Leadership is About Influence Not Force

JackI’m at my United gate on Sunday getting ready to head out to my conference in beautiful Cartagena, Colombia. If you’ve ever stood in line waiting to get on the plane, you’ve probably seen someone try to carry on luggage that is too big.

On Sunday, I watched a woman with a red roller bag try to convince the gate person that her bag fit. She tried to stuff the bag in the cage they use to show if the bag will fit in the overhead compartment. She stuffed, she squeezed, she prayed. She took it out and tried other geometric positions to no avail. The bag didn’t fit.

The next thing we all saw was her disgustedly opening the suitcase out and throwing things out to make it “smaller.” I don’t know where she was going to then try to stuff that clothing, but rearranging wasn’t going to work. Luckily for me, I walked past her and on to the plane, as she was getting more exasperated by the second.

I’ve seen business leaders try to stuff, squeeze, and pray as they tried to force their desired culture into their company. Just like this lady with the red bag, they were fruitless in trying to motivate by force to eliminate inefficiencies, drama, conflict, and lack of communication. Culture isn’t formed by force; it’s created by influence.

The days of command and control and hope that people will mindlessly fall into place are long gone and those days weren’t always good. It takes 3 factors to create an unleashed leadership in your company. It not only takes all of them, it requires they are all present. They are mentoring, selflessness, and autonomy. I spoke at length on these topics during my speech to the group of insurance executives at the conference. I will write about these concepts over the course of days on this blog.

The takeaway for today is this…

If you’re trying to squeeze and force your desired culture into your business, you’re going to end up as exasperated as the woman with the red bag at the United gate. Discover the art of influence and become an unleashed leader.

© 2015 Toro Consulting, Inc. All rights reserved

Extra Points: If the bathing Suit Fits

This week’s focus point…If the Bathing Suit Fits.Dan Weedin Unleashed-40
Barb and I were in Colombia for two weeks and during our stay in the beautiful city of Paipa, we found ourselves in need of bathing suits. You see, Paipa is the home of unique hot springs and mineral waters, and they have a pool there for your relaxation and enjoyment of the agua caliente. We didn’t bring our own because the weather looked to be cold and rainy. I learned that agua caliente trumps cold and rainy.

Our guide was our former Rotary exchange student from Paipa. Tati took us to the epicenter of water wear in the town, which may have taken up about 150 square feet in total. I asked to look at the sizes L and XL, as I’ve always had to buy larger in South America. Wanting to be sure, I asked to be shown to the changing room. It turned out the lady only needed to point. The changing “room” was in the corner of the petite shop behind a green curtain. Once behind this shield, I realized that in standing straight up and down, both shoulders could touch either side of the curtain. Simply moving my feet would create a draft I wasn’t prepared for. At this point, I looked down at the XL, pulled them apart with a good tug and said, “these will work.” I left my slightly cramped quarters still intact and willing to take the risk…

How often do you find yourself in a “tight spot;” with little room to move, nowhere to sit, and cogitating anxiously on the predicament while the walls close in? Rather, quickly assess your situation; find the simplest solution; make a decision; and take the risk. Don’t waste valuable time standing behind a curtain wondering what to do next. Just give the problem a little “tug” and do the best you can. Like the size of may bathing suit, it normally fits just right!

 © 2015 Toro Consulting Inc. All Rights Reserved

This week’s quote –

Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

~ P.J. O’ Roarke

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On Being Johnny Cash

From my May column for the Kitsap Business Journal…

Last month, I was in Bogotá, Colombia, to speak at a conference. I stayed an extra week to visit with family, as I am half-Colombian on my mother’s side. I have five aunts still living and scads of cousins. It’s always a joy to mix business with pleasure, especially in such a cool city as Bogotá.

I was sitting with my aunt and two cousins on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in her living room that overlooked the mountains in the distance. The view was spectacular and I had that feeling of being a continent away from my normal world. That changed suddenly when the radio station we were listening to made a switch in programming from its Latin music to one I was very familiar with. As I was absorbing the ambiance of the classic South American city, I recognized the unmistakable dulcet tones of … Johnny Cash. I literally did a double take. Here I was in Bogotá and the voice coming from the radio was a legendary American country artist. I might as well have been perched in Nashville.

It doesn’t matter your age, the area you live in, or your taste in music. If you’re an American over about 20 years old, you know the name and the sound of Johnny Cash. Although he passed over a decade ago, Johnny Cash developed a symbol so powerful, that millions of Americans can picture him in their mind by just listening to his music. Now that’s brand.

When I say Johnny Cash, you probably picture the ruggedly handsome man in black, with wavy jet-black hair and a guitar slung over his shoulder. You hear the deep, rich, baritone voice with a slight twang that drips with heart and soul.

How badly would you like to create a brand like that for your business?

If you’re smart, then pretty badly! We all want to be “top of mind” when it comes to our profession, whether we offer a product or service. The question becomes, how can we become like Johnny Cash?

Without belting out a rendition of “A Boy Named Sue,” I’ll share with you my five strategies and tactics to Being Johnny Cash …

1. Create a Look.  Johnny Cash was “the man in black.” Heck, he had a song by the same title. He became synonymous with the bad boy image of his time by always being dressed head to toe in black. What “look” can you create through consistency? Consistency in marketing is critical. It includes your logo, your signage, your documents, your letterhead, and your social media presence. When people see your work, they should immediately be able to identify you.

2. Create a Sound. Johnny Cash’s voice is so unique, once you’ve heard it, you will always recognize it. How are your products or services unique? What separates you from your competition? If you aren’t unique and an object of interest, why would anyone do business with you over someone else? Cash’s voice drew people in. How does your exclusivity and image of difference do the same?

3. Create a Following. Johnny Cash certainly wasn’t the only country-western singer of his time, yet he created an immense following of loyal fans. Do you have that? What kind of a business community are you building? What value are you providing so that people will follow your writings; listen to your speeches; buy your products at any cost; or seek you out because of the experience of others? Entertainers are skilled at creating “groupies.” Maybe you need some, too.

4. Create a swagger. JC was one of the original entertainers with “swag.” The term swag comes from the hip hop music industry and means superlative style. JC had superlative style based on the machismo that he exuded. Do you have swag in your persona? Now, I’m not talking arrogance; rather a powerful self-confidence. If you don’t have supreme confidence in your ability to help others with your products and services, then why should they? The first sale is to yourself, and you need to buy in big-time.

5. The Music. Johnny Cash reached into people’s souls with his music. It was often describing pain, sorrow and loss that his audience could identify with. He also sang with humor to lift spirits. What’s your message? Don’t have one? You’d better get one then, and a good one. Your message is about how you improve the conditions and lives of others, and you’d better “sing” it in a way that causes an emotional response. Logic makes people think; emotion makes them act. Too often, business people like to express themselves logically, and lose the attention of their audience because they couldn’t uncover the emotion.

Bottom line — People of all types are hugely successful in this world when they have a consistent message that engages the masses and do it in a confident manner that touches people’s emotions. Johnny Cash did that. So did Steve Jobs, Walt Disney and Mark Zuckerberg. If you’re not doing it, you must start. Take a look at my list and start moving boldly forward. If you are doing it then keep learning, growing, and developing your brand so one day, you will be as legendary in your world as Johnny Cash is in his.

14_02_DanCapJackRetouch_001Dan Weedin is a strategist, speaker, author and executive coach. He helps business leaders and executives to become stronger leaders, grow their businesses, and enrich their lives.  He was inducted into the Million Dollar Consultant™ Hall of Fame in 2012. You can reach Dan at 360-697-1058; e-mail at dan@danweedin.com or visit his website at www.DanWeedin.com.

 

Extra Points – What’s On Your Menu?

What’s On Your Menu14_02_DanCapJackRetouch_001

Last week I ate at an eclectic Mexican restaurant in Bogotá, Colombia as a guest of my cousins. This little joint was down a dark street just off downtown, yet once you entered, it was marvelous. Five tables, no menu. That’s right…small and you have no idea what you’re going to eat or how much it will cost. In better terms, exclusive and unique.


The chef prepares the menu daily based on her whims, the freshness, and anything else that strikes her fancy. Every table and gust that night gets the same 6 courses (tapas style) to share. No menu and no dollar amounts. You’re going on blind faith. And, it works. The uniqueness of the concept; the terrific food; and the richness of the experience keeps that place packed and popular.

Can you say the same thing about your business or career?

What makes you unique that others want to sample your work? Have you become an object of interest? Do you get referred to others becasue you do things differently? Does price even matter for your prospects and clients?

Counter to what many think, being different, unique, and out of the box is a good thing. Delivering quality work and outstanding value puts you over the top. Doing both over time will catapult you to being considered a “destination” professional, just like my little Mexican restaurant in downtown Bogotá.

What’s on your menu tonight?

© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

This week’s quote – 

“I want my food dead. Not sick. Not dying. Dead.”

~ Oscar Wilde

Join my new weekly  Unleashed Google ON AIR Hangout today at 12 pm PST / 3:00 PM EST. This will be our topic of discussion. It’s free, it’s cool; and your invited. Come join us and bring your questions and observations. 

 

 

My Interview on Colombian Television

Okay…let’s be clear. My Spanish needs some work and I might have been a little over my head in trying to use it as much as I did. But, it’s about being Unleashed, right?

I had the opportunity to be interviewed about my new book, Unleashed on a morning program called La Manaña in Bogotá, Colombia last week. My friend Maritza Castro and her co-host Luciana Martin were very kind in inviting me and being very patient. I brought my wonderful cousin, Maria Alejandra with me for translation support. My goal was to do as much in Spanish as possible, yet I realized early on that they talk really fast and I think in Spanish way too slow. In the end, a caller wanted one of my books and the producer said their were many requests. At first I thought the caller might be my aunt, but upon listening to the voice later, I think it was legit!

Here’s the lesson we can all take away. Although far from flawless, I tried my best to speak in Spanish. I didn’t let fear of looking foolish stop me. I figured, if I am terrible, then I was terrible in another country. The upside far outweighed the downside. Turned out pretty well overall. They were happy and I have a story. And Captain Jack is now known in another continent. He’s happy.

Don’t succumb to fear. Try something new, do your best, and be satisfied. Poke fun at yourself and laugh. In the end, in order to be unleashed, you need to take some risks.

Here is the complete video of my interview (15 minutes). As you can see, I’m surrounded by pretty women so I had that going for me, too!

 

© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Home, Sweet Home

Back from a great trip to Bogotá, Colombia where I gave a speech at a conference and visited family. After missing a connection in Houston coming home last night (and painfully watched my plane back out of the garage without me on it) due to extra long lines in customs (a blog is coming – believe me), I arrived completely back home at 1:30 AM. All in all a terrific trip. I thought I’d share a few photos with you…

IMG_3545 IMG_3528 IMG_3497 IMG_3490 IMG_3443 IMG_3442 IMG_3433 IMG_3432

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Sometimes You Just Need a Paperclip

So I’m in Bogotá, Colombia to speak at the 2014 Latin American Distribution seminar. As is my custom when traveling, I bring one black suit with multiple shirts. That is always good enough for a 2-day conference. As I’m preparing to go to breakfast, a terrible thing happens. I realize my zipper tag is missing. Gone. These slacks are fresh from the dry cleaners so I’m figuring it’s lying on their floor somewhere. Does me no good now.

I’m an expert in crisis planning and I think I’m in good shape. I find the sewing kit nice hotels always have and grab the safety pin. Too small. It wouldn’t stay affixed moving it up and down. Now I panic.

Good thing I have my own expert. I text my lovely and talented wife, Barb. (Actually to be candid, we already had been talking…the safety pin was her idea. You think I knew this myself?) She says go to front desk and get a paper clip. I went and got three of them (insurance in case I mutilated one or two in the process). It worked on the first try! I was very proud of myself and this newfound skill. The part that keeps me humble is that I would have never gotten their without Barb’s help. As she texted me back, we make a great team.

Where or who is your crisis expert? Where do you turn when your business has an unexpected “zipper malfunction?” Let’s face it, crisis happens all the time and it rarely sends a warning. You need both internal and external experts to keep you calm, give you guidance, and help you respond well. And, you need them in place BEFORE the crisis. Otherwise, the chaos increases. My personal crisis expert is a continent away as we speak, yet I was able to access her. Can you say the same?

Copyright 2014 Dan Weedin. All rights reserved

Unleashed Case Study #3 – Can You Make the Chair Turn?

Shakira
Shakira

I enjoy watching NBC’s The Voice on television. I like it better than American Idol for several reasons (including that they boast my Colombian paisana, Shakira as a judge, but I digress)….

The four judges (also including Adam Levine, Usher, and Blake Shelton) listen to just the voice of the singer in the blind trials. That singer can only impress with their voice. Their looks, their dress, their dance skills, won’t help them. Just their voice. The judges that want to coach them then turn their chairs around within the 90 seconds allotted. If there is more than one, they “fight” to influence the singer to choose them as a coach.

Two important things that you need to know based on this show becasue it can make you better in whatever profession you are in…

1. These singers get 90 seconds to make a BIG impression. That’s it, that’s all. They need to be supremely influential and an object of interest with their most powerful gift (or “value”). Think about your business. You also need to be influential and become an object of interest to your audience quickly. While you may have more than 90 seconds, you don’t have long to engage and capture their attention. Whether you’re speaking publicly to a large group or having a first meeting with a prospective client, your “voice” needs to be more than just heard in those first few minutes. You need to turn a chair.

2. Coaches often duke it out in trying to influence a young artist to choose them as the coach. Even though much of it is based in good humor, there is always a strong plea based on the talents and how they align with a coach. If I was an aspiring country artist, why wouldn’t I choose Blake Shelton? If I was a young R&B artist, Usher would make the most sense. Shakira is skilled in not only music, but choreography and building a global base. Adam Levine would attract the eclectic and rock side. From whom do you seek advice from? Is it from people that are where you currently are (peers), or is it from people that have achieved what you want to achieve and can quickly guide you there? Mastermind groups are fine for what they are – accountability and support. Everyone needs a “coach” that will take them to their desired state rapidly. That’s what these young artists on The Voice want, and that’s what these judges deliver.

Look, if you want to accelerate your ability to be influential and grow your business, you’d better get really good at the first 90 seconds. The best way to do that is to get coaching from someone that can help you maximize your talent.

© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Thankful #2

Thankful 2 of 4: Personal History & Culture

I know many of my friends are doing a daily memo of thanks, usually on Facebook. That’s way too much work for me, so I will do it four times during the month on Extra Points. And, my family, friends, health, etc. are all givens. I want to loo a bit deeper by peeling the onion.

I’m thankful for a history and a culture outside of my own as United States citizen. The fact that I have a deep and rich heritage in Colombia with my mother’s side of the family has become very meaningful to me. As I get older, that sense of family and culture has engendered new friendships, language, memories, and opportunity. On my visit in 2011 to Bogota (a whopping 40 years after my last one), I was able to make connections that I had never dreamed of. Now, I’m heading back again next year with new adventures to experience, and most importantly relationships to continue to cultivate.

We all have somewhere other than our own backyard to cull experiences and memories from. What an opportunity to maximize your own personal heritage and culture. You never know what you’ll uncover and learn about yourself!

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

This week’s quote –
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard