Archive

Posts Tagged ‘crisis management’

Extra Points: Flattened Squirrels

August 28, 2017 1 comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40“Be decisive. Right or wrong. Do not hesitate. The road of life is paved with flattened squirrels who couldn’t make a decision.”

This was the “story of the week” from our legendary Rotarian, Ardis Morrow. For you squirrel lovers (and I like squirrels to, for that matter), send your complaints to Captain Jack. He doesn’t like squirrels. While meant to be humorous, the truth of the matter is that it’s pretty accurate.

Squirrels and other wildlife that trek over highways and byways and survive probably didn’t spend much time hesitating. We humans have a penchant for hesitation. We often create our own “invisible fence” that is the enemy of decisiveness. Fear of rejection; fear of failure; and fear of a multitude of things keep us in our self-created invisible fence. This becomes problematic if the fence has us confined in the middle of a highway!

Business decisions – especially in times of crisis – can easily be overwhelming. However, if properly planned in advance, they can be made with more decisiveness. While planning ahead doesn’t guarantee the right decision, it at least improves the odds. Once that decision is made, don’t hesitate and commit to accelerating through it.

Here’s the deal: Important decisions are made in business every day. Often these decisions are made in the midst of crisis and chaos. The best way to compound the issues is to stand still holding a meeting about it and wringing your hands in fear. The best way is to have identified your potential issues before they happened; considered your options; and then when faced with the decision, not worry about right or wrong, but on your ability to be a leader and resilient. That’s the best way traverse life’s constant challenges.

Quote of the Week:

”You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

~ Plato

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Do you need help growing and protecting your business? Call me and let’s schedule a meeting to talk. I’m confident I can help you and your business unleash your potential and profits.

A Little Privacy Please…

May 17, 2017 Leave a comment

He is ready to fight for success

A Little Privacy, Please…
How to guard and protect yourself and your company from cyber crimes

As a first world society, I’m afraid we are becoming numb to calamity around us. Once upon a time, a global cyber security breach would have been the main news story for several weeks. The major attack that happened last week that impacted countless businesses around the world is now largely forgotten as we did into the FBI, the White House, and Russia.

We live in a growing less secretive world. The ability for a criminal with some technology skills to “break into” a small or medium-sized company and steal information is alarmingly easy. We all lock our doors at night to keep the bad guys out. The problem is that the bad guys don’t need to pick your lock; they just need to figure out your password and then they can steal information, money, and profits.

I will be brief today, but that doesn’t lessen the severity of this threat to your company and employees (including you and your family). Here are three steps you should take right now to help prevent and mitigate this risk:

  1. Create (or review and revise) a written cyber security plan for your company. I don’t care if you are a company of five or 500, you use the Internet and you need to protect yourself. Just like unprotected sex leads to bad consequences, unprotected systems could result in more serous viruses (see link to article below).
  2. Form a team. Being a lone wolf doesn’t work because you can’t possibly know everything. You need an IT expert, a risk specialist, and key employees in your company to build a strong fortification. It also supports accountability and implementation.
  3. Read this article in the Harvard Business Review written by Luke Bencie. A colleague of mine shared it on Facebook yesterday and it’s excellent. You and your employees are probably violating a lot of his suggestions. I know I am and that will start changing. Are you ready to change to match the new risk to your business?

Bottom line: This isn’t 1977 any longer. Your most valuable assets and information are no longer stored in a safe in your locked business. They live in a cloud that can be accessed by people with skills and bad intent. It’s time to re-awaken to what your most concerning risks are and do what you can to ferociously guard them.

I’m an expert in resilience, risk management, and crisis planning. I have a proprietary scorecard to assess where you are today when it comes to protecting your most important assets and your bottom line.

If these are important to you, then call and let’s talk. Call me at 360-271-1592 to schedule a meeting.

_________________________________________________________________________

WHAT’S NEW…my Private Brokerage Client program.

I’ve expanded my consulting practice to include the ability to place insurance coverage for clients. Through my affiliation and partnership with First Underwriters, I now can not only help you control your risk exposures, but finance them in a way that ferociously protects your profits.

My business model is different for two reasons. First, clients gain access to certain intellectual property and resources that before were only available to consulting clients. These resources will help clients save time, money, and frustration on their entire risk portfolio. Second, the program has a capacity limit. In order to offer this full-service, concierge style approach, I will limit the number of Private Brokerage Clients I will take on. Just since starting about 45 days ago, I’ve added five new clients.

If you’d like to learn more about how I can help you ferociously protect your profits and lifestyle, call me to see how this program might look for you.

WEBSITE

Extra Points: Of Storms and Calamities

October 17, 2016 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40As I sit writing this edition of Extra Points on the Friday before, the day outside is miserable. And that’s being kind. We are in the midst of a series of rain and windstorms that are projected to be some of the worst and most damaging in recent history. Those who went through Hurricane Matthew a few weeks ago know all too well the wreckage that Mother nature can inflict.

So in advance of the worst of it – I’m hurrying to write this before we lose power; have purchased food and other necessities (as instructed by Barb) to last through the weekend; fully charged all devices and portable chargers; and battened down the hatches as best as possible to mitigate damage and create resiliency. And of course, Captain Jack is pacing and barking at the wind, doing his part to protect the ship…

We’ve known this storm was coming for the last three days. It was hard to believe becasue the preceding days have been sunny and pleasant. It created a false sense of security and many people are just now braving the elements hoping to stock up and prepare. Why the delay?

Why do you delay preparing for the storm in business? While your daily operations may for the most part seem sunny and pleasant, we all know that calamity comes – unlike winter storms – unannounced. Too often business owners and entrepreneurs are left scrambling to recover and sustain operations in the midst of the storm. Had they planned in advance, it would have been easier and less costly both financially and emotionally.

Make resilience part of your basic business planning and strategy. In grade school we used to do fire drills in preparedness for the building fire that never happened for me in 12 years. (Lights blinking and Jack barking, so tying fast…) Bottom line – protect your business, protect your employees, and protect your revenue. Resilience management may not be sexy, but it might be the most important work you do.

Quote of the Week:

Behind every cloud is another cloud.

~ Judy Garland

© 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

851x315-Space

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

 

Extra Points: Finding Balance

November 30, 2015 2 comments
This Week’s Focus Point: Finding BalanceCapt Jack and Dan
 

The week following Thanksgiving here in the United States has become a transition point for people, both professionally and personally. It starts a shift from the “regular year” into a full blown holiday season. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or nothing at all, you can’t ignore the flurry of activity, events, and sometimes crushing “noise.”

This transition from “regular” into the holiday/end of year/resolution-ready period that concludes sometime soon after January 1 contains the peril of overwhelming us. We rush around buying gifts, planning parties, sending cards, compiling year-end reports, trying to spend budgets before it’s too late while determining next year’s budget…. You get what I’m saying.

This week’s missive is a suggestion for you for simplicity. When you find yourself rushing or frenzied; anxious or scared; flustered or frantic…or just overwhelmed… then just stop. Stop and find a quiet spot physically and mentally. Perform a quick triage – assess your situation, determine its level of urgency, take a deep breath, and calmly determine what to do next – after you’ve stopped and recharged.

I guarantee you’ll encounter opportunities to practice this. Those that don’t risk making mistakes or missing things that only add to the stress. Those that can discipline themselves to slow down and triage will find this final month of the year more relaxing, rewarding, and enjoyable. Which do you prefer?

Quote of the Week:
“Whatever you are, be a good one.”
~ Abraham Lincoln
© 2015 Toro Consulting, Inc. All rights reserved

Can You take a Punch?

February 4, 2015 2 comments

o-lineIt’s three days after an excruciatingly painful Super Bowl loss for my hometown team. The Seattle Seahawks and their fans basically took a brutal punch to the gut.

In the span of about 30 “real-time” seconds from the point where Marshawn Lynch was tackled on the 1-yard line to the fateful interception by Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, we all went from the jubilation of winning the Super Bowl to losing. Cruel.

Now I understand that as a fan, this isn’t the most compelling crisis that’s occurring around the world. The measles outbreak in the United States; the terrorist actions around the globe; and the winter storm pummeling the Midwest and East Coast surely are weightier in a human perspective. That’s not quite the same for the players and organization, though.

For these people, this is their livelihood. Just as you and I go about our jobs and careers, this is their “business.” That not only includes high-salaried players and coaches; it also means the office and support staff in the building. It’s the equivalent of your company being “sucker punched” and having the entire organization in crisis-mode.

My question for you is – Can you take a punch and get back up?

The Seahawks now have to answer this question as an organization. The culture, the churn of players and coaches, and the overall mindset must stay resilient. There will be hurt feelings in the locker room. There is likely to be drama regarding new contracts offered, and others not offered. There will be that lingering feeling of opportunity lost that never goes away. Leadership and communication is critical to being able to take a punch and stand back up for them.

The same is true for you in business and in your personal life.

There are two important aspects to this resiliency. The first is physical. Do you have processes and redundancies in place to overcome a physical disaster like a fire, flood, hurricane, earthquake, or loss of power? Is your insurance adequate to replace and repair property? Do you have a plan for staying open in the interim period? These are all questions that good business leaders deal with in advance.

The second aspect is more challenging and more important.

Resiliency is easy when fixing property – homes, equipment, buildings, computers. Fixing the emotional side is harder – loss of confidence, depression, distraction, fear, sense of loss, and uncertainty.

Great leaders can do this knowing 3 important things:

  1. It will take time. I know we all like to fix things fast. Emotional resiliency requires some level of grief, understanding, and perspective. It can’t be rushed, only lightened.
  2. It requires constant communication from the top down. Candid, real, and transparent communication.
  3. It requires trust. Sometimes in crisis, trust is lost, or at least damaged. In order to rebuild trust, you must enhance organizational culture.

Bottom line- we will soon see of the Seahawks are able to take a punch and pop back up. Based on experience, I’m certain they can and will. What about you personally and professionally?

Can you take a punch?

© 2015 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserve

How Not To Deal with Crisis: The Curious Case of Roger Goodell

September 19, 2014 2 comments
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

So you’re a business owner or executive and you want to handle a crisis with ineptitude and enrage your important business partners, all your employees, and your target audience, right?  Then study today’s press conference by NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell.

I’ve been a huge football fan and followed the sport since 1974 when I was 9 years old. Over the decades, we’ve all witnessed crises occur for what has become the premier sport in the United States. Never have we witnessed the erosion of trust that has happened only in the past few months, with a climax of a fiasco such as today. I have no doubts Roger Goodell is a smart guy. He just didn’t show it today.

Here’s how to mishandle a crisis when you’re the head of an organization and your world (whatever that might look like) is watching…

  • Start 15 minutes late. Really? You set the press conference. Show up on time. Not a good way to start.
  • The opening statement was as obvious as a ham sandwich. We could have all probably written it ourselves. Instead, make a brief (3 minutes) statement apologizing for past errors of judgement and open it up for questions.
  • Avoid answering Yes/No questions. When Goodell was asked if he had spoken to NFL sponsors, specifically Anheuser Busch. He never uttered the words yes or no, and proceeded to spin the case around to a point where everyone was confused and a follow up question about his communications had to be asked. His response? “You will have to ask them.”
  • Keep referring to your past statements. The commissioner answered almost every questions with, “As I just stated,” or “As I’ve said before…” Here’s the deal, Roger. You lost your right to fall back on past comments. You need to just keep answering what you have in front of you.
  • Be the ultimate spin doctor. One journalist asked about the comparison to his ruling on New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton after the infamous “Bounty Gate” scandal. Goodell blasted Payton for lack of control and suspended him for a year. When his lack of control was called into question, he began spinning like a Wolfman Jack in his prime, by not only avoiding any comments about the Saints and Payton (which was the question), and again explaining that he was going to fix everything.
  • Keep referring to your nameless “experts.” Goodell kept referring to the league’s “experts.” These are the experts that didn’t see a problem with him interviewing Ray Rice with Janay Rice (the victim) in the same room. These are the “experts” that are advising the NFL on how to move forward with a domestic violence policy. We should all feel better…
  • Deny, deny, deny. When asked about the report that the Atlantic City hotel confirmed that they were never asked for the video in the elevator by the NFL, Goodell said they had tried several times. So let me get this straight, the NFL says it asked on multiple occasions and was shot down. The hotel says they were never asked. The TMZ reporter in the crowd said they got it with one request. Someone’s lying. It’s clear, yet Goodell simply skirted the issue.
  • Avoid clearing up conflict of interest questions. Rachel Nichols of CNN is really good at her job. She asked about the independent investigation that appears to have more bedfellows than Wilt Chamberlain on a good night back in the day. She drew a correlation about conflict of interest with owners and law firms. Instead of hitting that straight on, Goodell seemed outraged that Nichols would call into question the integrity of a former FBI chief.
  • Show them you’re sweating. Speaking of Nichols, she really got under the Commish’s skin (which seems to be getting thinner by the day). You could tell his anger simply by his facial expression. You could also hear it in his voice when he tersely repeated her name, Rachel, when addressing her. I’m thinking there’s not going to be a Christmas basket sent from him to her this year.
  • Pick a time when you might be least hurt. How about holding a press conference on a Friday afternoon? That way, sports radio can’t blast it the next day. College football and NFL games take place over on the weekend. By Monday, it’s horror will have dissipated. This one may not…

Heck, throw in a clown from the Howard Stern show that makes a scene right in the middle of the press conference and is dragged away screaming “Not the elevator…don’t take me to the elevator!” (Mocking the ray Rice elevator incident) and you have the makings of a huge calamity. That was a nice scene…NFL bouncers dragging someone away in front of the nation.

Crisis communications is critical after a catastrophe. Ask former BP CEO Tony Hayward who publicly exclaimed that he only wanted to “get my life back” after the Gulf oil spill. He is toiling somewhere in Siberia now and it took BP years to regain its reputation. This press conference (Goodell was silent for the past 2 weeks, other than a CBS News interview) was a great opportunity to fix some real problems. Unfortunately, Mr. Goodell’s performance only exacerbated them. Football pundits and NFL players on Twitter widely panned it. The results are exploding in real time across social media platforms and television.

Crisis communications mean everything when it comes to protecting your reputation and brand. Your employees, your supply chain, your business partners, investors, and community count on you to respond quickly, be candid, admit mistakes, and express a plan. Although Commissioner Goodell did do some of those things, his ability to respond to questions with empathy and believability have deeply damaged his credibility. It will be interesting to see if he can survive this. In your business, you may not have the same chance.

Here’s one hint. Practice. If Goodell got advice, it was either not good or he didn’t execute well. You need to be prepared to face the music when it’s your crisis. Make sure you don’t get flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct detrimental to your business. Goodell just got 15 yards and maybe more for his…

© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved