This week’s focus point…Taking the Stairs?
This past weekend, I attended my niece’s wedding with my whole family. It was a fun event with lots of laughs, food, fellowship, and dancing. The DJ did a terrific job of balancing the music to hit all the different age ranges in a group of about 100 people. As the evening closed and the final song came on, something funny occurred to me.
It’s your choice. You can either sit in the corner content with the same old songs, or you can climb that stairway to heaven because the “ceiling can’t hold you.”
© 2015 Toro Consulting Inc. All Rights Reserved
18 minutes, 55 seconds
© 2015 Toro Consulting, Inc. All rights reserved
Unleashed Leadership LAST WEEK to Pre-Order at 40% Discount
The pope made his first visit to the United States last week to much fanfare and celebration. As a Catholic, I was very interested in the pontiff’s trip and his message. From the White House, to Congress, to the United Nations, and to a mass at Madison Square Garden, Pope Francis’s visit took on a rock star aura.
Trolling through Facebook during his visit, I saw a shared post where the author wrote above a picture of Pope Francis, “I’m an atheist, but I like this guy!” Now why would that be? How does a 70-something head of the global Catholic Church influence someone that refuses to believe in God to “like” him? The answer should be important to you and your career and business.
Influence is achieved when someone has the skill to communicate a message clearly, concisely, and without fear of rejection. It’s achieved when one offers a contrarian viewpoint without denigrating others. It’s achieved when one is bold and refuses to conform for the sake of what society thinks. It’s shaped Pope Francis’s “brand.” And the brand becomes the vision and mission.
Your career – your business – can learn a lesson from this pope. What can you do to more effectively influence others? Are you willing to be bold and take risks; willing to be contrarian in an effort to improve the condition of others; and can you make decisions quickly without allowing fear and trepidation to hold you back? Are you willing to be different? What’s your “brand?”
If Pope Francis can get an atheist to like him, can’t you stretch yourself to become more influential by stepping outside your comfort zone to share your branding message with your world?
© 2015 Toro Consulting Inc. All Rights Reserved
This week’s quote –
~ Benjamin Franklin
This is the last week that you can pre-order and get the deepest discount you will probably ever see on my new book. If you order before October 2nd, you save 40% AND I will personally sign your book. We’ve already had over 120 orders. If you haven’t secured your book yet, what are you waiting for?!
Here are some early reviews that might pique your interest…
“This book grabbed me right from the start. This is a solid book. It’s very pragmatic, useful, and super fun to read. You’ll feel like you’re sitting in a bar having a conversation with Dan while he coaches you on becoming a better leader, and a better business professional. But more generally, a better person ready to unleash yourself through the open gates.” ~ Noah Fleming
“If you want to enrich your life and grow your career, Unleashed Leadership is an essential guide for executives, entrepreneurs, and most business people. Dan Weedin is a knowledgeable voice in the world of leadership literature, and gives you concrete strategies to take your career to the next level. It’ll show you the skills and behaviors necessary for success.” ~ Dorie Clark
“There are over 500,000 professional project and program managers around the globe who have been certified by the Project Management Institute (I am one of those certified professionals). This book is for those of you who are leaders of project teams, and those of you who are program managers responsible for multiple projects. It’s about unleashing your inherent leadership capabilities to realize your full potential and ultimately the potential of the teams that you lead. Unleashed Leadership is a whimsical, clearly written guide with YOU as the project – it’s about working on yourself and growing your capabilities. While Dan Weedin does not approach the topic from a project management perspective, it is likely that even highly experienced project and program managers will benefit from his tips and techniques. And for those just entering the field, the book is an excellent career skills road map that can position you to move up in an organization faster than might otherwise be possible.”
~ Steve Garfein, PMP
“This is an excellent resource for the professional library. Although it may be seen as focused on business and/or entrepreneurial efforts this text has application beyond that. The chapter on language would be helpful to those pursuing a writing career. Mr. Weedin provides a road map to see that leadership is within the grasp of anyone willing to put in the effort. Not to lessen the role of Mr. Weedin, but Captain Jack alone is worth the price of admission. The writing is clear and well organized. The personal references make this a very relatable read. Using these personal experiences can help the reader to see applications across professions as well as apply to one’s personal life. Keep this text in your library and use as a reference and as a booster shot when encountering the inevitable set back whether professionally or personally. Don’t overlook this book thinking it only applies to business. Leadership is an elusive quality and these qualities can be part of the fabric of every life. Just ask Captain Jack.” ~ Dorothy Siskin
“For anyone who’s ever thought they were satisfied with the level of success attained in their personal or professional life, Unleashed Leadership challenges readers to press beyond invisible fences of their own making. This book is not for those who fear change. By chapter two, author Dan Weedin has you questioning your language and your very thought life to uncover learned values that may actually be obstacles in disguise. If you want to keep downshifting performance due to speed bumps you’ve placed in your own path, this book is not for you. However, if you want to be challenged in the areas of letting go of baggage that has no place in business, fine tuning your listening skills, branding yourself for success, and becoming resilient during apparent challenges, this book is a must read! Whether you are a tenured professional in your field looking to garner a fresh perspective, or new to the job scene ready to learn from the best, this creative and insightful guide should earn a place on the shelf of every entrepreneur and leader next to Americas Top 10 business classics. Applying these principles will truly contribute to greater results in your career and personal life. Need a motivational energy boost? Pick up Unleashed Leadership today!”~ Jenny Foster
© 2015 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
I see that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is bowing out of his presidential bid after a pedestrian performance last week in the Republican debate. I think more will start following suit.
But this is NOT a political blog or article. It’s a metaphor for comprehending where your business is now and where you aspire for it to be. Allow me to explain…
Before Walker dropping out, there were 16 candidates (or so…I lost count). There were so many that many of them had to eat at the kid’s table in the debate structure….that is they were the not ready for prime time players according to the polls. Carly Fiorina made such a splash in the first debate, she moved her way up the chain and forced her way to the adult table for Round 2. In the second debate last week, you had 11 (and at times it seemed more) candidates trying to get a word in edge-wise. The result was that a few improved their position (including Fiorina) and some others dropped like the proverbial lead balloon…Walker among them. If you are following the debates at all, you’ll notice in such a large field, not everyone can capture the attention. Those that don’t are left in the abyss, while others rise.
Here’s my point…
YOU have competition. The insurance industry is overflowing with agencies – monolithic and tiny. Whatever the case, if you’re not adept at becoming an object of interest, you may be yourself eating at the kid’s table and not even know it!
In presidential races, it’s often the loudest and most bombastic that take the lead. Ultimately, the ones that are most skilled at influence rise to the top. The same is true with you. There may be others that are louder, but the ability to influence, persuade, and be interesting usually wins the day. Here are some quick tips to do that:
- Don’t shrink from being contrarian. Everybody regurgitating the same ideas gets boring and lost. Find a way to get your message across in a way that’s brand new and thought-provoking.
- Defend your position. If someone challenges you, that’s fine. Make sure you don’t shirk away from controversy. I’m not talking about being obnoxious. I am saying that you need to be prepared to defend your position with interesting examples, stories, and facts.
- Avoid vanilla. Delivery is everything. How you express your message is just as important as your message itself. It’s steak and sizzle. You need both becasue without any sizzle, nobody will buy the steak!
- Being ordinary gets you pushed down. In the debates, that means going to the kid’s table. Its really about distinguishing yourself. Can you distinguish your products and services versus your competitors? How do you know?
- Never get fazed. The ability to smile in adversity and remain cool is noticeable to others and carries great power.
Bottom line – your business (no matter the size) needs to distinguish itself as THE front-runner; and that is up to you. How are you faring in your own “polls?”
© 2015 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Temptation is a funny thing. On the surface, it sounds like a peril; a danger to be avoided. We can be tempted to do all sorts of things that aren’t good for us, or are perceived by others to not be good for us. Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with chocolate chip cookies. They tempt me all the time as they sit tantalizingly on the counter calling my name (in a voice ominously similar to Marilyn Monroe – but I digress). I generally give in about as easily Captain Jack falls asleep after his walk. Temptation wins just about every time.
However, temptation is not inherently evil. On the contrary, many times we are tempted and need give in just like I do with chocolate chip cookies. They can come in the form of being tempted to – Take a bold step outside your comfort zone and ask for help when you need it; Take a risk and bet on yourself to start your own business; Face your fear of public speaking and find your voice; Give your candid opinion when asked, rather than be concerned about looking bad; or decide to make a change in your life without fear of rejection or failure. You see temptations often speak in softer voices inside our heads, yet they are just as powerful as the vices that might charm us.
Bottom line – giving in to some temptations may just produce the same results as gooey chocolate chips melting in your mouth…sweet and worth the risk.
This week’s quote –
This is my September column for the Kitsap Business Journal / Kitsap Sun. I’ve been a monthly columnist since 2010. You can find many of my recently archived columns on my website.
Do you remember being advised by someone at some point in your life that you never get a second chance to make a first impression? It might have been your mother or boss, yet the concept generally was centered on how you presented yourself — your clothes, your hair, your grooming. You were encouraged to make sure that the first impression you were giving was professional and pleasant.
How good is your company’s first impression in the digital age? Is it attractive and presentable, or does it look like a virtual unmade bed?
Last month, I was a speaker at a conference of life insurance company executives. One of the other speakers stated that research from last year indicated that 71 percent of Americans did online research on life insurance companies prior to buying it. Long gone are the days of static Yellow Pages advertisements and zealous agents in plaid pants pitching their products. Today, life insurance buyers are increasingly doing their own research on insurers and products first, and making judgments on the veracity of the company before they even call anyone. This is forcing life insurers to adjust their online presence and marketing in order to assure they are giving off the desired first impression.
What is your company doing to accomplish the same thing?
It doesn’t matter what business or industry you’re in today. Social media, websites and online resources are driving consumers to (or away) from you. Buyers of your products and services under the age of 30 have grown up with technology and are very competent in using it. They are also very discerning on the quality of the website translating into the quality if the company. Just in case you don’t catch the magnitude of that last sentence, allow me to be very clear — the quality of your company is being judged by others based on the quality of your website. This means clients, customers, prospective customers and potential employees. In the case of the latter, you can think of it this way … one might ask if the website is outdated and bland, why would anyone want to work there?
You may be saying, “Dan, I understand this. We keep our website current.” My response is that “current” is no longer good enough. “Current” is a given, not a nicety. Your web presence (including social media) needs to be dynamic. It needs to be interactive. It needs to be cutting-edge. The reason? It’s because the bulk of your market is going to go there at some point and check you out. If you’re just “current,” you may not make the cut!
Here are my seven strategies to make sure you are staying on the digital cutting edge:
1. Change your “look” at least every six months. Change and creativity are considered innovative. The same old look is considered stale. By changing the look (images, services, products, pages and interactions), you invite people to keep coming back.
2. Make testimonials ubiquitous on your site. The best heralds for your products and services you can have are happy customers and clients. Why not have their words on every single page, so others can see them? Don’t be shy; ask for and post your testimonials and references liberally.
3. Be pretty. Show images, smart graphics and visuals. You don’t have to go overboard with pop-ups or flying graphics, but you do need to be attractive. Your executive leadership, your sales staff and your customer service team should all have their pictures available with their contact information so they can be seen as real humans.
4. Create interactive options. This is new to my strategies because I just heard about the proliferation of “gaming” modules at the conference. An increasing number of companies are using games to promote, deliver value and recruit. People love to use games, and if you can implement a game that allows you to keep people on your site and interacting, you will be considered innovative.
5. Create exclusive programs. Many websites have private pages dedicated to clients that access them with a username and/or password. There is always something very appealing about being special, and making clients special will keep them coming back for more.
6. Videos, please. Our society is becoming more visual because of technology. Take advantage of that by giving them something to watch. Use video for testimonials, promotions and recruiting. Keep them under four minutes, and pack them with an optical punch.
7. Dynamic, not boring. I see a lot of boring websites. Be bold, take risks and have fun in your language, your images and your message. You need to get your website visitors to navigate through your site, and the only way to do that is to be interesting.
If your website looks the same as it did one year ago today, you’re long overdue for a change. Use professionals to build your site, to dress it up, and to send a strong first impression of your company and its people. If you want to start a relationship with new clients, and sustain the ones you have with current ones, then make sure your declaration to the world is that you’re a 21st-century business.
It never hurts to get a new haircut every once in awhile. You can start with the new virtual face of your business.
© 2015 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved