Building Better Teams

Posted by Tom Locke on October 13th, 2020 filed in Business, Education, General, History, Life
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Building better teams goes beyond individual commitment. It’s about having a vision/goal that is bigger than the individual but one that is governed by the actions of individuals – actions that are in harmony.

This applies to both the business and sports environments.

Strong teams can’t exist in the absence of strong people. The strength of the team lies within the individual member. With each team member bringing something special to the table, treating each role as an integral part of your team is essential. A strong team is one where each member knows the roles they play—and knows when to play them. After all, a strong team expects each member to be fully present and ready to go when it’s their time to shine.

Lastly, and most importantly, is the leader. The speed and the clarity of the mission/goal provided and supported by the boss are the ultimate drivers for success.

As Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.”

Taking Things In Stride

Posted by Tom Locke on September 7th, 2020 filed in History, Life
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Saying that 2020 has been a turbulent year would be an understatement. There are indeed a number of “front burner” issues that affect us all.

Leading the way of course is COVID-19. Unfortunately, close behind it and of international prominence are race equality issues (e.g. Black Lives Matter and Police Brutality). And, let’s not forget the major climate change issues we are facing, the “Me Too” movement and the upcoming US Presidential election in November.

This may be the first time in a long while that many do not look at going back to school at as a fresh start to the year for their children and families.

How do we handle all this? Well, we must somehow take it in stride – meaning we have to force ourselves to deal with the unpleasantness as calmly as possible. Like the captain of the ship, we must remain confident and believe this will pass while maintaining the support of our friends and families and providing guidance where necessary and appropriate.

One thing that has always worked for me is talking things out with those who are similarly affected. It is amazing how a little listening and the providing of positive feedback can ease stressful situations. When people truly grasp that they are not “in this alone”, the pressure of the situation is mitigated.

One positive thing that has come out of this for me is that my 2020 concerns and experiences have forced me to revisit my priorities and what counts in life … and I am thankful for that.

The Importance of Stretching After Exercising

Posted by Tom Locke on July 16th, 2020 filed in General, Life, Sports ... All Sorts
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Here in Vancouver, BC things are starting to open up as we enter our 4th week of Phase 3 in dealing and respecting the COVID-19 virus.

This has resulted in people getting out more and into a little more exercise … and “discovering” muscles and joints they have neglected for the past 4+ months.

So how can one reduce this “new” soreness in their muscles and joints? … Stretching!

Any trainer and/or disciplined athlete will tell you that stretching is an integral component in their exercise regime. In fact, many emphasize that stretching after their workout is most important.

It is believed that by stretching after a workout you benefit from both physiological and psychological effects. Plus your muscles are already warm which adds to the ease of maximizing your stretching.

A summary of benefits include: increased flexibility, improved blood circulation, elimination of lactic acid, boosted energy, pain prevention, improved range of motion, increased muscular circulation, gradual slowing down of the body, mental clarity and mind/body connection.

So you weekend warriors, before you saddle up to the bar after your tennis match, take 15 minutes out to stretch first – you will enjoy your beverage afterwards even more.

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

Posted by Tom Locke on May 23rd, 2020 filed in History, Humour, Life, Sports ... All Sorts
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In September of 2017, my wife, Cindy, and I flew to Toronto and hooked up with my two good friends, Don Laird and Bob Jones and their wives, joining them on a bus trip to Boston which included two ball games at Fenway Park against the Blue Jays.

Upon my return, inspired by the atmosphere and history of Fenway, I got a hold of my memorabilia business partner, Darrell Lidstone – my goal – producing a 4 ft. X 6 ft. Canvas image of the Green Monster to be hung up on a portion of the fencing in my “Field of Dreams” backyard patio which already featured a tribute to Wrigley Field (attached).

The project was completed in time for the spring of 2018. The image chosen was from 2012 – the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. It looks great and is attached.

This March as I was putting it up, I took a closer look at it. Needless to say I was taken back when I saw the name of the sponsor on the Green Monster – COVIDIEN.

FYI – Covidien was an Irish-headquartered global health care products company and manufacturer of medical devices and supplies. Covidien became an independent publicly traded company after being spun-off from Tyco International in 2007. It was purchased by Medtronic in a transaction that closed in 2015.

Today, the word “Covidien” may become a moniker for someone who had the virus – who knows?

Be safe. Be well. Keep smiling!

What’s Hot In The New Normal

Posted by Tom Locke on April 29th, 2020 filed in General, History, Life
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With more and more time being spent at home because of COVID-19, a number of things are thriving and have become “in” things to do.

1. Cooking. Making meals at home has made a comeback, and so has the need for kitchen supplies.

2. Organizing. We are cleaning out our closets and garages . . . finally. And these items are making us a little money on the side.

3. Video Conferencing. Software, along with related office equipment furniture are hot commodities.

4. Home Improvement. We’re fixing things up, getting things done, and  gardening – many people are growing their own fruits and vegetables.

5. Exercise Equipment. Sales of workout wear and gear to get in shape are booming and so are bicycles.

6. Games. Pool and ping pong tables are selling out. Board games are also suddenly popular again.

7. Books. Books are back in a big way. They provide a great means for escape and relaxation – nothing like getting lost in a great book.

8. Music. A lot of downloading going on.

9. Binge-ing. Why watch one episode when you can knock off a whole season in two days? Streaming memberships are way up.

Understanding COVID-19 101

Posted by Tom Locke on April 8th, 2020 filed in Business, Education, History, Life
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Throughout my career I have sought out experts to assist me in my understanding of things and ultimately in my decision making.

Such was the case regarding COVID-19 wherein I had a trusted colleague forward on to me the following video from Dr. Dave Price from the Weill Cornell Medical Centre in New York City.

It’s 48 minutes long … but it has been the best 48 minutes my wife, Cindy, and I have spent since this virus began impacting our lives.

As a result of watching this, we are way more at ease and actually feel empowered. And that says a lot given our ages and the fact that Cindy is a front line worker in an essential service – food.

I urge you to do yourself and your loved ones a favour and watch this straight-from-the-hip, easy to understand video. I think you will find Dr. Price’s commentary regarding masks of interest.

Be safe. Keep well. Stay positive.

Coping With COVID-19

Posted by Tom Locke on March 28th, 2020 filed in Education, General, History, Life
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Reach out and touch someone – VIRTUALLY!

Interacting physically with family and friends has been part of our lives since the beginning of time. We are wired to do so.

At this time, being unable to do so, or recommended/mandated not to do so, is tough on many. However, thanks to technology we can interact. The advancements and cost effectiveness of cell technology and video conferencing has been able to create environments where it’s “almost like being there”.

This will probably be the interaction of choice for a while. With that in mind, I have started phoning and videoconferencing with my family and friends as opposed to just shooting off an email or a text.

To date this approach has allowed me to have some great interaction … with each session ending with a smile on my face.

I hope you will consider doing the same. It will help your sanity and the sanity of others. We are all in this together.

Bill Gates’ Secret

Posted by Tom Locke on March 19th, 2020 filed in Business, Education, History, Life
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I just finished reading Alex Banayan’s book “The Third Door”, a story about his mission to interview some of the most success people in the world to get some insight on what got them to where they are today. The fascinating part of the book is the journey he took to get these interviews.

In Banayan’s meeting with Bill Gates, Gates emphasized building genuine, trusting relationships. According to Bill, if you are an unknown entrepreneur and the person you are dealing with doesn’t know you, why would he or she even do business with you? On the other hand, if you have built a relationship with them, to the point they have become a mentor or friend, you just might not have to negotiate.

This book should be on the short list for people entering the marketplace – especially those with an entrepreneurial spirit. 

Clearing The Clutter

Posted by Tom Locke on February 20th, 2020 filed in General, Life
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I recently took a good look around my home and found all kinds of things I no longer needed, wanted or used. I have packed them up for sale.

It felt good to free up space and get a little cash for things that no longer served my life. I know letting go is hard for some people, but when I looked at old VHS’s (Yikes!), CDs and DVDs for example, the decision was easy. Plus, I feel better, lighter, and smarter for freeing up the space and moving on . . . with cash in hand.

To assist in making things easier to sell unwanted items was the discovery of OfferUp, an onsite portal which is simple to use and is a most viable alternative to garage sales, Craigslist or eBay.

Making Someone’s Day

Posted by Tom Locke on February 11th, 2020 filed in Business, General, History, Life, Sports ... All Sorts
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Back in early November, my wife and I decided to visit our favourite antique and collectibles shop, Etta’s Attic, in Ferndale, Washington.  That’s when we came across a unique deck/director’s chair.

This pristine chair was a 1980 World Series promotional piece from Pepsi-Cola.  Per the descriptive tag attached to the chair, it was a gift to Harold Walton from the Pepsi-Cola Company.  After purchasing the chair, I subsequently heard back from the dealer who confirmed, via the folks at Etta’s Attic, that it was indeed a gift to Harold Walton, the Founder and then President of the Walton Beverage Company.  This claim was substantiated by the inscribing of the name “Harold” on the back of the top banner of the chair.

Further research uncovered the fact that Walton Beverages began distributing Pepsi-Cola in 1934-1935.  This is somewhat significant given the fact that during the Great Depression, Pepsi-Cola gained popularity following the introduction in 1934 of a 12-ounce bottle. Prior to that, Pepsi and Coca-Cola sold their drinks in 6.5-ounce servings for about $0.05 a bottle. With a radio advertising campaign featuring the popular jingle “Nickel, Nickel” – first recorded by the Tune Twisters in 1940 – Pepsi encouraged price-conscious consumers to double the volume their nickels could purchase. The jingle is arranged in a way that loops, creating a never-ending tune:

“Pepsi-Cola hits the spot / Twelve full ounces, that’s a lot / Twice as much for a nickel, too / Pepsi-Cola is the drink for you.”

Coming at a time of economic crisis, the campaign succeeded in boosting Pepsi’s status. From 1936 to 1938, Pepsi-Cola’s profits doubled.

As interesting as this was, what was more fascinating was the fact that I was able to purchase this unique antique. It also made me wonder if the people at Walton Beverages, which is still going strong today, even knew about the chair.

So, I contacted the company and was eventually put in touch with one of Harold Walton’s granddaughters who works at the company. As suspected, she did not know about the chair or the story behind it.

Late last month, my wife and I drove back to Ferndale with the chair in tow and subsequently presented it to Mr. Walton’s granddaughter.

She was excited to receive it and proclaimed that the chair would remain on display at company headquarters for all to see.

Delivery of Chair to Walton Beverages