by Scott R. Tucker

July 6, 2021

033 VWS William Randolph

Veteran Wealth Secrets 038 with William Randolph - Observe, Assess and Adapt

William Randolph is the Founder/CEO, THINK Acquisition and a US Navy veteran (1988-1993). Let's dive a little bit deeper into the ability to observe, assess, adapt, and overcome to help veterans build the skill sets needed in the private world. 

Episode Highlights:

01:39- William Randolph life story 

07:11- The ability to observe, assess, adapt, and overcome. 

09:14- The Unity of Command concept 

14:20- What is Think Acquisition and who does it helps.

21:38- William Randolph's  meaningful advice

Key Points:

  1. Change the intentionality on what you are doing to build the skillsets that you need in the private industry
  2. Be prepared for the move , get all your blocks and build upon them.
  3. Start small, get in, become someone that people like, know and trust, and then grow your business from there. 


  • “Once you get to halfway point of your career, you start to think about what's next, and those assignments were very intentional to line up the skill sets to be successful in the private industry”-William Randolph  
  • “For our fellow veterans who are transitioning from the military, never leave your blocks behind. Keep building them to build the skill sets that pay a huge dividend in the marketplace.”-William Randolph
  • “You don't always have all of the gear and equipment you need to be successful, but the most important gear you can have is your mind and how you prepare your mind.” -William Randolph
  • “The world will split you, will chew you, and spit you out if you don't take advantage and take control of your life. “- William Randolph

Transcript of Episode 033 with William Randolph - Observe, Assess and Adapt

Scott Tucker: Hey everyone. Scott Tucker here again with another episode of Veteran Wealth Secrets. Thank you so much for joining us. We're really excited how the sh channel has been growing excited to get the podcast out in audio form in a few weeks, but if you haven't done so please subscribe, share these videos with those who can benefit from it.

And actually, if you'd like to come on the show, make sure you hit me up on LinkedIn and let me know. We'd like to start scheduling. More interviews after the holidays. One of the things that, we're doing this for is to show the idea of, doing it for ourselves as saying, Hey, we're in a new age, sometimes you got to shift, you got to try new things.

You got to, as we like to say in the military, adapt and overcome. And that's why I'm excited to bring on William Randolph, the CEO and founder, and CEO of think acquisition, a Navy veteran, a long time government relations. A worker, but he got into entrepreneurship. So I'm so excited to hear this story. You don't hear about that much.

Most times you hear when someone's getting out of the military, they're looking to do the double dip thing or so on and so forth. And so we have thanks for coming on.

William Randolph: My pleasure. My pleasure. Thank you, Scott,

for having me. Absolutely. I know you've got a lot of insight to share, but why don't we start off let's tell us about your journey.

I was looking at your LinkedIn profile. It looks like,

You spent a lot of time. Each at a different, a bunch of different places. So I'm sure that was attention intentional in a way, maybe building some skillsets, but eventually, yeah. You went out on your own. Tell us about that story. Sure,


So my story happens starts like I'm sure a lot of stories start as a typical 17 year old. No, at all from a small town in Virginia. And and I was wanting to catch the first thing smoking out of town, which was the department of the Navy. So I joined the Navy at 17 and eight months. My parents had to sign for me to go into the military because I wasn't even eight.

I wasn't even 18 yet. And then I spent five and a half years, little, a little over five years in the Navy, came out with GI bill in hand, and I went to school small liberal arts school in West Virginia and then joined. The federal government in procurement, I had all intensive purposes of going back into the military, but then I found government procurement and working for the department of the Navy.

So it was like, oh, I get a twofer. That I get to do that. I get to have this new career and work for the department of the Navy. So my very first assignment in federal government and actually was the first 10 years of my career was working for the department of the Navy where they actually build, buy and deploy ships.

Submarines platforms, weapons systems and things of that nature. It was really, yeah, it was great bar stories, coming like I buy missiles or I buy torpedoes, so it was pretty cool stuff. So in that 10 years, I learned a lot and then was able to transition my next job for the next four years of my career was in the Marine Corps.

So I was a DOD guys, through and through. And then have had the opportunity to be enjoying a Homeland, as a squirt unquote senior executive in the acquisition and procurement space and spent the last eight years of my career there. But as you mentioned, there were multiple.

Jobs that I had along the way and all of them, to your point, once you get to that about halfway point, you start thinking about what's next in the end. Those assignments were all very intentional to line up the skillsets that I believe what I needed to do to be successful on the private industry side.

But so I did the consulting thing for three years after I retired in 2016. And I did the consulting thing around DC, Washington, DC for about three years. And then I got all the, another intentional move to get all those skillsets. So then I could start my own company on last year. And then June, July of last year, I hung my own shingle and haven't looked back since.

Wow congratulations. I love the intentionality of, Hey, building the skill sets. When we come out of the military, we don't know what we don't know. Some of us come out, deer in headlights and that doesn't help. Or we're a little too headstrong and just say I couldn't get that. I went to war, I can do this too.

Of course. And w we're world doesn't work that way, but too often then I feel that people come to me and they're there. I don't like what I'm doing, but I don't know what to do. All right. We'll change the intentionality of what you're doing rather than just, this is my job and my new career.

It's get to the point where you're building that skillset and then be prepared to move, be looking for that opportunity. Can you tell us more about your mindset around as you were doing that? Cause it wasn't overnight. It's not like I'm going to go try this for a year and then go start my business.

I spent 21 years in the federal. So after, after the five years in the military I really like your word intentionality because my first job assignment out of the government after I got out of college was to go work for an organization that was aligned with the organization I had just left. So I worked for the department of the Navy.

So I knew how water flow, if you will. And it was, we were surrounded constantly in an organization by. Current military members. So there were military members all through that organization that they were having their short two wars they're working in that office space, in an office setting. So it wasn't like it was a brand new setting.

It was just a pivot from what I was doing before in the Navy, the Marine Corps was the exact same thing. I use what I use, what I learned and was in, had Had matured in that 10 years of working for Naval sea systems command to go to Marine Corps systems command. So it was the exact same thing.

It was really intentionality that I was really designing. And again, I didn't know what the outcome was going to look like, who knew, I didn't know then that I would be doing this, but that every time I will be building upon, I would take my Lego blocks that I collected over here. And then I would answer them over here.

It's like I never left blocks behind. I always took all my blocks and just kept building on top of them. So I think that's a strategy when you're thinking about intentionality and our fellow veterans transitioning from the military. And whatever age, whether that's one tour or after a 20 or 30 year career take the building blocks you have and build upon it, don't just blow them away because we know they're really critical.

And very fundamental skill sets that can pay that pay huge dividends in the marketplace when we bring them along with us. Yeah.

And I think that leads into really what you wanted to dive in a little bit deeper on the ability to observe adapt. It says, it says overcome. Yeah.

Let it fly.

It's just a powerful, it's just a powerful set of skills that we innately get in the military and you pick it up. You pick the service branch that the job is to be observant. See, observe, identify things. And then we be re be able to do it over and over again that you don't always have all of the gear and equipment you need to be successful.

This is the most important piece of gear you can have, in the fight is your mind. And then how you prepared your mind and body. And that, that applies hope 100. And that shifts 100% to entrepreneurship and into private industry. And I just believe that skill, that ability to adapt and overcome, observe, adapt, overcome.

And especially when you think about the year 20, 20, all the things that we've had to observe, see, adapt and overcome that's just a skill set that we never get bogged down in, though. Kind of the activity up today. It's okay, I understand what's going on. I understand what environment I'm playing in, but we've got things to do.

And I, I don't mind using the word mission. We got missions we need to accomplish. So as a result of that, we just go in and do those things. And that's some skillsets that I think were honed very well in the military.

No, I think you're absolutely right. Unfortunately it seems. As veterans, we forget we're allowed to do that and think for ourselves.

Cause we're just so used to there's the rules. There's a system in place. Sure. No, we're recognized the game. You're actually in it. If you want to win, otherwise we get upset. We get disappointed. We get let down. How do we give ourselves that permission to go figure it out?

So I think Scott it's really about that same concept of unity, of command that we use, that we had in the military.

It's someone's in charge. Instead of someone you just need to, we need to replace ourselves in that position. We were in charge, they were in charge. We actually have the ability to make decisions and then men and women will follow us. If we are accountable, we have done our home. We, and we've done the response.

We have the responsibility and the accountability laid out where we want to go. I think that's the way to give yourself the permission to be great or to be, to at least to act is to say I'm in charge that unfortunately there will be no one, there will be no company commander or presumed commander.

That's going to say. Okay. Now we're going left to the world works, which will chew you up and spit you out. You don't take advantage and take control of your life. So that's been my model. And that's a great question. I've never thought about it in that context. It's really that unity of command.

That's something we learn in the military is unit in command. Someone's responsible. Okay. And so when, and there was a rose as a result of that, When someone's responsible, someone's accountable for making the decision. They're going to be held accountable to the outcomes. If we can just take that individual out and plug us in there, go off and go

execute cost.

Cause at the end of the day, there's nobody responsible for you getting what you want, then yourself and, blessing and a curse. Many of these, Hey, how do we help veterans more and more organizations, more guidance that, that keeps leading people down a path where they. They don't know how to take responsibility and that, that can, that could backfire in a lot of ways.

But I'm curious, as you intentionally went through your career, building those building blocks, did you feel like you were building a personal brand different than your peers?

I think that only came later on my brand, if you will, was I wanted to be a professional, no matter what it was. So this was, this is branding and marketing before it was branding and marketing.

We used to call it, and I'm probably dating myself a little bit, but you had a reputation. What was yours? What was your rep? So as a result of that, your reputation was what in today's parlance is your marketing and your branding. What were you known for? So I always wanted to be known for being able to get the work done, being a professional and being an adult.

I always wanted to be in the adult in a room. There were so many, there were so many times where, when I was going through my career, I was one of the youngest people in the room, but I was wanting to portray. Oh, or portray a vision that I was an adult. So we took things seriously. We made adult decisions and we were held accountable for our actions.

So I tell you that carried me more Scott than probably anything else in terms of building a brand that now that has. Now I have a company that I build up that I have a brand around and that has a brand, but even the foundations of that brand are me. The individual that there's an adult in the room.

Whenever you see me, there's at least one adult in the room. Okay. And that we're going to be thoughtful. We will do our homework. We're going to be prepared. And then we're going to be held accountable for our actions. I love that.

It's just the concept of mastery be good at whatever it is you're doing.

Cause then you're going to find the holes. That's how you find opportunity. That's how you stand out, be different from anybody else. Because you know that I love how you, the adult in the room thing. I feel so different than I did when I got out it technically I'm no differently licensed.

Or credentialed than I was 10 years ago. Obviously there's an experience thing in it, but actually experience had nothing to do with, my career in the financial industry. No five years after I started, I felt absolutely no different in my skillset. It's when I started to see problems that other people weren't solving.

For some reason, I was like why aren't they doing it this way? Now? All of a sudden I was like, oh, I need to have masters. In actual, things that can impact people's lives versus just regurgitating information and man, that changes. So I love the way you put it. So that leads us right into, w what is, what are you doing with think acquisition?

What's the goal there and who do.

Sure. So think acquisition really is is the culminating entity from my 26 years of government experience, starting with my five years of the military and then adding additional 21 years of procurement experience. So what I do is I help companies that are interested in.

Buying and selling back to the federal government, particularly in sales and delivery services and products, helping them build and grow and scale their companies and to target and target opportunities from a business development space. I'm using the skillsets that I learned over 26 years and helping them.

Come to the marketplace as an adult, being, be owning their responsibility, their own, owning their decisions and being held accountable for their skills for their support, for their skills, what they bring to the market and their actions. So that what I'm doing right now is I'm a consultant.

And then I'm a, and I'm a coach and I help companies that are interested in playing in the government contracting space, get ready, get in the game and then win.

So it's not just about Hey, we got the newest best. Like it's a whole nother animal. What are you seeing that folks that want to get in that space or are missing?

I think it's three things. One is you touched on it a little bit earlier about having a brand in the space. People still, no matter how. How much of a meritocracy, the federal procurement system is meaning that it is supposed to run smoothly no matter what. And it does, it is not influenced by people.

So that's true. But the system is actually run by people, right? Yeah. Therefore people do business with people. They like people they know and people, they trust. So my job and what I do and what I coach and what I consult on is how do companies become people that the federal government buyers. That they know, and that they trust often times that shows up as social media, a public presence.

What does that brand, that's finding their tribe and talking to that tribe and being engaged in there in the people that, that consumed. Goods and services that they buy and being a good member of the community, whatever that community is, whether you're in construction, whether you're in personal services or it, those communities live somewhere before they lived out in, you could go to a conference.

Or an expo and you could find 500 of those people, post pandemic, all those events now are shut down, but those people have congregated in places online. So on LinkedIn, that's where that's where I've planted. My social media flag is that my community lives. So I engage in my community. I give content of your free content and I use a strategy that is not the foundation of my coaching practice is called free to fee that you start with something free giving free.

And then you work your way up that free content in mind is I have a YouTube channel called Williams whiteboard and it is 10 minutes. The longest ones are 10 minutes. So it's short form content free content. I had 30, I have 36 weeks of them now started in the very beginning of the pandemic back in February.

That was a way for me to get in front of my community. And all I do is you free content. So we talk about things in the government contracting space leadership. Sometimes acquisition and procurement and those three things end up being all, someone reaches out and says, wow, did you do that for an hour for us?

Sure. Could that hour turns into a half day, the half day turns into the day and the day turns into three days and just at the end of last fiscal year, I landed. Your one year contract, to do education and training, for 12 months. So it works. So I'm not sure.

It's not like I've gone on giggle or read the top five books and I'm just regurgitating stuff. This is the stuff I live. This is the model that I use when I decided to hang my shingle out and start my company. This is how I did it. I started small. My very first contract was $4,800. Wow. And then I left and then I've landed some that are, hundreds of thousands of dollars recently, but that's the progression that I use and that's what I take.

And that's what I coached how to start small and get in become someone that people like no interest. And then you grow your business from there.

Yeah. Th that's the definition of wealth that I put in the book. It's not, we both got pretty cool. I like arrows and stuff. It's not about that.

It's what is the value you can bring to others and, oh, by the way, everyone, you have value to bring to somebody. If you didn't realize that already. And guess what? Because of this internet thing, we all have the opportunity to go out there and create a YouTube channel and to slowly build it because you can choose.

Money you want to make at some point, as long as you keep on putting it, putting yourself out there and get known for what you do and becoming a master of it. Because if you're just out there, BSN people, they're going to, they're going to see right through

people through, through that really quickly.

One of the things you touched on it also is the permission. Before you, like you said, just start a YouTube channel. And again, I was in that camp of all has got to, I've got to have the right camera and I gotta have a green screen. I gotta have this. I didn't have a tripod. And then one of the. And I was like, oh, I've got to, I've got to just start.

And I remember the very first video. When you look at, when you look at episode, number one, you may not be able to see it or not. You may not be able to recognize it, but my iPhone was sitting on top of three cardboard boxes. I didn't even have a tripod. I just turned it on and started talking and then I hit the button to upload it.

And it was like, it was such a telling moment for me. And that has. Moved into others. It was a mindset shift for me that has moved into other spaces that you do not need permission anymore. There used to be gatekeepers to the newspaper and gatekeepers to the television and gatekeepers to radio and gatekeepers to magazines.

All of those gatekeepers are gone. You can build your own magazine. You can build your own television channel. You can build your own radio station. All of those, in a certain form of podcasts, you can, there are no more permissions necessary. You just have to go do the work, have something to talk about.

Be authentic. And then share. Yeah.

And in your audience will find you, that's the coolest thing about this and guess what? It doesn't mountain, the number of mountain doesn't matter. That's, cause we were coming in this, out of this Instagram age, everybody thinks you have to have a certain number of likes or followers.

It's no, you need to have the number of followers that resonates specifically with you. And if need be. Encourage people that you're not a good fit fit for to that. Don't listen to me. I'm not here to convince you to use my stuff. When I say in my book is I'm not here to convince you, I'm writing this to those people who already know what I say to be true.

They just didn't know how to implement it and do it. And I think that's the opportunity that you've taken advantage of. And man, I love your energy. I love your, just say go get it done. And w do you have any other messages you want to leave our audience with?

Yeah, I think there are two.

And I want to just bounce off of one, one comment you just made, do about growing escape, growing and scaling. Remember every person that has a million videos or million views or a million likes or 2 million likes or 3 million lights. Every one of them started with number one. Okay. Nope, no matter how many they have today, they have with number one.

So then the only difference between them and you is what you're doing with your time and whether you're pulling the trigger to go get number one, that's the only difference. Okay. That's the only difference. So that's number one. And then number two is really about I'll go back to permission. Okay.

You don't need permission anymore to be great. Or to be in the game. We can get great. So don't even think about, oh, I've got to get great. Cause sometimes that's a barrier that somebody is next to. Oh, I gotta be great coming out of the gate. Nope. You just gotta come up. That's the only thing is to come out of the gate and then you can get great and time again, I look back, I've done 35 episodes of my, on my channel.

And when I look at the first one, I did like Koreans. It's oh, it was horrible. But at 35 it gets a little better there. So still some cringe-worthy moments. Okay. But they get fewer and fewer every time. So just get out of the game. Take the action. If you have a thought. And again, my Williams fight was with the idea I had two years ago.

Oh, wow. Okay. It was two years ago. It was in the can two years ago and I never took action because I thought I had to, everything had to be perfect. I had to have a studio at home to run a video. I got a high photo. Okay. And a couple of cardboard boxes and it started, and it was enough for me to get out of the gate.

So everybody starts with one. And you don't need permission to get out of the gate, just open the gate and go,

yeah. It's about getting in the reps, as you said before we got started and th the other cool trick about, getting that one is only one person saw it and that it's so you don't have to be afraid.

It's if they don't, if somebody doesn't like it, then they're not going to sit there and Rachel will kill you. But think about those times you've had a conversation with somebody anyway. And you said something to them and they were like, oh man, thanks for that insight. I never thought of it that way.

That's what this medium allows us to do is to, if we're impacting one person, there's a chance you can impact more. And if you put it up there and put yourself out there, not only can you grow yourself? But you can solely reach more and more people. And I think, I don't know if that's what life means to me.

I don't know what we're all doing here. Other plans, right? If not, I want to regress. Thank you so much for coming on. How do people contact you? Who should be contacting you?

So again, my primary clients are those that are interested in starting incubating scaling, or we'd like truly growing and exponential growth of government contracting businesses.

So whatever you say. In the private industry, I'm sure on some level, I've only found two things. You listed drugs and adult entertainment that the federal government doesn't buy everything else. The federal government buys. If you're, if that's a message that resonates with you.

Reach out to me on LinkedIn. That's where I live. William Randolph on LinkedIn. Come join the tribe and be a part of doing something great growing families. Growing companies that help families and help grow wealth not only monetary wealth, but kind of knowledge and time being your freedom, your time, freedom to help your you and your family and change the trajectory of you.

Awesome. Thanks again. I put, Hey, make sure you check it out. Subscribe to William's whiteboard as well. There are great videos and great insight to support our guests. So thanks again, and man, and for everybody else, make sure you subscribe and share

Share this video. So we can get that word out there, but we'll see.

About the author 

Scott R. Tucker

Scott R. Tucker is an author, speaker and the founder of US VetWealth, a lifestyle and financial consulting brand that helps service members go from paychecks and government benefits to wealth and liberty. He likes to say, "I Help The 1% Who Serve Our Country Become The 1% Who Influence It." A West Point graduate, serial world traveler, military financial expert, and entrepreneur, Scott brings valuable experience and insight to those who have sacrificed so much in service to our country.

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