Extra Points: En Fuego

Dan_Weedin_022This past Saturday, ten of us from our neighborhood got together on a beautiful night to sit outside around an open fire and enjoy each other’s company with a few adult beverages and lots of food. It’s one of the things we love about our neighborhood.
As the evening went on, I found myself interested in the fire. As a couple of the guys kept feeding it with wood they brought over from home, the fire would suddenly get bigger and hotter. This sequence repeated itself over the hours we were together. The heat and “vibe” of that fire created energy and life.
Is your business “en fuego (on fire)?
Every business has a vibe (energy) that is needed to keep alive. All too often, business owners lose sight of the fire beginning to go out. It can be a very subtle thing; and if left too long takes a whole lot of extra wood (in your case energy, effort, and money) to get the fire burning with the same vibe again.
So what are the signs that the fire is being extinguished?
Apathy and low morale in employees; increased turnover; decreased sales; stagnant leadership and management; lack of innovation and ideas; overlooking areas around safety and security; and increased client and customer complaints.
Your job is to stay en fuego. That means you have to take charge like my two friends did to ensure everyone is not only staying warm, but being invited to stay and create the energy. Being a business owner requires the ability to be vigilant on the health of the fire burning in the organization, assuring it doesn’t become the wrong type of fire!
Be on the lookout for stagnation and combat it with a collaborative environment that encourages innovation and growth for it’s people. That way, your company and it’s people will continue to stay en fuego…
Quote of the Day:
“He who clutches desperately to security, to every day habits, work, organization, friends, family; no longer lives. More than security, life needs adventure, risk, dynamic activity, self-giving presence to others.”
~ Jean Vanier (Canadian philosopher, theologian, and humanitarian 1928-2019)
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Snap Out of It

Dan_Weedin_022I’m on a regular chiropractic maintenance program to keep me in line. While Barb has tried valiantly to keep me “in line” in life; Dr. Tom has the easier job of making sure that my spine is right. As many of you know, when the spine – which is foundational to the working components of the body – is in line, everything else works better.
Last week at my regular visit, there were two loud cracks when Dr. Tom corrected my neck – one on each side. Although I wasn’t feeling mis-aligned, I was. I asked Dr. Tom if the loudness of the adjustment also indicated how much out of kilter I was. He said, yes. That although it may not always manifest in pain or discomfort, being out of line happens naturally and the “loudness” of the return to normal often indicates how much it was needed.
Businesses often get “out of alignment;” which directly leads to imbalance. Imbalance is the leading cause of a number of maladies including poor employee morale, unfocused marketing strategies, gaps in business continuity protection, and CEO mental and physical health (to name a few).
Just like in a human body, drifting into imbalance is part of the normal process, even when things are positive. It becomes necessary to get snapped back into alignment for the health of the company. Sometimes there will be loud cracks (my code for disruption attributed to necessary change), but in the end the result will be a healthier, happier, and more profitable company. It also leads to a better adjusted business owner.
Just like I need regular chiropractic adjustments to keep me healthy, I also need regular business practices adjustments from my professional coach (which I do twice a month at minimum).
What do you do to stay aligned an in balance? Do you use the services of an expert to crack your organizational spine back into place? Your assignment this week (if you’re willing to accept it) is to take a candid appraisal of your business and your life and take one step towards better balance. After all, every one if us needs it.
Quote of the Day:
“There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things and people who claim to accomplish things. The first group is less crowded.”
~ Mark Twain
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Protecting Your Income

58842029-Dan+Weedin+Unleashed-43 copyI’m going to be speaking to consultants next week on the power of insurance to protect their business and lifestyle. It’s Disability Insurance Awareness month and small business owners and entrepreneurs are apt to insure for things like fire and wind, and bypass insuring what they most contribute to their family…their income.

This is a seven-minute video detailing a consultant who became disabled after a stroke. As you can see, he’s not elderly; and has children in their teens ready to head to college in the future.

If you are a CEO, President, consultant, entrepreneur, or business owner, you need to protect your income. Call me for a discussion at my cost. I’m happy to help you find solutions.

Watch Video

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

Extra Points: Fresh Take

Dan_Weedin_022This weekend, Barb and I worked on re-shuffling the deck inside our house. Basically, we moved rooms around: the dining and living rooms switched locations. In the 18 years we’ve lived in this house, it’s probably the fourth or fifth iteration of this move, and each time it’s a little different. And as with all of them , this time it added a “freshness” to the house.
Regardless of whether we make a switch in rooms, paint a few walls, or simply make the functionality in a room or area different, there is a newness – a fresh felling – that rejuvenates the spirit. It makes old new again, and often seen with a clearer vision and increased level of excitement.
No matter how long you’ve been in business, the similar exercise or process can create similar results. The corollary in business is innovation. When was the last time you created a new service or product; or re-invented yourself? If it’s been more than a year, then it’s tie to “switch rooms.”
Investing time to re-invent and to innovate creates that fresh take, than rejuvenation that a business (and its people) need to continue to grow and thrive. The opposite effect of doing nothing leads to stagnation. I just recently worked with my own business coach to develop a new program which will not only help my clients but add a sense of excitement to my own work.
Your assignment this week is to uncover something new and simply try it. If it doesn’t work or fit, try something new. Innovation is good for the spirit and your business growth and success. Re-shuffling the decks and “changing rooms” every once in awhile will do wonders for you and your business.
Quote for the Day:
“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.”
~ William Pollard
© 2019 Toro Consulting. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed® is a registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Close Calls

Dan_Weedin_022The time-frame to walk down 20 floors of a hotel, discover the emergency is a false alarm, and then take an elevator back to your room is 15 minutes. I know. Just did it.
I was in Las Vegas to teach a class last week, staying in a nice casino on the strip where the class was to be held. I was happily surprised when my room was upgraded to a suite on the top floor because of my single night stay. Of course, as luck would have it, at 11:30 pm as I’d fallen into a deep sleep, the fire alarm went off.
I did what I was initially trained to do in grade school: checked the door to see if there was fire directly outside; grab my keys, phone, and wallet; and find the nearest exit by stairs and start descending. I was part of a group of people all doing the same thing.
When we got down to the ground, we noticed that Vegas was still Vegas. No fire trucks, no throngs of evacuated guests and customers. As it turns out, it was a false alarm and 99% of the hotel had no idea what happened. Thankfully for me, the elevator to my tower was operational and I ascended happily knowing that taking the stairs back up would not be required!
False alarms can at first blush be considered an annoyance. In reality, they are a great learning opportunity. In my consulting practice, I discuss the concept of “close calls” with my clients. A pattern of close calls generally turn into a crisis if left unattended to. This concept is real in operations both physical (near collision by forklift or vehicle) or mental (data input errors).
We all deal with close calls professionally and personally. I encourage you to not brush them off as happenstance, but to add one important activity – to consider what was learned to be better prepared.
What was my lesson in the evacuation from the 20th floor, you may ask?
While I did seemingly bring the most important things with me, one more thing could have been included. It would have taken no more time to throw my laptop into my bag and bring the entire thing with me. There’s important information stored there and in the event of a real emergency, would have taken extra time to recover.
Bottom line – in your next close call – whether it be a near miss in traffic or a false alarm at work, make sure that you take advantage of the lesson it will offer you.
Post script: The exact same thing happened to me exactly 10 years ago except it was January in Providence, RI and about 70 degrees colder outside. That time, I didn’t bring my cell phone with me, so I’m getting better at it!
Quote for the Day:
“Experience is simply the word we give to our mistakes.”
~ Oscar Wilde
© 2019 Toro Consulting. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed® is a registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Eye of the Tiger

Dan_Weedin_022For a period of about 10 years, Tiger Woods was the best golfer in the world. Arguably, he was the best athlete in the world. He was dominant; to the point of being super human in his play and stoic personality.
And then came the fall. Both personal and physical calamities damaged his reputation and skills. His brand was so strong that he remained relevant, however it was starting to look like at a young age, his time was over. His body and his game were in need of great repair and he was at an age, that even in golf, future glory wasn’t likely.
Yesterday, he won his 15th Major and fifth green jacket at The Masters in Augusta. He held off a field of the top golfers in the world and resembled that super hero who stalked the course over a decade ago. But a lot happened in between, and that is relevant to all of us in business.
Life happens and all of us – including Tiger Woods – are subject to the downfalls. We are all vulnerable to personal and professional travails; we all make mistakes; we all have failures. In fact, many times – just as with Tiger – these failures (often devastating) come after great success. Being an entrepreneur or a business professional isn’t an easy road. It’s filled with potholes and sand traps. So what can we learn from the Tiger Woods story?
Build a team. We can’t be brilliant by ourselves. In my little world, I have my business and life partner, a coach, an accountability partner, CPA, attorney, and countless other team members that that allow me to focus on what I do. Golfers like Woods have their own teams. While it appears they are out there on their own (often like entrepreneurs), the most successful are surrounded by a team.
Be resilient. Woods had to overcome significant injuries. Those of you in business have felt the body blows that occasionally (and sometimes often) happen when trying to forge a path. It might seem best to quit; yet those that are able to be resilient; to honor the process; and to see crisis as a temporary setback, will be in a position for redemption and success.
Be patient. I heard Tiger interviewed after the final round and he talked about being patient; that in fact he thinks this was the most patient he’d been in years. I can attest that patience is a hard virtue to master. In the “want it all now” world we live in, patience can often lead to changing course right about the time redemption and success was within the grasp. Trusting and honoring the process and your skills requires patience.
Finally, trust yourself. Lack of confidence is the enemy of the entrepreneur and business professional. It’s easy to place blame on ourselves when things go awry. It’s better to learn from the lessons mistakes teach us and always believe in yourself. Confidence is a tiger and it is required to do successfully achieve your dreams.
Bottom line – be prepared to both succeed and fail; and then succeed again. This cycle is part of the journey of being able to thrive both professionally and personally. Now, it’s your turn to hit off the next tee….
Quote for the Day:
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
~ Steve Jobs
© 2019 Toro Consulting. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed® is a registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Exit Plan

Dan_Weedin_022I’m doing an inordinate amount of air travel over the next six weeks. It often comes in chunks and I’m in a chunk!
It’s interesting that most people ignore the safety information given by flight attendants prior to departure. Most of us have flown enough to know the spiel by heart, right?
That’s a problem because too many people may have a general knowledge of what to do in an emergency; but will panic in the event one actually happens. The “warning” has been heard so many times that before long, it’s no longer “heard.” But it’s still as important…
One of the most crucial is how to evacuate; and I mean exit any place you are. That can be an airplane, a grand ballroom, a house, and most especially your place if work. Do you know how to safely exit your house or work in the event you must leave in seconds?
There is a lot of research done on how people react and respond in crisis. The results are clear; people who know how to exit a plane, building, or situation are less likely to freeze and more likely to escape. If you are in a position of leadership of employees, it’s your responsibility to assure they know what to do. For any individual, we all must take ultimate responsibility for ourselves and then our co-workers and families.
You’ve heard flight attendants say, “Place the oxygen mask on yourself first before trying to assist others.” The same concept is true on your business and life. No how and where to escape so you can save yourself and others.
As an epilogue, let’s be clear. An exit plan to save lives is most important; however an exit plan to leave your business or career is also, critical. Exit planning saves lives and profits. Make sure you know how to save both…
P.S. My normal place to sit in a plane is the second to last row on the aisle. I’m next to the bathroom and exit with no one in front of me!
Quote for the Day:
“Set your course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.”
~ Omar Bradley
© 2019 Toro Consulting. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed® is a registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: What You Keep

Dan_Weedin_022You may have noted the change in the format of this newsletter. I’ve made a change to a different provider. It’s part of a process I began last year to really examine my business costs.
I realized that I was paying a premium price for a service I wasn’t nearly coming close to optimizing. While the platform was fine, I was utilizing only about 50% of the capabilities and wasn’t in need of what was being missed. Even though the transition has had come short term “pain” from a labor standpoint, it will ultimately result in at least a 40% reduction in costs without sacrificing any benefit. It’s worth the pain and should have been done long ago.
It’s not about what you make, it’s about what you keep.
I was at an annual meeting of the economic development association in my area and an entrepreneur that was being honored talked about a new $4,000,000 contact her company received. She quickly quipped that she had to remind her employees and family that the net would not be that amount!
Part of a proper business continuity and disaster recovery plan is proper accounting for profitability. New business is hard to acquire; and keeping your best clients takes effort and attention. Allowing your bottom line to drain money when you can control operational costs can be insidious to your success. Any expense that returns and investment (e.g. leadership development and marketing) is a good thing; costs like utilities should be monitored.
Bottom line: your bottom line is a critical part of your profitable growth and business value. Protect it as diligently as you do your property and people.
Quote for the Day:
“Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves.”
~ Abraham Lincoln
© 2019 Toro Consulting. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed® is a registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Unhealthy Perfectionism

Dan_Weedin_022I get the opportunity to meet a lot of high school and college students in my work through Rotary. At a recent event, the discussion about academics and grades came up. One of the students – a college aged young man – was unhappy about receiving a B+ in a class that dropped his GPA in the class to a 3.97 out of 4.0. In other words, his work for over a full year in this class is nearly flawless; yet he was unsatisfied.

Perfectionism is not a virtue in academics (regardless of what I hear some parents claim) or in business. In fact, it’s a dangerous state of mind. The desire to be perfect – without flaw – will stunt growth and mask talent. Business and life is about success, not perfection. By seeking perfection, the individual misses the point. They focus on the negative rather than on incredible success.

For my young friend, he was overly critical of a small mistake (and is often the case, blame is heaped on a teacher or another person), rather than enjoying the larger victory. CEOs and entrepreneurs can fall into the desire to be perfect in language, product, service, and project work. In doing so, it creates an excessive amount of pressure on everyone in the organization from the top person to the newest employee. It leads to errors and mistakes that normally wouldn’t happen, and increased stress and anxiety. The pursuit of success is much easier than the pursuit of perfection.

Practice doesn’t make perfect; it makes better. And if you consistently focus on better, then you, your company, and your clients will be improved and happier.

Be unleashed.

Quote of the Day:

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”

~ Confucius

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Free Throws

Dan_Weedin_022There was a study done done about 10 years ago about what the deciding factors in NCAA college basketball games decided by less than five points were. The top three in order were: Free throw shooting, rebounding, and turnovers. I was a little surprised because as a former coach and long-time observer and fan, I thought those would be flipped. As I watched many games over this past week leading into the “Big Dance,” the study results were clearly evident.

As a coach, missed free throws just perturbed me. As a fan watching my favorite team, it might be even worse as these are Division I athletes. I know their coaches are on the sidelines pulling out their hair. It’s not like they aren’t practicing free throws; it is the one shot in the game that is completely predictable and the same without any defense as an obstacle. So why are so many missed late in games?

Missed free throws are mental; not physical. It’s a part of mental toughness that gets overlooked. Being able to focus solely on the process without regards to the chaos and consequences around us. That’s why amateur golfers like me can be flawless on the driving range and then clunk one in the water on the real course with all our buddies watching.

In business, it’s no difference. Sales professionals make uncharacteristic mistakes in important presentations when they are anxious (and sometimes desperate) to make a sale. CEOs and business leaders allow external tumult to distract them from the normal decision-making process they use. Employees under pressure (especially time pressure) more easily succumb to missteps and gaffes because of fear of failure.

We are all humans and will occasionally “choke” at our own free throw lines. That’s a part of the growth and development process. The mistake is often made when thinking mistakes are more physical or skills related. While they sometimes are, the majority of uncharacteristic mistakes still arise when we allow our fear of failure (especially in front of others) to mask our talent and cause us to make sometimes crucial errors.

Bottom line: Learn your craft; have confidence; beef up your mental toughness through disciplined thinking; control what you can control; and then (this is the important one) go have fun. The best athletes in the world make the least mistakes because they are simply having fun and playing. You can do the same.

Be unleashed.

Quote of the Day:

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

~ Helen Keller

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved