Friday, June 23, 2017

Things are heating up

According to the calendar, Wednesday, June 21 was the first day of summer; the warmest season of the year. The other tell-tale sign that summer is here is the need to adjust the office air conditioning daily. As unpredictable as the weather has been, it’s hard to tell how high temperatures will rise; but one thing is for sure – it will get hot. That’s great for fun days at the beach, cook-outs, swimming and other summer leisure activities. Heat in the workplace – whether indoors or outdoors – is another story. Every year, thousands of workers get sick from occupational heat exposure, some even die. The good news is that these illnesses and fatalities can be prevented.

Basically, heat illness is the body’s inability to cool itself. The body’s natural reaction to a rise in temperature is to sweat; it’s how the body cools itself. However, there comes a point, where that no longer works. That’s when heat-related illness can develop in one of the three degrees of heat stress – heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. 

The best way to prevent heat illness is to be proactive; practice heat safety. If you are an employer, make sure employees are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat illness; implement a heat acclimatization program; allow for work/rest schedules; make sure hydrating fluids are readily available; monitor employees for signs of heat illness and be ready to provide prompt medical attention if needed.

Workers need to take responsibility too. Stay hydrated, take breaks when needed, wear breathable clothing, monitor co-workers for signs of heat illness and practice common sense. Don’t fall victim to heat illness – anywhere. Be safe and enjoy what summer has to offer.

On a lighter note, I leave you today with a quote from Steven Wright – “If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?”

Posted by MJ Thomas

Friday, June 16, 2017

“Keep Each Other Safe”

June is National Safety Month; an annual observance that focuses on reducing the leading causes of injury at work, in our homes, on the road and in our communities. “Keep Each Other Safe” is this year’s theme; four words that together send a powerful message.

Safety – at work, at home or at play – really is everyone’s responsibility. Face it. It’s a jungle out there and it’s important to keep safety in the forefront as we tackle our daily challenges. Now before you roll your eyes and tell me you already have enough to think about every day, remember, it only takes a minute for the status quo to change, sometimes dramatically. All it takes is a little common sense and a keen awareness of our surroundings to make things safer for everyone.

See that cart sitting in the middle of the aisle? Move it. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Notice that spill on the floor? Clean it up or at least report it. How about those boxes stacked too high and off-center on that racking system? How about that torn piece of carpeting? Don’t wait until someone trips on it and gets hurt. Take action. Do you know where the first aid and emergency equipment are located? Do you know the procedure in that situation? You get the drift. It’s why safety training is so important; why each of us needs to take it seriously.

National Safety Month is a great opportunity to be a safety ambassador; spread the word; get involved in reducing the risks of injuries. Make a difference.

Be safe out there.

Posted by MJ Thomas

Friday, June 9, 2017

Do you believe?

When the Cleveland Cavaliers take home court tonight, the odds are clearly stacked against them. Down three games in the NBA Championships, game four represents “go big or go home.” That’s okay; they’ve been here before. They didn’t give up then and they won’t give up now.

Speculation on the outcome of tonight’s game is running rampant; from one extreme to the other; from and odds defying victory to sure defeat. Everyone’s an expert – fans, media, the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker – all have something to say.

And guess what? None of it matters. It’s just a bunch of noise that in no way will have any bearing on the final score. The Cavaliers can’t let it matter. They need to believe. Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead.

That’s the way it goes on life too. Even when the odds are stacked against you and everyone tells you that you can’t do it; never give up. Understand and accept that there will be obstacles along the way, you will be challenged, you may stumble and you may even fail the first few times. Keep going; don’t give up. Believe. Nobody said it would be easy. Keep the dream alive.

So, what’s your dream? Are you willing to put it all on the line to achieve that dream? Are you ready to accept rejection, stumble a few times and still keep going? Do you believe? Then, go for it! That’s what the Cavaliers will be doing tonight.

This is Believeland. Go Cavs!

Posted by MJ Thomas

Friday, June 2, 2017

What difference does it make? A lot!

We all have different learning styles. Some of us are visual; some hands-on; some are auditory; and some are reading/writing learners. Personally, I am a combination of styles; visual and hands-on. I learn best with charts and graphs and pictures and colors (visual); taking things apart and putting them back together (hands-on).

Auditory learners need to hear the information and often like to say it out loud to help them remember it. Reading/writing learners do best when reading and writing. Go figure.

So, what difference does it make? Let’s just suppose you have important information to convey to an audience – customers, employees, family, friends – and you want to make sure they “get” it. How do you present the information in a way that achieves your goal? Understand that not everyone in your “audience” learns the same way. Learning is not a “one size fits all” proposition.

My point? At any given time, each type of learner will be in your audience and the way you deliver your message better include something for each learner type. At Sentry, we are in the business of safety. Any messages we send out – whether it’s product information, safety tips, or general safety information – needs to hit the target. That means the message needs to contain something for everyone. What can you do to engage people in your message? Before you speak, listen. Yep, that’s right. Listen; not just hear but listen. Too often we listen to reply, not to understand. Know your audience, whether it’s one-on-one or a large group. Effective communication is about removing obstacles and taking the other person(s) into consideration. Know what they need and find ways to solve their issues. Make it all about them.

Have a great weekend.

Posted by MJ Thomas

Friday, May 26, 2017


This coming Monday we celebrate Memorial Day 2017.  It is the American holiday, observed on the last Monday in May set aside to honor men and women who died serving in the U.S. military. Originating in the years following the Civil War the day became an official federal holiday in 1971.

Many things come to mind when we think of Memorial Day – parades, family gatherings, cemetery or memorial visits, a three-day weekend, a holiday sale. For some, it even means the unofficial beginning of summer. That’s all great but it’s also a time to remember; remember and honor the sacrifice of those who did not return from defending our liberties in battle, those who are currently serving to preserve those liberties; remember family and friends no longer with us and cherish the ones that are; appreciate what we have and renew our hopes for the future.

In the words of John F. Kennedy, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them.”

Happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Nice to meet you

Next week I will be attending the International Parking Institute (IPI) Conference and Expo in New Orleans. It’s a chance to meet with colleagues and customers face-to-face; shake hands, look them straight in the eye and have a conversation. What a concept, huh? I know I’ve talked about this before, but even though trade shows can be a grind, there’s something to be said about the up close and personal opportunity they provide.

Sharing stories by text or email doesn’t even compare to the experience of sharing them over a cup of coffee or dinner. Putting a name to a face makes a real connection. In this high tech, push a button, let it fly era, that’s a good thing. It’s too easy to make excuses not to take the time to meet with people. An event like this makes it happen. I’m looking forward to it.

So, for anyone attending the show next week, stop by Booth 1116 and say hello. Look forward to meeting you.

Posted by MJ Thomas

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

What do you mean it’s not there?

That was my first thought when the call came in to tell me that my shipping crate on its way back from a trade show was missing in action. Great. That’s a fine way to start the morning; especially since I have another show and materials to ship out this week; materials that are in the missing crate. What’s a person to do? Well, I could yell, scream and run around the office like my hair is on fire, but that won’t magically make the crate materialize. Though, that behavior would certainly provide some amusement for my co-workers. I could lament my situation; poor me, this always happens to me. Again, no good coming out of that line of thinking. Or I could calmly call on the power of Plan B. Focus on what can be done, not what can’t be done. Have a back-up plan. Sometimes stuff happens.

Plan B is basically “a set of actions for doing or achieving something that you can use when your original plan fails.” It’s a way of re-focusing, changing your approach, being prepared for the unexpected and never giving up. Having a Plan B could make the difference between success and failure; both in business situations and in your personal life. It’s being prepared, not missing a beat and keeping things moving in the right direction. It’s being able to adapt when you’re thrown a curve, not panicking in the face of adversity and controlling your own destiny. It’s about giving you confidence in knowing that all your bases are covered. It's the “never let them see you sweat” antidote that keeps things from getting of control. Guess what? Sometimes you may even need Plan C, D and E!

In this case, I won’t have to use Plan B. The missing crate has been found and is arriving here in enough time for me to turn it around and ship it back out. The point is that Plan B was available.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Posted by MJ Thomas