WOC 003: Facing Wildfires of Change with Dr. Sid Webb [Podcast]

Dr. Sid Webb knows from personal experience what it’s like to face catastrophe and change. His home was at “ground zero” in Colorado’s Black Forest Wildfire in June 2013 and he watched it burn on TV numerous times from the news station’s helicopter footage.
Sid Webbs House Black Forest Wildfire
He now shares lessons learned from that “adventure” with organizations facing significant change. Sid is an expert in board development and non-profit best practices. This is his story…



Dr. Sid Webb Colorado Springs

  • Everyone will face some kind of catastrophe in life
  • There will be blessings that come from tragedy, believe it or not
  • We operate on autopilot and focus on things that don’t matter
  • Information is at a premium in a crisis
  • How to avoid staying in a victim mindset
  • Focus on your priorities – what matters most
  • A short term strategy may be just to survive
  • Change is more than a single event
  • People prefer to have fewer choices
  • There is tremendous transition in the non-profit world
  • Change is the ability to step up and step out
  • Head your boat into the wind and move forward
  • The flip side of loss is a wide open opportunity for the future

Download Sid’s article: Keeping Your Leadership Edge During Catastrophe

Contact Dr. Sidney A. Webb at SharpenedFocus.com and follow him on Twitter @SharpenedFocus

When Was the Last Time You Did Something New?

When my eldest son got his first job and began to make money, he opened up a bank account. Then he asked me how to write out a check.

He owed me money, so this was one skill I wanted him to get right!

“You put the date up here on this line,” I said. “Then where it says ‘Pay to the Order Of’ you write my name.”

So he wrote it up, ripped it out and handed it to me.

And on the “Pay to the Order Of” line he had written…



Of course, then he had to cross that out and write my REAL name.

You should have seen the look the bank teller gave me when I went to cash it.

I can’t remember the first time I wrote a check. It’s now such a normal activity, I don’t even think twice about it. (Unless there’s no money in the account.)

I do remember the last time I did something for the very first time, however.

I was nervous. I worried about how I’d feel if I failed. I didn’t want to look stupid in front of my friends.

How about you?

When we ask someone to do something for the very first time, it’s tempting to expect them to get it quickly. Often we hurry them through the process and “fill in the empty spaces” for them. Because it’s a no-brainer for us, we expect it to be easy for them.

Here are five things to remember next time you ask someone to change:

1. Do they know how? You’ve given them the “what to do”, but do they also know the “how to do it”? You may have to spell it out. Not everyone has the confidence to risk failure and it could keep them from trying.

2. Don’t expect them to go from 0 to 100. Sometimes we expect them to reach the goal in one giant leap. Most of us learn new things in increments, one step at a time. Define degrees of success.

3. Expect a relapse. Everyone stumbles and reverts back to a “safe zone” of what’s comfortable and habitual. Don’t give up on them just because they have a setback.

4. Recognize and reward. They’re not all the way there just yet, but find ways to celebrate forward movement. We all need encouragement along the way.

5. Ask for a self-assessment. You may have ideas about how well they’re doing, but be sure to ask them for an update. Let them tell you how they feel about their progress. Ask them to quantify it on a scale from 1 to 10.

My son now writes checks like a big dog! He’s graduated from college, bought a house, holds down a job and takes good care of his wife and son.

But he still calls me “Mom”!