Extra Points: Calamity Doesn’t Call

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

Extra Points: Abandon Ship

Dan_Weedin_022I was on the ferry over the weekend when from my car I heard the announcement by the captain that the crew would be performing an abandon ship drill. They were recruiting passengers to help; I now wish I had volunteered since it might have helped this missive! Next time.
It dawned on me as I heard the drill being played out on the speaker, that the only way to really simulate an abandon ship scenario was to pressure test the crew on a regular run that includes real passengers. Of course, nobody was actually going to leave the boat, but the process of using real passengers on a real run makes the exercise as real as possible to prepare and train.
When was the last time you pressure tested your business continuity plan?
My question first assumes that you have a plan in place and that you’ve at some point run a crisis simulation exercise. In my experience, neither plan or past simulations are often in place for small and medium sized businesses. Why? The major reason is the age old excuse of lack of time.
It was important enough for the ferry system to run an exercise in the middle of a crowded weekend run. While they are required to do this, the point still stands. If a crisis like an emergency evacuation needs to be done well, it must be practiced and tested.
You have the same obligation for your business to protect property and more importantly, people. If you never pressure test your people to deal with a crisis, why would you expect they can do it?
I’ve helped many clients perform these exercises and without exception, each one comes away with areas to improve and an awareness of the critical nature of this practice.
So what’s stopping you from running your own “abandon ship” drill this summer? Here’s what you do. Schedule a time. Find someone to help you create and facilitate it. And then do it. Learn from the experience and reduce the chance of exacerbating a calamity because you weren’t prepared.
Bonus: Don’t run or operate a business? Do you have a home? When was the last time you pressure checked your personal evacuation plan to assure you and your loved ones (and pets – Captain Jack wanted me to remind you) are prepared to save lives?
Are you and your business prepared to abandon ship? How do you know?
Quote of the Day:
“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.”
~ H. Jackson Brown Jr. – 20th century American author
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: En Fuego

Dan_Weedin_022This past Saturday, ten of us from our neighborhood got together on a beautiful night to sit outside around an open fire and enjoy each other’s company with a few adult beverages and lots of food. It’s one of the things we love about our neighborhood.
As the evening went on, I found myself interested in the fire. As a couple of the guys kept feeding it with wood they brought over from home, the fire would suddenly get bigger and hotter. This sequence repeated itself over the hours we were together. The heat and “vibe” of that fire created energy and life.
Is your business “en fuego (on fire)?
Every business has a vibe (energy) that is needed to keep alive. All too often, business owners lose sight of the fire beginning to go out. It can be a very subtle thing; and if left too long takes a whole lot of extra wood (in your case energy, effort, and money) to get the fire burning with the same vibe again.
So what are the signs that the fire is being extinguished?
Apathy and low morale in employees; increased turnover; decreased sales; stagnant leadership and management; lack of innovation and ideas; overlooking areas around safety and security; and increased client and customer complaints.
Your job is to stay en fuego. That means you have to take charge like my two friends did to ensure everyone is not only staying warm, but being invited to stay and create the energy. Being a business owner requires the ability to be vigilant on the health of the fire burning in the organization, assuring it doesn’t become the wrong type of fire!
Be on the lookout for stagnation and combat it with a collaborative environment that encourages innovation and growth for it’s people. That way, your company and it’s people will continue to stay en fuego…
Quote of the Day:
“He who clutches desperately to security, to every day habits, work, organization, friends, family; no longer lives. More than security, life needs adventure, risk, dynamic activity, self-giving presence to others.”
~ Jean Vanier (Canadian philosopher, theologian, and humanitarian 1928-2019)
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: 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.

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: Chip Shots

Dan_Weedin_022Watching the World Golf Championships Mexico tournament on Sunday, there was a point in the round where Rory McIlroy did something that I often do when playing golf (and believe me, Rory and I do very little in common on the golf course). He hit his ball right next to a tree. I mean the ball was nestled up directly next to this huge tree with literally no swing available.

McIlroy called over an official to see if he could gain relief and he was denied. He quickly grabbed a club, turned it upside down and proceeded to play his shot left-handed back into the fairway. McIlroy is right handed, as our his clubs. He basically did a McGyver to create a possibility to escape and recover. Although he went in to bogey the hole, it was a remarkable play that minimized damage.

Here are a few business lessons for your consideration:

McIlroy never complained or berated the official as we see in other sports. He owned the fact that he put himself in that situation.

He quickly surmised the quickest and most effective way to get back to the fairway. Faced with other options that would have taken him away from the hole he was playing, he chose an unorthodox play to get back on course.

His short swing left-handed with his club facing the opposite direction was flawless. That means he’d done it before. Likely at some point in his life facing a similar situation, and knowing he might one day again, he practiced the shot until he became more than just competent. If he’s like most golfers, he likely turned the practice into a game.

Your challenge to take into next week and beyond:

Focus always on taking ownership of your actions and behavior. Too many people have a victim mentality where it’s always someone else’s fault. In my experience, the majority of times we find ourselves stymied by a tree is because we hit it there!

Always have a plan to recover quickly to get back in course. You should always know where the exits are in a building or an airplane. Likewise, you should know where the quickest exit to get back to your own fairway is. Not doing so is negligent to your employees and clients; and perilous to your profitability.

Finally, practice your recovery. The reason amateur golfers like me shoot high scores is because we never practice hitting out of the woods; rather focusing on the perfect position created by driving ranges. You must practice your escape and recovery plans in order to be prepared to hit that difficult shot when it’s most needed.

Quote of the Day:

“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you are doing.”

~ W. Edwards Deming

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: The Flash

Dan_Weedin_022As a kid, I loved comic books, and some of my favorites were of super-heroes. I was mostly into DC Comics which featured Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. My favorite was a guy who had the super power I most wanted. The Flash. The fastest human on earth wearing a cool red suit with a lightning logo on his chest. I wanted to be fast and The Flash was the guy.

Speed is a great super power for a super hero like Barry Allen (aka The Flash). It’s also a super power for those heroes called entrepreneurs. If you’re a CEO or President of an organization of any size (including just you), then you should be striving to wear that lightning bolt on your chest. Because in business, speed is everything.

  • Speed to market gets you to your target market first, so you can optimize your brand and value proposition. If you’re there faster and with more fury, you become the thought and brand leader.
  • Speed to cash in the bank is crucial to cash flow management. I’m always amazed when a business eschews taking credit cards (or charges the fee). Getting money in your bank account fast is more important than ever to surviving and thriving.
  • Speed to respond is often curiously undervalued by entrepreneurs. The “I will call you back at my earliest convenience” line is time-worn and transmitter-biased. With today’s technology, if one can’t respond to a voice mail within half a day, or an email within 24 hours, then they either are time management challenged or don’t care. Current and potential clients care.
  • Speed to recover means the speed to bounce back from a crisis. I’m talking to two potential new clients this week about creating or improving business continuity plans because they want to be able to reduce their “recovery time objectives.” The per minute improvement can result in tens of thousands of dollars…per minute. That’s real money.
  • Speed to human recovery. Yeah, this is different. Bad stuff happens to us all the time. Personally, we have to recover to crises both professionally and personally. How do you respond? The faster you can find your emotional and mental “sweet spot,” the sooner you return to peak performance. This is critical to how your business and company perform.

Here’s your challenge for the week. Pick one of these “speed,” or find one of your own. Then become The Flash. Work to accelerate your speed to improve your business, your profitability, and your lifestyle.

Quote of the Day:

“Kites rise highest against the wind – not with it.”

~ Winston Churchill

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Lessons from Hurricane Harvey

He is ready to fight for success

Rainy Days Happen To Us All
The images of Houston and the surrounding areas hit by Hurricane Harvey are heartbreaking. The devastation will have an impact on residents and businesses for decades.

All of our hearts go out to the people suffering and trying to survive this tragedy.

However before the rest of us get too comfortable in our chairs, it’s the right time to take stock of our own precarious situations. Houston is the latest in a long line of calamities, and it won’t be the last. What can we learn and most importantly implement from Hurricane Harvey?

September is National Preparedness Month and a great time to assess your current state of readiness and preparedness. How resilient are you personally and professionally?

I’m offering you risk assessment questionnaires for your current state of readiness and preparedness in your professional and personal lives. They’re short, simple, and free.

There are two forms: one for business and one for personal. After completing one or both, you can send them to me via email and I will respond within 24 hours with a brief assessment and some suggestions. If after, you’d like to schedule a chat about your situation, we can do that.

We see occurrences like what is happening in the Houston area and are shocked and saddened; however all too often we forget about them quickly and go on without making any changes that will better us. Don’t let that happen this time. Take a few minutes to understand how ready and prepared your business and family are so that when you face your own calamity, you are in a position of strength and resilience.

LINK for Business Assessment

LINK  for Personal Assessment

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Gator in the Grass

This video was sent to me by my colleague and friend Noah Fleming. Noah was vacationing on beautiful Kiawah Island Resort in South Carolina a few weeks ago. He knows I’m an avid golfer and sent me this video via text. Take a look, it’s only one minute long…

I viewed it for the first time on my mobile phone. What do you think my focus was on? You would be correct if you said the tee shot. I was looking at the lush green fairway, the clear blue sky, and the danger on either side of the fairway. As a golfer that hits the ball right to left, I was wondering, “How the heck would I play this hole?”

My myopic view completely missed the alligator strolling right in front of me. It wasn’t until later that I watched it on a larger screen that my focus changed to the reason Noah sent it me to begin with.

Do you have a myopic view of your business, your company, and your career? Are you not seeing the gator in the grass?

In my consulting practice, I hear constantly from people that are so focused on increasing sales that they miss the peril that might actually put them out of business that is right smack dab in front of them. An example is the cyber liability peril that goes along with their mounting technology exposure.

In my coaching and mentoring practice, I talk to consultants and other professionals about increasing their peripheral vision. Many become so laser focused on their methodology and what they do, rather than how they are actually improving the condition of their client. The peril in this is that you miss the mark on engaging new prospects so they never engage with you!

Here’s the deal…

It’s easy for all of us to miss the gator in the grass. It’s human nature to become so overly focused on what we like to do and what we are good at doing, that we forget the perils lurking waiting for the unsuspecting. You have exposures to all sorts of crises just becasue you are in business – economic, physical, and reputation – and that’s part of the risk and reward of your craft. However, you can avoid a lot of gators if you slow down enough to identify your perils, assess how you can best prevent and mitigate them, and then go out and do what you do best.

For me, if I could only hit a nice easy fade like Jack Nicklaus…

© 2015 Dan Weedin. All rights reserved