Lighthearted Leadership Lessons Learned from Songs of the 80s

by Jim Walter

Leading your organization is serious business. You’re faced with daily challenges and successes – it’s both exhilarating and exhausting. What if we looked for some lighthearted inspiration from the greatest decade of music in history? Of course, I’m describing the music of the 1980’s. If you’re looking to scale your business in a healthy, sustainable way, this music offers a treasure trove of guiding principles. Not convinced? Let’s look at the lyrics.

“Hold On Loosely”

Oh, the wisdom of 38 Special! This song offers this sage observation: ”You see it all around you, good lovin’ gone bad, and usually it’s too late when you realize what you had.”  

It’s tempting to hold so tight to your dreams and aspirations for your company that you squeeze the life out of them. Too often, we silo important information and decisions and ignore the collective wisdom of our team and coaching partners. Hold on loosely! Make sure you engage those who share your dream. Develop your team – encourage their gifts, passion, and talents – and you’ll go further.

“Everybody Wants To Rule The World”

Ambition is a great thing, but it’s not enough to carry you all the way. You begin with the dream, you nurture it, you envision success, and you work as hard as possible. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to want to rule the world – everyone shares that goal! Instead, drill down to the core of your business and your heart as a leader. What makes you different? If you’re looking for more guidance here, we can help at the Intention Collective. We’re here to make sure you get to actually rule the world! Heck, Tears For Fears are still ruling the music world!

“Here I Go Again”

We can’t miss the business lessons handed to us by Whitesnake! As a leader in your organization, “You’re on the lonely street of dreams, going down the only road you’ve ever known.” If you’ve been feeling isolated, know that you weren’t born to walk alone! Don’t waste any more time – reach out to the Intention Collective today and rescue your heart, your dreams, and your business. Too often, we’re afraid to look for help. It’s common to the human condition.  If you’re like me, you’re sometimes afraid of what others may think of you, your dreams, and your decisions.  But often, I’ve found my fears were unfounded.

Don’t miss a few more quick lessons from this music video.  Maybe dress a little more conservatively when working with your partners, and definitely wear your seatbelts when you drive.

“Keep The Fire Burnin'”

REO Speedwagon’s 1982 hit was likely written with the mission of the Intention Collective in mind! “Let us not stop learnin’; we can help one another be strong.” We keep the fire burning when we have friends and partners that are rooting for us, asking the tough questions, and engaged in our collective success.  

Sometimes, we need an expert to help guide us as we work to keep the fire burning. Listen to the second verse: “You’ve been changing so much, I’m not sure you’re in touch with what’s real, You just come and you go, Never letting me know how you feel.” If you’ve been feeling this way, it’s time to bring in some outside perspective – and guess what? That’s executive coaching!


Some may think this 1981 hit by Foreigner is a song about passionate love…but it applies to business, too. It’s definitely urgent to establish a connection with a partner or a coach who shares your drive for success and is willing to see you through the challenges ahead.

“The Gambler”

Technically, this last song was written by Kenny Rogers in the late 1970’s, but it stayed popular well into the 1980’s, and it offers a great piece of advice. Understanding “when to hold ‘em” and “when to fold ‘em” brings in the necessary study of psychology. I’ve often coached leaders on the delicate balance of relationships in business and life. Make sure to prioritize your “people knowledge” – whether you take a class, read a book, or partner with us – and you’ll find much greater success in guiding your team.

Enjoyed Our Trip?

What’s the bottom line of our little musical journey? You were made for this. We were intended to help you along the way. Starting out? We can help. Stuck in a rut? We can push, pull, and walk alongside you. Already succeeding beyond measure and just need encouragement and handsome partners?  We fill that role every day!  Be Intentional about your next steps…we’re in this together for the long haul.

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