Extra Points: Of Bush & Marley

Dan_Weedin_022I admit it.

Until recently, I took for granted the legacy of George H.W. Bush. In the 1980s, I voted for him as part of the Reagan ticket. I also voted for him for President. I knew him as a long-time politician and patrician. I knew he was a contemporary of my parents and like my dad, served in World War II.

It was when I read Flags of Our Fathers a decade ago that a new view of George Bush emerged. The book detailed his war record, his rescue in the Pacific, and his deep sense of grief for the loss of his fellow pilots 50 years previous. The author also wrote about Bush’s deep-rooted loyalty and love for his family, and the reciprocity by them.

This was never more evident that at his funeral last week. While there was much adulation for his public service, the memories and stories of him as a family man and human were ubiquitous. His care and concern for people crossed party lines and was seen clearly in the faces of his family and friends.

Then my mind did a crazy thing as it often does; I thought about another funeral that gets recreated this time each year. One of my all-time favorite movies is Charles Dickens’ The Christmas Carol. In my mind, I pictured the Patrick Stewart-played Scrooge attending the funeral of his business partner Jacob Marley. Outside of the Reverend and one other, Scrooge was the only attendee. We know the rest of the story.

Here’s my point: we all traverse life with the constant opportunity to touch people and change lives. Marley and Scrooge (until his reclamation) chose to be selfish; to be uncivil; and to bring sadness and despair in their “touch.” Bush was clearly a husband, father, and grandfather first. In spite of what must have been an incredibly busy life, he found the ability to touch his family, his colleagues from both parties, and his friends in incredible ways.

Whether one cared for George H.W. Bush as President, there seems to be nary a person that didn’t respect and like him as a human. Bottom line: this season of the year is always a good time for reflection. Watching the Bush funeral reminds me to continue to set high standards not only on myself professionally, but even more so as a human. I hope this brief memo might cause you to do the same.

After all, as Jacob Marley reminds us, “mankind is our business.”

Quote of the Day:

“There is nothing new in the world except the history you don’t know.”

~ Harry S. Truman

© 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: Muscle Memory

Dan_Weedin_022When I coached high school basketball, one of the concepts I taught was muscle memory. In changing fundamental mechanics – like shooting a basketball – it takes 21 consecutive days to create “muscle memory.” If you stop the consecutive and consistent training when trying to change mechanics, you will lose all you gained and will have to re-start the process. Muscle memory is a crucial concept in changing mechanics in sports.

The concept is the same in your business and in your personal life.

What changes do you want to make in your business? Ask for more referrals? Improve communication skills for leaders? Grow your skills or “smarts” in your industry? Regardless of whether you want personal improvement or that of your employees, implementing long-term improvement while optimizing your investment of time and money requires daily discipline. Just like muscle memory of 21 days is necessary to change basketball shooting skills, daily discipline around change is also a requirement for changed business practices.

While we are talking about change implementation, the concept applies to our personal lives. Eating healthier, increasing hours of sleep, exercising more, and advancing skills (e.g. learning a new language) might be on your list. No matter what you want to do better, if you want to create a better life it takes more than simply identification. It requires muscle memory.

Time to flex those muscles…

Quote of the Day:

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

~ Theodore Roosevelt

© 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.

Blocking & Tackling

Dan_Weedin_022It was a satisfying Saturday in watching my alma mater, the University of Washington Huskies defeat our cross-state rivals the Washington State Cougars and retain the Apple Cup for the 6th consecutive year. With apologies to my WSU pals (well, not really), I feel obligated to create a point from the victory…so here it is.

After the game WSU coach Mike Leach summed up why he felt Washington prevailed. He succinctly stated that the Huskies, “blocked better than us, and tackled better than us.” He was right, and he also offers a reminder to our business and lives.

Blocking and tackling are the fundamentals of offensive and defensive football, respectively. The lack of execution in one of these might cause a team to lose; in both it’s nearly always fatal. The same is true in business. Regardless of your position or industry, you have fundamentals that mirror blocking and tackling in football. These skills extend from decision-making at the executive level; to influencing skills at the managerial level; to process skills at the implementation level. Complacency often sets in with the best of us; we block and tackle every day and often forget how important staying sharp and focused on these critical skills are. What are the “blocking and tackling” fundamentals in your business and career? How well are you and your employees performing daily? If you’re not “winning” as much as you’d like, check your fundamentals.

Final thought. Blocking and tackling carries into our personal lives as well. If you want to improve your relationships then hone your communicators by listening and civility. If you want to improve your health, then blocking and tackling morphs into eating habits and exercise. If you want to reduce drama and conflict, focus on positive thinking, empathy, and talking.

Blocking and tackling wins football games. They also help you win in business and life.

On three. Ready…break!

Quote of the Day:

“The game of life is a lot like football. You have to tackle your problems, block your fears, and score your points when you get the opportunity.”

~ Lewis Grizzard (20th century American writer)

© 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: Simple & Speed is King

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Last week I ordered a salad and smoothie from the local drive-thru cafe and salad shop. I paid online for custom-order lunches. They sent me an immediate email acknowledging my order and letting me know that another email would soon arrive as to when my order would be ready. That came about one minute later and gave me a “ready time” that was seven minutes away. That was enough time to jump in my car, drive about half a mile, and pick up my meals. I was back home in three minutes.

It’s time to vote this week. In my state, I already voted. We are an all-mail in state voting system; in other words – no standing in lines, no driving to polling places, no traffic, no issues with picking up kids, no forgetting, no excuses. More importantly, it’s easy and fast.

On the other hand, three organizations I care about and am actively involved in all make me write a check for annual or monthly dues. In every case (unless they are keeping it a best kept secret – but then again I asked), each organization has no method for paying with a credit card online.

I see this same malady among many small businesses who are trying hard to compete with larger brethren. They don’t accept credit cards or have minimums; they make people stand in long lines; they give broad time frames for service; and they offer little to no real-time communications.

The problem is they are placing the burden on the customer or client. In a world where simplicity and convenience is king; and where speed to market or to pay is everything (see Amazon payment to home in two days or less); the adamant attitude of making the client guess, wait, or work harder is the quickest way to organizational demise. Small business actually has the advantage of nimbleness and speed, yet time after time I see many remain in the mode of dictating to customers and clients. If a small business selling salads and smoothies can do it, so can you.

If you aren’t concerned about being relevant, then continue to be hard to do business with. If you want to take advantage of your nimbleness and personal touch, use inexpensive and easy to access tools and resources to make your clients happy to do business with you.

Quote of the Day:

“The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next.”

~ Mignon McLaughlin

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Scared of Change?

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40My earliest memory of Halloween is dressing up as Captain America as a young boy and trick or treating with my parents. For a long period of time, that was how Halloween was celebrated.

As I grew older as a teenager, the celebration style changed. Trick or treating ended and hanging out with friends became the norm. As young adults, Halloween became about parties and costumes came back, although often with more creativity. The trend in change continued through having children that went through the same process. For me, Halloween is still fun for adult parties and watching my granddaughter start her own process.

So where am I going with this?

Businesses and careers have cycles of change as they mature and grow. In order to stay relevant and cutting edge, it’s important to be innovative and open to change. Halloween can’t stay the same through our own maturation process or else we look foolish. Likewise, if our businesses and careers never evolve, the danger of obsolescence and looking foolish is just as real.

Final thought: As I watched my children and now my granddaughter moving through their own, I am committed to letting them enjoy their time doing it their way. In business, companies should be mentoring and coaching, while allowing for autonomy, failures, and individuality.

Change is necessary for growth, maturation, and rebirth of companies and careers. That way you can assure both tricks and treats in your business and career.

Quote of the Week:

Research is creating new knowledge.

~ Neil Armstrong

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: Brainwashed

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40You’re being brainwashed.

A recent article and shared video by my Shrimp Tank podcast co-host, Brad Berger really caught my attention and compelled me to write on this topic. Many thanks to Brad.

We as humans are greatly influenced by advertising, cultural concepts, and the media (including to a large degree, social media). Even though we may declare to the contrary, we tend to believe most of what we hear and read. Without any demand for proof, we succumb to the peril of being brainwashed into thinking that can harm our health, make us scared, spend our money recklessly, and cause anxiety and stress.

Consider these examples: Food advertising that glowingly espouses low or fat free options when fat isn’t the enemy of poor health. The sugar that is used to saturate the products is. Media that tell us that we are more unsafe than ever when the statistics are clear that we are safer than at any other time in human history. Our society telling us that we should be winding down into retirement at age 65 when research shows that we can be at our peak until well into our 80s. Don’t even get me started on the pharmaceutical attack that encourages us to take all sorts of legal drugs while at the end rapidly telling us the horrible potential side-effects! Here’s the deal my friends. If you want to live an unleashed life, then eschew the “brainwashers.”

The reality of what is possible in your life is up to you. This includes your professional career and business. I encourage you to watch this video. I hope you find it as inspirational as I did. While I feel like I knew this information before and worked hard to avoid the brainwashing, this is a great reminder about how ubiquitous it is in our life.

Here’s my attempt to “brainwash” you: To live the life you want you must eat well; exercise your mind and body; get plenty of sleep; visit your doctor on a proactive not reactive basis; read more; explore more; smile more; don’t trust everything you read in social media or see on commercials; cultivate human relationships; and enjoy the ride.

Now Captain Jack and Bella might say you should also get a dog, but I will leave that as optional.

Quote of the Week:

“A champion is someone that gets up when he can’t.”

~ Jack Dempsey (Legendary Boxing Champion)

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: Leadership is Empathy

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Serena Williams is arguably the best female tennis player of all time; heck she may challenge Roger Federer as the greatest tennis player of either gender. She lost the US Open Championship on Saturday in what became a highly chaotic and confrontational scene involving Williams and the head judge.

What isn’t up for debate is that Naomi Osaka, her 20-year old Japanese competitor, completely outplayed her and won the match in two sets. It was a historic victory, the first ever Grand Slam Championship by a Japanese player.

The decidedly pro-Serena fans in New York voiced their displeasure during and after the match. The travesty is that they actually booed when Osaka was introduced as the champion, bringing this young champion to tears. What should have been a crowning event for the 20-year old was turning into humiliation. That’s when Serena showed why she’s also a champion as a human.

She graciously put her arm around Osaka’s shoulders when it was clear that she was being overwhelmed by the scene. She then took the microphone and implored the fans to stop the booing and give this young lady her time on the platform as a champion.

It’s a reminder to all of us that dealing with adversity with empathy and humanity is a trait of strong leadership. It’s a rare individual than can take a moment to consider someone other than self. Sometimes its forgiveness; other times it’s understanding; still other times it’s compassion and kindness.

Leadership begins with empathy and a genuine sense of how others are being affected; and continues with acts of compassion and kindness to help someone at the moment they need it most. On Saturday, that was a win for Serena Williams.

Quote of the Week:

”Obstacles are things a person sees when they take their eyes off their goal.”

~ E. Joseph Cossman

© 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: What’s That You Say?

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40As the Youth Exchange Officer for my Rotary Club, I get the honor of helping to pick up our inbound exchange student every summer. This student will stay a year with families from our club and have an exciting time. This year, we have a young man from Thailand.

I was speaking to my colleague in the club who is hosting our student to see how his first week went. He said things were great, and that the young man’s English was very good. As with all languages, we have idioms and slang that don’t translate very well. He laughed when he said, “I had to teach him what ‘I’m just messing with you’ means!” I’m sure this learning curve will continue as the young man starts school next week. 

There’s a language to business, both holistically and by industry. While one may have studied the language of business, they may may get stumped with the acronyms, slang, colloquialisms, and insider humor that is prevalent in all businesses and vocations. It’s as if someone were messing with them.

This is actually quite simple to fix; keep it simple.

Never assume someone else knows shortcuts and acronyms; avoid making things more complicated than they need to be; be pithy and clear; use strong vocabulary to clarify and define. In other words, make it easy to do business with others.

We are now a global economy and must be able to quickly communicate ideas and concepts with each other, whether it be with clients and customers next door or halfway around the world. The better you are able to accomplish this, the more rapidly you’ll be able to leverage success and build relationships.

And I’m not messing with you…

Quote of the Week:

”We cannot forever hide the truth about ourselves from ourselves.”

~ John McCain

© 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.