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Sauna Talks

Sauna Talks

By Bolesław Drapella & Natalia Laskowska podcast delivered to you by Boleslaw Drapella, serial entrepreneur, manager and investor and Natalia Laskowska, experienced operations executive and manager. Topics covered are general management, team building, company scaling and more. All in a form of a very short episodes, straight and to the point. is a business mentoring platform for managers and founders who want to grow their businesses wisely.
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19. Employee Termination Costs
Welcome to today’s episode, devoted to the costs of terminating an employment contract. As it is commonly assumed, the employee dismissal costs are equal to the costs of recruiting a replacement. In this podcast, I am going to explain why this approach is so very incorrect. A closer look at the key aspects of the firing-to-hiring process may actually prove it is a trouble in disguise. We might be losing a lot more than we initially thought.
August 16, 2022
18. Equity participation - healthy table cap
Let’s have a look at the structure of equity participation in a company and its changes in time. When seeking external investment at the early stage of business growth, founding teams often have to decide what share of their business should be sold to investors. To help you answer this question, I can offer my experience from both sides of such contracts. I have been involved both in acquiring funds and investing. For companies such as Morizon, AirHelp or Saunowy Staw, the total amount I acquired in all investment rounds was several tens of millions of Polish Złoty.
July 07, 2022
17. Structure changes in a fast growing organizations
This episode is recorded on request, as a follow-up to the survey posted on the “Startup Talks” group on Facebook, asking what topic you would like to hear about next. Some dozen people responded to the survey, having chosen the topics proposed there or adding their own ideas. It turned out, that the most wanted topic was the changes in the organizational structure in a fast-growing company. I’m glad this was your choice, because the structure transformation is one of the hardest processes that founders of small companies must face.
June 03, 2022
16. Ask for advice
In today’s podcast, let’s focus on asking for advice and building relationships between those who ask and those who give advice. An attitude that I often come across, especially among the founders of new businesses (where there are no fully-developed sales processes or competencies), is that asking for advice is a sign of weakness. Since we are asking, we can’t be fully professional, our product or service must be incomplete and that’s why we have to ask others how things should work. In this short talk, I would like to share my views on this matter, based on my experience of building up sales and businesses. Seeking others’ advice doesn’t expose our helplessness. It’s a symptom of maturity and determination to understand the challenges that we and our customers are about to face. There is a saying I like to quote in this situation, which I fully adhere to: ”Ask for money – and you’ll get advice; ask for advice – and they’ll give you money”.
May 04, 2022
15. The Depths of Philanthropy
In today’s episode I’d like to talk about something that personally matters to me a lot – charity. In the business jargon, it is known as CSR – being Corporate Social Responsibility. Some people refer to it using a more sophisticated term - philanthropy. In fact, philanthropy denotes a more general personal and social commitment of which charity is a practical manifestation.
January 24, 2022
14. Setting Goals
In this episode we’re going to think about setting business goals. Unlike lots of previous podcasts, this one wasn’t inspired by one or a few SaunaGrow mentoring sessions. Its idea came from an exciting LinkedIn discussion, started by Marcin Majchrzak of Harmony Team. One of the questions that Marcin asked was: What is the optimal number of sales meetings his sales team should carry out? To give an answer, the respondents – trainers, male and female leaders and sales experts – were first given company parameters, its industry and salesman’s job description. The debate that followed had a few unexpected twists. It inspired me to share my opinion on how setting company goals can work toward positive ends or they can damage the leader and his team.
January 13, 2022
13. Financing your business
In this episode, I’d like us to think about ways of financing a startup – how to raise funds to kick off and then develop a business. These are common questions on Facebook groups as well as at meetings with entrepreneurs at various stages of business growth. They concern those who are just planning to start a business as well as those whose ideas and decisions have been verified by their first achievements. They also accompany the managements of well-established companies who are beginning to realize it’s time to consider new forms of financing to introduce new products to new markets or globalize their business. My experience in financing startups or company growth comes from being a venture partner at venture capital fund Black Pearls VC. It is also my practical knowledge as an entrepreneur who did have to acquire financing from various sources. Each case described here has actually taken place in at least one of my companies that I have been developing over the last 20 years. This is my hands-on experience on what I’ve done both as an investor and an investment seeker.
June 21, 2021
12. Data-driven decision making
In today’s business, the way decisions are reached is tremendously important. Let’s try and look into the process in our heads, teams, and the whole organization that leads to making these mature choices, often strategic for the company growth. Recently, more and more has been said that business decisions should be supported by data. The English phrase,  data-driven, suggests that they should be almost led or propelled by data. This has become more than just a slogan, especially in the Internet-based or, more widely, the Internet-related tech businesses, that often deal with massive amounts of data. The skilful use of this resource gives young startups a competitive edge over established corporations who may have accumulated more data, but aren’t always able to exploit this advantage.  Listen to this episode to learn more what are the key elements worth considering while becoming a data-driven organisation.
January 27, 2021
11. Don't rush your automation
Today, let’s have a look at automation of processes, actions, production or any other sector of your company activity. It is receiving lots of attention in conference presentations and lobby conversations. I think it is one of the most popular and trending topics of the emerging new business reality. Such terms as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning appear in almost every investment presentations of ambitious startups and fast growers.  Many of such founders hope to create unicorns that aim for the world. In most cases, they proudly flash these key words in front of their potential investors, trying to convince them that automation is their best choice. Partly, because investors turn a hungry eye toward anything potentially big and easily scalable. On one hand, it is natural that big projects are investors’ first choice. On the other hand, this approach carries great risks that I would like to bring to your attention in this episode. Are you ready? Let’s do it!
January 13, 2021
10. When a little 's' can make a big difference. Meet: Glenn Auerbach
There is a very well-known drama when two women meet at the party wearing the same dress… what worse could have happened? How come, that it’s so much different with men? That’s one of the wonders of diversity I’ve touched upon in my last episode. Today it’s going to be different. Longer episode than usual, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. When I’ve recently googled the name of my Sauna Talks podcast I’ve, by an accident, mistyped it forgetting the final ‘s’. That’s how I’ve found Glen from Minnesota, US. Sauna lover, builder and as it later happened also an entrepreneur that sees the world in such amazingly similar way, even though we’re on two different parts of the globe. And his podcast is called Sauna Talk… just the ‘s’ shorter than Sauna Talks from Listen to this episode where we’re discussing sauna culture in various countries, our preferences and habits, but also how much the spirit of loyly and relax in a sauna is important before you talk business in a sauna.  Do enjoy this as much as I did! Glenn Auerbach has been a sauna evangelist for over 30 years.  In 2008 he started, as a source for sauna building and sauna culture.  In 2016, he created Sauna Talk, the podcast about sauna and most often recorded on the sauna bench.  Glenn wrote “Sauna Build, From Start to Finnish” which includes step by step instructions for building a sauna.  He has built many saunas and has helped many hundreds build their own saunas. He is an advisor at Lamppa Manufacturing, Vice President, 612 Sauna Society, and has been the Upper Midwest Territory Manager for a division of a global food company for the past 20 years
December 30, 2020
9. Multitude of ideas - how to handle priorities
Today’s topic is resources, but not the ones your HR might deal with. Let’s think about the resources understood as ideas, a multitude of ideas that keep streaming into your company from various directions. You and your team have to plan out how to contain and process this potential in your monthly or quarterly perspective. These ideas most often originate from your present or potential customers, your friends, you and your team, your superiors or leaders (presidents, CEOs, investors) or even your customer who is your ultimate boss. Usually, there are far more ideas than implementation options. Listen to this episode to find a simple way to manage priorities. You do want to make it effective, right?
December 16, 2020
8. Diversity - why should we care?
I’d like to reflect on a trendy topic of diversity. Recently, I was asked by a journalist about what I think is missing in the Polish startup ecosystem. The interview led to a heated debate on various startup groups. As I have pointed out, diversity is one of the key criteria that highlights the shortcomings of both the Polish startups and grown up companies. Something that may block them on their way to be growing internationally. In my view, some debaters’ comments in the “Startup Talks” group, show the shortage of diversity or the difficulty in understanding the need of it in the first place. Listen to this episode to find our why the diversity matters, how to understand it an what it can bring to your business and team. Are you ready?
December 02, 2020
7. Balance
In today’s podcast, let’s give some thought to the concept of balance. Just like harmony in nature or grace in gymnastics, balance is something worth fighting for in all aspects of life. It’s not just about our job, our professional life or how we get by in our business environment. It’s about us as a whole, would you agree? What we are as managers or entrepreneurs, is not just what we do from nine to five (well, when we start our business these hours look a bit more hectic, right?). The way we are at work is influenced by everything around us, our pastime activities, our living arrangements and life priorities.
November 18, 2020
6. Assumptions & intentions
In today’s podcast, let’s focus on assumptions. I don’t mean creating or laying out assumptions for a business plan or a personal project. What I mean here are positive assumptions – assuming someone’s positive intent and steering clear of making negative suppositions, that certain things have happened or will happen, even though they have never taken place or nobody has let us down yet. Read & listen more on
November 04, 2020
5. Managing People Out
A lot can be said about the essence of good employment policies and conscious team-building. However, it happens once in a while, that someone, for various reasons, does not fit in the team. This is what I’d like to focus on today: the management of the people who leave the team – the employee attrition. Why this topic? It has emerged a few times during the SAUNAGROW business mentoring sessions. I‘ve also witnessed employee loss in the places I’ve worked at, in AIRHELP, MORIZON and GRATKA, where the negative events and reactions, mostly linked both with soft and hard competencies, were usually diagnosed too late. Therefore, the termination decision came as a surprise to everyone involved with that employee and, to the dismissed person in the first place. Mentioned in the podcast, original episode by Jason Gore:
October 21, 2020
4. F.U.E.L. - for challenging conversations
In this episode I’d like to share a phenomenal tool, that I had the opportunity to use at AirHelp and some other places. I find it useful in a lot of areas; it doesn’t require any expenses, installation work or hardware – yet it can change your life. The tool I’m talking about is FUEL. The spelling might suggest diesel or gasoline, but it’s an acronym that I’m going to explain a minute. I think the human life hardly ever needs to be outlined or follow fixed action patterns. In most cases, when we decide to follow a fixed procedure, say, in our everyday communication, it is perceived as something very unnatural or overly formal, associated rather with corporations, heavy industry, science, academic circles – anywhere where following procedures and going by the book is more common. Such were my thoughts when I first encountered the FUEL procedure. I was introduced to it as an AirHelp management member at a 2-day workshop I attended in our New York office, given by Jason Gore and Michael Costurosa of Neuberg, Gore & Associates. Even though I knew they are wise people, Harvard lecturers, I remained sceptical about the form of conversation offered by FUEL until I saw how it actually works. Since that moment, a lot has changed in the management team at AirHelp. Among other things, this tool helped us talk in a totally different way, improve our communication skills and solve lots of problems that were earlier swept under the carpet or solved while generating huge amounts of negative energy.
October 14, 2020
3. Corporate Purpose
Hi, in this talk I’d like us to consider why a company’s strategy, the purpose of its existence, is so vital and how essential is the way we communicate it to our employees, these who are not in the group of founders of the organization. I wrote an article about it in the SaunaGrow blog. When I posted its link on Facebook’s “Start-up Talks”, an interesting debate broke out between what you can call two worlds – the first one of the people with the experience of being team and staff members at various companies, where I think the corporate purpose usually wasn’t sufficiently explained, and the other world – that of company founders – who realize the significance of providing such an explanation.
October 07, 2020
2. Find your counterpart in another organization
In your professional life, do you happen to get these moments of doubt, feeling helpless, because the things you do, or are doing, are not done the way you want, because you need some kind of backing, but it is a bit hard to find in your company, your work environment? No matter if you run your own firm, are a team member in an organization or a freelance specialist that no-one reports to, you may get that sensation that something is missing, that you lack some backup that you, with the specific competencies your post requires, can’t get from around you. Listen to this episode to find out how you can tackle this issue, get wiser and develop using others knowledge. 
September 30, 2020
1. Supporting Employees
In this episode I would like to discuss why supporting your employees is so crucial, what is actually worth sharing on the subject, how to support your people wisely and what to avoid in your day-to-day routine. It might have occurred to you, as organization owners or team managers, that leaders’ life is often quite lonely - they neither get support from the outside, nor they are generously backed by the staff they have hired. This is particularly the case in the companies established by one person, not a group of founders. Too soon, such sole owners are likely to become frustrated, burnt out and unable to get on with their subordinates. This happens for a number of reasons.
September 30, 2020