From Recession to Recovery – Libby Wagner and Dan Weedin

Watch Master Mentors Libby Wagner and Dan Weedin present at the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce on how to take your business from recession to recovery. This is “Part 1” of a three-part series taking the best of this 75-minute presentation.

Highlights from Seattle Chamber Event

Yesterday, my friend Libby Wagner and I presented a program to a terrific group of business professionals at the Greater Seattle Chamber Focus On series. Our topic was “From Recession to Recovery,” and we tackled issues related to leadership, personal growth, marketing, sales, branding, and life balance. After the meeting, several people came over to chat with us and I typically ask what they most valued from the program. Here are a few responses…

  • Have three personal and three professional priorities or goals each day. Focus on those and get them done first. Doing this will enhance how you manage your time and stress.
  • Ask for referrals early and often. This will keep your pipeline full.
  • Call three people each day – clients, prospects, referrals. Offer value, ask for referrals, see how they are doing, etc. By keeping in contact, you leverage your ability to increase opportunities.
  • Be “wholehearted” in your work. Be passionate and share that passion with others.
  • Building strong relationships is critical to success professionally and personally. Find a variety of ways to do this in your career and life.
  • Be specific in your language. In order to be an effective “influencer,” you must be clearly heard and understood.
  • Speak, publish, network, and use social media to get your message out to the masses. The more people who need what you do/sell/service/provide, the more opportunities to help them and you.
  • Now is the time to take risks, step out of the box, or reinvent yourself. Have courage and confidence in your abilities.

Many thanks to the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, out guests, and to Libby. It was an excellent day and we hopefully will be invited back to do it again!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

How Leaders Communicate

It’s time to keep a close eye on Jack Zduriencik.

The Seattle Mariners General Manager is near a deal to ship out All-Star left-handed pitcher Cliff Lee to the New York Yankees for three top prospects nobody outside of the depths of the baseball world ever heard about. The Mariners fans and media have been buzzing about this for the last month. There will be plenty of conjecture, speculation, and interest in what Jack has to say.

Being a leader of any organization – sports or otherwise – requires confidence in delivering a message. This year has not gone as planned and with the imminent trade, Zduriencik must now face critics after  trading away the best player on the team this year. It will be interesting to watch how he handles the media, the fans, and the players. He may say all the right things, but how he delivers it will be telling. A few things to watch for…

  • Does he appear sincere and genuine? Do you believe him?
  • Is he still positive? Does he show firm resolve?
  • How strong is his eye contact? Is he willing to hold it with questioners?
  • Is his voice consistently strong? Does he show any cracks?
  • Does he show empathy for the fans?

I will be watching as a Mariners fan and as a professional speaker to see just how skilled an “influencer” Mr. Zduriencik is. So far, I’ve been impressed. This will be his toughest test to date.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Lessons from the U.S. Open

Since 1965, the United States Golf Association has been holding the U.S. Open on Father’s Day weekend. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been watching the entire Sunday round with my daughters, Mindy and Kelli. If you think they dread this, you are wrong. They actually love it and look forward to watching every year. In fact, we are planning on being at the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in University Place, WA 945 minutes away from home) in 2015 regardless of where we all live. But, I digress…

The U.S. Open always holds great drama. The lessons we as business people can learn from watching professional golfers deal with pressure are plentiful. Here’s what I witnessed from yesterday’s final round:

  1. Graeme McDowell became the first European since Tony Jacklin in 1940 to win this event. He did it by being the only player amongst the leaders to stay focused on task, even in the face of adversity. He played his game, never forced the action, and made the right decisions at the right time. The prime example came as he stood on the 18th fairway as he watched his nearest competitor, Gregory Havret from France, miss his birdie putt that would have tied them. McDowell now knew that all he had to do was par the hole. Instead of going for the Par-5 in two (a daring risk-reward play), he made the “smart” play by laying up, hitting the green in regulation, and giving himself a pretty simple two-putt to win. Had he dared to go all out, his chances to error increase and he could have thrown away the title. He knew his position and made the right call at the right time. The lesson – Know where you are and make decisions based on common sense, not arrogance.
  2. The 54-hole leader, Dustin Johnson, gave up his 4-stroke lead within the first three holes. His round turned disastrous with a triple-bogey on #2; a double-bogey on #3; and a bogey on #4. He never recovered. This is a highly skilled and talented young man who basically cracked under immense pressure. The lesson – Talent is important, but it can’t make up for having nerves of steel and confidence to bounce back when adversity strikes. Had he recovered right after his triple-bogey, he would still have had an excellent chance to win based on where his competitors finished.
  3. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Ernie Els choked. These three golfers own 21 major championships between them and you would have thought that any one of them would have taken advantage of the leaders backing up. Instead, they forced the action on a brutally difficult course and paid the price. Instead of playing their game, they tried too hard and it cost them dearly. The young Frenchman, Havret, is ranked 391st in the world and only made the field because he made a 50-foot putt in England the week before to get him in a playoff. The lessons – Experience doesn’t always trump youth. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. Don’t rest on your seemingly better credentials as they might not be good enough. Next, don’t try too hard. Trying too hard leads to mistakes you normally wouldn’t make.
  4. Be gracious in adversity. There is a stark difference between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson behind a microphone after a heart-breaking loss. Tiger is surly, curt, and uninviting. Phil is gracious, speaks at length, and offers a positive demeanor regardless of the outcome. Mickelson has that quality of great leadership. He hates to lose as much as Tiger, yet he won’t carry that through to the media or fans. The lesson – If you want to be viewed as an inspirational leader, then you have to exude confidence, pride, and graciousness when things get tough.

Congratulations to a deserving new champion, Graeme McDowell. I’m sure a few pints of Guiness were poured in Northern Ireland last night. Whether you are a golfer or not, I hope you can take a few lessons I observed from this great game yesterday. Golf is a microcosm of society and business. We need to learn from each other.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Patience

One of my hobbies is playing fantasy baseball. Baseball has always been all about statistics and for us baseball geeks, it’s a great way to add fun to watching a season. My team looked pretty good before the season started. I was ready to get off to a fast start. Well, as often is the case, my bats were silent and my pitchers got shelled. By the end of the first week, I found my wife and daughter both beating me in the standings.

However, in baseball there’s another great axiom. Patience. I tweaked my roster just a bit to catch hot players, but basically stayed the course. Now through 2 weeks I’ve gone from the bottom to the top of the standings. Of course, that will undoubtedly be a fluid situation for only the next 6 months, but that’s the fun of it.

The lessons to take from this are pretty simple:

  • Patience and staying the course through rough waters generally pays off
  • Making smart “tweaks” to your strategies, activities, attitude, and life provide much needed spark, positive energy, and results
  • Just because your on the bottom now doesn’t mean you’ll stay there unless you want to. Likewise, being on top can also be temporary unless you diligently continue to work on improving yourself

If you believe in what you are doing, be patient and stay the course. If it makes sense to tweak things to test or gain better results, do it. But most of all, have confidence in yourself and your plan.

Batter up!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Need to Get Away? Not Good for Frontier Bank President

Frontier Bank’s president John Dickson was fired this week by CEO Pat Fahey because he went on vacation. Really.

The bank is in deep trouble and has until April 15th to get better or sell. CEO Fahey was angered that President Dickson took a planned vacation with his family to Hawaii when the bank was in such crisis. In his words, “it was not the appropriate time for either of the two leaders to be gone.” Dickson countered that he was always available by phone and e-mail. Dickson is actually the son of the founder of Frontier Bank.

Read the story from the Puget Sound Business Journal

Here are my thoughts:

  1. If Dickson was as accessible as he said he was by phone, internet connection, and being able to fly back for an investor, then what difference did it make? Business is now done globally, 24/7, wherever you are. Did he have to be physically in the bank? I don’t think he did.
  2. Fahey may argue that from a morale standpoint, he did. But, let’s be serious. The employees have nothing to do with this. It’s about investors. As long as he could do whatever it took to raise capital, who cares where he is?
  3. Does it look any better to investors or customers that the CEO fired the president two weeks before the deadline? Does that help morale? Does that get you closer to making a sale? My guess is no.

Certainly, in an era where bank executives are being scrutinized every which way, Dickson could have opted for a different time. Certainly, Fahey is hunkering down and wanted all hands on deck. He most assuredly requested Dickson not leave. Dickson defied that and it was his undoing. I’m thinking there has been more to this story than this one episode.

If you were the CEO, what would you have done?

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

At What Cost Leadership

Sarah Palin has become a polarizing national figure. Love her or hate her, this story in the Washington Post depicts what politics in the 21st century has turned into. It’s probably one of the reasons that many of our best and brightest say “no thanks.” I like Sarah Palin for a lot of reasons and wish her the best.

The intriguing question for me is who in their right mind wants to be in state or national politics and subject their family to the incredible scrutiny that comes with it. Unfortunately, for both parties, it’s usually incredibly rich power mongers who put themselves and their agendas first. Think I’m wrong? Then you haven’t been paying attention. Your thoughts…

Read the Washington Post article

65 Years Ago Today

Thanks to my friend Doug Petch for the reminder on his blog this morning…

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon a great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers in arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened, he will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man to man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our home fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to victory!

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory!

Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

— Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

Listen to Eisenhower give his address here.