Extra Points: Plan B…C…and D

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40As we begin a new calendar year, businesses and organizations are fervently putting together and starting to implement plans for success. Metrics and mileposts have been set, and hopes are high for a better year in 2018, regardless of how 2017 turned out. The problem is, the majority of businesses and organizations (especially non-profit) fail to take into account one thing…how to respond when the bad thing happens. And then what to do when Plan B doesn’t work. Let’s discuss…

Most every business has plans for growth over the next 12 months. The savvy ones have strong metrics to keep track of the growth based on sales, marketing, and performance objectives. The most sophisticated companies also take time to figure out what obstacles stand in the way. To that end, they figure out a Plan B if Plan A doesn’t work. And then they figure out a Plan C and often a Plan D. Redundancy in strategic crisis planning is crucial to resilience and business continuity.

What are common obstacles your business might face to hamper your biggest dreams for this year?

A physical loss (e.g. fire) that forces your from your building. A cyber attack that compromises your data and reputation. The loss of a key employee or owner. Loss of business knowledge through lack of pre-planning and documentation. A new competitor emerges in you territory. A weather-related calamity that causes you to stop operations for an extended period of time.

While insurance may reimburse you for some of these, it’s negligent not to have a plan to immediately stay open for business to reduce the financial and emotional impact. Too much damage can result that is not protected by insurance. It’s incumbent on you to make sure your plan to mitigate the damage and reduce financial risk to protect your property, people, and profit. The consequences of not doing so will result in loss of profit, damage to people, and going out of business.

Bottom line, I believe you’re resilient. That’s part of the makeup of an entrepreneur and business leader. The problem is that if you’re a “brawler,” you might win the game but come out battered, bruised, and bloodied (bleeding profits). If you fight like a boxer – with a planned strategy that includes obstacles to success – then you’ll come out of the next calamity (and they will happen) moving full speed ahead toward higher profits and business wealth.

P.S. This concept applies to your personal life, too. What are the obstacles that can derail your personal goals, dreams, and lifestyle? You need to create contingencies for your family to assure that your personal hopes and dreams all come true both now and in the future.

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Whack Job

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Last week, I attended my first-ever lacrosse game. My nephew plays on the Western Washington University team and they were playing the University of Washington at the UW. Barb and I were very happy to make the much shorter trip to the UW campus to watch Bennie play.

So here’s what I learned about lacrosse after just one game. It’s a combination of basketball, hockey, and soccer where players are armed with sticks that are used both as tool to catch and pitch a ball and as a weapon.

I watched with great interest as these young men dashed around the field in full protective gear and constantly being whacked across the chest, arms, legs, and sometimes even head. The players that were the most successful at avoiding the constant “whacks” to the torso were the fastest and most nimble ones. While never fully escaping an occasional “whack,” they were able to protect themselves better using their speed and nimbleness.

Kind of like business and life, wouldn’t you say?

We go through our days and can pretty much assure that along the way, things outside our control are ready to whack us…hard. We have goals and dreams to achieve, yet obstacles are normally in the way of those goals. That being said, these obstacles – like the defenders with sharp sticks – aren’t insurmountable. Especially if your fast and nimble!

Fast and nimble in your business, your career, and your life doesn’t translate into speed and athleticism. What it does mean is that you use your “smarts” to be decisive, bold, able to change course, influential, and resilient. It’s that ability to get whacked hard a few times, yet find a way to persevere towards your objectives. For the best and most successful at this practice, they not only are resilient but they are able to find alternate routes that get them to success and significance faster and more effectively. Your mission, should you accept, is to continually grow in speed, nimbleness, and resilience to score more goals for your team.

Do you or your company need help avoiding and thriving through the “whacks” in your business and life? Check out my Unleashed® Balance Sheets below. They are free to download and send to me for a no obligation perspective.

Quote of the Week:

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

~ C.S. Lewis

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

No Rest for the Stupid

Dan Weedin Unleashed-19Yesterday afternoon, my daughter Mindy and I went out to hit golf balls at the local driving range. I purchased a large bucket instead of my normal medium or small size because I’m getting ready to play in a tournament on Saturday, and figured I could use the extra swings.

While the concept was okay, the results were stupid.

The reason for the stupidity was centered not so much on strategy, but on tactics. Instead of keeping with my normal practice pattern, I found myself “raking and ripping.”This is a common malady for golfers on a driving range. It’s the act of “raking” a golf ball from it’s little waiting trough to the mat, and then “ripping” at it. The increased number of balls over time actually wore me out. It’s not how you play golf. You don’t just stand in one spot hitting ball after ball with no break; rather you hit a ball, walk to the next one, hit a different club, and rinse and repeat. I basically hit more balls in rapid fire mode, than I would over four hours on the course.

The results by the end of the session were terrible. I lost all accuracy, got mad (which exacerbated the situation), and left for home frustrated at my results. While I enjoyed my time together with Mindy, that would have even been improved with a better experience.

What would NOT have been stupid was slowing the process down, being patient, having goals, and resting when I needed it. The results and experience would have been better and I’d have had more fun.

This analogy also fits a business problem.

Business leaders often spend too much time “raking and ripping” in their business an career. Here are a few examples:

  • Not having clear goals and metrics before implementing initiatives and projects
  • Veering from strategies and tactics that worked in an effort to falsely accelerate results
  • Becoming impatient with bad results and not taking the time and effort to find the root cause of those results
  • Being stubborn rather than nimble
  • Seeking perfection rather than success
  • Allowing poor performance in business to encroach in personal relationships
  • Working one’s self to exhaustion, rather than taking time to rest and rejuvenate

It took me until this morning to realize that my mechanics aren’t bad, rather my process was …, well, stupid. At the very least, I needed time to rest. Just like in weight training, your muscles need time in between sets (and days) to rest; I needed to rest at proper intervals; you need to find time to rest your brain and spirit. Otherwise, you end up frustrated and that transfers to everyone in your circle of life.

So don’t be stupid like I was. Take time to plan, strategize, learn, and have patience. And by all means, carve out time to rest and re-charge so you’ll always be on your A game!

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All rights reserved

Extra Points: Pass the Burger

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Last week I was in Las Vegas for Alan Weiss’s annual Mentor Summit. Among the benefits is getting together with colleagues from around the world to both network and relax. On Thursday, several of us went to Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant in Caesar’s Palace where the Summit was being held. I’m a fan of Ramsey’s television shows and anxious to dine in one of his restaurants.

Anyone that knows me well knows I’m a burger fanatic. I ordered a bacon cheddar burger (sans bun) on a lettuce wrap with fries. My colleague Hugh, sitting next to me, ordered a lamb burger (that I’d also been eyeing but opted for the former). When the plates came out, a mistake had been made. Not only did Hugh get his order of lamb burger, but they thought I also ordered one, too. It came without bun exactly as ordered, except the wrong burger. As they were about to whisk it away, I stopped them. I told them I wasn’t picky, almost had ordered the lamb burger, and was happy to take it. The “mistake” turned out great for me. The burger was simply delicious. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. The wrong gift concealed in the correct wrapping turned out to be the best surprise.

Great gifts will come when and how you least expect them. They may look like what you want or expected from the outside, and may be your second, third (or last) choice, but by being amenable to the change and uncertainty may lead to your improved condition. In other words, face value can oftentimes be a mirage; what’s really to your benefit is rolling the dice on the unknown with the certainty that you will have learned, grown, or become happier becasue of it.

I’m glad I didn’t let that burger get sent back to the kitchen because it’s not what I first wanted. Don’t let yours pass you by either.

Quote of the Week:


“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

~ Milton Berle

If you’d like to hear more about this concept, listen to my live Periscope broadcast today at 10 am PST. Information below…

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Influencing with Language

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This week’s focus point…Influencing with Language

Being influential is not about manipulation. To the contrary, it’s about helping others become better and more successful. The power of language is the most overlooked skill by business leaders. While the message, the content, and the purpose might have great merit, if the delivery is poor, the results for everyone is poor. The mistake those that desire to influence make is that they rarely are strategic or thoughtful about the delivery.

Do you want to become better at influencing others whether at work or at home? The do this – uncover what motivates the other person; deliver your message in words that improve their condition, not yours; exude positive outcomes rather than negative consequences; improve your vocabulary; practice your delivery; listen “in the moment;” and remember your not in a competition. Your delivery of whatever message you’re trying to send will fall on deaf ears if given badly. Alternatively, if your motive is to make everyone better, then deliver that message in a way that motivates. Words have great power. Your ability to deliver those words with influence is a skill. Learn how to leverage both and you will become a person of influence.

 © 2015 Toro Consulting Inc. All Rights Reserved

This week’s quote –

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

~ Winston Churchill

P.S. My new book has an entire chapter dedicated to influential language. It’s called Unleashed Articulation. You can purchase the book – with that chapter ready to help you – below. What are you waiting for?

The next Weedin Unleashed broadcast is today Monday, September 14. Join here.

New Webinar ~ Staying Alive: Disaster Recovery Made Simple for Small Business

umbrella_riskThis one-hour webinar workshop is specifically tailored for small business owners (1 to 100 employees). I constantly hear that there is simply not enough time or budget to spend on crisis strategy and disaster recovery planning.

Okay…now I’ve got your solution!

By attending this live and interactive workshop, you will walk away with your very own disaster recovery game plan for your business. I will walk you step by step through the process, so you will have an actionable plan ready to implement. You will be able to ask questions along the way AND have email access to me for up to 72 hours after the workshop.

September is National Preparedness Month, so it’s an ideal time to get your plan in place. For the investment of one hour and $50, your return will be potentially massive. Don’t leave the viability of your business and the well being of your employees to chance. Being unprepared is negligent. Conquer crisis in your business and safeguard all you’ve worked for.

Register now by clicking on this link~ space is limited.

Note ~ Don’t sit on this information if you’re not a small business owner. Pass this on to your boss, your friends, your clients, your peers, and your colleagues that are. This workshop may just save their business and you will be a hero!

Click here to register

P.S. The workshop will be recorded and sent to all registrants, so they can keep it forever. Also works in case they can’t be there live.

 

© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

The Question ~ College, Careers, and Contentment – Part 1

What are you going to do after you graduate?College graduation.Kelli

That is the new question. No longer is it, “what are you going to do when you grow up?” That is for 5th graders who still dream of being professional football players and veterinarians (both things I wanted to do until I realized that I had no talent in the former and I had no stomach to put pets down for the latter). This new question causes a lot of anxiety for both high school and college students, but most especially those matriculating with a 4-year degree from a university.

I know first hand.

My daughter Kelli just recently graduated from Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh with a degree in sports management and an emphasis on marketing. She was working with the Pittsburgh Marathon in a job she really enjoyed, yet she was ready to head back home after 4 years. As we talked, she was feeling a little depressed. Her comments centered around the pressure of having to answer this question…over and over again. She knew that she would be asked by well-meaning family, friends, and people in the community she knew. At one point she told me, “maybe I will just tell them that I interviewed with Art Vandalay!” (Art Vandalay was the classic  fictitious character that George Costanza made up in Seinfeld)

Here’s the deal…

College kids dread this question because they feel like a failure if they don’t have an answer. There has been so much pressure put on them by parents (yes…that’s right I’m talking to parents and that included me), family, society, and themselves that it actually inhibits their ability to properly strategize. They end up taking jobs they don’t like or offer no career advancement just for the sake of getting a job. Don’t get me wrong, earning some money in a temporary job is fine as long as you have a plan to move forward. No plan usually means no light at the end of the tunnel. All the graduation speeches about having you whole life ahead of you; of being bold and assertive; and of changing the world all vanish when the stress of the implications of this question bubble to the surface.

What are you going to do when you graduate? The right answer for many young adults is, “I don’t know yet, but I’ve got a plan.”

© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Want to know how to create your own personal plan to accelerate into the career you will love and takes advantage of all the work you did in college? Then join me on September 30th and October 1st for a dynamic workshop that will help guide you to being “unleashed” on the world! Learn more by clicking here!

 

 

Wht Do You Need a Crisis Plan?

umbrella_riskIt never ceases to amaze me when executives and business owners delay or simply refuse to put a strategic crisis plan in place for their business. I see it over and over again with small businesses. Quite honestly, it’s negligent on their part. They risk their profit, their revenue, their employee’s future, their reputation, and the impact to their supply chain. Other than that, it’s not a big deal.

Later today, I am hosting a webinar for executives in the assisted living and elder care community on the topic. These are some quick bullet points on the reasons to invest time and resources towards a plan. If you are in a position where you’re ultimately responsible for the sustainability and resiliency of an organization, you should all me. Or, allow me to put it this way – If you want to assure that no crisis is fatal to your business, you should call me. You will get a plan that meets these objectives:

  • To maximize the prevention of crisis or disaster situations from ever occurring.
  • To minimize the likelihood of any suspension of operations.
  • To minimize interruptions to the normal operations.
  • To limit the extent of disruption and damage.
  • To minimize the economic impact of the interruption.
  • To establish alternative means of operation in advance.
  • To train personnel with emergency procedures.
  • To provide for smooth and rapid restoration of service.
  • To assure that no crisis is fatal to the organization.
  • To set up a communication procedure for employees, supply chain, media, and community.
© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Being Bilingual is your Key to Becoming Influential

Dan WeedinFrom my December column for the Kitsap Business Journal…

Hola. Me llamo Dan Weedin. Como esta usted?

Okay, that’s NOT the bilingual I meant, but I wanted to take this brief opportunity to show off and grab your attention.

Being bilingual is critical to your success as an executive, business leader, entrepreneur, and sales professional. Unfortunately, most of you only speak one “language,” and in so doing leave others confused and money on the table. Allow me to explain…

Coming out of the insurance and risk mitigation world, we have our own special jargon. We like to talk about exposures, hazards, perils, exclusions, redundancy, and coinsurance. We reference ITV, ACV, BI, RC, BOR, and DIC. It’s clear to us, but gibberish to normal people. Unfortunately, I’ve watched professionals in my industry use terms and acronyms like this when speaking with current and prospective clients. To say this is painful for their listeners is an understatement. What’s worse is that important information is being misinterpreted and rejected because the message is flawed. They are speaking the wrong language.

I am on the school board in my community. In the beginning, I was inundated with academic-speak. I thought that insurance jargon was confusing. Hang around a school district for a while and you’ll feel like you’re in a different country! The perceived lack of “transparency” and communication to the public is really a misnomer. They are speaking the wrong language.

This affliction is rampant in all industries, yet gets pervasive when the content gets more complex. CFOs, financial executives, financial planners, insurance agents, and attorneys may lead the pack. In an effort to be influential, they lead with methodology instead of results; and speak in their language rather than the intended audience’s. The results are misunderstandings, frustration, extra work, lost time, lost opportunity, and stress. If you want to be influential, you need to become bilingual. You must speak in a manner that is easy to comprehend and clearly states your call to action.

So let’s get started on getting you a quick and simple Business Language 101 lesson! Here are my seven techniques to becoming bilingual and influential:

Translate your language into their language. Stop using jargon that only you know. Find other words to be descriptive. If you must use industry jargon, take the time to explain it. Drop all acronyms, even if you think they know it. If it’s highly technical, make it simple. You already have credibility; your goal is now results.

Strategic or tactical? If you’re speaking to the CEO or business owner, you need to be strategic. Strategic is the WHY. This means big picture; visionary; results; and ramifications. If you’re speaking to vendors, direct reports, or employees, you need to be tactical. This is the HOW. This means techniques, specificity, and instructional. Know your audience and what motivates them to act.

Be results-oriented. Too many of my colleagues get caught up in their methodology. Most people don’t care about the intricacies of how the car starts. They only care about the results of the car starting. Change your language to results — increased sales; reduced risk; improved morale; decreased drama; enhanced product. If you stay focused on results over methodology, people will be more engaged.

Become a storyteller. Since we were children, we humans have always cherished being told a story. This is even truer in a business environment. Become adept at taking personal stories and using them as a metaphor for a business outcome. I promise that people will remember your message more clearly if you have a witty story attached to it. The best speakers in the world always use stories. You should, too.

Add humor. No cheesy jokes; I’m talking about light and appropriate humor to add sizzle to your steak. Stories are the best way to uncover your humor. People learn when they laugh. That’s why advertisers use it. Have some fun and practice this. You will become an object of interest if you do, and that is part of being influential.

Limit technology. Only use a slide presentation if it adds value to your presentation through images. Images. Don’t fill space with bullet points and text. Don’t read to people. I guarantee they already know how! The focus should be on your words, not words on a screen. Simple graphs, charts and images can enhance your message. Use technology for good, not evil.

Call to action. Always leave with a call to action. Even in a one-on-one conversation, you need to be direct and specific about what you want to happen next. Never assume that your verbiage implied next steps. Be clear, concise and direct.

My professional mentor Alan Weiss espouses that language controls conversations; conversations control relationships; and relationships control business. If you’re going to maximize your influence in business, you must maximize your relationships. The best way to do that is to be influential. You can’t be influential if you’re not understood. Become bilingual by turning the complex into simple, and your results will be increased influence, enhanced credibility, and improved outcomes.

Hasta la vista, baby!

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Follow on Twitter – @danweedin

You’re in the “What If” Business…

Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll
Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll

Last Sunday, my hometown Seahawks had an uncharacteristic breakdown on the final play of the first half, which nearly cost them a game.

They lined up with 2 seconds left to kick a chip shot field goal and increase their 7-3 lead over the Tennessee Titans. This is about as routine a play in the game as there is, as it’s akin to kicking an Extra Point. There was, however, one major problem. Earlier in the quarter, the Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka was injured making a tackle (or literally getting run over). He had to be taken into the locker room to be examined. NFL teams (unlike in college) don’t have the flexibility of carrying backup kickers on their limited roster. For the Hawks, the duty went to punter Jon Ryan.

The Seahawks did a decent job of getting the ball as close as possible for Ryan to attempt his first ever NFL field goal. As the snap came back, backup holder (and defensive back) Chris Maragos mishandled the low snap, tried to pick it up and run, and in a scene straight out of the Keystone Cops, fumbled the ball forward. The ball was scooped up by a Titans player who raced 90 yards to the end zone for an unbelievable touchdown to take the lead at halftime. The Century Link crowd, the Seahawks, and their coach Pete Carroll were stunned. Fortunately for the home team, they overcame that adversity and pulled out a win. After the game in his press conference, Carroll took the blame. He admitted in retrospect that the decision to put his players in a position to fail was “egregious.” They had not had enough practice time and it was set up for a disaster. In hindsight, he would have simply gone for the touchdown with 2 seconds left.

As a crisis management expert, I look at this play as a microcosm of business (much easier to accomplish because the Seahawks won the game). Carroll did the right thing with his mea culpa and taking responsibility. The interesting thing is a similar situation occurred in a playoff game last year against the Washington Redskins. Even though a kicker getting hurt is pretty unlikely, the need to be completely ready and prepared remains.

Here are some other salient points…

1. NFL teams are always prepared for an injury to their most important player, the quarterback. The likelihood and significance is greater than the kicker. The backup (redundancy) is always ready to go. Business is the same way. You are ready for that fire, windstorm, or earthquake. However, how ready are you for the minor “injury” that could cost you big time? Your injured kicker might be an intruder due to lack of security; a wet floor in the office cafeteria just waiting for someone to slip; or an inefficiency in the production line that sends out a defective product. Are you too focused on the big picture and overlooking the other perils?

2. To make a field goal or extra point in an NFL game, you must have three things work well – the snap, the hold, and the kick. Any one of those things that goes awry will create a problem. The Hawks had a backup plan. They had their punter Jon Ryan ready to kick. Unfortunately, Ryan is the regular holder. Maragos probably takes under 5 snaps a week in practice to prepare for this. The snap was low and mishandled. You undoubtedly have processes that require precision and consistency. What happens if your redundancy isn’t prepared to deal with less than perfect conditions? Are your backups ready to handle a low snap?

3. Can you bounce back? The Seahawks regrouped and were able to respond to adversity. Why? I can’t say with certainty as I wasn’t involved with the play other than screaming from my living room. What I can imagine is that Carroll, as any good CEO or President, took the blame, remained calm, trusted in his management (coaches) and employees (team) and stayed on the plan. What’s your plan in crisis? Do you have one? Is it written, communicated, and practiced? How can you move forward without one?

4. Timing is everything. This calamity happened with a whole second half to play. If it had been the final play of the game, all would have been lost. What if your crisis falls in it’s worst time. For the Seahawks, they lose a game (which in their business is crucial). For you, you might lose your business.

You’re in the “what if” business as an executive. This is a strategy decision. Like Carroll, it’s your responsibility to make sure all the “what ifs” have answers that are clearly communicated and implemented. In the end, you’re the one that faces your board of directors, employees, customers, media, community, and your family.

What are you doing to assure that your team is ready to compete for a championship? This year wasn’t without its adversity and I guarantee next year will give you ample opportunity to overcome adversity. They always do. The better prepared and ready you are to meet hose challenges, the more likely you will be playing for a championship at the end of your “season!”

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved