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

Extra Points: The Language of Business

Dan_Weedin_022In business, you must be multi-lingual.

I don’t mean actual languages as we know them, however that never hurts. Every industry has its own language. They are rife with acronyms, jargon, idioms, and slang. Everyone on the “inside” seems to understand, and “outsiders” must try to pick it up to fit in. I’ve written of this in regards to on boarding new employees. In this missive, I want to delve in how being multi-lingual is essential to acquiring and keeping business.

I work with a myriad of industries and here is my observation; be prepared to understand what your potential and current client values. Some business owners want to understand the scope of work; in other words they value the process. You find this common in technology and manufacturing. Some business owners don’t care how you get there, they want to know how they will be improved and desire quantitative metrics like percentage of revenue growth, increased profitability, and reduction in turnover. Still others most desire qualitative results that aren’t easily measured; things like peace of mind, confidence, and improved employee morale.

Regardless, they all want one common result…how will they be improved and how will it be measured?

The trick is to uncover what your potential and current clients value. This can’t be rushed; but can still be done quickly. It takes research, patience, good questioning and listening skills, and (drum roll) failure. The only way to learn to ride a bicycle is to crash and burn, learn from your mistake, and ride better next time. The same is true here; however many professionals don’t take the time to learn the idiosyncrasies of the language.

Here’s my challenge to you today: Learn what language you speak. Based on your industry, experience, and background, what do you value, how do you express it, and how do you measure success? Then look at your current clients. You in some way managed to speak their language in other to gain their confidence. You may find similarities that drew you together, and that’s fine. To be most successful, learn other languages so you can make a bigger impact on more people, thus helping them and yourself.

Que tengan una buena semana, amigos.

Quote of the Day:

“Everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it.”

~ Lewis Carroll

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Are You Prepared to Get Paid Fast?

Dan_Weedin_022On the most recent podcast of The Shrimp Tank (see link to listen and view below), our guest Pat Larson discussed his business of being an accountant for those investors who dabble in cryptocurrency. Most people know the more popular cryptocurrency brand, Bitcoin; but there are many others. It’s an emerging method of investing and ultimately paying for services.

JP Morgan made news this past week as they announced they will be offering their own private cryptocurrency. It will be fascinating to see how this accelerates the process. Bottom line, you need to be prepared to one day be asked if you accept cryptocurrency as a method of payment.

Consideration for services or products has changed drastically over the past decades. From cash or check only; to credit cards; to Square and ApplePay and Venmo. I just purchased my groceries today with my mobile device (not really a phone, is it?) on ApplePay. Still there are business owners that don’t accept American Express and in some cases, no plastic at all. These are savvy business owners that don’t want to pay extra fees.

Here’s my opinion: You as a business should never get in the way of being paid. Instead of being an obstacle, be an open road. While fees exist today (and they are a cost of doing business), those may be going the way of the dinosaur as there are now growing ways to bank and to send money with no fees.

So where does cryptocurrency come into play?

Listen to the podcast and hear Pat explain that one day there will be a way through some function (e.g. Quick Response or QR codes) will rapidly deposit cryptocurrency into your account, which you can then as quickly transfer into cash. He accepts it as a form of payment. Will you one day do the same?

We are in a rapidly changing world of commerce. Don’t get stuck in the tar pits because you didn’t want to accept a form of payment because I guarantee your competitors will. You be the leader and become a gateway to business and profitability.

Listen to podcast

Quote of the Day:

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”

~ Muhammad Ali

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Breaking News: Studio Sponsor For Seattle Shrimp Tank Podcast

BA-Logo-RGB_Horizontal_NEWThe Seattle Shrimp Tank is pleased to announce a new name for its studio.

It will now be called the Business Accelerants™ Studio. Paul Menig and his company, Business Accelerants™ Powered by Tech-I-M, has agreed to provide support to this important endeavor to help small businesses.

Paul uses the Business Accelerants™ 7-Forces Model™ and other tools to assess the current state of small and medium businesses. Based on the information, he helps business owners and leaders develop a GAME plan to accelerate profitable growth, to get them more money from the business and more time for their lives.

Paul was a guest on the show (Episode 28) to discuss what he and his son discovered while looking for a business to buy in the Seattle area. Paul was an “Intra-preneur” at General Electric, Eaton, and Daimler developing new businesses and products for multiple industries including medical, aerospace, defense, industrial automation, and transportation. Since 2012 he has mentored and coached several hundred businesses about getting started, making a Grow And Make Earnings (GAME) plan, and how to exit gracefully.

Paul said, “I’m excited to be part of the Seattle Shrimp Tank podcast and its association nationally with iHeart RADIO. Small and medium businesses are the heart of business. Entrepreneurs need to be encouraged, educated, and empowered to create jobs and help others.”

Thank you Paul for your commitment and support of the podcast! To learn more about Paul and his company, email him and introduce yourself as a member of the community.

Other Sponsorship Opportunities:

Commercials: We have two 30-second commercials per show (26 shows per year). Those of you as guests have heard them. Here is what you get with your commercial: Brand mention at the show’s start and before your commercial; banner link on our Shrimp Tank website; opportunity to have swag on broadcast table or in goodie bag (microphone stands, mugs, etc.)

First Underwriters Insurance Brokers (Dan Weedin) is already committed; we have room for one more. The fee is $400 per month.

Shrimp Peelers: For $400 per year, you will get your logo on our website with the link to your website; get “shout outs” during every broadcast; and get recognition on all marketing and events.

Thank you to our new Shrimp Peeler sponsors that have jumped into the tank head first! They are: Diana Smeland – Port Ludlow Associates; Monica Blackwood – Westsound Workforce; Kathy Cocus – Kitsap Economic Development Alliance (KEDA); Brenda Wall – Legal Shield; Michele Doyle – MD Design Group; and Symetra Life (Nate Kohl).

Shrimp Tank Blast from the Past: Brenda Wall

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In a new series of blog posts, I will be sharing past episodes of Shrimp Tank interviews with our terrific guests.

We are starting with our Shrimp Peeler Sponsors. Today, we flash back to Episode 44 on July 13, 2018 with Shrimp Peeler Sponsor, Brenda Wall from LegalShield!

Listen to Podcast

Commercial Sponsors:

First Underwriters Insurance Brokers  / Ideal Life 360

Shrimp Peeler Sponsors:

Kitsap Economic Development Alliance / MD Design Group / Westsound Workforce /

Port Ludlow Resort / Symetra Life / Brenda Wall – LegalShield/IdentituShield

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved