been in this situation, especially if you go into Seattle or Bellevue once in awhile for business. There’s a certain level of chaos and frenzy that accompany this exercise. Ironically, it might also exemplify what many CEOs do on a daily basis. I call it the CEO Frenzy.

You don’t have to be a CEO or business owner to experience this plight. As technology has advanced, so has the furor of being a business professional. There’s more expectation to deliver results faster and be available more frequently. It can create an internal frenzy that causes anxiety and stress. Frenzy is defined as an uncontrolled state or situation. If you feel this way frequently during your week (and potentially into the weekend), keep reading.

This frenzy occurring from time to time is normal. It can’t be completely avoided, and is part of what you sign up for as a business owner. However, if it becomes a part of your daily routine, it will lead to burnout, bitterness, and ultimately poor performance. It will impact you, your employees, clients, and company profits.

Let’s find a way to mitigate the CEO Frenzy. I offer three strategies to significantly reduce this burden and keep you running in harmony and balance.

#1: Create a Buffer System. This is a strategy that I’ve recently implemented with the help of my own professional coach. I was famous for stacking meetings one right after another; even if it was just a phone call. If one ended early or was postponed, I’d find something else to fill its spot. I found that my days could be one lengthy run-on sentence! Sound familiar?

What I’ve done to temper this is to create “buffers’ in my calendar. In other words, I actually schedule down-time in my schedule to account for rejuvenation of mind. It’s as simple as putting a 15-minute calendar event called BUFFER right after each meeting. This allows you to slow down, clear your mind, and get mentally prepared for what’s next.

Here’s the deal: If you don’t take care of yourself mentally and emotionally duding the day, the last meetings of that day (and maybe the most important) will not be getting your best. We aren’t machines; in order to achieve peak performance and results, we need to have balance and energy throughout the day (and coffee doesn’t count!).

#2: Don’t over schedule: You’ve probably heard the expostulation that kids today are over-scheduled. Compared to when I are up in the 1970s, that’s a fact; and they don’t even set their own schedules!

When I work with clients, they often must produce their weekly calendars to me for review. They must include ALL commitments, including personal. What I find is that in almost every case, they have over-booked themselves. The consequence is that they are running overcapacity and something must give.

We all have a time capacity. If we shove too much in, one of two things happen. We either do everything inadequately or something gets completely dropped.

Be frugal and honest with your calendar, Include travel time as part of the process. Make it visual. And limit your commitments so that you can give your best to every activity. Finally, schedule to 80% capacity. By doing this, you are scheduling in the unexpected and it will reduce the frenzy.

#3: Control what you can control. In my car parking example (which has happened to me many times), I couldn’t control that the parking lot was full; I could only control how I responded to it. By becoming agitated and stressed, all I did was raise my own blood pressure and put myself in a less that optimum mindset for my meeting. It’s easier to apologize for the delay and laugh about the situation, than to go running in with papers flying and frantic.

In my experience, more than half of our frenzy comes from worrying or stressing about things that we can’t control – the weather, other people, technology, traffic, etc. The Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus wrote, “You can be externally free and internally a slave…conversely you could be externally obstructed or even in literal bondage but internally free from frustration and disharmony.” In other words, don’t enslave your mind over things that you can’t control. You always have control of your thoughts, emotions, and responses. Focus on those to more efficiently (and happily) go through your day.

Bottom line: You will be challenged every day by the unexpected. It might be bad luck, unfair, poor timing, or any other number of things that you can’t control. Accept the circumstances for what they are – a part of the journey – and then keep moving forward.

I read a book about the mental part of golf. The author noted that professional golfer Chip Beck would always respond the same way to a wayward shot into the woods or water. He’d smile and say to himself, “You’ve got to love it.”

Friends, you’ve got to love what you’re doing and the best way to maintain that passion is to reduce the frenzy. You can do that by finding your own perfect “parking space” wherever you go.

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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

The 100 Deadliest Days

The 100 days between Memorial and Labor Days are the deadliest on American highways. You likely know the reasons: more cars, more drinking, more impatience, more rage, more distractions.

As a risk management expert, I promise you that the greatest risk you take daily is getting in your car and driving. As your public service announcement (and because I care), please don’t drive distracted meaning: texting, intoxicated, angry, eating, stupid, medicated, with a dog on your lap, shaving, putting on makeup, dialing or answering your phone, or complacent.

I have plenty of reasons to avoid doing any of these, and these are two of the biggest ones.

Nothing is so important that the risk is worthy it. Be safe out there this summer.

IMG_1877

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Warrior Mentality Code: Part I

20 Under 40 20_3From my May 2018 column for The Kitsap Sun / Kitsap Business Journal…

Being an entrepreneur requires a “warrior mentality.” As CEO or President, being the “boss” means you fall under this definition of entrepreneur, so pay attention to my next statement.

If you don’t follow my Weedin Warrior Mentality Code, your business could maim you for life, or simply kill you prematurely.

Being a business owner is demanding. While it’s an aspiration to take on this challenge to build a legacy and create wealth, it’s only a good thing if they are around to enjoy the rewards.

I’ve compared being an entrepreneur to being an athlete. While an athlete trains both body and mind, all too often entrepreneurs do neither. The consequences are severe to the health of the owner and the business. In this 3-part series, we will explore ideas and concepts on how to create your own “warrior mentality” to not only accelerate business growth, but also enhance your own health and lifestyle.

The concepts will be broken out into three categories: Personal Health, The ROI of YOU, and Company Culture. In this column, we will tackle Personal Health…

Entrepreneurs and executives are driven. They work long hours, take financial risks, and care deeply about clients, employees, and legacy. Some of the stress that comes with the job is self-inflicted, yet much is still out of their control. If they aren’t mentally, physically, and spiritually fit, the ramifications are dangerous.

Mental Warriors: Mental warriors invest time in attitude and knowledge. Listed below are my best practices on how to become more mentally fit to deal with the stresses of being the boss:

  1. Invest your time and money in learning. This means both professional and personal development. The opportunity to improve how one thinks through videos, books, podcasts, and more has never been greater. Taking 10 minutes a day to learn something new leads to better creativity and innovation.
  2. Hire a coach. The best athletes in the world have coaches, often several. If an entrepreneur thinks that he or she doesn’t need a coach because they’re long on experience and don’t need anyone challenging them, then they are making a grave mistake. Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant, Serena Williams and countless other world-class athletes enjoyed greater success and longevity because they hired coaches. From a mental standpoint, being able to discuss critical issues and gain outside perspective keeps one from “breathing their own exhaust.” It’s also freeing and creates a stronger level of confidence in decision-making.
  3. Improve mental toughness. Mental toughness is that innate ability to respond and be resilient to adversity. Being mentally tough is not easy; it takes discipline, practice and perspective. To grow your mental toughness, dedicate yourself to the first two practices above!

Physical Warriors: This is the area that I see that is least valued by entrepreneurs. Athletes and soldiers must be physically fit to compete and fight. Entrepreneurs compete and fight daily, too. Check out these best practices to improve your fitness level:

  1. Diet is everything. You can’t outwork a bad diet. Sugar is more addictive than any illegal or legal drug, and maybe more harmful. Carbohydrates in excess will increase weight and dull brain power. What you eat will exacerbate how you deal with stress both good and bad. The best thing I ever did to improve my overall health and capacity to run a business was to change what and how I ate. It will be the same for you.
  2. Exercise. You don’t have to exercise like a professional athlete, but you do need to move. Invest time in 30 minutes of exercise a day: walk, swim, bicycle, yoga, golf, or box. In order to best deal with mental stress, you must change the brain chemicals through physical exertion.
  3. Accountability. If you’re going to really improve, then find someone who will hold your feet to the fire. It must be someone that won’t let you slide, and that you respect. Accountability partners work the best.

Spiritual Warriors: This isn’t a faith-based issue; although for many of you it might include it. Here’s what I mean for the purposes of this exercise: what are the things that bring tranquility to your spirit?

  1. Create habits that bring peace of mind and spirit. It’s comfort food for the inner workings of your mind. For me, a good cigar and a complimentary libation once a month is good for the rejuvenation of my spirit! For others it might be a form of exercise (walk in the park), spending time with grandchildren, or reading a good mystery novel. When these become habitual, they become part of your “therapy.”
  2. Be quiet. This is hard for me, but I’ve created a discipline about finding quiet time. I’ve made it fun by allocating time during the day to quietly practice my putting stroke in my exercise room. The getting out of my head to focus quietly on something else is good for the spirit. For others it might be meditation or prayer. Regardless, find that spiritual comfort zone to rejuvenate the all-important spiritual part of you.
  3. People Power: On the other end of the spectrum, cultivate friendships that also rejuvenate you. Make sure they are outside your professional life. I enjoy spending time with my neighbors (sometimes smoking a cigar with libation in hand) as a tranquil time to simply enjoy life. You can be an introvert and still find companionship and support from people.

Final thought. Find one thing to improve in each area. It’s better to move one thing forward a mile than ten things forward an inch. If you choose just one from each, in 30 days you’ll have achieved great progress.

Next month, we dive into the ROI of YOU. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to me with questions and comments about this column.

 

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

7 Questions Non-Profit Directors & Trustees Need to Be Able to Answer

58842029-Dan+Weedin+Unleashed-43 copyAre you a non or for profit board member or trustee? If so, you’ve got tremendous liability for property, people, and growth. Here are 7 questions for Board of Directors or Trustees for any organization:

1. What’s the plan if we have an active shooter at our location or event?

2. What’s the plan if we suffer a cyber attack and personal information of people is compromised or important information lost or stolen?

3. What’s the plan in the event of a sexual harassment or discrimination lawsuit?

4. What’s the plan to evacuate and protect people and property if our building is on fire?

5. What’s the plan if we have a natural disaster that blocks transportation and halts communication?

6. Are we doing everything possible to safeguard our employees, volunteers, and those we serve?

7. Am I willing to accept the liability and financial consequences of not being fully compliant and prepared for a crisis?

I have a longer list of questions that revolve around your fiduciary and leadership responsibility as a broad member for either a non-profit or for-profit board of directors. By completing this exercise, you will learn how your organization grades out.

It doesn’t matter the size of your organization, any one calamity like those listed above can destroy a non-profit and damage your reputation. As you begin strategizing an planning 2018, are you sure that your organization is fully ready and prepared to deal with a crisis?

If you have any doubts or concerns, let’s schedule a time to talk.

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Lauer and Rose and Weinstein, Oh Boy.

LauerThe sudden firing of popular NBC television personality Matt Lauer yesterday is just the latest in a series of high profile terminations stemming from sexual misconduct and harassment. Charlie Rose and Harvey Weinstein are also on the short list of others that have plummeted from grace in a split second. The main thing these three have in common is that they were all promptly terminated from their jobs because the allegations came from co-workers where they wielded power and authority over their victims. That’s where your concern should come in…

It’s easy to be lulled into thinking that this is a big media, high profile, social media fueled phenomenon. The sad truth is that bad behavior, discrimination, harassment, and bullying occurs every day in small and medium-sized businesses and flies under the radar to the detriment of the employees that are victims. That is until you get a lawsuit dropped on your desk.

Employers get sued for a bevvy of discriminatory practices: gender, age, and race are the most prevalent. However you can include wrongful termination, retaliation, unsafe or toxic work environment, and social media bullying as other reasons. With the enormous spotlight being shone on this issue now, more than ever you need to protect your people, your reputation, and your bottom line. Here are three thoughts:

  1. Commit to taking care of your employees by having a zero tolerance for inappropriate behavior. It’s easy to say that you do, but how are you validating it? Do you have annual training; do people in leadership positions confront issues promptly; are there written guidelines and policies communicated to all employees; and is everyone subject to the same disciplinary actions? Talk is cheap; are to taking actions to protect all your employees?
  2. Watch out for water cooler jokes and language. This goes for BOTH genders! If you allow “locker room talk” to become water cooler talk, then you’re setting yourself up for a fall. You know it happens. This is more than political correctness. The issue is creating a work environment that is welcoming to everyone and creates a culture where people want to work for you. You’ll also be dramatically reducing the likelihood of a lawsuit.
  3. Protect your profit by purchasing Employment Practices Liability insurance. Even by doing everything right, employees may still sue you. Don’t tell me you have a “family environment.” Families fight, disagree, and are dysfunctional. If they aren’t really your family, you’ll get sued. The average cost for damages is $150,000 and attorney costs will triple that. If you don’t want to have a catastrophic bill then transfer the financial risk to an insurance company. Just like with cyber insurance, you’re more likely to be sued by an employee than have your building catch on fire. Protect your company wealth.

Take care of your people and you’ll be rewarded with higher performance, productivity, and profits. Finance the risk of being sued through Employment Practices Liability insurance and protect your company valuation and wealth from something you can’t control. If you have questions on your current company culture, practices, and/or insurance, let’s talk. Make sure that you’re heading into 2018 doing the right things for your people and your business.

I’m an expert in resilience, insurance, and crisis planning. I have a proprietary scorecard to assess where you are today when it comes to protecting your most important assets and your bottom line. If these are important to you, then call and let’s talk. I can also buy Employment Practices Liability insurance for you to adequately protect your profit and business. Call or email me at 360-271-1592 to schedule a meeting.

