Extra Points: Not A Robot

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Lexi Thompson is one of the premiere women golfers in the world. At only 23 years old, she’s already amassed remarkable accomplishments on and off the course. Earlier this year, she shocked the golf world by taking a month-long hiatus in the middle of the year, skipping one of the major championships. This past week upon her return to the tour, she explained her reasons at a press conference.

The simple answer is she was mentally and physically exhausted. While that may seem odd to hear from a 23 year old, consider that in the past 18 months, she suffered a major meltdown in a tournament that she should have won easily, dealt with her mother’s fight with breast cancer, grieved over the death of her grandmother, and suffered a hand injury. She did all this on a worldwide stage and it ultimately took its toll. She realized golf had been her whole life and now she needed time seek out more. Two sentences from her press conference caught my attention. She said, “I’m not a robot out here. I need to have a life.”

Athletes and entertainers are often viewed by the public as immune to human frailties. Athletes are expected to rebound from injury without missing a beat; entertainers are supposed to not be swayed by criticism. In other words, they can often be mistaken for “robots.” As Ms. Thompson points out, they are not.

And neither are you.

I’m assuming that people who read this are successfully and gainfully working on running businesses, creating careers, and leading a great life with family. It’s easy to get caught in a mindset where we consider ourselves immune to criticism, drama, mistakes, illnesses, injury, and often just plain bad luck. I regularly talk to clients about life balance techniques, as I also work to practice what I preach.

While Lexi Thompson was never in danger of missing a meal due to her sabbatical, it was a significant – and an unheard of – thing to do. She took time away that she could afford to get her mind, body, and spirit right again. The consequences of not doing it could have been disastrous; while the results will likely lead to a more relaxed and confident golfer and person.

We could all use a little dose of relaxed and confident, couldn’t we? Maybe even this week…

Quote of the Week:

”It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

~ Nelson Mandela

© 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. 

LinkedIn Learning Course Now Available

IMG_2124I’m thrilled to announce that my LinkedIn Learning course is now available!

The title is: Protecting Profitability by Reducing Financial Risk

The course is just under two hours in duration, broken up through 28 3-4 minute videos to make it easier to watch and learn. Just like reading a book!

This course is ideal for business owners, entrepreneurs, CEOs, Presidents, Directors of Risk, and anyone who is tasked with protecting the profitability and assuring business continuity. In other words, if you’re in charge of keeping the doors open no matter what, this course is perfect got you.

The course is FREE for LinkedIn “premium” members. In fact, all of the LinkedIn Learning courses are. If you’re not a premium member, you’re missing out on great courses to help you run and grow your business. Why don’t you join and start with mine!

Here is the link to the preview. I hope you’ll watch the entire course and let me know what you think. Watch the first chapter and email me to tell me and I will send you a copy of my business continuity template as a gift.

Thanks and please spread the word on this course!



© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: The Next One

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I regularly begin coaching and mentoring sessions with clients by asking this question, “What’s the most important thing we need to talk about today?

While we may have a pre-determined agenda, often things come up in the course of a week or even a day that become more important and demand becoming a priority. It’s a frequent happening that my clients start with something that is brand new, but now important.

Our technological world, while often able to save us time and energy, more regularly overwhelms us with communications (emails, texts, and calls) and tasks that become urgent because someone else has deemed it that way. Our priorities become muddied because everything seems urgent and due yesterday. Our brains become filled with minutia and our own bad self-talk. Before we know it, we feel behind and sprinting to catch up. I know this because it’s a constant battle with myself.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself what’s the most important thing at that moment and do that one thing then until complete; then rinse and repeat. There’s rarely more than one thing that is most important in that moment, so when your brain is unclear, stop and identify it.

Priorities – both of a professional and personal bent – will become chaotic for us. Accept that and be prepared to deal with it. This is a big part of mental toughness. Mental toughness is the discipline to bring yourself back from chaos to focus by concentrating on the most important thing now.

My challenge for you this week is to think of me the next time this happens to you (and it will); by asking yourself “what’s the most important thing to do right now?’

Then go do it…

Quote of the Week:

”A rich man is nothing more than a poor man with money.”

~ W.C. Fields

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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

Simplify Your Business

58842029-Dan+Weedin+Unleashed-43 copyFrom my monthly column for the Kitsap Sun

The Unites States Golf Association (USGA) and the Royal & Ancient (R&A) have collaborated on a major change in the golf landscape that has a business lesson attached to it.

For the first time in as long as I can remember, the two forces in managing the rules of golf used around the world have decreased the number of rules of the game. In fact, they reduced the number of rules by 33 percent! The game is all about fair play and the rules are critical to the future success and popularity of the game.

Why is this significant?

