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Posts Tagged ‘Business’

Extra Points: Dogs and Cats

August 22, 2016 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Captain Jack and Bella despise cats. Despise them.

When a cat is spotted on one of their walks, the histrionics begin. Resounding barking, bellowing angst, and powerful lunging that takes all my effort to keep them restrained. The cat, however sits silently, with a mocking glare that exacerbates their fury.

The ‘rivalry” between dogs and cats is centuries old. Our own pop culture characterizes this antagonism through mediums like cartoons, commercials, and school mascots. Ironically, this battle isn’t solely confined to our furry friends. I’ve spoken with many a business owner that has complained that his or her employees (and often leadership) “fight like cats and dogs.”

In any company, this clash leads to less than “unleashed” consequences. Some of the conflict may sound like my dogs obnoxious howling and posturing. Other times, the animosity is as stealth as a cat’s sly, shrewd stare. Regardless of number of employees, this leads to wasted time, poor performance, lost revenue, higher turnover, and high drama that sucks energy and time from your team and organization.

If you’re in a position of influence, it’s your responsibility to be a catalyst for change. I’ve heard and seen dogs and cats co-exist under the same roof. At some point, they were influenced to strike a culture of playing well together for the greater good (they both have agendas, too).

You’ll never be in a situation where you don’t have different styles, personalities, and opinions in your company. Conflict can be healthy if used for good, not evil. By creating a culture of “playing for each other,” as outlined in my book Unleashed Leadership, you’ll be able to harness the talent and skills of both your dogs and cats to accelerate profitable growth and better work conditions.

Bonus: Families are also prone to dog-cat rivalries. If you are part of a family-owned small business, those passions can become inflamed. You’ll be doing yourself a huge favor if you can learn how to influence others to create that better condition for all.

Quote of the Week:

Dogs are wise. They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more.
~ Agatha Christie

P.S. Having trouble with your own dogs and cats? You have the ability to fix this yourself, however if you need guidance and help to it, email me at dan@danweedin.com and let’s talk. I may not be very good at influencing my dogs, but I am better with people! Lets talk.

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

What’s My Lie?

August 18, 2016 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40It looks like the story of the four U.S. swimmers being robbed is a fabrication. If that is clarified, it takes on the impact on the grand scale of former NBC news anchor Brian Williams and his expansion of the truth dealing with his involvement with enemy fire in the Middle East. Believe me, the new “enemy fire” will be aimed right at these four swimmers and will haunt them for years, if not their entire lives.

This morning’s NY Times story – read here – is shedding light on what really happened a few nights ago in Río de Janiero.Ryan Lochte is the most well known of the quartet of athletes and he served as the poster boy for the media. His tale is all about having a gun pointed to their heads and fearing that they wouldn’t make it out alive. Well, he made it back to the United States before his buddies, who were unceremoniously dragged off the plan by Brazilian authorities for more questioning.

You can read the entire story for yourself. Suffice it to say, there appears to be some monkey business going on. This “tall tale” looks like it’s been invented to cover up for some misdeeds committed after the swimming competition was over, and the Americans shone as one of the brightest stars.

How does this affect you?

As a business leader (owner, manager, executive), you deal with people all the time that have reason to be untruthful. Your biggest concern should be with your employees. While I believe you should begin any relationship like this as trusting, you need to be vigilant on what the truth is becasue it affects your company. While you may never get into fabrications as large as this one, small white lies can cost you money. They can range from untrue resumes, explaining why someone is consistently late to work, to thievery (I have one client that had $25,000 stolen over time from their bookkeeper).

You also have an obligation not to be untruthful with employees. There’s ample opportunity to withhold information or stretch the truth for your own purposes.

Look, the bottom line comes down to trust and transparency. This incident is going to have serious ramifications on the swimming program and the United States. Lying is most often used to cover up something that is awkward, unpleasant, or embarrassing. If we are honest, at some point in our lives we have all been guilty to some extent. However, creating a culture of playing for each other (as outlined in my book Unleashed Leadership), will prevent the really embarrassing and potentially damaging consequences for you and your business.

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

Extra Points: Chip Shots

August 15, 2016 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This Week’s Focus Point: Good Chip Shots

I love watching the Olympics and as an avid golfer, I’m thrilled that golf is back in the Games after a mere 104-year absence. Although some top names golfers opted out due to a mosquito, most of the best players in the world are competing.

One of those competitors is from Canada. Graham DeLaet found himself in second place after the first round (at the time of this writing). DeLaet is a regular PGA Tour player who has had limited success in his career. In fact, a few months ago, he withdrew from a tournament and took a self-imposed hiatus due to what he claimed on Twitter was his “anxiety over my short game.” Basically, a person with the skills to be a professional golfer had allowed anxiety and fear take hold of the mental side, and jarred his ability to unleash the skill he already had. This is not entirely uncommon in golf. Kudos to DeLaet for overcoming it.

While I’ve been known to allow anxiety damage my own golf game, it’s still just a game to me. For DeLaet and his colleagues, it’s their professional career; their business world. If they are susceptible to letting anxiety and fear devastate their talent, then we are as exposed to the same fate in our career. For us, it becomes manifested in different ways: fear of making calls, so you hide behind email; fear of confrontation so you allow a poor behavior in someone else to persist; fear in imperfection so you become paralyzed and get nothing accomplished; fear of looking bad, so you do nothing; fear of public speaking so you miss out on a promotion; fear of not being liked so you allow a problem employee to stay employed; fear of asking for help, so you never improve…

You get my drift. The best golfers in the world lose confidence that – gone unabated – will lead to fear and anxiety. The best business leaders, entrepreneurs and professionals also can lose confidence leading to unmet goals, guilt, and unhappiness. Be resilient. You haven’t forgotten your “skills:” take a deep breath, hit the reset button, go back to your “practice range,” and encourage yourself until you get back to where you need to be… with a simple tap-in for birdie.

Quote of the Week:

“Fear masks talent.”

~ Alan Weiss

Dan is an amazing coach. He not only guides to me a level of clarity that has been instrumental in achieving my goals, but also provided a role model for what I hope to achieve in my own business. He is charming and funny but also fearless and sharp. I recommend Dan with the utmost confidence. ~ Stacie Curtis, President – CW Solutions

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Got Work?

August 8, 2016 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Captain Jack loves to work.

No really. I mean loves to work. He knows when I’m done eating breakfast and begin to stand up, that it’s time to work (even though often it’s not – I might just need a second cup of coffee!). He makes a beeline for my office door, which is a straight-shot down the hall. He literally hurls himself at the closed door with both front paws outstretched as if somehow he will knock it to the ground. He just might someday. At this point, he starts jumping up and down while emitting an exuberant bark, which would make you think there was a room full of beef jerky with his name on it inside the room.

Now Jack thinks he works. His main role (of which he is performing magnificently at as I write this) is to sleep in his chair. Yes, his own chair in my office. My wife Barb doesn’t even have her own chair, primarily because she’s not shown the same enthusiasm for “work” in my office. Even though it may seem redundant, Jack is most happy at work.

Are you happy at “work?”

My theory is that a great majority of people work for a paycheck. They don’t really love their job; have a passion for it; see themselves as a tremendous value; and can’t wait to “retire” someday so they can quit working. The most successful people – not just professionally – are the ones that do what they love every day. Their passion for their work magically transforms into fun. They value themselves and their contribution and most often are compensated equitably for that value. Why are you “working” where you are now? You either loved it and one point and now want a divorce; or you settled becasue it was a job. Regardless, it’s never too late to rekindle or discover that fire. Life’s too short.

I try to take Captain Jack’s approach every day. I don’t really “work.” I do what I love and have fun every day, and get paid for it by people who value my expertise. I don’t see a need to retire because I’m having fun. So is Captain Jack. Are you?

Quote of the Week:

“Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long shot.”

~ Charlie Chaplin

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Dangers to 2nd/3rd Gen Family Biz

August 5, 2016 Leave a comment

20 Under 40 20_3I was just interviewed for a newspaper article on the topic of the dangers to 2nd and 3rd generation family small businesses. The question was – What characteristics or temperament does a second- or third-generation small-business owner need to survive? What challenges do they face?

Allow me to share my response with all of you…

  1. Must have worked somewhere outside the family business before coming back. Diversity, different ideas, and making it somewhere outside the family circle will all bring a perspective and depth of business acumen that often is lacking in family that never “leave the nest.”
  2. Must be able to effectively create a transition point from past to present. This includes past generations of family that at what time were the bosses, AND importantly the employees that have spanned generations. There needs to be clear messaging on who’s in charge.
  3. Must be a strong communicator and influencer.
  4. Must be able to separate family from business. I call it the “Godfather” trait. It’s not personal; it’s business. Not allowing family members to feel entitled, or allow them to not do good work is critical to creating a string employee culture and business reputation.
  5. Find expert help. Consultants, coaches, mentors, mastermind groups, executive groups, and associations all can provide help to avoid stagnation in thinking and ideas.

 

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Just Doing It

August 4, 2016 Leave a comment

TWoodsNike just announced that they are dumping their golf product line, which means no more manufacturing of golf balls, bags, or equipment. This has stunned the golf world, especially the tour players that are under contract for them. The three biggest names that featured the equipment and the swoosh are Michelle Wie, former World #1 Rory McIlroy, and of course, the once invincible Tiger Woods. Heck, Nike even named a building on the campus after Tiger.

The fallout has created confusion among the profile athletes in the golf world, and unfortunately has cost many Nike employees that were representative of Nike Golf, their jobs. As an avid golfer – and actually a guy that plays Nike golf balls, sports a Nike golf bag, and hits a Nike driver and hybrid – I have been more than intrigued and fascinated by this sudden and unexpected turn in events. In the process of learning more, I believe there is a lesson here for small and medium size enterprises and the CEOs and Presidents that run those companies.

The golf industry is highly competitive. Nike was much more significant when Tiger was prowling in his decade long run as arguably the greatest golfer ever. However, He now has nearly a 10-year drought in winning a major championship, hasn’t won any tournament in three years, and hasn’t played due to injury in one year. Rory McIlroy hasn’t won a major since 2014 and Michelle Wie has been under-performing for over a year. This doesn’t help the brand and even though it sounds like they make a lot of money from golf, Nike has been hitting out of hazards over the last several years.

Their decision and verbiage on the press release is telling. They state that, “We’re committed to being the undisputed leader in golf footwear and apparel…” Basically, the golf equipment game was a risk they were willing to take when they had the biggest name in golf. Without him, it began not making economic sense. So they decided to “just do” what they do best. According to Trevor Edwards, president of Nike Brand. “We will achieve this by investing in performance innovation for athletes and delivering sustainable profitable growth for Nike Golf.”

They will focus on what they do best…

I talk to my clients all the time about their value proposition. The value proposition defines what you do best and how you improve the condition of others. Be it product or service, what is the one thing that you excel in? What are you the undisputed leader in doing?

Many small and medium size businesses will take forays into new ideas, new products, and new services. Innovation is great and I endorse that type of thinking. However, it better still be around your value proposition. It should still feed into what you do best. If it doesn’t, you may find that you lose a lot of time and money.

If you want to profitably grow your business, determine what you do and do more of it in a myriad of ways. Dump products or services that no longer work or showcase your value. Nike realized that the run was over. It truly ended being artificial because it was fueled by one profoundly valuable asset in Woods. Without him, they are just another “name” in the game, and well down the list. In their eyes, their value is in clothing and footwear.

Take a few minutes and look at your business. Are all your efforts focused on your value proposition and being an undisputed leader in your field or industry? Or, are you still dabbling in things that distract, confuse, or lose money? It’s better that you stay in your own fairway by improving your strengths and building a profitable and fun business.

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Heavy Traffic

August 3, 2016 Leave a comment

As many of you know, my daughter Mindy was recently married. It turned out to be a gorgeous Seattle summer day. After the wedding, I piled in the car my other daughter Kelli and her friend Gina to head from the church to the reception at a downtown hotel. As we hit the overpass to take a left on to the freeway, we were greeted with bad news. The traffic.

Saturdays in Seattle during the summer months can often cause congestion on the freeways. Today was due to be a higher with a concert at Century Link Field. We didn’t expect a parking lot.

As I merged into the left-had turn lane, Kelli exclaimed that she knew a back way to get to the hotel faster. She had her mobile phone GPS poised in hand and was adamant that we could get to our destination twice as fast. I took her information and quickly went into decision mode. I had about 5 seconds…I asked her one last time, “Are you sure?” she confidently said “Yes!” I made the quick turn out of my lane and down the road I was on to execute Kelli’s plan.

We then hit traffic…again. My initial response was , “great (dripping with sarcasm).” Kelli said to relax; that this was the only bad spot and it would open up. She was right. In the end, her calculations were spot on and we got their in a 200% faster time.

Here’s the moral to the story…

You make “traffic decisions” in your business almost daily. Some are more critical than others, but the process doesn’t change.

  1. Quickly identify the problem. Sometimes this easy (like visually seeing bad traffic), and sometimes it’s not (cash flow problems). Assess “how bad is it?” Sometimes we make a mountain out of a mole hill and sometimes it’s significant. Make a quick call.
  2. Get input from your leadership team. Kelli volunteered hers – do you have leaders that will do the same in a tight spot or do they wait for you? Kelli’s idea was hatched by her knowledge of the area and virtual traffic report. Where do you get your information, is it credible, and is it fast?
  3. Rapidly consider your options. Emphasis on rapidly. I took about three seconds. You may have five minutes or an hour; regardless smart people make fast decisions. Don’t over think, over complicate, or call for committee meeting. Do your own quick cost-benefit in your head. Ask one last time for input if you must – like I did with Kelli – and then…
  4. Commit to a course of action. Time means everything in business today. Speed is king, so your decision-making must also be mercurial. I’m not saying to be reckless; just to trust your gut and your information and go.
  5. Be patient. I almost considered turning around when I hit traffic again. Kelli encouraged me to be patient and she was right. Your decision may not yield immediate results, but be patient becasue it more than likely will.
  6. Be nimble. You may need to make small revisions along the way. Commit, but be willing to be flexible.

While my decision in traffic may seem to trifle compared to other weighty business matters, it was very important to us at the time. That’s the thing about being resilient; your challenges are important to you and require decisions. Learn how to react quickly and decisively and double your own results by doing so.

At the light, take that next right and step on it!

Want to learn how to be more resilient professionally and personally to grow your business more profitably and create a better life for yourself? Check out my new lifetime membership program, Unleashed Universe. Early bird discounts through August.

Learn more

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© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

 

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