Extra Points: Practice & Build Out Your Plans

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This is Part 3 of a four-part series this month in honor of National Preparedness Month. While this may not seem to be the sexiest of topics, you need look no further than the wreckage left by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma to understand the life and death issues faced by you, your family, and your business.

Week 3 focuses on creating and practicing your plans. This reminds of being a high school basketball coach. Each week, the coaching staff would put together a plan for the two teams we would play that week. We would then focus our practice and preparation on that plan, including very specific situations that would simulate the games. Creating a plan to survive – both in your personal life and for your business – demands the same process.

Step 1 is to actually think about, write, down, and communicate a plan. This step is for both your home and business. You should include things like first aid kit locations, emergency funds access, critical document storage, evacuation planning, and how everyone will communicate. Very few small and medium-sized businesses ever get past Step 1!
If you are a business owner, you have a responsibility to your employees and their families. If you have a family, you have a responsibility to them. Not doing so is negligent and dangerous.

Step 2 is knowing how to access community resources. This means shelters, food banks, and other resources that your local, county, and state emergency management teams have created. I know in my city, City Hall is designated as a community shelter in an emergency. They will provide heat, shelter, and food for those that have had some impact and are vulnerable. Do you know where your emergency shelters are in your city or town?

Step 3 is practicing your plan. I often tell business clients that while the fire extinguishers mounted on the walls in their business are nice, they are useless if nobody knows how to use them. You can have an evacuation plan that fails miserably if nobody knows it; a communication plan that falls on deaf ears if it hasn’t been tested; and someone become injured or die because they never practiced how to stay alive and guessed wrong. Bottom line: practice your plan to assure the safety and well being of the most important people in your life.

There is a fabulous program meant to train people to be first responders and help each other. It’s called Until Help Arrives and information can be located here – Learn more.

Next and final week, we focus on getting involved and being part of something larger. Being “safe out there” is incumbent on planning ahead.

P.S. Follow me on Facebook. This month, I will be doing a Facebook Live segment on how to pack a “go bag” in case you must evacuate your home and one that you should keep at work in case you get stuck and can’t make it home for days. I’m also posting daily tips on Twitter.

Quote of the Week:

”To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.”

~ Confucius

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Do you need help creating an emergency crisis plan for your business or family? Call me and let’s schedule a meeting to talk. The time to act is before you need it. Email me

Extra Points: Helping Neighbors & Community

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This is Part 2 of a four-part series this month in honor of National Preparedness Month. While this may not seem to be the sexiest of topics, you need look no further than the wreckage left by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma to understand the life and death issues faced by you, your family, and your business.

Week 2 focuses on making a plan to help your neighbors and community. I am very fortunate to live next to incredible neighbors. We have access to each others house to help in an emergency and are really “on call” when needed. Neighborhoods look different for everybody. so let’s talk about three things you and your neighbors can do to help each other and your community.

Step 1 is to have a neighborhood meeting (adding food always helps) to find out information like: who has a generator; are there medical professionals in the group; are there any vulnerable or special need people; where are the best places to stage people; and routes of ingress and egress. It doesn’t have to be overly formal, yet these are important things to know in a crisis.

Step 2 is to create a communication link. Make sure there are secondary and tertiary plans in case connectivity and power are compromised. If there is one person that is willing to do the work of gathering contact information, that would be a huge benefit for everyone.

Step 3 is keeping current. The group should meet at least once a year – September is good – to update information and fill in any new neighbors. In the case of a disaster, we will need to count on each other becasue nobody else may come for awhile.

I just saw a tremendous presentation on a program meant to train people to be first responders and help each other. It’s called Until Help Arrives and information can be located here – Learn more.

Finally, your community is also your neighbor. As safety allows, be ready to help your larger area with skill, expertise, and often just muscle.

Next week, we focus on practicing and building out your plans. Being “safe out there” is incumbent on planning ahead.

P.S. Follow me on Facebook. This month, I will be doing a Facebook Live segment on how to pack a “go bag” in case you must evacuate your home and one that you should keep at work in case you get stuck and can’t make it home for days. I’m also posting daily tips on Twitter.

Quote of the Week:

”Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

~ Thomas Edison

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Do you need help creating an emergency crisis plan for your business or family? Call me and let’s schedule a meeting to talk. The time to act is before you need it. Email me