It’s significant because many of the rules added challenges to the amateur golfer’s enjoyment of the game. The rules are in place to provide guidance, not angst. Many of the rules slowed play dramatically, created confusion, and were often broken anyways because we didn’t fully understand them. These changes in the rules were meant for the amateurs, not the professionals. The objective was to decrease frustration, speed up play, and increase enjoyment while not taking away from the spirit of the game.

Why is this significant to you in business, especially if you don’t play golf?

What the ruling bodies of golf did was to simplify by subtraction. Take a look at your own company “rule books.” If you’re like most business owners I work with and meet, you’ll see rows of binders on shelves. They include employee manuals, safety manuals, hiring manuals, training manuals, crisis manuals, procedures manuals, and insurance policies dating back to 1997. You might have to wipe away some of the dust buildup to check for yourself.

Companies do a great job of making rules and procedures in an attempt to improve knowledge, efficiency, and performance. What’s actually happened is just the opposite. They’ve created confusion, aggravation, and their own version of “slow play,” which translates into lost profits.

Take managing a serious crisis during the workday as an example. An employee or client suffers a medical emergency in your office. You’re on vacation and the actual “first responders” are your employees because medical help is 10 minutes away. You have manuals for these situations because you’ve thought through scenarios just like these seven years ago. The problem is that the manuals are outdated; your employees have no idea where they are kept; even if they did they have no time to search for the right response; and they’ve never practiced a medical crisis response.

Golf is a game; this is life and death or at the least lost time and money. Had your rules been simpler, the proper response would have been better regardless of the eventual outcome. Let’s take a look at my simple three-step proves to simplifying your rules for better results:

Step 1: Throw out all obsolete materials. All they do is create clutter and add to confusion in a crisis. If you need to keep the information, it’s very easy in this digital age to scan and save without taking any space. How do you know what’s obsolete? You’ll know because it’s either never been used, clearly is “off the shelf” information, and/or is historical in nature.

Step 2: Focus on what’s important. Here’s what’s important: human safety and security directions; up-to-date compliance information; a current emergency contact list; guidelines on what to do in the event of a loss of power and/or connectivity; and a clear and communicated checklist of chain of command.

While your company may have other important areas of focus, this is a starting point. There are many sub-parts of each of these (e.g. CPR to evacuation routes for human safety) and they should be identified by leadership and disseminated to management to implement.

Step 3: Make it easy to find. Binders might be fine when there is plenty of time to do research. This is rarely the case in the event of a calamity. Create a system where all these vitally important and time-sensitive resources are available at the touch of a finger. Everyone carries mobile devices and are used to using them to find information. It’s time to utilize 21st century technology to aid your employees in a manner they are used to. While this might at first thought feel daunting, you likely have both internal and external resources to help, and you will find them to be a great return on investment in the event of a crisis.

Let’s be clear, while this may appear simple, the work is in doing it. You may be like the couple that lived in the same house for over 50 years. The house is filled with “stuff” that belongs to many people who no longer live there, or contents what were once wanted and now forgotten. In order to clean out the attic, garage, and your company clutter, it takes a strategic plan that involves all members of the team. Just like any other action, proper planning and preparation on the front end – with clear directives – will optimize time and accelerate results.

You can take a lesson from the USGA and R&A. By simplifying your “rule book,” even daily procedures and operations will become easier. The results of this simplification of the rules of play include improved employee morale, a safer work environment, accelerated crisis recovery time, and improved productivity and profitability. And that’s a birdie in my book!

Dan Weedin is a strategist, speaker, author and executive coach. He helps small business and middle market business leaders and entrepreneurs to grow more profitably and create a better life.  He was inducted into the Million Dollar Consultant™ Hall of Fame in 2012. You can reach Dan at 360-271-1592; e-mail at dan@danweedin.com or visit his web site at http://www.DanWeedin.com.

Extra Points: The Great Escape

JackA special edition missive by Captain Jack…

I got unleashed…

As much as Dan talks about being unleashed, he doesn’t approve when I take his advice. I made my great escape – the first in a long time – while Barb was attending to Bella. It was brilliant.

I boldly burst through the front door and made a sharp dogleg right to head up my normal path. I was unleashed… Barb made a valiant effort in following me. I crawled under a fence where there was this big race track-like pasture with a bunch of water in some kind of man-made lake. I just started running, and running, and occasionally taking flight like only I can. I jumped in the water. I played. Barb watched.

I soon heard Dan call my name. He wasn’t home for my great escape, but had apparently figured out what happened. He kindly beckoned to me to come over as he was holding my favorite treat. Been there and done that…he starts out nice but when he catches me, his mood changes.

I escaped the fence without either catching me. I then bolted into uncharted territory by crossing the passage called Viking Way. I spotted two small dogs with their human and ran towards them in an effort to play. The human grabbed me and told me to go home. Then Barb came running and captured me, leashed me, and spoke very firmly to me while apologizing to the other human. I hadn’t done anything wrong. I was simply being unleashed. For all my fun, I ended up getting a bath. I think that was my discipline. It was worth it.

Interesting that I hear humans often say that infirmities and aches are “part of getting old.” They use it as an excuse for not doing what they used to enjoy doing or eschewing activities because they are “past their prime.” Let me tell you, we dogs NEVER think about age. Unlike humans, we don’t consider how long we’ve been on earth as a factor in any decision we make. I heard Dan exclaim that I am pretty spry for 11 years old. I don’t even know what that means! I am just Captain Jack and will never change my mindset. Why should I?

Maybe the better question is, why should you?

P.S. Bella got extra treats and nice words for being a “good girl.” Clearly favoritism…

Captain Jack out…

Quote of the Week:

”The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.”

~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr. (American author)

© 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: Your Uniqueness Quotient

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I was recently driving home from the ferry and heard the re-make of the legendary song Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel. The re-make by the artist Disturbed in 2015 has a more edgy, haunting sound than the original softer and more melodic song that came straight out of the Greenwich Village scene and intonation of the turbulent 1960’s. I love the original as it’s all I heard for nearly four decades. I really enjoy this cover by Disturbed as well. I’ve heard it many times and for some reason, it caught my attention on this trip and literally gave me goosebumps.

Remakes and covers are not unusual in the music industry. I just watched Ann Wilson from Heart in concert and she covered songs of her contemporaries. In fact, Robert Plant once said that Heart did Led Zeppelin better than Led Zeppelin did Led Zeppelin after their rendition of Stairway to Heaven at Radio City Music Hall when Plant’s band was being honored. When Disturbed re-made Simon & Garfunkel, I didn’t find myself comparing or judging; I just found myself enjoying the unique talent.

When you consider your competition in whatever industry you’re in, there is almost always some cause to seek out differentiation. While this is important, it’s not really that hard to find. The difference is you.

Your “uniqueness quotient” is that thing that makes you different from anyone else that does what you do, whether that’s selling real estate or insurance; building homes; creating new technologies; or running a bank. Whatever it is you do, your uniqueness comes from your experiences, your education, your successes and failures, and even just your personality. Nobody else can be you. Why is this important? Because no matter where we evolve in this new digital world, people do business with people they like and trust. What makes you unique is what people who can buy your product or service will gravitate to. Don’t compare yourself to the competition; instead accentuate your uniqueness quotient. That way, the sound you hear won’t be silence but new business!

Quote of the Week:

”Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”

~ Albert Einstein

© 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.

Dealing with Distraction

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I’m spending my Sunday morning glued to the television watching the final round of The Open being played at Carnoustie Golf Club in Scotland. One of golf’s four major championships, The Open was being played for the 147th time, by far the most of any other golf tournament.

A young American golfer name Xander Schauffele is about to hit one of the biggest shots in his young career on the 17th hole. He trails the leader by one shot and this upcoming play is critical for him. He’s hitting from where the spectators were standing and in the background you can hear a child crying, likely protesting the fact she’s been out on the golf course for five hours. One of the announcers makes a comment about it, yet Schauffele seems unaware of it. That is, until he’s about to swing and the child makes an even louder cry that cuts through the silence like a hot knife through butter. Schauffele steps away from his ball, glances in the direction of the mother and child and smiles. In fact, you can see him almost chuckle. He proceeds to start his routine all over again, hits a nice shot and continues to play the hole. This 24-year old dealt with this situation far more graciously than most players many years his senior (and likely even me if I was in that position!).

Schauffele could have let this distraction affect him negatively; could have used it as an excuse for a poor shot. He could have lost his temper and the moment at hand. He could have attached blame. Rather, he smiled, chuckled, re-started his process, and played on. It’s a great lesson for business and life.

We all get distracted and diverted by things we can’t control. It’s very easy to attach blame and conceive excuses to others for our failures – the government, our employees, our clients; the weather, the bank, our family, the alarm clock, or that crying child. You don’t have to spend too much time on Facebook or other social media to find individual op-eds on the woe created by someone else. The reality is, we are all responsible for our own thoughts, actions, and behaviors, and no other distraction should have that kind of control over us.

The next time you find yourself angry or bitter over a bit of bad fortune, remember you have control over the next thing you think about and do. If a 24-year old professional golfer can quickly forgive a loud child and her mother for interrupting his concentration on the biggest stage of his career, we should be able to quickly regroup, recover, and play through our own distractions.

Quote of the Week:

”Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”

~ Confucius

© 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: Avoiding Organizational Amnesia

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quote of the Week:

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

~ John Dryden

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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

Extra Points: The Decision Domino Effect

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

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

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

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

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

The decision is yours…

Quote of the Week:

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

~ Mark Twain

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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

Extra Points: Gravitational Pull

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

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

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

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

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

Quote of the Week:

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

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

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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