Extra Points: A Series of Sprints

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40My favorite television series began it’s new season last week with several key changes. NCIS is now in its 14th season and introducing two new agents, one of which is replacing an original star, Micheal Weatherly (who now has his own new series).

My wife Barb and I enjoyed the “new blood,” however she found in reading social media, that there are many who don’t. She noted throngs of people upset that significant characters have come and gone and lamenting on why changes to a successful show would occur. To add to the topic, I have a friend that chided beer maker Dos Equis on Facebook for parting ways with the popular commercial character, “The Most Interesting Man in the World.” The actor, Jonathan Goldsmith is 77 years old and undoubtedly will get his chance to explore more Interesting things in retirement.

Here’s the deal folks. Just like in our normal lives, people (and characters) come and go. Life is not a television series or commercial where characters live on well past their prime. In fact, the most successful shows and campaigns make changes to stay up with the times. While both Weatherly and Goldsmith may have requested a change, both NCIS and Dos Equis got younger. They now are in a position to attract and engage millennial viewers, thus making it more likely to grow and sustain their “businesses.”

Life and business is a series of sprints. Each sprint has a life cycle to it, filled with different characters, situations, and opportunity. When one sprint ends, another begins. So it is with your business and life. If you’re unwilling to let go of characters and situations that no longer serve your best interests and provide new opportunity, then you’ll go the way of the dinosaur, video stores, and transistor radios. However if you consistently seek to embrace bold change aimed at expanding opportunity (and actually act on them), you will find that you’re unleashing your potential and prosperity to be successful, sustainable, and significant.

And winning all your races….

Quote of the Week:

If there is no struggle, there is no progress.

~ Frederick Douglass

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Join my co-host Brad Berger and me in our brand new podcast where we interview CEOs pf small and medium-sized businesses on what made them successful. The podcasts will air every two weeks and you can listen in our website. First streaming podcast is on September 27th at 4 pm PST!

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© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points – Madness. Memory. Momentum

Madness. Memory. Momentum                     2006 seated huddle vs Shelton

“Great players have short memories.”

The words of CBS college basketball analyst (and former Supersonic), Greg Anthony as he was talking about Ohio State star, Aaron Craft. Craft made a game winning shot against Iowa State with less than a second left in the March Madness tournament. Anthony is absolutely right. Great players always put the failures of the past behind them and move towards success on the next play. That’s exactly why I’ve never become a great golfer!

In watching the Gonzaga game Saturday night, many folks around here are calling Gonzaga “chokers.” In reality, in a game where there were three distinct momentum shifts, Wichita State had theirs at the right time…at the end of the game. The Shockers made 3-pt baskets like they were layups for the last 3 minutes of the game, as momentum swung furiously in their favor.

To be successful in business and life, you need both a short memory and momentum. On the latter, you can successfully keep momentum going with activities and behaviors that you know work, but sometimes are tough to keep doing. Keeping your head down and doing the right things consistently and intentionally will keep those momentum bursts on your side of the court. On the former, the best way to keep ding all those right things is to have a short memory. Forget the rejections; forget the naysayers; forgot when people say you can’t; forget unsolicited advise; and forget the speed bumps that are there to slow you down.

I love basketball for so many reasons, but one of them is clearly the lessons it teaches off the court. If you want to be successful in your life – professional and personal – keep momentum on your side and have a little selective amnesia.

Next!

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

This week’s quote –
“We an have no progress without change, whether it be basketball or anything else.”
–  John Wooden

Crisis…your name is Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen

I just received a New York Times e-mail notice that Charlie Sheen was fired from CBS’s sitcom “Two and a Half Men.” Sheen was the lead character and highest paid television star. He recently made big news for all the wrong reasons. His troubles with the law, bizarre behavior, and recent antics on television and radio was finally too much for CBS. They canned the troubled star today, probably putting the final nails in the coffin for the show and the rest of the cast. This situation isn’t too unlike Tiger Woods’s travails in November of 2009. His auto accident which led to his dirty laundry of exploits resulted in many of his sponsors dumping him. You can throw in Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, who was suspended for 4 games this year for embarrassing his team and the NFL after accusations (of which he was never formally found guilty of) were levied against him by a woman he met in a bar (sound familiar?).

Reputation is one of my 5 key areas of impact when it comes to crisis management. Make no mistake about it…this was a crisis for CBS. Media outlets are always vulnerable to reputation hits from their “stars.” Corporations who sponsor celebrity athletes, move stars, and the like are in the same boat. How they handle these crises will ultimately determine how they are preceived, and how badly the crisis will hurt.

CBS wasted very little time. Sheen spent last week making a fool of himself to any media outlet that would give him time. CBS at some point has made a decision on how it wants to be perceived and held the line with its biggest (by dollar amount at least) star. Their crisis management decision has huge implications – loss of revenue, legal action from cast members or employees, loss of fans, etc. However, in their organization, they set a standard of appropriate behavior for their employees.

These types of decisions can’t be made on the fly. Your organization must determine it’s own vulnerabilities and decide to make commitments to action in advance, not in real time. You may not ever have the same exposure of a renegade television star. However, you may have employees who can get into their own behavior problems. How do you deal with substance abuse, driving while intoxicated, criminal charges, public humiliation, libel, slander, or other issues? Are you willing to fire your best employee for conduct detrimental to your organization? Do you have a policy stating that?

Recently, Washington State University benched its star basketball player, Klay Thompson just before a huge game against UCLA for possession of marijuana. I’m not saying it was the right or wrong move; too much or too little. What I am saying is that they have a policy that includes everyone and they are prepared to deal with behavior crises on their team.

My question for you is this – are you?

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

You Are the Weapon

I was watching the CBS television drama, NCIS last night with my wife. It’s one of our favorite shows because the writing an acting are superb. There was a scene late in the episode where the character of Ziva David (played by Cote De Pablo) has had her cover blown and is in danger. The scene is played out back to NCIS headquarters and one of the admirals listening in asked Gibbs (Played by Mark Harmon) if Ziva had a weapon. Gibbs response was, “She is a weapon.”

You must be a weapon in your own business. Your weapon is your “smarts.” Your experiences, your education, and your skills will be the guiding force to acquiring and keeping business. My professional mentor, Alan Weiss recently said at a workshop, “You must be a brain, not hands.” In other words, if you are someone who simply does things, you are a subcontractor. However, if you offer your “smarts,”you become an invaluable trusted advisor.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Character Driven

I am a big fan of the CBS series, NCIS.  My family recently purchased the DVD set of Year 1 and it included special features about the show.  For those of you not familiar with the series, it chronicles the adventures of a team from the Naval Criminal Investigation Service based in Washington D.C.  The show stars Mark Harmon and is in its 6th season as a huge hit.

I always enjoy watching the special features. I enjoy learning what happens in the background to make shows or movies successful.  In NCIS, creator Donald Bellisario discussed at great length why the show has been a huge success.  Just like in his former work with Magnum P.I. and Jag, Bellisario felt that the show needed to be “character driven” instead of plot driven.  He knew that audiences identify with characters first and foremost.  Characters must create some sort of emotion, from love to hate, to evoke interest from the audience.  In NCIS, the protagonists are all likeable with their own small quirks and flaws.  They are real.  Think of your favorite television shows.  Regardless of the genre, comedy, drama, mystery, etc., the characters are really what keep you involved, interested, and coming back for more.

Think about your speeches or presentations.  Do you develop that kind of strong characters in your stories?  If not, you are missing a golden opportunity to influence your audience, and perhaps worse, bore the heck out of them!

The development of your characters doesn’t have to take a long time.  However, your audience must be able to see them, hear them, like them, or relate to them.  Here are four tips to help bring your characters to life:

1.    Give them a name.  It doesn’t have to be a real name.  You might shorten a name to Mr. T or even maybe more powerful, a brand.  I’ve used a brand name in one of my speeches, calling a character “Angry Dad” in a story from my coaching days.  Just using the brand gives you a partial visual of this character.
2.    Help your audience see.  Does your character have brown or blonde hair?  Are they short or tall?  Walk fast or with a limp?  You get the idea.  It can be a one or two word description as part of a sentence, but this still helps us visualize.
3.    Help your audience hear.  Does your character have an accent; a lisp; speak quietly; or loudly? Again, it doesn’t take much to sneak in clues.  Heck, in this one you can even model the sound for your audience by copying it during dialogue.
4.    Give them the best lines.  Make sure you include your characters in dialogue and give them the best and funniest lines.  Your audience will come to love them and your story.

Television shows like NCIS are no different than you writing a speech.  A successful TV show and a speech must both have a strong open and close, an intriguing plot or message, and must effectively use characters to keep the audience engaged.

NCIS is character driven.  Is your next speech?


© 2009 Dan Weedin – All Rights Reserved