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

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Extra Points – Passings…

This week’s focus point…PassingsDan Weedin Unleashed-40

I am writing this missive Sunday night shortly after hearing of the death of a college buddy from a heart attack. For those of you who are familiar with my work, I tend to write this weekly blurb often at the spur of the moment and about something that has caught my attention. Today, I am using it to write about a friend and to remind us all of something very important…

Chris Welp is the all-time leading scorer for the University of Washington men’s basketball program. He played a few years in the NBA and in Europe until his knees could no longer go. He was also a guy who couldn’t stand straight up and down in my basement apartment when we were in college because he was 7’1” tall and my ceiling was somewhere south of that. I remember watching him show me how is pet boa constrictor devoured mice. Barb wasn’t so keen on that. I remember walking around Costco with him and he drew a crowd wherever he went. He was a great big guy with an equally sized heart and smile. He will be missed.

I last saw Chris 4 years ago when he was being honored by his high school by being inducted in their Hall of Fame. Fate had me now living near where he attended high school and won a state championship. We talked and laughed and shared memories together. I remember clearly making sure we had each others cell phone and address information correct, as we were going to make sure we saw each other more frequently. As I look at his contact info on my phone now, I sadly admit we never did. Life gets “in the way…”

Here’s the deal and our reminder for the week. We only come around this way once. We are here for a short time and have no idea when or how it comes to an end. While I’m sad that we didn’t spend more time together, I’m thrilled to have played a very small part in Chris’s life. Take a look at your day today, this week, and into the future. Live without burden, live without fear, and live loving those around you. You only come around this way once…make sure you leave a mark.

© 2015 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

This week’s quote –

Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn’t be done.

~ Amelia Earhart
Rest in peace, my friend. Go Dawgs…

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Being an ardent University of Washington fan and grad, I’ve become distracted with the whole Jim Mora deal, hoping he comes back home to coach. Just spent a few minutes with my daughter on the phone talking about it. I told her how distracted I was. She agreed and said, “What would we do without social media?” My response…

“A hell of a lot more work!”

Business lesson – get disciplined and stay focused. I am taking one last peek and shutting it all down. I have an article to finish!

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Crisis at the Top

On Monday we learned that my Alma Mater’s head football coach was taking a new gig. Steve Sarkisian announced his move from the University of Washington to USC just days after a huge win over arch rival Washington State in the Apple Cup. Although the possibility of this move had been swirling around the periphery for the last few months, it seemed that he wasn’t the first choice. Turns out after a couple of folks ahead of him declined, he jumped to go back home. Now the Huskies have their eyes on other had coaches and so the dominoes fall.

Let’s face it, college football coaches are hired guns. So are CEO’s. As I write this post, their is news in my neck of the woods that Microsoft is putting the full-court press on Ford’s CEO, Alan Mullaly (former CEO of some little company called Boeing). Unlike their small business brethren, CEOs are generally not the founders of the business. They are brought in to accelerate growth; fix problems and raise the stock price. College football coaches are supposed to do the same thing. Because of that, movement is rampant in both businesses. This isn’t loyalty. It’s business.

But what is always left behind in these moves are the colleges and the kids; the businesses and the employees. Athletic departments and board of directors better have a plan in place if and when their hired gun leaps to new pastures. If not, they are in the cross hairs of a crisis. This goes all the way from communications to operations to reputation.

Part of identification of risk should involve the losing of the top boss. And, that should not only go for CEOs, but for the sudden loss of a business owner. How well is your business prepared for the loss of leadership due to a variety of reasons? What plans do you have in place to prevent and avoid this crisis?

If you don’t have one, now might be a good time to put one into place. You never know when your number is called…

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved


Crisis Strategist #1 – Deep Bench Strength

My alma mater, the University of Washington, has a pretty strong men’s basketball program again this year. They are the pre-season pick to win the Pac-10, and are ranked in the Top 25 of college basketball. Two days ago, they lost their starting point guard, Abdul Gaddy, for the season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament. For many programs, this type of loss could be a killer. For the Huskies, although it hurts, they have an extremely deep bench and it simply means some guys get more playing time. In last night’s tilt against Oregon, freshman Terrence Ross scored 25 points in extended action in the win. The Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar has constructed a team that is prepared to go “next guy up” when disaster happens.

Take a look at your organization.

If you were to lose one of your top management people, top sales producers, or top technology gurus, what would you do? They may be hired away by a competitor; forced to move due to family issues; or perhaps be killed or disabled. Heck, what if the CEO or another C-level position is lost? For most organizations, this is a crisis. How the organization handles it will ultimately determine its success or even survival.

Organizations must do what Husky head coach Lorenzo Romar has done with his “organization.” They must develop bench strength. The concept of “next guy or gal up” must be a part of the process, and it must be planned. As head of our organization, regardless of your size, you must have a plan in place to deal with sudden loss of personnel. In fact, I maintain that the smaller the business, the more critical each moving part becomes.

Example – if you are a 5-person insurance agency and all of a sudden lose the only commercial producer you have to a competitor, what do you do? Are one of the other people in your office capable of picking up the duties? Have they been trained in advance? Are there relationships you’ve built with other individuals or referral sources that you can tap? What usually happens is the owner must pick up the slack, meaning that the work they were doing goes undone or delayed.

Crisis comes in many forms. These topics under Crisis Strategist will offer you peeks into different scenarios that may be a crisis to your business. Some can be covered by insurance; other can’t and must be planned for and communicated to employees. Virtually every one involves improving relationships either internally or externally.

In this case study, developing a strong bench takes time. It requires actions like recruiting, managing, training, and communicating. Too often, this detail is overlooked until the crisis is at hand, which only exacerbates the issue. Take control of your bench and make sure you are in position to win the game when your star  goes down!

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved