Extra Points: Warning Signals

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This past weekend, we rented a van to help our daughter get furniture for her new place. I used the application system to check out the van and get the key before the place opened up. To my surprise, upon starting up the van, a warning light came on indicating the the right rear tire was low and needed air.

Great.

I knew my local Les Schwab tire dealership was open and took it over to have the professionals look at it. The service they provided was immediate and quick (and that’s why I remain a loyal client). Turned out that the monitor wasn’t working and the tires were all good to go. The annoying thing is that the warning light stayed on the entire day. While I had plenty of piece of mind about it thanks to the help of my friendly tire guy, I had to mentally work hard to ignore the ongoing false warning.

As we work and live day to day, warning signs pop up all the time. You might notice that an employee is acting unusual right before they give their notice; you might get a scratchy throat before the nasty cold hits; or you might get a nervous feeling in the pit of your stomach before embarking on a bold move or difficult conversation.

Here’s the deal – warning signs are there to protect and warn us. Often, the best thing to do is to seek out some council from a professional (like my tire guy) in order to gain wisdom or just peace of mind. Warning signs can hang around well after the initial indication and often these are self-inflicted. The aggravation I felt about looking at the dash indicator was on me and threatened to negatively impact my mood for the remainder of the trip.

Warning signs are good to heed and educate yourself about, yet they should never be an obstacle. Identify the warning signs when they come up and then make a decision (often with that wise council from a trusted partner) on how to proceed; then commit and confidently move forward without worrying about past lights flashing in your face.

Quote of the Week:

The greatest teacher, failure is.

~ Yoda to Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi (guess what we watched this weekend?)

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: Brainwashed

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40You’re being brainwashed.

A recent article and shared video by my Shrimp Tank podcast co-host, Brad Berger really caught my attention and compelled me to write on this topic. Many thanks to Brad.

We as humans are greatly influenced by advertising, cultural concepts, and the media (including to a large degree, social media). Even though we may declare to the contrary, we tend to believe most of what we hear and read. Without any demand for proof, we succumb to the peril of being brainwashed into thinking that can harm our health, make us scared, spend our money recklessly, and cause anxiety and stress.

Consider these examples: Food advertising that glowingly espouses low or fat free options when fat isn’t the enemy of poor health. The sugar that is used to saturate the products is. Media that tell us that we are more unsafe than ever when the statistics are clear that we are safer than at any other time in human history. Our society telling us that we should be winding down into retirement at age 65 when research shows that we can be at our peak until well into our 80s. Don’t even get me started on the pharmaceutical attack that encourages us to take all sorts of legal drugs while at the end rapidly telling us the horrible potential side-effects! Here’s the deal my friends. If you want to live an unleashed life, then eschew the “brainwashers.”

The reality of what is possible in your life is up to you. This includes your professional career and business. I encourage you to watch this video. I hope you find it as inspirational as I did. While I feel like I knew this information before and worked hard to avoid the brainwashing, this is a great reminder about how ubiquitous it is in our life.

Here’s my attempt to “brainwash” you: To live the life you want you must eat well; exercise your mind and body; get plenty of sleep; visit your doctor on a proactive not reactive basis; read more; explore more; smile more; don’t trust everything you read in social media or see on commercials; cultivate human relationships; and enjoy the ride.

Now Captain Jack and Bella might say you should also get a dog, but I will leave that as optional.

Quote of the Week:

“A champion is someone that gets up when he can’t.”

~ Jack Dempsey (Legendary Boxing Champion)

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: Seven Deadly Words

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40We have always done it that way. 

Those seven words are deadly to an organization. Yet that thinking and behavior is common in companies of all sizes. Why?

Humans fear change. You may hear people – including yourself – say that they don’t like change; or that it’s hard to change. Both are cover-ups for the reality that change is scary and people are unwilling to change because they fear rejection, failure, or loss of reputation.

The truth about the age we live in is that change is more rapid and volatile than ever before in human history, and (this is important) we will continue to say that every year because of the development end evolving of technology in our lives. Those industries that aren’t willing to innovate and create; to change thinking, activities, and behaviors, are bound to be flattened by the changing tide.

I toured my client’s brand-new building that features a coworking facility. During the tour, she mentioned that facilities like hers were once only found in metropolitan areas, but now were becoming more in vogue all over. She said that this unique way of creating workspace was becoming the future of “work.” This isn’t a tend, but a movement to make work more enjoyable, easier, and more profitable for individuals and organizations. I concur with her assessment. Those companies that don’t embrace concepts like these to attract or keep great employees will ultimately lose them to ones that are willing to change how they view “work.”

What about you and your business? What changes have you not considered? What is the future of your industry or career? What concept is just waiting for you to try and succeed?

Change is necessary for growth and development in business. Heck, I’ll argue that it’s necessary for survival. If you want to avoid going the way of the video store, make sure you’re prepared to be nimble, innovative and change-centric and exchange those seven deadly words with five better ones…

That is a good idea.

Quote of the Week:

”The secret of business is to know something that nobody else knows.”

~ Aristotle Onassis

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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

Extra Points: Leadership is Empathy

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Serena Williams is arguably the best female tennis player of all time; heck she may challenge Roger Federer as the greatest tennis player of either gender. She lost the US Open Championship on Saturday in what became a highly chaotic and confrontational scene involving Williams and the head judge.

What isn’t up for debate is that Naomi Osaka, her 20-year old Japanese competitor, completely outplayed her and won the match in two sets. It was a historic victory, the first ever Grand Slam Championship by a Japanese player.

The decidedly pro-Serena fans in New York voiced their displeasure during and after the match. The travesty is that they actually booed when Osaka was introduced as the champion, bringing this young champion to tears. What should have been a crowning event for the 20-year old was turning into humiliation. That’s when Serena showed why she’s also a champion as a human.

She graciously put her arm around Osaka’s shoulders when it was clear that she was being overwhelmed by the scene. She then took the microphone and implored the fans to stop the booing and give this young lady her time on the platform as a champion.

It’s a reminder to all of us that dealing with adversity with empathy and humanity is a trait of strong leadership. It’s a rare individual than can take a moment to consider someone other than self. Sometimes its forgiveness; other times it’s understanding; still other times it’s compassion and kindness.

Leadership begins with empathy and a genuine sense of how others are being affected; and continues with acts of compassion and kindness to help someone at the moment they need it most. On Saturday, that was a win for Serena Williams.

Quote of the Week:

”Obstacles are things a person sees when they take their eyes off their goal.”

~ E. Joseph Cossman

© 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: What’s That You Say?

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40As the Youth Exchange Officer for my Rotary Club, I get the honor of helping to pick up our inbound exchange student every summer. This student will stay a year with families from our club and have an exciting time. This year, we have a young man from Thailand.

I was speaking to my colleague in the club who is hosting our student to see how his first week went. He said things were great, and that the young man’s English was very good. As with all languages, we have idioms and slang that don’t translate very well. He laughed when he said, “I had to teach him what ‘I’m just messing with you’ means!” I’m sure this learning curve will continue as the young man starts school next week. 

There’s a language to business, both holistically and by industry. While one may have studied the language of business, they may may get stumped with the acronyms, slang, colloquialisms, and insider humor that is prevalent in all businesses and vocations. It’s as if someone were messing with them.

This is actually quite simple to fix; keep it simple.

Never assume someone else knows shortcuts and acronyms; avoid making things more complicated than they need to be; be pithy and clear; use strong vocabulary to clarify and define. In other words, make it easy to do business with others.

We are now a global economy and must be able to quickly communicate ideas and concepts with each other, whether it be with clients and customers next door or halfway around the world. The better you are able to accomplish this, the more rapidly you’ll be able to leverage success and build relationships.

And I’m not messing with you…

Quote of the Week:

”We cannot forever hide the truth about ourselves from ourselves.”

~ John McCain

© 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 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.