Extra Points: Eye of the Tiger

Dan_Weedin_022For a period of about 10 years, Tiger Woods was the best golfer in the world. Arguably, he was the best athlete in the world. He was dominant; to the point of being super human in his play and stoic personality.
And then came the fall. Both personal and physical calamities damaged his reputation and skills. His brand was so strong that he remained relevant, however it was starting to look like at a young age, his time was over. His body and his game were in need of great repair and he was at an age, that even in golf, future glory wasn’t likely.
Yesterday, he won his 15th Major and fifth green jacket at The Masters in Augusta. He held off a field of the top golfers in the world and resembled that super hero who stalked the course over a decade ago. But a lot happened in between, and that is relevant to all of us in business.
Life happens and all of us – including Tiger Woods – are subject to the downfalls. We are all vulnerable to personal and professional travails; we all make mistakes; we all have failures. In fact, many times – just as with Tiger – these failures (often devastating) come after great success. Being an entrepreneur or a business professional isn’t an easy road. It’s filled with potholes and sand traps. So what can we learn from the Tiger Woods story?
Build a team. We can’t be brilliant by ourselves. In my little world, I have my business and life partner, a coach, an accountability partner, CPA, attorney, and countless other team members that that allow me to focus on what I do. Golfers like Woods have their own teams. While it appears they are out there on their own (often like entrepreneurs), the most successful are surrounded by a team.
Be resilient. Woods had to overcome significant injuries. Those of you in business have felt the body blows that occasionally (and sometimes often) happen when trying to forge a path. It might seem best to quit; yet those that are able to be resilient; to honor the process; and to see crisis as a temporary setback, will be in a position for redemption and success.
Be patient. I heard Tiger interviewed after the final round and he talked about being patient; that in fact he thinks this was the most patient he’d been in years. I can attest that patience is a hard virtue to master. In the “want it all now” world we live in, patience can often lead to changing course right about the time redemption and success was within the grasp. Trusting and honoring the process and your skills requires patience.
Finally, trust yourself. Lack of confidence is the enemy of the entrepreneur and business professional. It’s easy to place blame on ourselves when things go awry. It’s better to learn from the lessons mistakes teach us and always believe in yourself. Confidence is a tiger and it is required to do successfully achieve your dreams.
Bottom line – be prepared to both succeed and fail; and then succeed again. This cycle is part of the journey of being able to thrive both professionally and personally. Now, it’s your turn to hit off the next tee….
Quote for the Day:
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
~ Steve Jobs
© 2019 Toro Consulting. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed® is a registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

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: Exit Plan

Dan_Weedin_022I’m doing an inordinate amount of air travel over the next six weeks. It often comes in chunks and I’m in a chunk!
It’s interesting that most people ignore the safety information given by flight attendants prior to departure. Most of us have flown enough to know the spiel by heart, right?
That’s a problem because too many people may have a general knowledge of what to do in an emergency; but will panic in the event one actually happens. The “warning” has been heard so many times that before long, it’s no longer “heard.” But it’s still as important…
One of the most crucial is how to evacuate; and I mean exit any place you are. That can be an airplane, a grand ballroom, a house, and most especially your place if work. Do you know how to safely exit your house or work in the event you must leave in seconds?
There is a lot of research done on how people react and respond in crisis. The results are clear; people who know how to exit a plane, building, or situation are less likely to freeze and more likely to escape. If you are in a position of leadership of employees, it’s your responsibility to assure they know what to do. For any individual, we all must take ultimate responsibility for ourselves and then our co-workers and families.
You’ve heard flight attendants say, “Place the oxygen mask on yourself first before trying to assist others.” The same concept is true on your business and life. No how and where to escape so you can save yourself and others.
As an epilogue, let’s be clear. An exit plan to save lives is most important; however an exit plan to leave your business or career is also, critical. Exit planning saves lives and profits. Make sure you know how to save both…
P.S. My normal place to sit in a plane is the second to last row on the aisle. I’m next to the bathroom and exit with no one in front of me!
Quote for the Day:
“Set your course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.”
~ Omar Bradley
© 2019 Toro Consulting. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed® is a registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: What You Keep

Dan_Weedin_022You may have noted the change in the format of this newsletter. I’ve made a change to a different provider. It’s part of a process I began last year to really examine my business costs.
I realized that I was paying a premium price for a service I wasn’t nearly coming close to optimizing. While the platform was fine, I was utilizing only about 50% of the capabilities and wasn’t in need of what was being missed. Even though the transition has had come short term “pain” from a labor standpoint, it will ultimately result in at least a 40% reduction in costs without sacrificing any benefit. It’s worth the pain and should have been done long ago.
It’s not about what you make, it’s about what you keep.
I was at an annual meeting of the economic development association in my area and an entrepreneur that was being honored talked about a new $4,000,000 contact her company received. She quickly quipped that she had to remind her employees and family that the net would not be that amount!
Part of a proper business continuity and disaster recovery plan is proper accounting for profitability. New business is hard to acquire; and keeping your best clients takes effort and attention. Allowing your bottom line to drain money when you can control operational costs can be insidious to your success. Any expense that returns and investment (e.g. leadership development and marketing) is a good thing; costs like utilities should be monitored.
Bottom line: your bottom line is a critical part of your profitable growth and business value. Protect it as diligently as you do your property and people.
Quote for the Day:
“Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves.”
~ Abraham Lincoln
© 2019 Toro Consulting. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed® is a registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Unhealthy Perfectionism

Dan_Weedin_022I get the opportunity to meet a lot of high school and college students in my work through Rotary. At a recent event, the discussion about academics and grades came up. One of the students – a college aged young man – was unhappy about receiving a B+ in a class that dropped his GPA in the class to a 3.97 out of 4.0. In other words, his work for over a full year in this class is nearly flawless; yet he was unsatisfied.

Perfectionism is not a virtue in academics (regardless of what I hear some parents claim) or in business. In fact, it’s a dangerous state of mind. The desire to be perfect – without flaw – will stunt growth and mask talent. Business and life is about success, not perfection. By seeking perfection, the individual misses the point. They focus on the negative rather than on incredible success.

For my young friend, he was overly critical of a small mistake (and is often the case, blame is heaped on a teacher or another person), rather than enjoying the larger victory. CEOs and entrepreneurs can fall into the desire to be perfect in language, product, service, and project work. In doing so, it creates an excessive amount of pressure on everyone in the organization from the top person to the newest employee. It leads to errors and mistakes that normally wouldn’t happen, and increased stress and anxiety. The pursuit of success is much easier than the pursuit of perfection.

Practice doesn’t make perfect; it makes better. And if you consistently focus on better, then you, your company, and your clients will be improved and happier.

Be unleashed.

Quote of the Day:

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”

~ Confucius

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Free Throws

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be unleashed.

Quote of the Day:

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

~ Helen Keller

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

21 Days to Remarkable Results!

The majority of my advisory work is on helping clients make changes. The changes may be skill-based, mindset-based, business or personal. In the end, they are working on creating a better business, career, and life. And they want to do it fast.

Unleashed 21 has been created to help you improve your business, career, and/or life with a consistent message on a strategy or tactic you can implement and grow immediately. Muscle memory requires 21 consecutive days to take hold and manifest into change. The same is true with any type of change. Hence, I’ve created Unleashed 21.

Here’s how it works:

  • You will receive a video (duration 210 seconds or about 3 and a half minutes). The video will present a strategy and action for you to act on. The release date is April 1st. No fooling.
  • You invest about 10 minutes a day to listen to the video and take action. We will discuss setting qualitative and quantitative metrics to gauge your progress.
  • The videos are yours to keep. You can continue to use them for different goals both now and in the future.
  • You get one 21-minute call with me during your 21 days on the program.
  • At the end of the three weeks, you will have implemented some change for the better that will have an impact on your business, career, and life.

Your New Year’s Resolution is probably already shot. Here’s your reprieve. You have control of your future. Learn how to quickly make changes to help you and others in your company and your life.

Your investment is $210 by March 31. If you wait until April 1, it increases to $495. After that, the fee is $695.

Click here to register. Find the Unleashed 21 button and get started. When you do, you will receive a welcome letter along with a PDF copy of my book, Unleashed Leadership (Kitsap Publishing 2015).

Note: If you’re a member of one of my Unleashed Universe programs, either the Captain Jack or Bella memberships, you are automatically enrolled. Nothing to do but wait until April 1.

The improvement you want can be business or personal; it doesn’t matter. The videos will guide you through the process. Jump on Unleashed 21. You will be glad you did!

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: New Blood

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

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

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

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

Quote of the Day:

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

~ Boris Pasternak

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: The Language of Business

Dan_Weedin_022In business, you must be multi-lingual.

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

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

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

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

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

Que tengan una buena semana, amigos.

Quote of the Day:

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

~ Lewis Carroll

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

What Do You Value?

Video #1 of a series of videos I will be releasing from a keynote speech I gave in January 2019. The conference was for the Western District of NAPA owners.

In this short intro, my question to them and to you is, “What do you value and how would anyone know it?”

“We had the opportunity to have Dan speak at a recent NAPA Owners meeting, which was a great success. Dan delivered a message that resonated with our customer base. It was well received and left our customers with actionable thoughts to implement. Dan had their attention from start to finish.”

Monte Thompson, Genuine Parts Company (NAPA) Mountain Division APG

 

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved