Get this advice in your head and heed it, and you’ll go far as a leader

Image by Jay Boivin, Getty Images Signature

Maybe you know the old song “The Gambler” recorded by Kenny Rogers in 1978. In it, an aging gambler who is “out of aces / down on his luck” gives some advice to a traveling companion. Here’s part of the chorus:

“You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away,
And know when to run.”

I know. I hear it in my head, too.

Know when to fold ’em (or fire them)

As you might have imagined, I relate the gambler’s advice to management of a startup — or any leadership role. Knowing when to “hold ‘em” and when…

Tips for using your honeymoon period to create your own ‘happily ever after’

Photo collage by Author; special thanks to Ryan J Lane from Getty Images Signature for image of man at desk.

On March 2, 1987 (yes, eons ago), I started work at my first corporate job. When I arrived at my new workplace Monday morning, I was greeted at the front desk by my new boss — a super nice person, who led me upstairs to the “QA offices.” (I was hired to work in quality assurance.)

I remember it being a sea of cubicles of nondescript dirty brown/beige with high walls and narrow hallways — and no windows. My office was all the way in the back — the last cube on the left. …

Guess which one is successful. Which one are you?

Photo by visualspace by Getty Images Signature, edited by Author

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…

So starts A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

I’ll leave the overall plot…

The real key to startup success is research

Photo by Alena Darmel on Pexels

In my line of work, people come to me with ideas and concepts for businesses all the time. Typically, they don’t do any (or very little) research. They don’t even do Internet searches or evaluate the concept enough to know whether a) someone has already done it; or b) it will even work in the real world — or not.

For my part, it’s fairly easy to dash their dreams by sitting down at a computer and typing in their idea, then sitting back and saying, “Look, there’s 356 similar or the same concepts as what you’ve described to me…

Care anyway. Be the team player no one wants to replace

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

It’s fairly obvious to everyone the working world was changed, permanently, by the global pandemic. In an instant, many of us were forced to work from home. And certainly, for me, that was an intriguing and alluring concept. Having commuted a minimum of an hour to work (each way) every day for more than 39 years, I was overjoyed at the opportunity to travel about 28 steps to my office!

No, I’m not going to get into the argument about “we should be allowed to work at home forever” and “it’s ridiculous to go into an office and sit at…

Yes, I know it sounds strange, but hear me out

Photo illustration by Author

In the 1990s (1994 to be exact), five female singers from Britain joined together to form the Spice Girls. They targeted a young female fan base (as opposed to a traditional male audience, so history says), and they eventually became “pop culture icons” of the ‘90s.

In fact, they are credited as the main reason for the “second British Invasion.” (The Beatles are credited as leading the first British Invasion in the 1960s.). …

Got questions about your company’s next steps? Start here

byllwill from Getty Images Signature

Let me ask you a question:

“If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you jump, too?”

You’ve probably heard this question before. Perhaps from your mother or grandfather or guardian or whoever uttered it when you balefully said, “But <insert person here>, EVERYBODY IS DOING IT!”

You sought the generous “Well, go ahead,” but instead you received the ubiquitous response indicating your compliance with “everyone” was an unwise choice.

“If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you jump, too?”

And so? Would you? OF COURSE NOT, you’re thinking to yourself, but this particular request (on your mind when you said…

No lab coat or goggles needed but the same principles apply

Photo by Alexandr Gusev on Unsplash

I majored in biology as an undergrad and loved it. Biology, the study of life, intrigued me so much I became a laboratory assistant at my local community college for a couple of years. I set up lab work for students, helped student nurses navigate the difficulties of anatomy (yeah, not what you’re thinkin’), and provided rats and frogs for dissection. (You’re about to learn more about lab rats than you ever wanted to know.)

The rats we used were large and white, the albino laboratory form of the genus and species Rattus norvegicus.

Which I illustrate mostly by showing you what not to do

Photo by Shannon Fagan

I’d like to think I’ve learned a lot over the last 66 ½ years. I definitely feel I’ve learned a lot by working the past 49 years, particularly the last 22 years working with entrepreneurs. However, it recently became obvious that I had one more very important lesson:

How to retire.

Except, in this circumstance, I want to talk to YOU about how to LET me retire! Yes, you’re getting this lesson.

Retirement is something we really don’t think much about until it’s here. Sure, we can plan at an early age (let me rephrase that — you’d BETTER start…

‘Pull out all the stops’ to adapt your company to change

A classic idiom, “a bull in a china shop,” refers to someone who is “aggressively reckless and clumsy in a situation that requires delicacy and care” (The Free Dictionary). The image is a photo taken by Victor Zastolskiy and edited by the Author.

While I was working in my yard, I saw my neighbor, her daughter, and granddaughter passing. I was struck by how alike the daughter and granddaughter were. They were as similar as Dr. Evil and Mini-Me. I might have stuck with that description, but they were far from the silly, sinister pair in the Austin Powers movies.

“Wow! She’s a carbon copy of you,” I said, instead, to the daughter by way of greeting.

Her response — I won’t include it here — reflected the offense she clearly had taken at such a comment. (Suddenly, the Dr. …

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