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A Lesson from Booker T. Washington

One person you will seldom read about in history books is Booker T. Washington.

Unlike many contemporary black leaders, Booker T. taught a lesson that many would do well to heed today, that regardless of skin color or social environment, it is man’s relationship to God that determines the outcome of his life.

The Call to Entrepreneurship

Sometimes you have to be careful about what you ask for.

It was a cold November morning in 1977, and I was working for the City of Lansing on their street patch crew.  Our job that day was burning high spots off the asphalt pavement. To do this, we used a hand-held burner attached to a kerosene tank, which was strapped to the rear-end of a dump truck.

Why I Like Capitalism

I was a bum in the late 60's.  I barely made it out of high school, and I flunked out of college at least three times before I finally buckled down and got an Associate's degree.  Though I hated to paint and was anti-business at the time, I ended up taking  painting job in 1974 with a view to making more money.

I Believe in Miracles

Unlike some taking to the streets lately, I like banks.  I like the idea of depositing my paycheck and having the assurance that the money is there when I need it.  I like using my debit card, even if there are sometimes fees attached.

But some things banks do make no sense.

The Power of (Constructive) Criticism

          I've done a considerable amount of writing in the past, and one thing I learned early on was the practice of submitting my article to others for critique. Humbling at times and often uncomfortable, my writing skills became  better over time as a result.

The Law of Adaption

It wasn't long ago that my son, John - who happens to be in corporate finance - challenged my business model.  At the time, I wasn't so sure that I knew what a business model was, let alone what ours was.  Over a period of years, however, I have learned that whatever your business model is, it must of necessity fit the market you are in.

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Restoring Vision

     Ancient text informs us that "without vision the people perish;" it is during challenging times like these that vision is tested and often lost.  

     My mentor for twenty years and author of "Awakening the Giant," the late Jim Russell, used to say that vision is the definition of a long-term goal.

What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do

     Common parlance says one thing that characterizes a good CEO is that he or she always has the right answer. Yet research indicates this is not always so. "Leading from good to great," author Jim Collins says, "means having the humility to grasp the fact that you do not yet understand enough to have the answers.

What Matters Most

It wasn't long ago that I enjoyed lunch with a long-time customer and friend.  He was undergoing cancer treatment at the time, and was doing quite well.  He told me one thing that had come of his illness was a realization of the importance of faith and family.

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Be an Overcomer

     Years ago I heard something that has stuck with me ever since.  The man I was listening to said, in no uncertain terms, "it's either overcome, or be overcome."  In other words, you have two options in life:  you either win or you lose; there is no 'tie game.

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