Extra Points: A Series of Sprints

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40My favorite television series began it’s new season last week with several key changes. NCIS is now in its 14th season and introducing two new agents, one of which is replacing an original star, Micheal Weatherly (who now has his own new series).

My wife Barb and I enjoyed the “new blood,” however she found in reading social media, that there are many who don’t. She noted throngs of people upset that significant characters have come and gone and lamenting on why changes to a successful show would occur. To add to the topic, I have a friend that chided beer maker Dos Equis on Facebook for parting ways with the popular commercial character, “The Most Interesting Man in the World.” The actor, Jonathan Goldsmith is 77 years old and undoubtedly will get his chance to explore more Interesting things in retirement.

Here’s the deal folks. Just like in our normal lives, people (and characters) come and go. Life is not a television series or commercial where characters live on well past their prime. In fact, the most successful shows and campaigns make changes to stay up with the times. While both Weatherly and Goldsmith may have requested a change, both NCIS and Dos Equis got younger. They now are in a position to attract and engage millennial viewers, thus making it more likely to grow and sustain their “businesses.”

Life and business is a series of sprints. Each sprint has a life cycle to it, filled with different characters, situations, and opportunity. When one sprint ends, another begins. So it is with your business and life. If you’re unwilling to let go of characters and situations that no longer serve your best interests and provide new opportunity, then you’ll go the way of the dinosaur, video stores, and transistor radios. However if you consistently seek to embrace bold change aimed at expanding opportunity (and actually act on them), you will find that you’re unleashing your potential and prosperity to be successful, sustainable, and significant.

And winning all your races….

Quote of the Week:

If there is no struggle, there is no progress.

~ Frederick Douglass

NEW

Join my co-host Brad Berger and me in our brand new podcast where we interview CEOs pf small and medium-sized businesses on what made them successful. The podcasts will air every two weeks and you can listen in our website. First streaming podcast is on September 27th at 4 pm PST!

Shrimp Tank Seattle Website

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points – Unsolicited Advice

Unsolicited advice 

Don’t accept unsolicited advice. As my professional mentor, Alan Weiss reminded us at his Seattle event last week, unsolicited advice is for the giver of the advice, not the recipient. Only accept advice from people who you want to gain advice from. As a member in Toastmasters, I accept advice from fellow members because it’s implicit in my membership. I don’t accept advice from someone I don’t know after walking off the platform when I speak. I accept advice from my mastermind group because I value and respect their opinions and it’s again implicit as part of that group. I don’t accept advice or comments through the internet where someone is anonymously hiding behind an avatar (see electronic comments on newspaper articles).  Choose wisely who you take suggestions and advice from. They need to have gained your trust and respect in whatever it is they are mentoring or coaching you on (or even simply giving advice).

One additional note. Don’t get angry by people’s comments or “advice” on social media sites like Facebook. If you posted something, you have given the right to everyone seeing it to weigh in. It has now become “solicited!” I am constantly amused by people who are agitated by other’s comments on their life when they put themselves out there. If you don’t want to take comments on your life or business, don’t post on Facebook, Twitter, or Linked In. If you are looking to be provocative and edgy, be ready to take the heat. Unless of course the heat comes form someone you don’t know hiding behind a green Martian’s face…

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

This week’s quote –
“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”
– Mark Twain

Politics & Social Media: Danger zone for business

From my September column in the Kitsap Business Journal….
September 5, 2012 @ 3:48pm | Dan Weedin

It’s September and we are heading down the backstretch of this political season. For business people, this means you are entering a danger zone.

Fear not, I am NOT the political pundit this month. Far from it. But, I am here to warn you of the dangers of “mouthing off” with a click of a “post.” The consequences could cost you business.

Let me preface by saying that I have no problem with business people supporting a candidate or a cause. You have every right to voice your opinion and advocate whatever positions you like. That doesn’t mean you should be a social media bully.

In an era where Facebook and Twitter send your sound bytes viral in milliseconds, you may find yourself wishing you could turn back time and control your finger. Your clients and prospects may solely be on Facebook for fun. In fact, the odds say that they are.

With that in mind, I present to you Dan’s 10 Rules for Surviving the Political Season:

Tip #1 — Proofread your posts. Don’t write your last line; click send; and walk away feeling triumphant. You probably aren’t. If you’re angry or agitated, you probably wrote something you shouldn’t have.

Tip #2 — Avoid “fighting words.” It never ceases to amaze me what people will say when they don’t have to say it to your face. Case study — I had a “friend” write on a Facebook post that people with a certain line of thinking were “knuckle draggers and crack pots.” This was the husband of someone I sent business to! If you’re using verbiage like this to attract attention, be careful what attention you will get.

Tip #3 — Avoid using “labels.” Liberals, Democrats, Conservatives, Republicans, Tea Partiers, whatever. By lumping them all together, you may include people you don’t want to. Some of those may even be your clients! Many Facebook “posters” are notorious for lumping in outliers by enlarging their demographics through generalities.

Tip #4 — Don’t enter into a war of words online. I’ve been guilty of this myself. No good can come from it. Either back off, or pick up the phone and call. If you don’t know the person well enough to call, then why do you even care?

Tip #5 — Beware of Pinterest. I know it’s the new hot craze. You can’t go through Facebook without seeing a gazillion posters (90 percent are absurd, based on my personal scientific study). When you start posting these things, people will assume you are fully supportive of the meaning. The problem is that the meaning may not be all so clear.

Tip #6 — Don’t take things personally. People have different opinions. It’s still okay to have them as friends or do business with them. There is a direct correlation where the less fighting words are used, the less likely someone will take something personally. Just saying…

Tip #7 — Don’t be angry. Anger usually leads to rash judgments, vitriolic posts and hurt feelings. Do you really want to hurt your potential customers’ (as well as current customers’) feelings? Anger tends to subside quickly; hurt feelings not so much.

Tip #8 — Be open to learn. When positions are cited without rancor or mean-spiritedness, I feel I can actually learn something new. I may not ultimately agree, but I am happy for the discourse and opportunity to grow.

Tip #9 — Have some perspective. These elections will all be over in a few months and the winners and losers will all go their own ways. Your words may linger on forever with those who read them.

Tip #10 — Don’t engage in political debate on social media. This will save you from yourself. Social media has the ability to take your position, inflate it past what it really is, attach a really mean voice, and shout it to the world. If you’re in business, the only thing you want shouted to the world is how you can help them, not whether you favor donkeys or elephants!

Bonus — A really large majority of Facebook “posters” aren’t in business. They have nothing to lose. They can break all my rules and be no worse for wear. If you get into battles with them, your posts are available for all your community to see (you knew that, right?). You may be slinging mud at your brother-in-law in Hoboken, but your best client may read it.

I’m not perfect. I’ve broken a few of my rules over the years (how do you think I thought of them?). I can tell you that as things get heated up, I will keep my opinions off the Facebook news feed. You and I may chat about them over a cold beer, but you won’t be “liking” or seething from them online.

My recommendation to you as a business professional is that you adhere to my rules, focus on building your business, and dodge the mud!

Dan Weedin is a Poulsbo-based management consultant, speaker and mentor. He leads an executive peer-to-peer group in Kitsap County where he helps executives improve personally, professionally and organizationally by enhancing leadership skills. He is one of only 35 consultants in the world to be accredited as an Alan Weiss Master Mentor. You can reach Dan at 360-697-1058; email at dan@danweedin.com or visit his website at www.danweedin.com.

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Alan Weiss on Politics and Social Media

Image

Amen!

This was from Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, my upcoming column in the Kitsap Business Journal is precisely on this subject. I had not talked to Alan about it, but I knew we were on the same page. I have no issue with who you want to vote for or what your political opinion is. State your support; show encouragement; and bring up points to support your cause. Heck, feel free to debate. But, for goodness sakes, stop the incessant mud slinging, labeling, and name calling. You never know what person that is important to you that you offend with your language, not your political point of view.

Alan’s post today…

This week’s focus point: Whatever your politics, people who resort to demonizing the opposition and launching ad hominem attacks simply have no new ideas themselves. We find this in business all the time in those who resist and attack any change initiative, as if they are the organization’s immune system. There are “professional disagreers” on the social media platforms who really need to get a life and stop finding fault with others’ ideas without having any of their own. If you don’t think someone is right, illustrate a better way. Light a candle, don’t curse the darkness.

Monday Morning Perspective: Two old men. Enemies who spoke different languages and couldn’t even agree on a way to prevent the world from blowing up. Yet there they were, embracing like brothers on world television at the simple act of a man jumping over a bar. — Roone Arledge of ABC on the most important thing he ever broadcast: Kruschev and Averil Harriman celebrating Valery Brumel’s record high jump in 1963.

Extra Points – Barking Up a Tree

Barking Up a Tree.

My dogs have two very different world views on their fellow canines. Bella (on the left) could care less about dogs that happen to appear on the television. But get her out in the real world, and she becomes crazy. She knows where every dog on our walk lives; thinks there’s a dog in every car that drives by (based on seeing one once); and makes it her quest to bark maniacally at them. Captain Jack on the other hand doesn’t seem to be overly concerned with other dogs on his walk. He can pretty much take them or leave them. But, if he spies them on TV, he goes crazy. He attacks the television, searches behind it for those dastardly dogs, and now even recognizes the tunes in commercials where they pop up. Bella doesn’t care. In the end, neither cares about the others difference of opinion.

We all have different world views. Our own personal experiences and biases lead us to form political, religious, and economic notions. That doesn’t mean the other person with a different opinion is damaged.

During this political season leading up to a presidential election in November, social media has fueled the firestorm of conjecture and opinion. Everywhere I read, people are voicing their opinions louder and with more gusto than Captain Jack assailing my TV. Unfortunately, with it often comes boorish behavior. It’s not enough to have one’s opinion, but castigating those who think differently has become not only commonplace, but encouraged.

Don’t do this in business or you won’t last long. In fact, if you choose to do this in your social media platforms beware. You never know who is reading. Having an opinion is terrific and applauded. Tacking on foul language, degradation, and inappropriate humor may lose you business and friends. Always remember that the cyberspace curtain we hide behind is pretty transparent. Next time you bark, know that the entire neighborhood is listening…

This week’s quote – “If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.” Muhammad Ali

Too Much In Your Face(book)

When Facebook started years ago (not really sure because now it seems to have been around forever) it was for college kids. They posted what school they went to, who they were partying with, and what they would do over the summer. Then the adults figured it out. And according to many young people…ruined it. I’m starting to think they are right.

Here’s what adults have inflicted on Facebook…

  • Facebook has become a venue for a plethora of sappy posters, ramblings, and other inanities. Last year, I had to block all the dumb games. Now my News Feed is filled with these posters. I’ve found one that was funny and I passed it on. Ironically it was on social media. The rest are mostly awful. Now, they are all over the place!
  • It’s election season and I may have to take a 6-month hiatus. It’s bad enough to see a gazillion signs littered around our streets; horrid and often inaccurate commercials; and political debates that have become a circus. Now, I get to see every party – Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Tea Party, Tea Drinkers, and the Field – tell me their opinions and attitudes. I get the right to voice your opinion and overall, that’s okay. The problem is the way it now is delivered. This leads me the next bullet point…
  • If you’re having a political conversation or discussion in person, you have more at stake to be civil. Now, even with your profile picture showing, it seems acceptable to talk like a belligerent drunk. Bad language, name calling, and vitriol unleashed. It used to be that Facebook was on par with walking around a cocktail party. Now, its 1:30 in the morning in a bar and chairs are flying.
  • I don’t care if you are a Republican or Democrat (or one of the others); Pro-Life or Pro-Choice; For Gay Marriage Against Gay Marriage; Baby Boomer or Gen Xer; Like Cats or Hate Cats; Like the Patriots or Hate the Patriots; or on any side of any controversy; do yourself a favor. Be nice. Don’t think that just because someone may have a different opinion than you (and on Facebook you have no idea), that they are damaged. You never know who may be reading and how it may affect your ability to do business with them, or even to remain friends. I think the kids get this better than the adults do.

While I’m firmly positioned on my Soap Box, I’m going to continue…what the heck…I’m probably being “DE-friended” all over the place:

  • Think twice about posting a picture of you with a huge cocktail in front of you as your profile picture. Yes, you’re undoubtedly well over 21 years old and it’s legal for you to drink. Just remember that a growing number of employers check out Facebook profiles prior to hiring. Even if they can’t see your wall, they can see your profile picture. Just saying…
  • Think about what you can do to enhance relationships and improve others personally and professionally (for you business people), rather than insulting the other person’s intelligence.
  • Voice your opinion. Just don’t assume the people on the other side (normally pretty close to 50%) is damaged. They just have a different opinion. Voice your opinion maturely.
  • Don’t swear or curse (and that includes all the funky acronyms and spellings – we get it). It doesn’t ever show well for you.
  • Use this amazing technology to re-connect with family and friends; help others in their business; promote the value your business can offer others; learn about others; promote your favorite charities; and share photos of your life with your friends.
  • Be careful what you say. You never know who is reading. Be certain you’re willing to standby what you say and how you said it.

Okay, I’m stepping off my Soap Box. Facebook is about to go public. I’m certain it’s because they see a huge opportunity to make money as they watch adults turn this once innocuous platform for kids into a place where adults can aggressively spar and spit while sitting comfortably behind their computer screen or cell phone. As 2012 moves closer to elections, my guess is it will only get worse. My guess is that when it does, many adults and kids alike will begin to be more careful about who they “hang out” with…

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

 

What are your Employees Tweeting?

Okay…now read this. This is important.

I just was scanning Twitter and saw a post by one of my favorite sports reporters, Danny O’Neil from the Seattle Times. He posted a blog on the Aaron Curry situation and how it’s trending on Twitter. For those of you not following Seattle Seahawks football, Aaron Curry is the team’s recently benched linebacker who was their first round draft pick three years ago. Curry for all accounts is a hard worker, good teammate, and a physical specimen. He just hasn’t gotten it done on the field and it cost him his starting job. O’Neil points out that Twitter is going gangbusters on Curry’s demotion with Curry acknowledging friends, foes, and fans on his account.

For his part, Curry has been gracious. He doesn’t engage the loudmouths who heckle him from behind the cyberspace curtain. He has kept his composure and professionalism You can read some of the comments on O’Neil’s blog. That being said, Curry has also acknowledged that he would welcome finding a new home, specifically back in his home state of North Carolina with the Panthers. And the beat goes on as does the trending on Twitter.

Here is why you need to take notice. Curry is an employee under contract with the Seattle Seahawks. He is engaging in real-time conversations with both people he knows and doesn’t know regarding his job on Twitter. He also openly agrees that he would be willing to find a new situation. This will undoubtedly continue. You have employees who have access to Twitter. They may not have the same high-profile as an NFL player, but they probably have an account and use it as a tool at some level.

  • What if they got on their Twitter account and started talking about their job?
  • What if they started openly soliciting their services to others?
  • What if they were unhappy and unlike Curry were willing to voice that displeasure?
  • How would you know it was happening?
  • How could you mitigate damage to your reputation?
  • Do you have a communications plan that includes the personal and professional use of Twitter?
  • How long are you willing to keep your head in the sand?

Here is the bottom line. If you don’t have a plan for dealing with social media and your business, you are going to be as obsolete as the iPhone 4 will be in about a week. Your employees can Tweet, Friend, Post, Blog, Like, Look, Poke, Prod and a whole bunch of other things all from the comfort of their office chair on their own personal phone. They can talk about you, your business, your clients, your prospects, and anything else they want. What have you done to protect yourself?

Here’s what you need to do. It’s painless and free.

  1. Create a social media plan for your organization. Do a little research and find out what the “hot” social media platforms are. I guarantee you that they are changing and shifting constantly. Start with Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Google +, and You Tube first and then move on.
  2. The plan should identify potential perils, what you consider to be professional etiquette and expectations, professional reference during personal use, and disciplinary actions if violated.
  3. Engage your employees in the process. Have them craft it. If you cram it down their throats it will come across as threats and Big Brother-ish. If they are part of the solution, you may find that they do a better job of policing themselves!
  4. Find someone in your organization who will be responsible for monitoring social media platforms. This need not be a full-time job. You might just find someone who likes doing it, is good at it, and will watch out for your backside.
  5. Monitor and maintain. Once you start this process, make sure it stays relevant. Technology changes and so should your policy. review and update it every 3-6 months. Continually ask for feedback from your employees. Be consistent in discipline, but also reward for good behavior. Find ways to leverage social media for good, not evil.

Bonus. You may not be covered for claims arising out of social media issues. Your Commercial General Liability policy excludes coverage for personal and advertising injury arising out of “electronic board and chat rooms.” That’s social media platforms and your blog. You can find coverage through special policies and most professional liability policies. Your next step should be to contact your insurance broker and ask the simple question, “Am I covered for liability arising out of social media?” If it takes him or her longer than about 3 seconds to answer, you may have a problem.

Take note of what’s happening to employers around you (like the Seahawks) and how their employees (like Curry) can impact the organization and then look inward. You may need to work on your own game!

You may now return to your regularly scheduled day…

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

 

Social Un-Security: Social Media is all “trick” and no” tweet” for your business insurance

Social Media has captivated the globe and has changed how we communicate personally and professionally forever. And the scary thing is, it’s ever evolving and changing. The good news for you as a business is that you have more ways to spread your message, sell your products, and profess your opinions for free to the world. The bad news is, that your insurance may not have kept up with the times and is stuck in 1979.

Your Commercial General Liability policy has a coverage part called Personal & Advertising Injury. This coverage part has a sub-limit of liability that should be equal to your Occurrence limit. Personal & Advertising Injury is meant to protect you from among other things, libel, slander, defamation of character and other grisly things that you do that could hurt someone’s feelings. Seriously, it’s meant to protect you from negligently damaging someone’s reputation, or infringing on copyright or intellectual property. This is more of an issue today as technology blurs those lines, so it’s an important coverage.

The standard General Liability policy (ISO CG00 01 12 07) will exclude injury “arising out of an electronic chat room or bulletin board the insured hosts, owns, or over which the insured exercise control” (ISO CG00 01 12 07).  As well as Personal and Advertising injury “arising out of the infringement of copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret or other intellectual property rights” (ISO CG00 01 12 07).  This includes data privacy breaches and claims resulting from a data privacy breach.

In English, this means that your tweets, blog posts, Facebook notes, and other commentary on social media sites are not contemplated by outdated verbiage still being employed in General Liability policies. Certainly, you can fight it, however you know that means extra time, money, and anxiety. Bottom line, your tweets aren’t covered!

There are increasing numbers of case law and opinions surrounding this issue. My job today isn’t to bore you with a litany of these, but to alert you to your vulnerability.

So how can you get in trouble? Let’s face it; the most intriguing blogs and tweets are the ones that offer contrarian, thought provoking, and often outlandish commentary. In sending out your opinions over cyberspace channels, you may be critical of competitors, inadvertently offend another company or individual, and/or infringe on someone’s brand. If they sure you, you’re on your own.

So what do you do? Fortunately, the insurance companies have found a way to protect you. For consultants like me who own a professional liability insurance policy, the coverage is included there. For other businesses, there is a fairly recent policy that has been created called Cyber Technology insurance. It’s meant to protect your liability for issues related to technology like social media, data breach, and other nasty things like that.

You need to talk with an insurance professional – your broker, agent, or consultant. It’s crucial that you examine your company’s social media practices, including how your employees use it.

Tom Bell an attorney with Perkins Coie, in an article published in Computerworld states:

“Companies are entitled to free speech, but their commercial speech is less protected. The lower protection comes in the form of a higher standard of care for truth and accuracy. So, when company employees participate in social media on behalf of their employer, they subject the company to the same risks as a newspaper or individual, but with less protection.”

Employing a social media policy will help you assess your vulnerability, create policy that works for your operations, and set up a plan to transfer your unwanted risk to an insurance policy that adequately protects your liability and assets.

Your company probably should be active at some level in social media. If it’s not now, you’re probably falling behind the game at some level. Like any other risk you face in business, you need to make this part of a good risk management policy.

Don’t find yourself on the wrong side of a tweet. Go out and become “socially acceptable!”

 

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Does Social Media Build Strong Relationships?

No.

I’m certain I will get a lot of people responding with contempt over my short answer, and that’s okay. I ask that you hear me out.

I believe social media platforms can be an excellent aid in enhancing relationships. The ability to communicate, share, and provide value is clear. However, I sincerely believe that in order to build that relationship, you must have begun the formation in a more personal manner.

Now you might be saying, “Dan, this is just like what pen pals did in the pre-computer age.” Yes, that’s a credible argument. However, pen pals usually were able to scribble more than 140 characters. They were able to write with a broader vocabulary and the anticipation of the next correspondence was part of the fun.

Consider these questions:

1. Just because you are a friend on Facebook or have someone following you on Twitter, does that mean you’d invite them to your next barbecue?

2. How many of your friends or followers have you met in person or talked to on the phone? That’s usually one of the first clues that you have a strong relationship.

3. Do they trust you enough to pay their hard-earned cash to purchase your product or service?

Maybe part of the problem is our definition of “relationship.” When I use the term, I mean that you and the other person know and trust each other to the point of having complete confidence in their affinity for your best interest. I believe many people consider the word “relationship” akin to an acquaintance.

Social media platforms are a good way to keep in touch with friends, family, and business associates. It’s a great way to find old high school and college chums. And, it’s a fine way to disseminate your opinions, value, and opportunities. However, it can also create a tremendous amount of noise, vulgarity, and wasted time.

Start by building relationships from scratch the old-fashioned way and then work on enhancing them through social media. Building strong personal and professional relationships takes time. Don’t be in such a rush to amass great numbers, rather focus on quality.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

A Little Creativity Goes a Long Way

I was responding to a thread on Facebook this morning on marketing. The question was – what is your best source of marketing and advertising? My response to the thread is that I believe a lot of business owners are missing the boat by overlooking very powerful, FREE tools. Namely, blogging and You Tube. Professional service providers are basically getting it. They are their own brand and they are drinking the Kool-Aid. However, a lot of service organizations can also do the same thing. It just takes a little creativity…

  • Auto Dealers – Create You Tube videos on the cars you have for sale. Have your best sales people point out the must-have features. Car sales is a visual sale…bring that sale to life.
  • Auto Body Shops – What myths about rebuilding a car are pervasive in your customers? Write a regular blog advising us of ways we can better take care of our cars ourselves. That way when we can’t do it anymore because it’s above our pay grade, we think of you. Create 3-minute videos of why your process is best for your customer.
  • Barber shops and hair salons – Talk about a visual business, you can have some fun with this by creating fun commercials. Get some of you best customers to give wacky testimonials, make fun of hairstyles, and make yourself stand out like, well a bad haircut.
  • Restaurants – write blog posts reviewing your best meals; teach us how to best shop for cool recipes; video record your best customers chowing down on your food.
  • Physical Therapists – You can add great value to your target market by teaching them through word or video how to better take care of themselves, do exercises, or generally promote good health.

This isn’t rocket science. If I can think these things up in about 7 minutes listening to 3 Doors Down sing “Here Without You” (a favorite of mine), then what can you do if you get away from your desk, grab an iced mocha at your local coffee shop and just think. That reminds me…

  • Coffee shops – Why should you be the place everyone goes to? Don’t tell them, show them! Make a great video showing everyone how terrific your ambiance is and what great people frequent you establishment. Maybe you can write a blog with special coffee recipes.

So how do you get people in your target audience to see these fantastic creations of yours? Tell them with newsletters, social media platforms, press releases, word of mouth, keyword and tag placement (SEO), and any other way you can imagine. After all, how are you reading this blog post right now?

Once you gain a following, then they will start spreading the word for you. Whether your target audience is local or global, you can use a few free tools to spread your value and message.

All you need is a little creativity…

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved