Extra Points: Warning Signals

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This past weekend, we rented a van to help our daughter get furniture for her new place. I used the application system to check out the van and get the key before the place opened up. To my surprise, upon starting up the van, a warning light came on indicating the the right rear tire was low and needed air.

Great.

I knew my local Les Schwab tire dealership was open and took it over to have the professionals look at it. The service they provided was immediate and quick (and that’s why I remain a loyal client). Turned out that the monitor wasn’t working and the tires were all good to go. The annoying thing is that the warning light stayed on the entire day. While I had plenty of piece of mind about it thanks to the help of my friendly tire guy, I had to mentally work hard to ignore the ongoing false warning.

As we work and live day to day, warning signs pop up all the time. You might notice that an employee is acting unusual right before they give their notice; you might get a scratchy throat before the nasty cold hits; or you might get a nervous feeling in the pit of your stomach before embarking on a bold move or difficult conversation.

Here’s the deal – warning signs are there to protect and warn us. Often, the best thing to do is to seek out some council from a professional (like my tire guy) in order to gain wisdom or just peace of mind. Warning signs can hang around well after the initial indication and often these are self-inflicted. The aggravation I felt about looking at the dash indicator was on me and threatened to negatively impact my mood for the remainder of the trip.

Warning signs are good to heed and educate yourself about, yet they should never be an obstacle. Identify the warning signs when they come up and then make a decision (often with that wise council from a trusted partner) on how to proceed; then commit and confidently move forward without worrying about past lights flashing in your face.

Quote of the Week:

The greatest teacher, failure is.

~ Yoda to Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi (guess what we watched this weekend?)

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Extra Points: Seven Deadly Words

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40We have always done it that way. 

Those seven words are deadly to an organization. Yet that thinking and behavior is common in companies of all sizes. Why?

Humans fear change. You may hear people – including yourself – say that they don’t like change; or that it’s hard to change. Both are cover-ups for the reality that change is scary and people are unwilling to change because they fear rejection, failure, or loss of reputation.

The truth about the age we live in is that change is more rapid and volatile than ever before in human history, and (this is important) we will continue to say that every year because of the development end evolving of technology in our lives. Those industries that aren’t willing to innovate and create; to change thinking, activities, and behaviors, are bound to be flattened by the changing tide.

I toured my client’s brand-new building that features a coworking facility. During the tour, she mentioned that facilities like hers were once only found in metropolitan areas, but now were becoming more in vogue all over. She said that this unique way of creating workspace was becoming the future of “work.” This isn’t a tend, but a movement to make work more enjoyable, easier, and more profitable for individuals and organizations. I concur with her assessment. Those companies that don’t embrace concepts like these to attract or keep great employees will ultimately lose them to ones that are willing to change how they view “work.”

What about you and your business? What changes have you not considered? What is the future of your industry or career? What concept is just waiting for you to try and succeed?

Change is necessary for growth and development in business. Heck, I’ll argue that it’s necessary for survival. If you want to avoid going the way of the video store, make sure you’re prepared to be nimble, innovative and change-centric and exchange those seven deadly words with five better ones…

That is a good idea.

Quote of the Week:

”The secret of business is to know something that nobody else knows.”

~ Aristotle Onassis

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Extra Points: The Great Escape

JackA special edition missive by Captain Jack…

I got unleashed…

As much as Dan talks about being unleashed, he doesn’t approve when I take his advice. I made my great escape – the first in a long time – while Barb was attending to Bella. It was brilliant.

I boldly burst through the front door and made a sharp dogleg right to head up my normal path. I was unleashed… Barb made a valiant effort in following me. I crawled under a fence where there was this big race track-like pasture with a bunch of water in some kind of man-made lake. I just started running, and running, and occasionally taking flight like only I can. I jumped in the water. I played. Barb watched.

I soon heard Dan call my name. He wasn’t home for my great escape, but had apparently figured out what happened. He kindly beckoned to me to come over as he was holding my favorite treat. Been there and done that…he starts out nice but when he catches me, his mood changes.

I escaped the fence without either catching me. I then bolted into uncharted territory by crossing the passage called Viking Way. I spotted two small dogs with their human and ran towards them in an effort to play. The human grabbed me and told me to go home. Then Barb came running and captured me, leashed me, and spoke very firmly to me while apologizing to the other human. I hadn’t done anything wrong. I was simply being unleashed. For all my fun, I ended up getting a bath. I think that was my discipline. It was worth it.

Interesting that I hear humans often say that infirmities and aches are “part of getting old.” They use it as an excuse for not doing what they used to enjoy doing or eschewing activities because they are “past their prime.” Let me tell you, we dogs NEVER think about age. Unlike humans, we don’t consider how long we’ve been on earth as a factor in any decision we make. I heard Dan exclaim that I am pretty spry for 11 years old. I don’t even know what that means! I am just Captain Jack and will never change my mindset. Why should I?

Maybe the better question is, why should you?

P.S. Bella got extra treats and nice words for being a “good girl.” Clearly favoritism…

Captain Jack out…

Quote of the Week:

”The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.”

~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr. (American author)

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Extra Points: Your Uniqueness Quotient

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I was recently driving home from the ferry and heard the re-make of the legendary song Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel. The re-make by the artist Disturbed in 2015 has a more edgy, haunting sound than the original softer and more melodic song that came straight out of the Greenwich Village scene and intonation of the turbulent 1960’s. I love the original as it’s all I heard for nearly four decades. I really enjoy this cover by Disturbed as well. I’ve heard it many times and for some reason, it caught my attention on this trip and literally gave me goosebumps.

Remakes and covers are not unusual in the music industry. I just watched Ann Wilson from Heart in concert and she covered songs of her contemporaries. In fact, Robert Plant once said that Heart did Led Zeppelin better than Led Zeppelin did Led Zeppelin after their rendition of Stairway to Heaven at Radio City Music Hall when Plant’s band was being honored. When Disturbed re-made Simon & Garfunkel, I didn’t find myself comparing or judging; I just found myself enjoying the unique talent.

When you consider your competition in whatever industry you’re in, there is almost always some cause to seek out differentiation. While this is important, it’s not really that hard to find. The difference is you.

Your “uniqueness quotient” is that thing that makes you different from anyone else that does what you do, whether that’s selling real estate or insurance; building homes; creating new technologies; or running a bank. Whatever it is you do, your uniqueness comes from your experiences, your education, your successes and failures, and even just your personality. Nobody else can be you. Why is this important? Because no matter where we evolve in this new digital world, people do business with people they like and trust. What makes you unique is what people who can buy your product or service will gravitate to. Don’t compare yourself to the competition; instead accentuate your uniqueness quotient. That way, the sound you hear won’t be silence but new business!

Quote of the Week:

”Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”

~ Albert Einstein

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Dealing with Distraction

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I’m spending my Sunday morning glued to the television watching the final round of The Open being played at Carnoustie Golf Club in Scotland. One of golf’s four major championships, The Open was being played for the 147th time, by far the most of any other golf tournament.

A young American golfer name Xander Schauffele is about to hit one of the biggest shots in his young career on the 17th hole. He trails the leader by one shot and this upcoming play is critical for him. He’s hitting from where the spectators were standing and in the background you can hear a child crying, likely protesting the fact she’s been out on the golf course for five hours. One of the announcers makes a comment about it, yet Schauffele seems unaware of it. That is, until he’s about to swing and the child makes an even louder cry that cuts through the silence like a hot knife through butter. Schauffele steps away from his ball, glances in the direction of the mother and child and smiles. In fact, you can see him almost chuckle. He proceeds to start his routine all over again, hits a nice shot and continues to play the hole. This 24-year old dealt with this situation far more graciously than most players many years his senior (and likely even me if I was in that position!).

Schauffele could have let this distraction affect him negatively; could have used it as an excuse for a poor shot. He could have lost his temper and the moment at hand. He could have attached blame. Rather, he smiled, chuckled, re-started his process, and played on. It’s a great lesson for business and life.

We all get distracted and diverted by things we can’t control. It’s very easy to attach blame and conceive excuses to others for our failures – the government, our employees, our clients; the weather, the bank, our family, the alarm clock, or that crying child. You don’t have to spend too much time on Facebook or other social media to find individual op-eds on the woe created by someone else. The reality is, we are all responsible for our own thoughts, actions, and behaviors, and no other distraction should have that kind of control over us.

The next time you find yourself angry or bitter over a bit of bad fortune, remember you have control over the next thing you think about and do. If a 24-year old professional golfer can quickly forgive a loud child and her mother for interrupting his concentration on the biggest stage of his career, we should be able to quickly regroup, recover, and play through our own distractions.

Quote of the Week:

”Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”

~ Confucius

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Extra Points: Avoiding Organizational Amnesia

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I was having a conversation with a client last week on the incredibly important topic of transferring knowledge. We were discussing the concept of “organizational amnesia” from my book Unleashed Leadership, and the upcoming development program I will be conducting for his company. Here is the crux of our conversation:

Organizational amnesia is best avoided when a company can successfully transfer organizational “smarts” to new employees. Development of skills – be it tactical, leadership, or proprietary – through a process of transfer from the veterans to new employees assures that a company doesn’t simple lose it’s memory when employees transition out.

While that all sounds fine, the transfer mechanism is a little more complicated.

I’ve witnessed organizations trying to transfer skills through infrequent seminars, trainings, and lectures. The information gets stored somewhere and made “available” for future use. Here’s the problem: the newer and younger employees don’t retain and retrieve knowledge that way. I’m sorry to tell you that the plethora of thick binders in your resource library are useless. When someone needs to get information quickly, especially in a crisis, the last thing they will do is seek out a binder and start looking for the answer. This process is as outdated as encyclopedias.

What organizations need to do is find how employees (especially the ones that are now being hired) best learn and retrieve information. The answer is quite simple: this generation and future ones use their mobile devices to quickly get information. They utilize videos and checklists stored in a place they can access without thinking twice. The solution is to assure that you are maximizing your investment in knowledge transfer by making certain it will be utilized in the future in the fastest and easiest way possible for the employee.

Stop using 20th century tools for 21st century employees. Make your knowledge basis easy to access and avoid organizational amnesia.

Quote of the Week:

”We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”

~ John Dryden

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Extra Points: Turning Water Into Wine

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I recently had the opportunity to work the assembly line bottling wine. My client is a local winery and every few months, he offers wine club members the chance to take part in the bottling, and offers nice incentives as compensation for “hard labor.” The opportunities had never worked out in the past, but this time it did.

Here’s what I learned: Bottling wine is physically taxing. The process is highly repetitive; with precision being at a premium. You need good teammates to keep the process running smoothly. It takes a lot of discipline and quality control. And if the the very last bottle doesn’t fill up because the wine ran out, well you get to drink it!

Correlation to business: Running a business is physically and mentally taxing. In order to be successful, one must create repeatable processes with sharp precision and attention to detail. Really good employees are needed; ones that have bought into the system and are compensated equitably for that work. Quality control and discipline are vital to viability. At the end of the day, it should be fun.

For you non-business owners, don’t feel left out. The concepts apply to your career and to your life.

The biggest thing I walked away with (other than some wonderful bottles of wine and a little fatigue) was the understanding that the bottle of wine I purchase at the store had a lot of moving parts play a part in its creation. If you want to create “fine wine” in your business, those same skill sets, characteristics, and discipline are needed.

It’s the best way to turn “water into wine.”

Quote of the Week:

”I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.”

~ W.C. Fields

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Extra Points: Find The Helpers

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40As I attended the graduation ceremony at my local high school, I was impressed specifically by one of the graduate speakers. She mentioned a quote by that great American philosopher, Mr. Rogers. She said that Mr. Rogers was influential in her mother’s life (which reminded me of the generation I’m in) and he had once said that in this world, there are “helpers” when people are in trouble. Her mother explained, “whenever you see a crisis on television, look for the helpers. You will see them.”

That simple statement is so very true. Think of even recent calamities like the Boston Marathon bombing, the devastation of natural disasters, and countless school shootings. You always will find the helpers.

You’d like to think that we are all “helpers,” but it’s not the case. We are all wired differently and bring value, however others are intrinsically wired to be helpers.

This week, we will be performing a crisis simulation exercise for a client. These exercises often reveal those that are leaders, those that are talkers, those that are followers, and importantly, those that are helpers. Every organization – for profit and non-profit – need to identify helpers in their organizations. Every neighborhood and community must identify the helpers. And every family should know the helpers. It’s paramount for resilience and survival when calamity hits.

We all play a role in the affiliations we have. Those of you that have a leadership role in business or in your personal life need to take heed of the wise words of Mr. Rogers. Go find the helpers.

Quote of the Week:

”My father gave me the greatest gift anyone can give another person; he believed in me..”

~ Jim Valvano

Happy Fathers Day to all the fathers out there!

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

The Warrior Mentality Code: Part I

20 Under 40 20_3From my May 2018 column for The Kitsap Sun / Kitsap Business Journal…

Being an entrepreneur requires a “warrior mentality.” As CEO or President, being the “boss” means you fall under this definition of entrepreneur, so pay attention to my next statement.

If you don’t follow my Weedin Warrior Mentality Code, your business could maim you for life, or simply kill you prematurely.

Being a business owner is demanding. While it’s an aspiration to take on this challenge to build a legacy and create wealth, it’s only a good thing if they are around to enjoy the rewards.

I’ve compared being an entrepreneur to being an athlete. While an athlete trains both body and mind, all too often entrepreneurs do neither. The consequences are severe to the health of the owner and the business. In this 3-part series, we will explore ideas and concepts on how to create your own “warrior mentality” to not only accelerate business growth, but also enhance your own health and lifestyle.

The concepts will be broken out into three categories: Personal Health, The ROI of YOU, and Company Culture. In this column, we will tackle Personal Health…

Entrepreneurs and executives are driven. They work long hours, take financial risks, and care deeply about clients, employees, and legacy. Some of the stress that comes with the job is self-inflicted, yet much is still out of their control. If they aren’t mentally, physically, and spiritually fit, the ramifications are dangerous.

Mental Warriors: Mental warriors invest time in attitude and knowledge. Listed below are my best practices on how to become more mentally fit to deal with the stresses of being the boss:

  1. Invest your time and money in learning. This means both professional and personal development. The opportunity to improve how one thinks through videos, books, podcasts, and more has never been greater. Taking 10 minutes a day to learn something new leads to better creativity and innovation.
  2. Hire a coach. The best athletes in the world have coaches, often several. If an entrepreneur thinks that he or she doesn’t need a coach because they’re long on experience and don’t need anyone challenging them, then they are making a grave mistake. Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant, Serena Williams and countless other world-class athletes enjoyed greater success and longevity because they hired coaches. From a mental standpoint, being able to discuss critical issues and gain outside perspective keeps one from “breathing their own exhaust.” It’s also freeing and creates a stronger level of confidence in decision-making.
  3. Improve mental toughness. Mental toughness is that innate ability to respond and be resilient to adversity. Being mentally tough is not easy; it takes discipline, practice and perspective. To grow your mental toughness, dedicate yourself to the first two practices above!

Physical Warriors: This is the area that I see that is least valued by entrepreneurs. Athletes and soldiers must be physically fit to compete and fight. Entrepreneurs compete and fight daily, too. Check out these best practices to improve your fitness level:

  1. Diet is everything. You can’t outwork a bad diet. Sugar is more addictive than any illegal or legal drug, and maybe more harmful. Carbohydrates in excess will increase weight and dull brain power. What you eat will exacerbate how you deal with stress both good and bad. The best thing I ever did to improve my overall health and capacity to run a business was to change what and how I ate. It will be the same for you.
  2. Exercise. You don’t have to exercise like a professional athlete, but you do need to move. Invest time in 30 minutes of exercise a day: walk, swim, bicycle, yoga, golf, or box. In order to best deal with mental stress, you must change the brain chemicals through physical exertion.
  3. Accountability. If you’re going to really improve, then find someone who will hold your feet to the fire. It must be someone that won’t let you slide, and that you respect. Accountability partners work the best.

Spiritual Warriors: This isn’t a faith-based issue; although for many of you it might include it. Here’s what I mean for the purposes of this exercise: what are the things that bring tranquility to your spirit?

  1. Create habits that bring peace of mind and spirit. It’s comfort food for the inner workings of your mind. For me, a good cigar and a complimentary libation once a month is good for the rejuvenation of my spirit! For others it might be a form of exercise (walk in the park), spending time with grandchildren, or reading a good mystery novel. When these become habitual, they become part of your “therapy.”
  2. Be quiet. This is hard for me, but I’ve created a discipline about finding quiet time. I’ve made it fun by allocating time during the day to quietly practice my putting stroke in my exercise room. The getting out of my head to focus quietly on something else is good for the spirit. For others it might be meditation or prayer. Regardless, find that spiritual comfort zone to rejuvenate the all-important spiritual part of you.
  3. People Power: On the other end of the spectrum, cultivate friendships that also rejuvenate you. Make sure they are outside your professional life. I enjoy spending time with my neighbors (sometimes smoking a cigar with libation in hand) as a tranquil time to simply enjoy life. You can be an introvert and still find companionship and support from people.

Final thought. Find one thing to improve in each area. It’s better to move one thing forward a mile than ten things forward an inch. If you choose just one from each, in 30 days you’ll have achieved great progress.

Next month, we dive into the ROI of YOU. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to me with questions and comments about this column.

 

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Re-Creating Yourself

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40The word recreation is well known to all of us. Undoubtedly, recreation means a variety of things to you – vacationing, golfing, boating, hiking, playing music, or simply having fun with your favorite hobby. Recreation rightly is considered a good thing, and I’d like to add a very important aspect to it that might get overlooked…

The word “recreation” literally means “re-creating.” When you embark on recreation, you are endeavoring on re-creating yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Recreation doesn’t have to be formal or even long. My Saturday evening cigar and glass of wine after a day of catching up on work, mowing the lawn, and cleaning the kitchen was re-creating myself on all four of those levels in just about an hour.

One of the greatest “hidden crises” that occur to CEOs, business owners, and professionals is the misguided belief that working long and arduous hours are noble and necessary. At times, it is necessary; however gone unchecked without regular doses of recreation to re-create one’s self is dangerous. In order for you to be of most value to your company – especially as the CEO or President – you must have balance.

Entrepreneurs and executives work hard and take on a ton of stress, most of it self-imposed. In order to make the best decisions, lead teams, and actually enjoy one’s vocation, constant recreation is needed to maintain a healthy balance. Not doing so is negligent to the person, the company, the employees, and the family.

Make re-creating yourself a daily discipline, even if it’s on a small level. Recreation leads to innovation, creativity, a stronger purpose and better overall personal and professional health. I’m as guilty of letting this important concept slide. I’m making it a priority starting today, what about you?

Quote of the Week:

“My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.”

~ Mark Twain

Happy Mothers Day a day later!

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.