Motivation & Persistence

Posted by Tom Locke on June 3rd, 2021 filed in Business, Education, General, Life
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One of the great motivational speakers of our time was Zig Ziglar (1926 – 2012). One of his memorable quotes was “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it.

Being and keeping motivated is an ongoing commitment and one that produces results. Getting started is often the toughest hurdle in the journey to sustainability and success. According to Ziglar, “You don’t have to be great at something to start, but you have to start to be great at something.

Supporting the above is this short inciteful video featuring some iconic people you know.


What Matters Most

Posted by Tom Locke on April 9th, 2021 filed in Business, Education, General, History, Life
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Throughout my career and personal life I have had the opportunity to be involved with people with disabilities. It was through various interactions with individuals and organizations within this community that I became extremely conscious of how lucky I was in growing up healthy and how fortunate I was to be able to support those less fortunate than myself.

If you can walk, run, and dance without pain, celebrate your good fortune. Being healthy and free of limitations is priceless. If you are pain free, COVID free, and free to do the things you want, count your blessings.

Someone else is dreaming of the things you take for granted – why not give them a hand up?


Effective Emails

Posted by Tom Locke on March 18th, 2021 filed in Business, Education, General, Life, Technology
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We live in a sound byte world and people do not read today. It’s not that we don’t read, it’s that we don’t read as much.

When we see a large block of text in an email we either ignore it or skim through it (not really retaining anything).

So how do we get our colleagues to read our emails, retain information and take action if prompted? Well, I suggest the following:

  1. Use the subject line in your email to get to the point
  2. Keep the body of email short and focused on what was laid out in the subject line
  3. Limit the email to one big idea or takeaway
  4. Use statements, not open-ended questions. (e.g. “If you agree, please respond ‘Yes’; if not, give me a call” as opposed to “So what do you think?”)
  5. If you are delivering criticism, be specific and respectful
  6. Reaching out from the heart now and then. A short, sincere and thoughtful message can make someone’s day.

By respecting the time of those you are writing to, you will increase the potential of the results you are trying to achieve.


Life Fulfillment

Posted by Tom Locke on February 14th, 2021 filed in Business, Education, General, Life, Travel
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It’s been over 20 years since I spoke with a former business associate and friend, Dan Koch. Via ZOOM, we recently got caught up. Our conversation soon turned to his career journey(s) as chronicled in his new book, My Four Corners … Life as a Bloody Foreigner.

Dan grew up in the shadow of Rhodesia’s independence turmoil. As civil unrest grew, he made the decision to leave his homeland and start again.

His first stop was England. It was there that he uncovered an opportunity in Saudi Arabia. Subsequent to this, he was able to move his young family to Canada. It was in Vancouver where we met.

Despite a long and successful interlude in Canada, at age 50, Dan found himself at a crossroads in his life, looking for a further challenge. And he found it – in Russia.

It was his time living in Moscow that really resonated with me, from a career perspective. It was there that Dan was able to apply his leadership skills in recognizing, developing and managing talent to make a measurable difference, a difference that led to team buy-in, profitability and trust throughout his organization.

In tandem with the foregoing was the buy-in and trust of his family who played an integral role in this grand journey. This was a great read – one that makes you stop and think about your journey.


Doing What You Are Good At

Posted by Tom Locke on January 29th, 2021 filed in Business, General, History, Life
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Time flies when you’re having fun or doing something you enjoy and are good at.

Isn’t that true of us all? If we can focus on using and developing our strengths instead of feeling like a failure because of our shortcomings, we will be more productive. And perhaps what you love to do and do well isn’t as in demand as something else – no matter, I say do it anyway.

Doing what you are good at or love to do will put a smile on your face. And heaven knows, we need more smiles.


Coping With Burnout

Posted by Tom Locke on January 7th, 2021 filed in Business, Education, Life
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Burnout was sure a topic of discussion in 2020 – especially in the medical community and with their front liners. And there does not seem to be an end in site.

Burnout has also been prevalent in other businesses and industries. And the home front has not been immune from it.

So how do we cope, knowing that adrenalin only goes so far in emergency and stressful situations.

First off, we need to identify the symptoms of burnout.

Per a recent article in the Harvard Business Review (“HBR”), thanks to the pioneering research of psychologist Christina Maslach and several collaborators, we know that burnout is a three-component syndrome that arises in response to chronic stressors on the job. Let’s examine each symptom—exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy, appreciating the fact that they are correlated.

Exhaustion is most central and involves physical, mental and emotional fatigue.

Cynicism is away of self-distancing yourself and can be brought on via work overload. However, it is also likely to occur in the presence of high conflict, unfairness, and lack of participation in decision making.

Inefficacy refers to feelings of incompetence or lack of achievement or productivity and can lead to disengagement.

In terms of recovery and prevention, HBR suggests the following strategies given that situational factors are the biggest contributors to burnout.

  1. Prioritize Self – Care – It’s essential to replenish your physical and emotional energy, along with your capacity to focus, by prioritizing good sleep habits, nutrition, exercise, social connection, and practices that promote equanimity and well-being, like meditating, journaling, and enjoying nature.
  2. Shift Your Perspective – This require you taking a hard look at what you are taking on and determining what is controllable and what isn’t. In tandem with this, it involves you challenging your mindset and assumptions.
  3. Reduce Exposure To Job/Personal Stressors – This involves resetting the expectations of colleagues, clients, and even family members for what and how much you’re willing to take on, as well as ground rules for working together. This can be done mutually and will probably be better received and appreciated as “we’re in this together”.
  4. Seek Out Connections – Empower colleagues/friends and find coaches and mentors who can help you identify and activate positive relationships and learning opportunities. 


Getting The Most Out Of Everyday

Posted by Tom Locke on December 17th, 2020 filed in Business, Education, General, History, Life
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For me the past is a reminder and an education while the future is something filled with promise. But in between is the present where we experience in the “now” – the most important part of our everyday lives.

So get the most out of your “now” as it is truly a gift. (Maybe that’s why they call it “the present”.)

Live Like There’s No Tomorrow.

“If you live every day as if it were your last, one day you’ll be right.” —Steve Jobs


The House That Rock Built

Posted by Tom Locke on December 1st, 2020 filed in Business, Education, History, Life, Music
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Back in April of 2015, I visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum (“Rock Hall”) in Cleveland. During that trip I had the opportunity to meet and sit down with legendary deejay, Norm N. Nite (www.normnnite.com).

Known to listeners as “Mr. Music” for his extensive knowledge of the history of popular music, Norm N. Nite has a long and distinguished career that reads like a “Who’s Who” of radio. He began in 1961 as a radio personality, and in 1967 brought his unique on-air style to Cleveland, his hometown. In 1973, it was on to the ‘Big Apple’ as an author, disc jockey, and critic. Then back to Cleveland in the ’90’s as a member of the Rock Hall Board of Trustees, the only radio personality to be honored with this distinction.

In 1974 he released his first of seven “Rock On” books; books dedicated to the evolution/history of Rock and Roll and its artists. His hundreds of interviews with legendary entertainment personalities, including almost every Rock and Roll great and Hall of Famer, have made Norm’s published works essential for music lovers.

It was during our meeting in Cleveland that Norm shared with me his new project – an eighth book on how the Rock Hall ended up being built in Cleveland. Five years later, the book has become a reality, being recently released in tandem with the 25th anniversary of the Rock Hall which occurred on September 2, 2020.

It is well known that Norm was a driving force in bringing the Rock Hall to Cleveland, a journey that took a considerable amount of time; an ongoing assurance that Cleveland was the right place for it; and, a coordinated effort that involved artists, music moguls & executives, media, politicians, fans and some creative fundraising, Norm captures this journey vividly in his new book, “The House That Rock Built“.

Looking for something for Christmas that will be appreciated and remembered? Look no further.


Successful Change

Posted by Tom Locke on November 9th, 2020 filed in Business, Education, History, Life
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To incorporate a change initiative in business, the managerial process requires organization, prioritization and focus. And one must be mindful that a change will not be successful overnight. Many changes take time for employees to adjust and embrace.

In addition to having employees being involved in the organizing, prioritizing and determining the focus, they should be an integral part of the implementation – the final ingredient for successful change and buy-in.


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.”