Unleashed Case Study #1: Experiences

Tomorrow is the massive celebration and parade for the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. I’m 49 years old and the last parade happened for the Kelli and Me_SafecoSupersonics in 1979, when I was 14. I also lived an hour and a half away, didn’t drive, and going was just not possible. Today, it’s a different story. My buddy and I are hopping the ferry to 4th Avenue, find a great spot to watch, and then perhaps watch the ceremony from inside the stadium at a local watering hole. I can’t wait.

The Seattle area public schools should give all the kids a day off. I’m a part of the public school community and I feel like I can support that. Why? Because the memories this one day will create will absolutely trump one day of school. My daughter Kelli says that a photo we have together attending to the ground breaking ceremony for Safeco Field is one of her all-time favorite memories (see photo). It was March 8, 1997 on a cold Saturday afternoon. You often only get one chance for an enduring experience. Too many of you miss out on it because you’re not willing to cross that open gate. (Note: This is beyond a football team. Your experience might be seeing Paul McCartney in concert or Bill Cosby perform live, both of which I’ve done. Play along with me…)

Don’t pass up chances to enhance your life’s experiences. Take the chance sometimes to take a vacation day; upgrade to first-class; or take the penthouse suite on a trip with your spouse.  The downside is low, and the upside is huge.

P.S. Before people get all fired up about this one case study and cry foul about work, responsibilities, blah, blah, blah – Sometimes you can’t. I get it. My point is that there are many times a month that you do get chances to “experience” life and some of the fun things about it, and you hesitate. Jumping off my soap box…

© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points – Improving Daily

Improving

Last Friday I was an avid Twitter follower as I was tracking the signing of free agent baseball star Robinson Cano by my team, the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners reached an agreement with the now former New York Yankee on a 10-year, $240M contract. The Mariners have been a struggling franchise and this is seen as a way to improve dramatically and become relevant again. On Facebook, I got into a good-natured debate with friends over the efficacy of the signing. They were bemoaning that it wouldn’t help as as much if we don’t get more help; the money could have been used to get more players; and that in the latter years of the contract, Cano would not be as productive.

To me, that’s not looking at the most important factor. In this one day, the Mariners became better that they were the day before. By adding one of the best players in the game, they immediately improved.

We need to do the same in our world. We need to be better today than we were yesterday. Better tomorrow than today. Standing still or declining is a sure way to failure. The theory is sound, but how do you know you’re improving? There are many ways to improve personally and professionally – What are you reading? Who are you listening to? What skill is being heightened? What bad habit or behavior is eliminated. How can you tell?

As we begin to had into a new calendar year, it’s a great time to assess yourself. Set goals that advance your life, set measures of success to assure you are staying on track, and simply try to get better every day. If you keep doing that, you’re sure to hit a home run.

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

This week’s quote –

“The 1% Solution – if you improve by 1% every day, in 70 days you will be twice as good.”
~ Alan Weiss

Extra Points – Runs, Hits, and Errors

Runs, Hits, and Errors                  

 

I’m writing this Extra Points on Saturday morning, while watching Felix Hernandez pitch for the Mariners against the Chicago White Sox. 3B Kyle Seager booted a routine ground ball for an error with 2 outs. While it didn’t end up costing the Mariners a run in that inning, it did have hidden consequences. 

Mariners broadcaster Mike Blowers recalled a conversation with former Mariners skipper, Lou Piniella. Piniella said that errors have a consequence, even if a run never scores because it adds to the pitch count for the pitcher. Especially early in a season, pitchers are on a strict pitch count as to not overwork their arms and cause injury. In all the years of watching baseball, I’d never considered this.

The same is ultimately true in your business or career. Your own “errors” end up having consequences that are not readily apparent. Often, our mistakes aren’t realized immediately until those consequences catch up to us. Even if we do know we “booted a grounder,” if we can recover quickly we feel we got out of our jam.

Here are some of our “pitch count” consequences – lost time, lost future business, missed opportunities, severed or diminished relationships, and increased stress and anxiety. Obviously, we never try to make errors. Neither to big league ball players. The real goal is to be aware of the consequences and work to improve your own decision making process and score more runs and hits, than errors!

 

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

 

This week’s quote –

“I’ve learned that something constructive comes from every defeat.”
–  Tom Landry, former head coach of the Dallas Cowboys

 

Extra Points – The Post-Rapture Edition!

This week’s focus point –

Post-Rapture Special – Cliffhangers.

Hello? Hello? Is there anyone else out there?

If you’re reading this, either the rapture didn’t happen “as expected” or you and I are in the throws of a planet upheaval over the next 5 months, if I read the article in the New York Times on Friday correctly. It would certainly figure that the end of the world would come right when the Seattle Mariners are playing great baseball. wouldn’t it?

It would also mean that I would miss out on all the great shows I enjoy watching that have major cliffhangers that just aired and won’t be solved until September. I think the 1980’s iconic series Dallas made cliffhangers a “must” for all serious dramas on television.

In business, you can learn from cliffhangers. A terrific season finale will create curiosity, emotion, suspense, foreboding, and an actual passion to find out what happens. If you’re a speaker on any professional level, you must create that same emotional response to engage your audience and have them focus on you, not their text messages. If you’re in sales, you must know that logic makes people think, and emotion makes people act. Creating curiosity, suspense and passion will more quickly get you the business than spouting out statistics. What can you do in your business to create the same emotions the great television dramas do that keep their audience coming back for more? If you can figure that out, then you have your own hit series!

That is, unless the calculations are a week off and the end of the world is actually next week instead. I think I’ll still keep my golf tee time just in case…

This week’s quote – “If evil be said of thee, and it be true, correct thyself. If it be a lie, laugh at it.”
– Epictetus (Greek sage and stoic philosopher from the 2nd century)

© 2011 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

Efficiency

I went to the Mariners-Cubs game last night and watched Mariners pitcher Cliff Lee throw an absolute gem of a game. He only gave up one run on a home run and won the game easily. A couple of things I noted…

1 – He gave up 9 hits but found a way to consistently get out of jams by striking someone out or inducing them into a double play

2 – He throws strikes 75% of the time. 75%! The other pitcher was at 50%. When you are consistently throwing around the plate, hitters are swinging and you’re getting out of innings faster.

3 – He works very fast from the mound. Get the ball and throw.

Cliff Lee is in a word, efficient.

Are you efficient in your daily work? Are you maximizing your time, throwing “strikes” more than “balls,” and consistently getting out “jams” that take your time and mental effort? Take a cue from Mariners pitcher Cliff Lee. Work fast, get out of jams, and throw strikes. You will find your success, just like his, will increase and you will get more wins.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved