Extra Points: Calamity Doesn’t Call

This past week, Southern California and Nevada were rocked by two earthquakes. If you were watching the news, you saw plenty of video footage of people at home, at work, and recreating when the last quake on Saturday night hit. Having been a part of several earthquakes in my life, I know that sinking feeling when you realize the world you are standing on is no longer stable. The duration seems like forever; and in fact the last one did last 30 seconds, which must have felt like an eternity!
These incidents serve as reminders for all of us, whether we experienced it or not. Yes, if you live in an earthquake zone (especially on the West Coast), then you are likely reading news reminding you about readiness and safety. However this quake should serve a reminder to business owners that their employees must be prepared for ANY calamity because calamities don’t send a calling card ahead of them. They just show up unexpectedly.
Your business – whether you are CEO or employee – must be prepared to respond quickly to any calamity. Each one has different response requirements for safety and business continuity. In earthquakes, safety means getting under tables because falling objects are the biggest concern. Get away from windows, even if you’re outside. From an operations standpoint, the building and contents might be fins, but what about the infrastructure, communications, and transportation?
Here’s the deal: It’s never the wrong time to prepare your employees, co-workers, and family to respond to calamity. Safety is job one, continuation of business is second. My analogy is if no one knows how to use a fire extinguisher, that resource is useless. There are plenty of perils to be concerned of: earthquake, fire, water, wind, and weather. You might have to evacuate or shelter in place. How confident are you in your team? How do you know?
Here’s your assignment for this week: Pick one peril to prepare your team for and do it. Then update your business continuity plan. If you don’t have one, then call me because that plan is a necessity to run a business.
Calamity never sends a calling card, but is always expected to come when you least expect it. Why not be ready for it?
Quote of the Day:
“The return we reap from generous actions is not always evident.”
~ Francesco Guicciardini
© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

Extra Points: Abandon Ship

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

Extra Points: The Next 100 Days

Dan_Weedin_022Consider this your very special Public Service Announcement…
The 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the most dangerous days of the year for motorists in the United States. Are you prepared to protect yourself and your loved ones? Your employees? How do you know?
You probably can guess the causes of this statistic: Summer vacation traveling; kids out of school; weddings and other family events; more cars on the road trying to get places faster; more drinking and driving; more distracted driving; more road rage….
You get the picture. The problem is we all “get the picture” but very few of us take notice. Why? Because driving is second-nature to us. Most of us are fortunate enough to go out regularly and avoid serious calamity. The problem is when the activities mentioned above increase traffic, speed, and recklessness, those you most care about (including you) may not only be in peril, but be that cause of the peril!
If you are a business owner that has any size fleet of vehicles OR has employees using their own personal cars for your business regularly (e.g. sales people, contractors), then you’re ultimately responsible for any negligence that comes from them. While they may have been the one who made the poor decision that caused an accident, your name is on the truck literally and figuratively. You can go a long ways towards improving your position and reducing your risk of being the reason for a tragedy:
First, talk to all your employees about safe driving. Regardless of whether or not they drive for you. they are humans that you care about. Focus on distracted driving (especially anything that takes their hands off the wheel like texting or calling), keeping to the speed limit, and leaving early to avoid stress.
Second, schedule at least one safety training around safe driving. While these might often seem tedious, they actually work in raising awareness and reducing accidents.
Third, have consequences. By creating a minimum standard of driving record for those that do drive for you regularly, you are showing that you value the commitment to keeping everyone safer.
Final thought: Your loved ones are in cars every day, both as drivers and passengers. Don’t take for granted that these next 100 days are the same. The hard quantitative statistics don’t lie. And that commitment must start with you as a role model.
As the legendary sergeant on the 1980s television drama Hill Street Blues once proclaimed as the officers left every day on the job, “be careful out there…”
P.S. If you want even more information on how to help your drivers be more alert and safe not only now but into the future, contact me. Part of any good risk management program is prevention. I’m happy to help.
Quote of the Day:
“No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.”
~ Abraham Lincoln
© 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

 

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