Monday, August 18, 2014


Today, let’s talk about doing something for the first time.  Whether it is a sport, or doing a business plan, the first few times most of us do something, we are cautious... too cautious.  Why, because we have to think too much while we are doing the sport or business plan.  Thinking is a slow and often over-rated process. 

So, let’s take doing that business plan for the first time.  There are over achievers out there who want to produce a fifty page plan, after ultimate research.  What usually happens? It is studied to death.  No one steps up and owns it.  It sits on the shelf. 

The ExcellPugetSound lesson here is the first time you do something, like a business plan, start small and learn from doing.  Then go do it again. 

The secret about business plans and much of what we learn is that the learning is from trying it and seeing what you can improve upon the next time.  With business owners who have never done a plan (this includes one business at over $200M in sales), it is important to put a stake in the ground and then communicate around it.  Have a plan for collecting feedback and then do it again... only the second time, think about expanding who gets involved.  After years of planning, you will end up like one company I have worked with (probably the best annual planners I know) saying that you are still learning and improving. 

There is a second reason why the first time you do something it is about caution.  I remember being on our high school’s gymnastic team (perhaps mascot would have been a better position).  We had some really outstanding athletes and had been state champs two years running.  At the state meet that year, one of our teammates was introduced over the loudspeaker system as attempting a dismount that had never been done in a high school meet.  I still remember the words, “... for the first time in....”  My teammate pulled it off flawlessly. 

Why? Because it was not the first time he had ever done the dismount.  I watched him hundreds of times as he broke down the maneuver and did very small parts, perfecting them, and then put those together. 

What the audience at the state meet did not see is first time caution because the move had been practiced and repeated.  What many of my teammates had not experienced was all the planning that this guy did.  On the way home from school (nine months before the state meet) he talked (I was the audience) about what it would take to learn and then be ready to do this move at the state meet. 

By the time he made it to state, he had muscle memory and nine months of steadily improving results.  Now go out there and plan for how you will take advantage of the economic recovery. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

How’s Your GPS?

Today we have a guest blog from Dan Weedin:

A few weeks ago, I was driving home with my daughter on the last leg of a week-long, cross-country trip that took us 3,004 miles from her doorstep in Steubenville, OH to our doorstep in Poulsbo, WA. She was coming back home after a 7-year “tour” that resulted in a Masters degree and a job back home. We had used her GPS throughout the trip to guide us to our next destination. I turned it on this last leg home, even though I knew the way because I always like to feel this is my final “destination.”

I was getting frustrated with the GPS as she kept telling me to take an alternate route home. I couldn’t understand it.  After all, I knew where I was going. Heck, I’d driven this stretch of highway a gazillion times.  Why would this electronic device try to take me off my own course?  In jest, I kept telling her that I was simply going to ignore her and go my own way. She had the last laugh.

Turns out the GPS had a built-in sensor for traffic. She was trying to help me avoid a huge traffic jam being caused by the start of a 3-day Independence Day weekend on the Interstate. By the time I realized my mistake, it was too late and I was stuck.

How often does that happen to us?

We think our way is the right way because we’ve done it before; we can do it best by ourselves; we don’t need any help…we’re smart. Just like I laughed off the good advice from the GPS, we also often disregard opportunities to really rapidly advance our careers and improve our lives when we don’t seek help.

Do yourself a huge favor. Find some smart GPS to guide you “home.” Executive coaches and mentors often sense those “traffic jams” that lay in wait ahead of you and can divert you to roads that lead to faster and more effective destinations. You ignore them at your own peril. I wish I had been more humble with that GPS…I would have been home faster.

Are you humble and smart enough to take the right road for your success?

Dan Weedin

Dan Weedin helps turn his clients business risk into rewards. He is able to take the abstract concepts of risk and crisis management to help business owners prepare and respond more effectively and with less time and cost to crisis. Since he doesn’t work for an insurance company or agency, he is able to act as an unbiased advocate for his clients. You can lear ore about Dan and how he can help your business on his web site at