The 100 Deadliest Days

The 100 days between Memorial and Labor Days are the deadliest on American highways. You likely know the reasons: more cars, more drinking, more impatience, more rage, more distractions.

As a risk management expert, I promise you that the greatest risk you take daily is getting in your car and driving. As your public service announcement (and because I care), please don’t drive distracted meaning: texting, intoxicated, angry, eating, stupid, medicated, with a dog on your lap, shaving, putting on makeup, dialing or answering your phone, or complacent.

I have plenty of reasons to avoid doing any of these, and these are two of the biggest ones.

Nothing is so important that the risk is worthy it. Be safe out there this summer.

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© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Plan B…C…and D

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40As we begin a new calendar year, businesses and organizations are fervently putting together and starting to implement plans for success. Metrics and mileposts have been set, and hopes are high for a better year in 2018, regardless of how 2017 turned out. The problem is, the majority of businesses and organizations (especially non-profit) fail to take into account one thing…how to respond when the bad thing happens. And then what to do when Plan B doesn’t work. Let’s discuss…

Most every business has plans for growth over the next 12 months. The savvy ones have strong metrics to keep track of the growth based on sales, marketing, and performance objectives. The most sophisticated companies also take time to figure out what obstacles stand in the way. To that end, they figure out a Plan B if Plan A doesn’t work. And then they figure out a Plan C and often a Plan D. Redundancy in strategic crisis planning is crucial to resilience and business continuity.

What are common obstacles your business might face to hamper your biggest dreams for this year?

A physical loss (e.g. fire) that forces your from your building. A cyber attack that compromises your data and reputation. The loss of a key employee or owner. Loss of business knowledge through lack of pre-planning and documentation. A new competitor emerges in you territory. A weather-related calamity that causes you to stop operations for an extended period of time.

While insurance may reimburse you for some of these, it’s negligent not to have a plan to immediately stay open for business to reduce the financial and emotional impact. Too much damage can result that is not protected by insurance. It’s incumbent on you to make sure your plan to mitigate the damage and reduce financial risk to protect your property, people, and profit. The consequences of not doing so will result in loss of profit, damage to people, and going out of business.

Bottom line, I believe you’re resilient. That’s part of the makeup of an entrepreneur and business leader. The problem is that if you’re a “brawler,” you might win the game but come out battered, bruised, and bloodied (bleeding profits). If you fight like a boxer – with a planned strategy that includes obstacles to success – then you’ll come out of the next calamity (and they will happen) moving full speed ahead toward higher profits and business wealth.

P.S. This concept applies to your personal life, too. What are the obstacles that can derail your personal goals, dreams, and lifestyle? You need to create contingencies for your family to assure that your personal hopes and dreams all come true both now and in the future.

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

WEBINAR: Improving Your Cyber Security

Join me and my guest Kip Boyle for a FREE webinar on improving your cyber security. Kip is a nationally recognized expert on the topic and will share ways you can dramatically improve your protection to avoid and mitigate cyber attacks.

Time: TODAY at 11:00 am PST / 2:00 PM EST

Duration: 30 minutes

All registrants can join live and/or get the recording.

REGISTER

kip-cyber-security-seattleKip Boyle is a 20-year information security expert and is the founder and CEO of Cyber Risk Opportunities.   He is a former Chief Information Security Officer for both technology and financial services companies and was a cyber-security consultant at Stanford Research Institute (SRI).  Kip led the global IT risk management program for a $9 billion logistics company and was the Wide Area Network Security Director for the F-22 Raptor program.  He has participated in several cyber security war game exercises and has worked closely with various government agencies including the FBI.

Kip is a retired US Air Force officer and serves on the board of directors of the Domestic Abuse Women’s Network (DAWN).   He’s been quoted in Entrepreneur magazine and Chief Executive magazine. Kip is the co-author of Chapter 68, Outsourcing Security Functions, in The Computer Security Handbook.  He earned his BS in Computer Information Systems from the University of Tampa and MS in Management from Troy State University and a Certificate in Executive Leadership from Seattle University.

 

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. Al Rights Reserved

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

Lauer and Rose and Weinstein, Oh Boy.

LauerThe sudden firing of popular NBC television personality Matt Lauer yesterday is just the latest in a series of high profile terminations stemming from sexual misconduct and harassment. Charlie Rose and Harvey Weinstein are also on the short list of others that have plummeted from grace in a split second. The main thing these three have in common is that they were all promptly terminated from their jobs because the allegations came from co-workers where they wielded power and authority over their victims. That’s where your concern should come in…

It’s easy to be lulled into thinking that this is a big media, high profile, social media fueled phenomenon. The sad truth is that bad behavior, discrimination, harassment, and bullying occurs every day in small and medium-sized businesses and flies under the radar to the detriment of the employees that are victims. That is until you get a lawsuit dropped on your desk.

Employers get sued for a bevvy of discriminatory practices: gender, age, and race are the most prevalent. However you can include wrongful termination, retaliation, unsafe or toxic work environment, and social media bullying as other reasons. With the enormous spotlight being shone on this issue now, more than ever you need to protect your people, your reputation, and your bottom line. Here are three thoughts:

  1. Commit to taking care of your employees by having a zero tolerance for inappropriate behavior. It’s easy to say that you do, but how are you validating it? Do you have annual training; do people in leadership positions confront issues promptly; are there written guidelines and policies communicated to all employees; and is everyone subject to the same disciplinary actions? Talk is cheap; are to taking actions to protect all your employees?
  2. Watch out for water cooler jokes and language. This goes for BOTH genders! If you allow “locker room talk” to become water cooler talk, then you’re setting yourself up for a fall. You know it happens. This is more than political correctness. The issue is creating a work environment that is welcoming to everyone and creates a culture where people want to work for you. You’ll also be dramatically reducing the likelihood of a lawsuit.
  3. Protect your profit by purchasing Employment Practices Liability insurance. Even by doing everything right, employees may still sue you. Don’t tell me you have a “family environment.” Families fight, disagree, and are dysfunctional. If they aren’t really your family, you’ll get sued. The average cost for damages is $150,000 and attorney costs will triple that. If you don’t want to have a catastrophic bill then transfer the financial risk to an insurance company. Just like with cyber insurance, you’re more likely to be sued by an employee than have your building catch on fire. Protect your company wealth.

Take care of your people and you’ll be rewarded with higher performance, productivity, and profits. Finance the risk of being sued through Employment Practices Liability insurance and protect your company valuation and wealth from something you can’t control. If you have questions on your current company culture, practices, and/or insurance, let’s talk. Make sure that you’re heading into 2018 doing the right things for your people and your business.

I’m an expert in resilience, insurance, 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. I can also buy Employment Practices Liability insurance for you to adequately protect your profit and business. Call or email me at 360-271-1592 to schedule a meeting.

Extra Points: Respect Is Your Responsibility

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Harvey Weinstein. Fired by his own company’s board of directors for allegations of sexual assault on many women – his employees – with whom he had power over their careers in his hands.

Cam Newton. Lambasted over social media for his callous comments to a female beat writer for his employer, suggesting it was “funny” that she was asking football questions of football players. His embarrassed employer, the Carolina Panthers spent the next couple of days trying to put out that fire.

These are two high profile situations this past week around the topic of discrimination. While the former is certainly more heinous and likely criminal, they both speak to responsibility employers have when dealing with employees and the potential consequences. These two cases made the headlines; the vast majority of them end up hidden inside the walls of small and medium-sized business around the country. These employees damaged by discrimination, harassment and bad behavior don’t get the same press, yet deal with the consequences of it.

Here’s the deal: Discrimination and liability for actions happens to all genders, to all races, to all religions, and to all ages. What your employees say and how they behave around each other is your concern as a leader. I’ve seen situations where lawsuits came up out of the blue and employers literally had no idea because they didn’t see the signs, or even because they were the problem.

Disaster recovery is often thought of as the steps taken by an organization after a devastating fire or natural disaster. Just as deadly to your company’s brand, reputation, and bottom line is a bad culture that doesn’t recognize the rights and respect of its employees. How your company treats, respects, hires, promotes, and manages conflict with your employees is paramount to your ultimate success. For starters, it’s the right thing to do. After that, it’s going to be those companies that create growth and prosperity for themselves and their employees.


Quote of the Week:

”Go after what you really love and find a way to make that work for you, and then you’ll be a happy person.”

~ Tom Petty

I’m so glad Tom Petty took that advice and made music for the last four decades. We never met, yet his music holds a large segment of the soundtrack of my life. Thanks for running down your dream, Mr. Petty…

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Do you need help creating an emergency crisis plan for your business or family? Call me and let’s schedule a meeting to talk. The time to act is before you need it. Email me

Extra Points: Family and Friends Plan

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This is Part 1 of a four part series this month in honor of National Preparedness Month. While this may not seem to be the sexiest of topics, you need look no further than the wreckage left by Hurricane Harvey to understand the life and death issues faced by you, your family, and your business.

Week 1 focuses on making a plan for yourself, your family, and your friends. Step 1 is to create a written emergency plan that responds to evacuation from your home; staging areas to meet; first aid and medications; food and clean water supplies; how to shut off water and electricity; emergency power and connectivity, and pets (to name just a few).

Step 2 is to assure your insurance protection is in place and accessible. Do you need earthquake or flood insurance? Note that about 80% of homeowners affected by Harvey did not have flood insurance (CNBC article). Flood insurance programs have a 30 day waiting period after you make payment…like a time deductible. With winter coming, now is the time to get it if you are in any path of rivers, lakes or other water tables. No matter what, you must know how your insurance will respond to crisis and have Internet access to a copy of your policy.

Step 3 is to plan financially for a disaster. I recommend you have at least $300 of cash in your house at all times. This is even hard for me becasue it’s easy to rob from yourself with the”promise” of putting it back! However, in an emergency, access to your bank or other funds may be delayed. Cash still works to buy food!

Step 4 is to once a year (now would be good), practice your plan. We all went through fire drills in grade school to know what to do in case of a fire, right? Why my school always chose the days it rained is curious to me, but disaster rarely sends advance notice.

Step 5 is to share with your family and friends so they know how to contact you and can build their own emergency plan and kit. Communication is essential for saving lives; make sure your most important network connection is strong.

Next week, we focus on planning to help your neighborhood and community. Being “safe out there” is incumbent on planning ahead.

P.S. Follow me on Facebook. This month, I will be doing a Facebook Live segment on how to pack a “go bag” in case you must evacuate your home and one that you should keep at work in case you get stuck and can’t make it home for days.

Quote of the Week:

”Luck is a very thin wire between survival and disaster, and not many people can keep their balance on it.”

~ Hunter S. Thompson (American Journalist)

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Do you need help creating an emergency crisis plan for your business or family? Call me and let’s schedule a meeting to talk. The time to act is before you need it. Email me at dan@danweedin.com

 

The Shrimp Tank: Michael & Kathy Oskouian on April 5th

The latest episode from The Shrimp Tank. You won’t want to miss husband and wife team Michael & Kathy Oskouian discuss their insurance brokerage model and how to balance business and life.

The video wrap up:

The entire podcast (40 minutes)

http://seattle.shrimptankpodcast.com/michael-kathryn-oskouian-founders-of-first-underwriters-inc/#more-2799

© 2017 Toro Consulting Inc. All Rights Reserved

Seattle Shrimp Tank Episode #8

Listen to the Podcast (45 minutes) – LINK

Here are both the audio podcast and video wrap up to our great interview with Ryan Fournier. Ryan is President of Fournier Insurance Solutions in University Place, WA. In fact, Ryan has five locations around South Puget Sound. Ryan and his sister Kendra are second generation owners of the agency. Listen to Ryan give some age advice on running a family business and how business insurance is so critical to small business success.

Ryan also played football in college with former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Jon Kitna. Listen to hear if he shares any “dirt” on Jon!

You can subscribe on our website or on iTunes to never miss an episode. The next one is on January 25th at 3 pm PST with our guest Nick Johnson from Cima Creative.

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Enemy Within Your Walls

He is ready to fight for success

This past week, Wake Forest University had to deal with a very unsettling matter. It was revealed that a former assistant football coach turned team radio analyst for the Demon Deacons football program was found to have passed on game plan information from his team (provided to him as part of his job in preparing for games) to opposing teams prior to games.

Let’s make it clear. This guy (for ease of the example) was an assistant coach for the Wake Forest football team. When a coaching change was made, he was not retained as the new head coach brought his own team of assistants with him. This guy was a Wake Forest supporter through and through, seemingly accepted his fate, and then immediately was brought on to the team as the color commentator for the games. Unbeknownst to many, this is akin to be a member of the team. He has access to practices, gets private information on game plans, and is trusted with this material.

After a game against Louisville, it was discovered that game plans had been distributed to Louisville prior to the game. Further investigation found it wasn’t an isolated incident. Long story, short, This guy was implicated and fired. We still don’t know the reasons for this betrayal, but let’s just guess.

Here’s This guy that was terminated. He was allowed to stay in the program because he was deemed “loyal.” Turns out he harbors a grudge and gets on the inside to sell team secrets to opponents. Who knows how long this would have continued if This guy hadn’t been caught.

I know this isn’t national security stuff, but let’s not minimize that these are organizations that employ people. These people keep their positions based on wins and losses. Families are impacted; students are impacted; and the university is impacted. I’ve worked with many small and mid-size businesses that have had similar issues. In fact one small painting business – about 15 employees – had their bookkeeper (acting with CFO functions) steal $25,000 over a 3 year period and used that money to fund her wedding! My client said, “I would have never imagined she would do this.” No kidding! If he had, she wouldn’t have been working there. Problem was, she had done this to a previous employer and my client had not checked references prior. (Yes. She listed the company she stole from. You can’t make this up.)

My question to you is this – could this happen to you?!

The answer is YES. It can and may be to some of you reading this now. While you can’t prevent this in totality, you can greatly minimize the risk to it. Here are three things to consider:

  1. If you terminate someone – or they leave on their own accord, like retirement – the escort them out the door nicely. Do not let them leave with anything that is yours. Cancel their log-in information.
  2. Take care of your client list and proprietary information. That means check their phones for addresses and other important information. If you don’t know how this works, call me and we can discuss.
  3. Be aware of anything that can harm you, including social media.

Bottom line – terminated and disgruntled employees can cause great harm to your company. It happens all the time, yet we rarely hear of it when it happens to small businesses. Protect yourself with a resilience plan that includes this very important issue.

You just may then be able to assure that your “game plan” is safe and secure from This Guy in your own house.

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved