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Archive for December, 2010

A BRYCE CHRISTMAS

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 16, 2010

I don’t want to sound like Scrooge or the Grinch, but Christmas is not one of my favorite holidays. I see it more as something for the kids as opposed to adults. Before I get started though, I want to make something perfectly clear; I still refer to this season as “Christmas” as opposed to the “Holidays” which may sound more politically correct, but to me it’s an admission that Christians are in retreat in this country. I am not a super-religious person mind you, but it bothers me that we have turned the celebration of Christ’s birth into a marketing bonanza. To illustrate my point, consider the following:

* We spend millions on lights and decorations around the house as opposed to investing in our planet and conserving energy resources.

* Instead of helping the less fortunate, we give opulent gifts to people who really do not need them. Last time I checked, there are still places in the world where people are sick and hungry, and need an education or a roof over their heads.

* As opposed to trying to replenish our forests, we kill trees to do nothing more than decorate our homes for a few scant days.

* Instead of promoting Christ’s words of peace, we are still at war with ourselves, particularly at the checkout counter.

If this has all changed, I must have missed the memo on it.

In the workplace, we exchange superficial gifts more because we feel we have to rather than because we want to. I would much rather have a heartfelt handshake than most of the gifts I have received in the office. But then again, this probably isn’t politically correct either. I have even seen people compete over who is going to give the most extravagant gift to someone for political purposes as opposed to the generosity of their heart.

It is also customary to hold office parties this time of year, much to the delight of caterers, restaurants, hotels, entertainers, etc. But I wonder if the substantial money expended here would be put to better use by rewarding the employees with a bonus instead.

Following Thanksgiving, the media immediately shifts its programming into the Yule tide swing with Christmas music on the radio, and specials on television. It seems a little like brainwashing to me to force you into the Christmas spirit weeks before the actual holiday. I’m sorry, but I don’t like being coerced into anything.

I wonder what Jesus would say about all of these shenanigans. First, he would probably wonder who the jolly fat guy was in the red outfit. I imagine he would tell us that we all have our priorities wrong. I can even hear him say, “Hey guys, you even got the day wrong!”

If Jesus were to come back, I’d bet he would be kidnapped by the marketing people for at least the month of December, maybe longer.

With this said, I sincerely wish everyone, be you a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, or whatever, a very merry Christmas, not because I’m trying to force my religious beliefs down your throat, but because I genuinely wish you Peace on Earth, good will toward men. Maybe I do have the Christmas spirit after all.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 11:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Life, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

FATHERS EAT HEELS

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 15, 2010

I was making a sandwich the other day, and as I opened a loaf of bread I observed the heel customarily unclaimed by other members of the family. I, of course, took it to build my sandwich. Only then did I stop to think how many times I had done this over the years as my family seems to have an aversion to eating the heel and, consequently, it was always earmarked for my consumption exclusively. It’s not that I relish eating the heel, I just don’t want to see it go to waste. I then started to think about the other attributes that distinguish fathers. For example:

It is the father’s job to kill spiders, bugs, and any other potential vermin frightening the household. In Florida, this includes man-eating grasshoppers, ants, armadillos, opossums, snakes, and the rare alligator that may wander by the house.

It is the father’s job to take out the trash, not just the regular kitchen garbage but virtually anything that can be shoved into, on top of, or next to a trash can. This includes items from the attic, bio-hazardous material stored in the garage, and anything that can be hacked off on the property. When the receptacles are full, it is the father’s job to somehow transport it to a dumping station, usually in the cleanest car available.

It is the father’s job to mow the lawn. More than mere mowing, this includes edging, hedging, pruning, sodding, raking, fertilizing, and blowing debris off the property. Hopefully the father is assisted by his offspring, but most find it an imposition for the child and therefore pays for Mexican laborers to perform the task instead.

It is the father’s job to change the oil and wash the car. I don’t mean running down to a car wash or quick-lube either. Every father should know how to use a hose and bucket of suds, not to mention wax. Further, they should be able to change the oil, miss the pan, and cleanup the slop spilled on the driveway. Hopefully the father is assisted by his offspring, but most find it an imposition for the child and therefore pays for Mexican laborers to perform the task instead.

It is the father’s job to eat leftovers and anything else the family refuses to consume. This distorts his palate which explains why father’s have a passion for such things as lima beans, Brussels sprouts, artichoke hearts, rutabaga, lamb shanks, liver and onions, black eyed peas and collard greens, grits, tapioca pudding, Rhubarb Pie, and Bosco.

It is the father’s job to help the children with their homework when they hit a problem. It is also his job to look as helplessly puzzled when he doesn’t know the answer (or understand the question).

It is the father’s job to make simple house repairs, such as changing the garbage disposal, fixing the toilet, repairing the door bell, or electrocuting himself when he should have called an electrician.

It is the father’s job to be the computer technician of the house, to hook up wires and strings, to buy and replace printer cartridges, and to curse Microsoft.

It is the father’s job to take the blame for whatever goes wrong, large or small, regardless if he is at fault or not, pick up the pieces and try to mend things.

It’s not easy being a father. They get all the dirty little jobs to do, and the leftovers to eat. They only ask for a little love and attention in return.

Just remember, fathers eat heels.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 11:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Family, Life, Society | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

HOW COMPANY PARTIES WORK

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 14, 2010

The following is an excerpt from my book, “MORPHING INTO THE REAL WORLD – A Handbook for Entering the Work Force” which is a survival guide for young people as they transition into adult life. The book offers advice regarding how to manage our personal and professional lives. As a part of this, I found it necessary to discuss how to behave at company parties.

Company Parties

During your employment, you will undoubtedly have to attend some company sponsored parties, be it a year-end party or simply going out for a drink with the boss. Your attendance is important as the company is trying to relieve some stress and promote camaraderie among the workers. If you are married, bring your spouse (if they are invited) as companies tend to like to create a family-like environment. If the spouse refuses to attend, it will send a negative message. But assuming they are going to attend, be sure to brief your spouse prior to the function on any pertinent politics so he/she will not accidentally say something inappropriate thus causing an embarrassing situation to make you look bad.

Yes, it is time to relax and unwind, but it is also time to be on your toes. Alcohol tends to loosen the tongue so do not imbibe to the point of drunkenness. Now is not the time to tell off your boss or coworker. Do not say something you will live to regret, such as revealing a dark chapter of your past or how you screwed something up at work, which is how rumors are started. Keep cool and collected. If you are leery of alcohol, order something that looks like a regular drink, such as club soda and lime (which could pass as a gin or vodka tonic) or apple juice (which easily passes for whiskey). This leads people to believe you are a social drinker, yet allows you to maintain control over your faculties.

Aside from this, company parties tend to loosen up inhibitions and allows you to get to know your fellow workers and boss on a more personal level. Also observe protocol in regards to smoking. Some people enjoy a good smoke, others vehemently dislike it. Do what is suitable for the occasion.

If you are ever put in charge of coordinating a company party, make sure it is a success and accommodates everyone, especially if it is the year-end holiday party. Companies take such parties seriously and you are often measured by how successful the party is executed. For example, I have a friend who served at IBM in New York years ago, and was saddled with the company holiday party where families were invited to attend. He quickly found this to be a big responsibility. Nonetheless, he put on a great party where everyone enjoyed themselves. He even had a Santa Claus there to deliver a present for every child in attendance. And best of all, he delivered the party under budgeted costs. In fact, the party went off so well, that his career at IBM took off immediately thereafter.

“Do not underestimate the power of the company party.”
- Bryce’s Law

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 11:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Business, Employment, Management | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

SNOWBIRD MIGRATION

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 13, 2010

The snowbird migration is in full swing down here in the South. This is where northerners, predominantly retirees, make their annual trek to Florida to spend the winter. Their money is particularly needed as Florida’s economy is still reeling from the recession and we have high unemployment. Nonetheless, there is a price to be paid for having our neighbors from the north flock down here.

For starters, you have to put up with some God-awful drivers. There are New Yorkers in SUV’s who think they own the road, people from Ontario who believe they are always driving in a school zone, and others from the Midwest who are just plain lost. Such eclectic driving habits causes some rather strange “stop and go” traffic. As if driving in Florida wasn’t bad enough already, traffic volume is easily doubled during snowbird season.

When the snowbirds arrive, they are typically on a tight budget, particularly Canadians who know how to pinch a penny that would have even embarrassed Jack Benny. I don’t know who the genius was who invented the “Early Bird” restaurant specials beginning at 4:00pm, but they timed this perfectly to snarl rush hour traffic. Snowbirds flock to “Early Bird” dining, as well as anyone offering a pancake breakfast or spaghetti dinner for $5 or less. They sniff these bargains out like a Bloodhound and consume more than their money’s worth. God forbid they find a defenseless buffet as they would attack it like piranhas attacking a wounded water buffalo.

You know the snowbird season is in full swing as you watch the trailer parks fill to capacity. You see just about every kind of RV imaginable, either pulling a Smart Car or something comparable, or pulling trailers containing motorcycles and other equipment. If you visit such a park you get the feeling you are visiting a U.N. refugee camp as you hear the various dialects and idioms whereby it is easy to distinguish a visitor from Massachusetts from someone in Ontario, versus Illinois, versus Ohio, etc. The Germans and English also like to visit but are easier to spot as they generally wear less clothing on the beach than everybody else, and not in a flattering manner I might add. Whereas native Floridians think the weather is cool or chilly, the Europeans think it is a heat wave.

This brings up a point, perhaps the best way to distinguish a native Floridian from a snowbird is to simply visit the beaches. A true Floridian won’t be seen on one from November to March as they think it is too cold. Everyone else is a snowbird. The half naked people soaking up the sun in t-backs (including men) are from Frankfort and London. It’s that easy.

All this aside, snowbirds tend to be quite cordial, and as I mentioned, we could certainly use a cash infusion. There is only one real problem with snowbirds, fewer and fewer migrate home at the end of the season and decide to nest permanently down here.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 11:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Life, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

THE SPEED OF TIME

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 12, 2010

When you discuss concepts like the speed of time, people like Einstein and Newton come to mind who would have you consider such factors as space, light, gravity, and other elements from physics and mathematics. This my be so, but in human terms, time is measured by experiences and memories. And, Yes, time does indeed speed up and slow down. I believe we can all agree on this.

As a child I can remember summers that seemed to last for years. We spent our time capturing fire flies, camping and fishing, shooting BB guns, playing baseball, riding bicycles, playing miniature golf, collecting pop bottles so we can earn money to buy candy, sneaking some fruit from nearby orchards, building forts, swimming in a nearby stream, and playing games of tag, hide and seek, and red light/green light. Aside from the occasional rain, we spent most of our time outdoors until our parents called us in for dinner or to put us to bed.

In school, time also seemed to crawl along, particularly if we had a boring teacher whereby we would agonize over how slow the hands on the classroom clock would move. There never were any second hands on the clocks in our day. However, they would make a distinctive click just two seconds before the minute hand moved. When we heard the click just before the end of the class, we instinctively began rushing for the door. Time was perhaps the slowest as we approached the holidays. Students turn into zombies as they await being released for the holidays or summer. I really do not think it is possible to teach them anything during this period as their minds are elsewhere.

Time starts to speed up after we leave high school though. We look around and all of our classmates have left to start their lives, be it in the military, in a job, in college or in a technical school. From ages 18-22, we begin to notice how fast time goes by. One minute we’re graduating from high school, the next we’re starting our careers and adult life. It doesn’t slow down either. During our 20′s and 30′s, our lives are moving at warp speed as our career and family begin to blossom.

It doesn’t slow down in your 40′s and 50′s either as you remain active personally and professionally, but you start to notice that your children and their friends, who you used to watch playing in the yard yesterday, are now grown up, have facial hair, and smoke and drink.

I don’t know about retirement, which kind of scares me. Some people tell me things slow down radically as they retire, others say they’ve never been busier. Some complete their college education that alluded them earlier in life, others travel, and still others take on smaller and more menial jobs which keeps them in contact with people.

I believe the speed of time is measured by how actively we use our mind. If we want it to go faster, we have to remain busy and possess an intellectual curiosity about life. If we want to slow it down though, all we need to do is withdraw and surrender to tedium. Which is better, fast or slow? I guess it’s a matter of who you talk to. I just can’t help but thinking time will slow to a crawl when we’ve finally departed this world.

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”
- Albert Einstein

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 11:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

IN PRAISE OF SLIM WHITMAN

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 9, 2010

Back in the late 1970′s/early 1980′s the American public was barraged with a series of television commercials that baffled most of us. We didn’t know it at the time, but these were probably the first “infomercials,” something we were unaccustomed to. There was Zamfir, “The Master of the Pan Flute” who, we were told, was incredibly popular in Europe. The only problem was that nobody in North America had ever heard of him. Next, came Rula Lenska, a Romanian actress from the U.K. who was hawking Alberto VO5 hair products. Again, nobody in this country had ever heard of her. Even Johnny Carson asked, “Who the hell is Rula Lenska?” Finally, a yodeling country singer asked us to buy his “greatest hits” album which was allegedly more popular in Europe than the Beatles and Elvis. The singer’s name, Slim Whitman. Because of their claim of notoriety in Europe, these three personalities became the butt of many jokes and the American public was reluctant to take them seriously. Nonetheless, they persevered and kept touting their products over the airwaves night and day.

Of the three personalities, Whitman was the only American of the group. Over time, Lenska and Zamfir returned to Europe, but Whitman continued his career in this country. Although the heyday for his music was the 1950′s and early 60′s, he faded from view until his commercials started to appear in the late 70′s. Following this he was all but forgotten until Tim Burton’s movie, “Mars Attacks!,” in 1996 whereby Whitman’s song, “Indian Love Call,” was used to destroy the Martians. Although this was done in jest, it was certainly not a compliment to Whitman or his music.

Although I originally didn’t take Slim seriously, I happened to come across several of his songs on “You Tube” a couple of years ago and began listening to them out of curiosity at first. In no time at all I was hooked. Keep in mind I have a pretty eclectic taste in music. I like just about everything from Rock to Jazz to classical, and lot’s of in-betweens. However, I never could stomach Rap or Country/Western. Sure, I have heard lots of songs from these genres but nothing really captivated me, until I started listening to Slim Whitman.

Whitman’s trademark is, of course, his yodeling, but that’s not what grabbed me. Instead, it was the total package of his music, his orchestration, his tempo and melody, and his voice. Whereas, I had thought of Whitman as nothing more than a country bumpkin, I learned to respect his music. Heck, I even enjoy it and am proud to say so. When I placed links on my Facebook page to his YouTube videos, I was surprised by the number of people who said they were also hooked on his music but were reluctant to say so until I spoke up. Thanks to “Mars Attacks!” most people consider Whitman’s music a joke and, as such, are hesitant to admit they like it. I’m actually finding more and more people coming forward who say they love it.

When I started to research Whitman’s background, I was pleasantly surprised to discover he is a product of Tampa, Florida, right in my own backyard, and at age 86 he is supposed to be retired in Middleburg, Florida (southwest of Jacksonville). He has sold millions of records, been recognized by his peers, and influenced many other notable artists. Unfortunately, the general public doesn’t remember this or understand his impact.

As for me, his music reminds me of a simpler time, something we could sure use more of these days. I particularly enjoy his classics, “Rose Marie” and “I Remember You.” And, Yes, I have been known to listen to his “Indian Love Call” now and then if for no other reason than to help me change gears during the day.

When I think of the whacky times we live in, a little Slim Whitman is very much appreciated. I’m only sorry I didn’t take him more seriously years ago.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 11:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Entertainment | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

WORK HORSES

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 8, 2010

Within any company or organization, there is at least one person managers count on time and again to get a particular job done. Such a person is commonly referred to as the “Work Horse” of the group, the “Go-to guy” or the “Iron Man.” Such a person is not necessarily the smartest or most physically endowed, but can be counted on to see a task through to completion based on sheer will and determination, something we used to call “dedication.” The Work Horse may not be a thoroughbred, but possesses certain talents and strengths we find vital for running a company. Without such people, companies tend to flounder, thereby they should be prized and coveted. Quite often they are not, unfortunately.

Day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year we saddle up the Work Horse and have him pull the cart on his appointed rounds, feeding on nothing more than a modest diet. The Work Horse seldom complains even when the load gets heavy. He simply perseveres and keeps going until the job is done or he drops over from exhaustion. Driving such a person is a deeply seeded love of the job and sense of responsibility. He does not think in terms of making a quick buck. Instead, his personal and professional lives are one and the same, it is his livelihood.

Should the Work Horse leave, pandemonium tends to break loose, at least for awhile until someone else picks up the load or the company goes defunct. This brings up an interesting point, what makes the Work Horse unique is his intimacy with the system of the company, complete with all its foibles. Over time, the Work Horse has learned all of the weaknesses of the system and how to get around them, thereby making the person indispensable. Work Horses can perhaps be best described as “resourceful.”

Despite his abilities, the Work Horse is typically taken for granted. This can be dangerous as the Work Horse likes to know his work is noticed and appreciated. A little recognition now and then can work wonders, be it nothing more than being treated with courtesy and respect. Abuse tends to wear out the Work Horse and makes him less productive.

Until such time as managers can move their workers around like interchangeable parts in a machine, they would be wise to take note of their Work Horses and care for them accordingly. Work Horses may not be glamorous, but they’re the ones that get the job done.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 11:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Business, Management | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

STAGE FRIGHT

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 7, 2010

This may be hard to believe, but I suffered from shyness when I was young. The idea of speaking in front of a group of people or meeting strangers was just plain scary to me. So much so, I refused to sit on Santa’s lap at the department store during the holidays. When I was a kid, my father would love to give tours of our house and introduce my brother and myself to guests while we were relaxing in the back of the house (which we thought was a safe haven; it wasn’t). My father did this so many times that we eventually took to hiding in closets when we heard him coming down the hall on one of his many tours. It always baffled him why he couldn’t find us. I can still hear him say, “And here are my sons who are…Gee, where did they go? They were here just a minute ago…”

I’m sure there are a lot of people who suffer from this affliction. It wasn’t until I was a freshman in college when I was able to overcome it. At the time, I took a basic speech class where students were asked to give talks on a variety of subjects. At first, the speeches were no longer than three minutes, which seemed like an eternity to me. They were then stretched out to five minutes, and then ten minutes. I eventually caught on and did a capable job. Since then, I’ve gone on to do all kinds of lectures and training classes, some lasting several days.

As for me, I overcame my fear when I decided I wasn’t going to be intimidated by people anymore. I learned that stage fright was an acknowledgment the audience is better or smarter than yourself, which I discovered was simply not so. If I prepared my speech properly and knew my subject matter I realized I was in the driver’s seat and not the audience. This was the confidence boost I needed. Since then, I always prepared myself accordingly, was incredibly organized, and embarked on my lectures with a little swagger. That college speech class may have seemed trivial to some people, but it worked wonders for me.

In the past, you have heard me discuss how I believe technology is having an adverse effect on our socialization skills. I still believe it but fear it is getting worse. I am finding many of the young people coming out of college tend to be very introverted. They may be a whizz at text messaging and talking on cell phones, but they are at a loss as to how to effectively communicate face-to-face. I think this is because there is not enough emphasis in school on sharpening their speaking skills.

In order to complete our college speech class we were asked to give a five minute talk on a soap box at the main college gate while other students passed by on their way to class. The subject could be anything. As it was nearing election time, I made some unflattering remarks about our incumbent governor (are you surprised?). Regardless, it was a positive experience for me and frankly, I don’t know why High Schools and Middle Schools don’t do likewise, maybe even Elementary Schools as well. It sure would help overcome stage fright and improve the speaking skills of our youth. I can tell you authoritatively, we need more people who can articulate a sentence, motivate people, and educate others than we need people who can text message faster than the speed of light.

As a manager, the last thing I would want to say to a visitor in my department is, “And here is my staff who are…Gee, where did they go? They were just here a minute ago…”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 11:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Communications, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

PEARL HARBOR DAY

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 6, 2010

It’s Pearl Harbor Day, a day we set aside in America to commemorate “a date which will live in infamy,” December 7th, 1941, when the Imperial military forces of Japan bombed military targets in Hawaii or, as many called it, a “sneak attack.” Today, in the 21st century where 9-11 is fresh in our memories, the Pearl Harbor attack is quickly fading into obscurity as the “greatest generation” fades away with it. I’m afraid 9-11 is superseding December 7th, just as the Pearl Harbor attack superseded “Remember the Maine” in 1898. All were unfortunate disasters, and I don’t want to say one is better than another, but it would be unfortunate if we forgot the important lessons they taught us, particularly December 7th.

Pearl Harbor is a story of courage, survival, and a spirit of “don’t give up the ship.” On that day in 1941 approximately 2,500 people were killed and another 1,200 wounded. Four major battleships were sunk in the harbor (though two were subsequently raised), numerous planes were destroyed, and the Pacific fleet was set into disarray. To this day, 69 years later, oil still leaks from the USS Arizona which sits in its watery crave in the harbor.

The bombing shocked and angered the nation. Had it not been a surprise attack, it may not have aroused the emotions of Americans, but such is hindsight.

The real lesson learned from Pearl Harbor was how unprepared we were and how we could have prevented it. To illustrate, prior to the Pearl Harbor disaster, the Army sent General Billy Mitchell to study Pacific defenses. Mitchell’s notoriety stemmed from his advocacy of air power. During World War I he commanded all of the American air combat units in France. He was a visionary who understood the potential of the airplane and pushed hard to promote air power which, as he discovered, was difficult to do during peacetime. His arguments extolling the virtues of air power fell on deaf ears and earned him the scorn of his superiors, who sent him to the Pacific (and get him out of their hair).

During his tour of the Pacific, Mitchell visited Japan and witnessed firsthand how the Japanese were embracing air power and realized America was far behind their counterparts. Following his tour of the Pacific he produced an extensive 323 page report on his assessment of American defenses in the Pacific. Here are excerpts from it:

“One hears it often said that Japanese cannot fly. Nothing is more fallacious than this. They can fly, are going to fly, and may end up by developing the greatest air power in the world… It takes no longer to teach Japanese than it does Anglo-Saxons.”

“Japan knows full well that the United States will probably enter the next war with the methods and weapons of the former war… Japan also knows full well that the defense of the Hawaiian group is based on the island of Oahu and not on the defense of the whole group.”

(After describing in detail the tactics and timing of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor) “I have gone into attack by an enemy in some detail to show how easily it can be done by a determined and resourceful enemy… Actually nothing can stop it except air power…”

“(Japan) knows that war is coming some day with the United States, and it will be a contest for her very existence. The United States must not render herself completely defenseless by on the one hand thinking that a war with Japan is an impossibility, and on the other by sticking to methods and means of making war as obsolete as the bow and arrow.”(1)

Interestingly, this report was produced in 1924, seventeen years before the Pearl Harbor bombings. Mitchell was not only prophetic, he was correct. Regardless of how accurate Mitchell’s report was, he was criticized and ignored by the Army, and the report was quickly dismissed. One year later, Mitchell would be court-martialed and suspended for remarks he made accusing the Army and Navy of military incompetence.

Regardless of the military’s feeling about him, Mitchell had delivered a fair warning and provided a blueprint of weaknesses in Pacific defenses which, had they been corrected, would have changed the course of history.

Pearl Harbor Day to me is a strong reminder of how Americans tend to be reactionaries as opposed to planners. I find it incredibly strange and dangerous that we prefer to pay attention to a dog only after it has bitten us, as opposed to heeding its bark. Our history is checkered with many examples of reactionary behavior, all coming at an incredible expense to American lives.

I hear the dogs barking in the Middle East and Asia, but does anyone else?

Keep the Faith!

EPILOGUE: In 1942, after Pearl Harbor proved Mitchell correct, FDR restored his service record and elevated him to the rank of major general. Regrettably, he had passed away six years earlier never knowing how prophetic he had been.

1 – The Billy Mitchell Story by Burke Davis

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 11:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Politics, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

THE NEED FOR A BALANCED BUDGET

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 5, 2010

I remember Ronald Reagan’s televised farewell address in 1989 as if it were yesterday. It was touching, it was encouraging, and it was patriotic. There was one thing missing as far as I was concerned: a final plea for enacting a balanced budget and line-item veto, or at least a warning of the consequences for failing to enact such a law. Alas, I was greatly disappointed when neither a plea or a warning was included in the address. I’m told every state except Vermont has a balanced budget amendment and all but a small handful of states provide for a line-item veto, Vermont included (it kind of makes you wonder what those Green Mountain boys are up to).

Now we find ourselves saddled with a federal budget with a massive deficit; something which, as of this writing, hasn’t been approved yet even though we are already into our third month of the operating year. This is the first time since 1974 we failed to approve a budget and I am at a loss as to why. I’ve been involved with lots of budgets over the years, both commercial and nonprofit. When you start talking about preparing a budget, I’ve noticed people tend to roll their eyes and hope it just goes away. It doesn’t and it shouldn’t. A budget is a vital part to running any enterprise and is actually not that hard to prepare, at least in terms of the mechanics of its preparation. I think this is why the good Lord invented spreadsheets. Admittedly, the federal budget is bigger in complexity than a lot of little local nonprofit groups but the principle is essentially the same.

The hard part, of course, is determining your planned or anticipated income and expenses and getting them to match. Sacrifices have to be made one way or another. Nonetheless, the budget dictates your game plan for the operating year. True, we have had to deal with a lot of emergencies over the last ten years, such as 9-11, numerous hurricanes (anyone remember Katrina?), the Gulf oil disaster, and of course Iraq and Afghanistan, but despite all of this, our government has done a pitiful job of preparing and adhering to an effective budget. Deficit spending has been the order of the day for far too long which has greatly contributed to the economic meltdown of this country and causes us to become beholden to foreign powers such as China.

Like any institution, our Congress and President have a fiduciary responsibility to the American people to manage financial resources wisely, but they have violated this charge far too many times. Frankly, our government cannot help themselves, it is an addiction and something they cannot be trusted to properly maintain. This is precisely why it is necessary to have a balanced budget amendment and line-item veto as our Congress doesn’t know how to say “No!” And this goes for both sides of the aisle.

Adhering to a budget requires determined discipline. If you haven’t got it, you can’t spend it. If an emergency arises, you find a way to pay for it. Hopefully, you’ve created a fund for just such a contingency. It’s called “planning.” It’s that simple. Now, in order to balance the federal budget will it be necessary to curtail certain projects? Undoubtedly. Will people feel the pinch? Absolutely. Can we afford NOT to do it? I’m afraid not. As we know all too well, if you run in the red too long, you will inevitably go out of business, and we don’t need an economist to tell us so. It’s just common sense.

“Okay Mr. Smarty-pants, where should we start cutting costs?” That’s easy, flatten the government by 25%. That’ll be a good start. If the government intends to squeeze the taxpayers and business community, it seems only natural that the government should lead by example and squeeze itself.

“Common sense told us that when you put a big tax on something, the people will produce less of it. So, we cut the people’s tax rates, and the people produced more than ever before. The economy bloomed like a plant that had been cut back and could now grow quicker and stronger. Our economic program brought about the longest peacetime expansion in our history: real family income up, the poverty rate down, entrepreneurship booming, and an explosion in research and new technology.”

- President Reagan’s Farewell Speech
January 11, 1989

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 11:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Economics, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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