Dealing with Distraction

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I’m spending my Sunday morning glued to the television watching the final round of The Open being played at Carnoustie Golf Club in Scotland. One of golf’s four major championships, The Open was being played for the 147th time, by far the most of any other golf tournament.

A young American golfer name Xander Schauffele is about to hit one of the biggest shots in his young career on the 17th hole. He trails the leader by one shot and this upcoming play is critical for him. He’s hitting from where the spectators were standing and in the background you can hear a child crying, likely protesting the fact she’s been out on the golf course for five hours. One of the announcers makes a comment about it, yet Schauffele seems unaware of it. That is, until he’s about to swing and the child makes an even louder cry that cuts through the silence like a hot knife through butter. Schauffele steps away from his ball, glances in the direction of the mother and child and smiles. In fact, you can see him almost chuckle. He proceeds to start his routine all over again, hits a nice shot and continues to play the hole. This 24-year old dealt with this situation far more graciously than most players many years his senior (and likely even me if I was in that position!).

Schauffele could have let this distraction affect him negatively; could have used it as an excuse for a poor shot. He could have lost his temper and the moment at hand. He could have attached blame. Rather, he smiled, chuckled, re-started his process, and played on. It’s a great lesson for business and life.

We all get distracted and diverted by things we can’t control. It’s very easy to attach blame and conceive excuses to others for our failures – the government, our employees, our clients; the weather, the bank, our family, the alarm clock, or that crying child. You don’t have to spend too much time on Facebook or other social media to find individual op-eds on the woe created by someone else. The reality is, we are all responsible for our own thoughts, actions, and behaviors, and no other distraction should have that kind of control over us.

The next time you find yourself angry or bitter over a bit of bad fortune, remember you have control over the next thing you think about and do. If a 24-year old professional golfer can quickly forgive a loud child and her mother for interrupting his concentration on the biggest stage of his career, we should be able to quickly regroup, recover, and play through our own distractions.

Quote of the Week:

”Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”

~ Confucius

© 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: Avoiding Organizational Amnesia

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I was having a conversation with a client last week on the incredibly important topic of transferring knowledge. We were discussing the concept of “organizational amnesia” from my book Unleashed Leadership, and the upcoming development program I will be conducting for his company. Here is the crux of our conversation:

Organizational amnesia is best avoided when a company can successfully transfer organizational “smarts” to new employees. Development of skills – be it tactical, leadership, or proprietary – through a process of transfer from the veterans to new employees assures that a company doesn’t simple lose it’s memory when employees transition out.

While that all sounds fine, the transfer mechanism is a little more complicated.

I’ve witnessed organizations trying to transfer skills through infrequent seminars, trainings, and lectures. The information gets stored somewhere and made “available” for future use. Here’s the problem: the newer and younger employees don’t retain and retrieve knowledge that way. I’m sorry to tell you that the plethora of thick binders in your resource library are useless. When someone needs to get information quickly, especially in a crisis, the last thing they will do is seek out a binder and start looking for the answer. This process is as outdated as encyclopedias.

What organizations need to do is find how employees (especially the ones that are now being hired) best learn and retrieve information. The answer is quite simple: this generation and future ones use their mobile devices to quickly get information. They utilize videos and checklists stored in a place they can access without thinking twice. The solution is to assure that you are maximizing your investment in knowledge transfer by making certain it will be utilized in the future in the fastest and easiest way possible for the employee.

Stop using 20th century tools for 21st century employees. Make your knowledge basis easy to access and avoid organizational amnesia.

Quote of the Week:

”We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”

~ John Dryden

© 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 Decision Domino Effect

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I’m almost done listening to Walter Isaacson’s magnificent book on Benjamin Franklin. It’s an intriguing biography of a fascinating man, who ably wore many proverbial hats in his time on earth. One of them was politician; and he was a leading figure in the American Revolution.

Of interest was the fact that for a long time, Franklin did not want to split from Great Britain. He thought it foolish from many aspects, especially economically. He worked diligently for years to broker a deal with King George that would allow the colonies to govern and tax themselves and we would live happily ever after as British subjects. His efforts proved fruitless and he soon turned his full attention to leading the charge for revolution.

Which leads me to this thought: What would have happened if the opposite decision was made by King George? It’s clear that had the King agreed to Franklin’s proposal, there was little else at the time that would have spurred the colonies to rebel. It’s likely we would have been a colony to Great Britain for many more years – perhaps decades – before some other issue arose to ultimately change it. There would not have been a War of 1812; the concept of Manifest Destiny that ultimately took the country to the Pacific Ocean would likely not have occurred; and the Civil War may not have happened. The domino effect would have been significant to life as we know it.

Business owners make daily decisions on their company and people. Some decisions are major (expansion of operations), while others are more pedestrian (planning the company picnic). All decisions have consequences and results for the CEO, the company, the employees, and the client base. King George didn’t consider his decision to be of hardly any importance as he never considered the colonists would revolt.

Decision-making is both art and science. Decisions are made based on many factors, including the use of a “crystal ball.” I encourage CEOs to be swift and committed in their decisions; yet to make sure they consult others to assure they don’t spend too much time breathing their own exhaust. The smartest person in the room is usually smart enough to not act as a lone wolf. Decisions are too important and have a domino effect that involve many people and lives.

The decision is yours…

Quote of the Week:

”Patriotism is supporting your country all of the time, and your government when it deserves it.”

~ Mark Twain

© 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: Gravitational Pull

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40When I was gone for a week filming my upcoming LinkedIn Learning course in California, my wife Barb took on the seemingly insurmountable task of training Captain Jack and Bella. She worked with them to dutifully sit before getting their dishes to eat and prior to going outside. I admittedly hurried through both processes allowing them to jump, bark, and demand.

When I returned, she gave me strict orders. She explained that she’s made great headway and I was to “not mess it up.” In other words, do as she did, all the time. I started out doing well, but what inevitably happens is that times come up that I missed the training cues. The reasons included being in a hurry, forgetting, and (this is an important one) that it wasn’t the same priority as Barb had. I’m happy to say that the “gravitational pull” that inflicted me has been responded to better, mostly out of fear for the consequences of my boss! And the other good news, both Captain Jack and Bella have also improved. You can teach old dogs (including me) new tricks after all.

Gravitational pull is that human dilemma that forces our best intentions for improvement back down to a default position of mediocrity (or worse). You should be able to recognize the same reasons for gravitational pull rearing its ugly head – time issues; forgetfulness from lack of practice, supervision, or accountability; and lack of similar priority within the organization or commitment individually.

I spoke last week to a client’s employees for their mid-year retreat and this topic came up. We all agreed that gravitational pull exists and that it’s insidious to personal and organizational growth. In order to beat gravitational pull, one must identify factors for it, create triggers for discipline, and find accountability in others. One of the reasons organizations don’t make goals is because they don’t share the same priority or commitment. That’s a leadership issue that must be identified, discussed, and rectified.

Understanding how to overcome the pull is the first step in the process of regular and consistent growth and positive results. You can teach an old dog new tricks.

Quote of the Week:

”Talent  does what it can; genius does what it must.”

~ Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton (19th century English politician)

© 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: Turning Water Into Wine

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I recently had the opportunity to work the assembly line bottling wine. My client is a local winery and every few months, he offers wine club members the chance to take part in the bottling, and offers nice incentives as compensation for “hard labor.” The opportunities had never worked out in the past, but this time it did.

Here’s what I learned: Bottling wine is physically taxing. The process is highly repetitive; with precision being at a premium. You need good teammates to keep the process running smoothly. It takes a lot of discipline and quality control. And if the the very last bottle doesn’t fill up because the wine ran out, well you get to drink it!

Correlation to business: Running a business is physically and mentally taxing. In order to be successful, one must create repeatable processes with sharp precision and attention to detail. Really good employees are needed; ones that have bought into the system and are compensated equitably for that work. Quality control and discipline are vital to viability. At the end of the day, it should be fun.

For you non-business owners, don’t feel left out. The concepts apply to your career and to your life.

The biggest thing I walked away with (other than some wonderful bottles of wine and a little fatigue) was the understanding that the bottle of wine I purchase at the store had a lot of moving parts play a part in its creation. If you want to create “fine wine” in your business, those same skill sets, characteristics, and discipline are needed.

It’s the best way to turn “water into wine.”

Quote of the Week:

”I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.”

~ W.C. Fields

© 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: Find The Helpers

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40As I attended the graduation ceremony at my local high school, I was impressed specifically by one of the graduate speakers. She mentioned a quote by that great American philosopher, Mr. Rogers. She said that Mr. Rogers was influential in her mother’s life (which reminded me of the generation I’m in) and he had once said that in this world, there are “helpers” when people are in trouble. Her mother explained, “whenever you see a crisis on television, look for the helpers. You will see them.”

That simple statement is so very true. Think of even recent calamities like the Boston Marathon bombing, the devastation of natural disasters, and countless school shootings. You always will find the helpers.

You’d like to think that we are all “helpers,” but it’s not the case. We are all wired differently and bring value, however others are intrinsically wired to be helpers.

This week, we will be performing a crisis simulation exercise for a client. These exercises often reveal those that are leaders, those that are talkers, those that are followers, and importantly, those that are helpers. Every organization – for profit and non-profit – need to identify helpers in their organizations. Every neighborhood and community must identify the helpers. And every family should know the helpers. It’s paramount for resilience and survival when calamity hits.

We all play a role in the affiliations we have. Those of you that have a leadership role in business or in your personal life need to take heed of the wise words of Mr. Rogers. Go find the helpers.

Quote of the Week:

”My father gave me the greatest gift anyone can give another person; he believed in me..”

~ Jim Valvano

Happy Fathers Day to all the fathers out there!

© 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.

The Warrior Mentality Code: Part I

20 Under 40 20_3From my May 2018 column for The Kitsap Sun / Kitsap Business Journal…

Being an entrepreneur requires a “warrior mentality.” As CEO or President, being the “boss” means you fall under this definition of entrepreneur, so pay attention to my next statement.

If you don’t follow my Weedin Warrior Mentality Code, your business could maim you for life, or simply kill you prematurely.

Being a business owner is demanding. While it’s an aspiration to take on this challenge to build a legacy and create wealth, it’s only a good thing if they are around to enjoy the rewards.

I’ve compared being an entrepreneur to being an athlete. While an athlete trains both body and mind, all too often entrepreneurs do neither. The consequences are severe to the health of the owner and the business. In this 3-part series, we will explore ideas and concepts on how to create your own “warrior mentality” to not only accelerate business growth, but also enhance your own health and lifestyle.

The concepts will be broken out into three categories: Personal Health, The ROI of YOU, and Company Culture. In this column, we will tackle Personal Health…

Entrepreneurs and executives are driven. They work long hours, take financial risks, and care deeply about clients, employees, and legacy. Some of the stress that comes with the job is self-inflicted, yet much is still out of their control. If they aren’t mentally, physically, and spiritually fit, the ramifications are dangerous.

Mental Warriors: Mental warriors invest time in attitude and knowledge. Listed below are my best practices on how to become more mentally fit to deal with the stresses of being the boss:

  1. Invest your time and money in learning. This means both professional and personal development. The opportunity to improve how one thinks through videos, books, podcasts, and more has never been greater. Taking 10 minutes a day to learn something new leads to better creativity and innovation.
  2. Hire a coach. The best athletes in the world have coaches, often several. If an entrepreneur thinks that he or she doesn’t need a coach because they’re long on experience and don’t need anyone challenging them, then they are making a grave mistake. Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant, Serena Williams and countless other world-class athletes enjoyed greater success and longevity because they hired coaches. From a mental standpoint, being able to discuss critical issues and gain outside perspective keeps one from “breathing their own exhaust.” It’s also freeing and creates a stronger level of confidence in decision-making.
  3. Improve mental toughness. Mental toughness is that innate ability to respond and be resilient to adversity. Being mentally tough is not easy; it takes discipline, practice and perspective. To grow your mental toughness, dedicate yourself to the first two practices above!

Physical Warriors: This is the area that I see that is least valued by entrepreneurs. Athletes and soldiers must be physically fit to compete and fight. Entrepreneurs compete and fight daily, too. Check out these best practices to improve your fitness level:

  1. Diet is everything. You can’t outwork a bad diet. Sugar is more addictive than any illegal or legal drug, and maybe more harmful. Carbohydrates in excess will increase weight and dull brain power. What you eat will exacerbate how you deal with stress both good and bad. The best thing I ever did to improve my overall health and capacity to run a business was to change what and how I ate. It will be the same for you.
  2. Exercise. You don’t have to exercise like a professional athlete, but you do need to move. Invest time in 30 minutes of exercise a day: walk, swim, bicycle, yoga, golf, or box. In order to best deal with mental stress, you must change the brain chemicals through physical exertion.
  3. Accountability. If you’re going to really improve, then find someone who will hold your feet to the fire. It must be someone that won’t let you slide, and that you respect. Accountability partners work the best.

Spiritual Warriors: This isn’t a faith-based issue; although for many of you it might include it. Here’s what I mean for the purposes of this exercise: what are the things that bring tranquility to your spirit?

  1. Create habits that bring peace of mind and spirit. It’s comfort food for the inner workings of your mind. For me, a good cigar and a complimentary libation once a month is good for the rejuvenation of my spirit! For others it might be a form of exercise (walk in the park), spending time with grandchildren, or reading a good mystery novel. When these become habitual, they become part of your “therapy.”
  2. Be quiet. This is hard for me, but I’ve created a discipline about finding quiet time. I’ve made it fun by allocating time during the day to quietly practice my putting stroke in my exercise room. The getting out of my head to focus quietly on something else is good for the spirit. For others it might be meditation or prayer. Regardless, find that spiritual comfort zone to rejuvenate the all-important spiritual part of you.
  3. People Power: On the other end of the spectrum, cultivate friendships that also rejuvenate you. Make sure they are outside your professional life. I enjoy spending time with my neighbors (sometimes smoking a cigar with libation in hand) as a tranquil time to simply enjoy life. You can be an introvert and still find companionship and support from people.

Final thought. Find one thing to improve in each area. It’s better to move one thing forward a mile than ten things forward an inch. If you choose just one from each, in 30 days you’ll have achieved great progress.

Next month, we dive into the ROI of YOU. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to me with questions and comments about this column.

 

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved