Extra Points: Abandon Ship

Dan_Weedin_022I was on the ferry over the weekend when from my car I heard the announcement by the captain that the crew would be performing an abandon ship drill. They were recruiting passengers to help; I now wish I had volunteered since it might have helped this missive! Next time.
It dawned on me as I heard the drill being played out on the speaker, that the only way to really simulate an abandon ship scenario was to pressure test the crew on a regular run that includes real passengers. Of course, nobody was actually going to leave the boat, but the process of using real passengers on a real run makes the exercise as real as possible to prepare and train.
When was the last time you pressure tested your business continuity plan?
My question first assumes that you have a plan in place and that you’ve at some point run a crisis simulation exercise. In my experience, neither plan or past simulations are often in place for small and medium sized businesses. Why? The major reason is the age old excuse of lack of time.
It was important enough for the ferry system to run an exercise in the middle of a crowded weekend run. While they are required to do this, the point still stands. If a crisis like an emergency evacuation needs to be done well, it must be practiced and tested.
You have the same obligation for your business to protect property and more importantly, people. If you never pressure test your people to deal with a crisis, why would you expect they can do it?
I’ve helped many clients perform these exercises and without exception, each one comes away with areas to improve and an awareness of the critical nature of this practice.
So what’s stopping you from running your own “abandon ship” drill this summer? Here’s what you do. Schedule a time. Find someone to help you create and facilitate it. And then do it. Learn from the experience and reduce the chance of exacerbating a calamity because you weren’t prepared.
Bonus: Don’t run or operate a business? Do you have a home? When was the last time you pressure checked your personal evacuation plan to assure you and your loved ones (and pets – Captain Jack wanted me to remind you) are prepared to save lives?
Are you and your business prepared to abandon ship? How do you know?
Quote of the Day:
“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.”
~ H. Jackson Brown Jr. – 20th century American author
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

7 Questions Non-Profit Directors & Trustees Need to Be Able to Answer

58842029-Dan+Weedin+Unleashed-43 copyAre you a non or for profit board member or trustee? If so, you’ve got tremendous liability for property, people, and growth. Here are 7 questions for Board of Directors or Trustees for any organization:

1. What’s the plan if we have an active shooter at our location or event?

2. What’s the plan if we suffer a cyber attack and personal information of people is compromised or important information lost or stolen?

3. What’s the plan in the event of a sexual harassment or discrimination lawsuit?

4. What’s the plan to evacuate and protect people and property if our building is on fire?

5. What’s the plan if we have a natural disaster that blocks transportation and halts communication?

6. Are we doing everything possible to safeguard our employees, volunteers, and those we serve?

7. Am I willing to accept the liability and financial consequences of not being fully compliant and prepared for a crisis?

I have a longer list of questions that revolve around your fiduciary and leadership responsibility as a broad member for either a non-profit or for-profit board of directors. By completing this exercise, you will learn how your organization grades out.

It doesn’t matter the size of your organization, any one calamity like those listed above can destroy a non-profit and damage your reputation. As you begin strategizing an planning 2018, are you sure that your organization is fully ready and prepared to deal with a crisis?

If you have any doubts or concerns, let’s schedule a time to talk.

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Flattened Squirrels

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…

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.


Heavy Traffic

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


© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. 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

When It Rains It Pours

I was having a drink with a couple colleagues at a nice place in Miami Beach prior to dinner. We had spent the day with our mentor and with full brains were ready to enjoy the evening. The place we were at was classic Miami Beach. Nice outdoor seating area (where we were) adjacent to a covered patio area with an indoor restaurant. The place was full both in the patio and the outdoor area, even with a light mist falling.

The light mist turned into a heavy spray…

Out of the blue we heard a sound akin to when you turn on your shower, followed by a few shrieks. The sprinkler system inexplicably turned on (apparently confusing the heat of the Miami night scene for a fire) and showered the guests directly underneath sending them scrambling. The people just on the other side of the sidewalk from us caught some “collateral damage,” but other than a sudden jump, didn’t need to vacate. We got nothing except the resulting flood of water cascading down from the patio area. Thankful I had shoes on rather than sandals!

I talk all the time about a crisis in business. While this might seem minor, it wasn’t at that moment. Spraying your clients with water while there eating rarely is good for business. The ensuing costs of the food, the employee efforts, and the clean up are part of the hidden costs of a crisis. This restaurant did an exemplary job of getting things back to normal quickly. Are you prepared to do the same if your version of a sprinkler crisis occurs?

Do you identify your own exposures (e.g. Sprinkler system)? Do you analyze the potential hazards (malfunction)? Do you prepare to respond to perils (getting everyone or everything wet)? What if this happened in your computer room, for example? In my experience, too many business owners and leaders settle for reacting in real-time to crisis. Savvy business owners are intentional about crisis strategy and use the system I describe for both preventive (avid the peril from ever occurring) and contingent (response) actions. What about you? What are you doing to assure you never let the “rain” ruin your day?

Copyright 2014 Dan Weedin. All rights reserved


Lights Out

The lights are out…

As a crisis consultant, I should be ashamed of myself. I left for a meeting in a neighboring city without keys to the security screen door on my front door, which I always lock. I have my garage door opener, so no big deal, right? It’s a normal day…no wind…no storm.

An electrical fire down the road about 3 miles has now wreaked havoc on the north end of my city. Obviously, the garage door opener is not operational. The dogs are probably ticked because things are beeping in the house. And I’m hungry.

I’m writing this from my iPad at my favorite little cafe in town. I did go get a good Italian Grinder from the market (nice peppercini kick) and then came here to get some work done. Limited to reading news and answering email. I can only take so much of Chris Christie’s Bridgegate…

So here I am writing a blog.

Here’s the deal. This is exactly what I preach to my clients and any business owners that care to listen. The day might be calm with no trouble on the horizon. Crisis rarely sends a warning shot across the bow. You need to be prepared for contingency actions or you waste time, effort, and money. I was not prepared to get back in my house. I know how to get out of the garage door with no power. I don’t know how to get in without breaking something, which isn’t an option right now. That being said, I was able to feed myself and find a place where I could get some work done. In fact, it’s the same amount of work I could do at home without power! This blog is an example.

Stuff happens and it happens without warning or reason. It happens to big companies, political leaders, sports stars, and small businesses. Too many of you are unprepared to deal well with it. You think you are, but you’re not. One of the best things you can do for your business and your employees is being prepared to prevent and respond to crisis. If you don’t know if you’re where you need to be, I know someone that can help you!

As an aside, I have a free webinar on Thursday to help business leaders and owners become better prepared. Maybe you should join us. Go to my web site at http://Weedin360.com and find Upcoming Events. It’s free. That’s a good ROI.

Don’t get caught outside of a locked house when the lights go out. Have your business’s, your employees, and yourself prepared to carry on with reasonable operations to sustain yourself when the bad stuff happens.

Copyright 2014 Dan Weedin. All rights reserved

Three Small Steps

In the last week, the news has been rife with crisis.umbrella_risk

If you’ve been following current events, you will have seen deadly flooding in Colorado; a devastating fire on the Jersey Shore less than a year after Hurricane Sandy; another cruise ship debacle off an Italian island; and now a deadly shooting in a Washington DC Navy yard near the Pentagon.

These disasters unfortunately happen way too much and in many cases aren’t avoidable. The crisis comes when business owners are not adequately prepared or ready to deal with them.

September is National Preparedness Month and should be a reminder that none of us are immune from disaster. Prevention is the first step in the process and the most under-used by small business owners. Preventing just one disaster from ever occurring will save you $250,000 at a minimum, yet because it’s never “felt,” can be overlooked. Making decisions before they must be made also gets neglected. I’ve spoke with too many business owners that feel they can handle any calamity thrown their way at the moment. I believe this is a recipe for disaster.

I encourage each of you reading this brief memo today to commit to significantly improving just three areas of your crisis planning before the end of 2013…

  1. Create a working crisis plan that is communicated to all your employees. This is not a template you simply download off the Internet and stick in some electronic file folder. This is a working document that will save your company hundreds of thousands of dollars and perhaps your existence if done correctly.
  2. Determine what you will do with all your employees tomorrow if your building becomes uninhabitable overnight due to fire, flood, or some other disaster. Most of the misfortunes that render buildings unavailable to occupy happen in the middle of the night when nobody is there. Knowing how to operate the next day is crucial.
  3. Have a backup plan for extended loss of power. Over 70% of business stoppages are from loss of power. In today’s world if you have no power or connectivity, you may have a building and people, but you have no business.

Don’t make crisis planning onerous. By taking three small steps at a time, you will over time make huge improvements and protect your business, your employees, your customers, and your personal investment. If you need help in making this happen, contact me.

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved


Data Breach Crisis

Information from my shopping cart and merchant account vendor’s newsletter. It applies to what I do so here I am sharing it with you. You can figure out the moral of the story!

Data breach incidents in the United States alone cost companies an average of $188 per compromised record in 2012*.

Multiply that by dozens or even hundreds of customer records, and it’s easy to see how the costs to your company can spiral quickly out of control if your system is compromised. Clearly, data security is a huge concern to merchants of all sizes.

Courtesy of Authorize.net

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved