Giving thanks.

This Thursday is Thanksgiving – a day for family, friends, food and football; a day set aside for expressions of gratitude and acts of kindness; a day that in recent years has become a pre-run to the craziest shopping day of the year – Black Friday; something that will not be included in my holiday celebration. We all know the true meaning of the Thanksgiving celebration and yet with all the hype and hoopla presented to us in social media, on television and in newspapers and magazines, it can become all too easy to let shopping overpower thanking.

As part of your family traditions, how many of you go around the dinner table with each person expressing their reasons to give thanks? In my family, we still do. When I was younger, I used to roll my eyes at this tradition because I was painfully shy and afraid of saying something wrong; in other words, the focus was on me. Maybe I also took my blessings a little too much for granted. As I grew older and wiser, I came to realize how it is so NOT about me and how important it is to openly express thanks for all the good in my life and to the family and friends who make it that way. Thanksgiving puts it all in perspective.

Quoting Margaret Cousins, “Appreciation can change a day, even a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.”

Happy Thanksgiving.

Posted by MJ Thomas

‘Tis the season?

Just read an article in today’s news about a woman – thinking that another woman cut in front of her in line at a retail establishment – grabbed her by the hair and threw her to the ground. Honestly. You almost have to see the accompanying video to fully realize the message this sends.

We all know that this is not an isolated incident; there are examples of this kind of behavior in the news every day. Now the holiday shopping season is upon us; officially underway the day after Thanksgiving.  It would be so nice if the this experience brought out the best in people. But, alas, we know that more often than not, this isn’t the case. And for what?

To all those shoppers who push and shove (or throw people to the ground); are rude and crabby; and totally suck the holiday spirit out of everyone around them – what did you expect? By now crowds, long lines, limited supplies, no parking and too few checkout lanes should be a given. Keep it in perspective – you’re buying “stuff” and “stuff" isn’t what the season is truly about. It’s certainly NOT worth resorting to physical violence or a barrage of unkind words.

To paraphrase some words of wisdom from Bill Murray’s character Frank Cross in the holiday classic Scrooged, “…it’s the one time of the year when we all act a little nicer, we smile a little easier, we cheer a little more. For a short time out of the whole year, we are the people we always hoped we would be!”

At least, that’s the way it should be. Just saying.

Posted by MJ Thomas

Peel away the layers and what do you see?

The holiday shopping season has begun.  You can’t pick up a newspaper, watch television, listen to the radio or surf the Internet without being inundated with ads for the best holiday deals ever.  For me, the tradition is that the holiday train starts rolling the day after Thanksgiving, but that’s another story.

My thought for today was prompted by a news item I saw last night. The focus of the story was how to avoid being fooled by holiday sales offers that “sound too good to be true”; how to detect scams and determine if a company is legitimate.  Sad, but true; it’s a story that needs to be told every year. I mean, seriously, how many genuine Coach purses have you bought for $25?

Truth is that when you peel away the top layer, undo the wrapping and take a closer look – what you see is NOT always what you get.  And that brings me to my point.

Sentry products are safety products; built to protect people, equipment and facilities from damages caused by impact from industrial equipment and vehicles.  There are other products that look like ours; the same color, the same height; at a visual glance they look the same. But peel away the outside layer and you definitely recognize the difference. The way they are designed, manufactured, the materials used, the testing they undergo all factor in to making one of the highest quality, toughest, most reliable safety products you can buy. Are they more expensive? Yes, they are. I’m proud to say that because you get what you pay for and safety products are not where you should be looking for bargains. The consequences can be dire.

Safety is serious business. When you are purchasing safety products to protect your people, equipment and facilities, look below the surface, get past the exterior and make sure that what you see is indeed what you get.

Posted by MJ Thomas

We’ve got spirit! Come on y’all let’s hear it!

The spirit of competition that is; it gets your adrenaline pumping a little faster, puts things a little more in focus and heightens your desire to be the best you can be. So why am I thinking about competition today? Well, to be honest, it’s Thursday; and that means Thursday night football; and tonight pits the Cleveland Browns against the Cincinnati Bengals – the Battle of Ohio. This is one of those games where I don’t believe that the win-loss records of each team counts. This competition is for bragging rights and on any given day, you never know what might happen. Hope springs eternal.

So how about competition in your business? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? I’m going with good thing and here’s why.

Competition makes you try harder; it doesn’t let you rest on your laurels or become complacent. It pushes you past your comfort zone, keeps you on your toes and always striving for the next best product or service for your customers. Competition gives rise to innovation and that’s a good thing for both you and your consumers.

As annoying as competition can sometimes be, it’s also flattering. How many times have you been told that, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”?  Think about it. If someone is copying your product or service, you must be doing something right and something that works. It validates you.

If you are paying attention and reading the signs, competition can educate you. Learn from your competition; what works, what doesn’t; how they do what they do; how they fit into the market.That gives you an advantage.

Next time you wish your competition would go away, remember that in some way they have helped you become more successful.

Now, let’s go Browns!

Posted by MJ Thomas