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Tim Bryce on business, management, politics, and this crazy ever changing world of ours.

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WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO UNIVAC?

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 20, 2014

BRYCE ON HISTORY

- Why it is necessary to learn industrial history.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Through my columns I occasionally write something related to American history. I do this because I believe young people are losing their sense of history and are doomed to repeat mistakes we’ve made in the past. The same is true in industrial history, in my case the computer field. To illustrate, a few years ago I inherited my father’s UNIVAC Zippo lighter. I always admired it; it was small, sleek, and had an impressive UNIVAC logo engraved on it. I believe he got it back in the early 1960’s. As an aside, my father was one of the first fifty computer programmers in the United States, starting back in 1954 when he worked on the UNIVAC I at the US Bureau of Census. I also have his original programming book from 1954 and template (and photos), along with some print wheels from the first high speed printer, a UNIVAC I magnetic tape (made of metal), and some plugboards. However, it was the small lighter he carried which I fancied.

Nonetheless, I was recently at a meeting where I met a gentleman, approximately 40 years of age, who is also actively engaged in the computer business. I pulled him aside and proudly showed him the lighter. He looked at it with a blank stare and said, “What is a UNIVAC?” I was thunderstruck by the comment. Even though it represented the first commercial computer, he had no idea of what it was, nor seemed to care.

It occurred to me there is no sense of industrial history anymore. Through my father and my own personal experiences, I have a deep sense of history for my craft, but I must be an anomaly. Some time ago I wrote a paper entitled, “A Short History of Systems Development,” in the hopes of recording some of these historical milestones. It was well received, but I fear students are not learning such lessons from the college professors, or simply do not care.

I also recently met with some high school students interested in a career in computing. Their sense of history only goes as far back as Microsoft, Apple, and the Internet. Most were knowledgeable with the C and C++ programming languages, but little else. I then asked them if they knew what a 4GL was; a handful knew. I next asked what a 1GL, 2GL, or 3GL was. None knew. I explained it as:

1GL – First Generation Language – programming in machine language.
2GL – Second Generation Language – Assembly language.
3GL – Third Generation Language – procedural languages such as COBOL, Fortran, PL/1, C and C++.
4GL – Fourth Generation Language – interpreters/specification driven tools to produce code.

I then went into a dissertation of how and why these languages were invented. As an aside, the 3GL, was based on a manual procedural language derived from Broadway scripts (invented by Les Matthies, “The Dean of Systems”). When the Navy’s Admiral Grace Hopper developed COBOL (COmmon Business Oriented Language), she used Les Matthies’ “playscript” technique and automated it. COBOL was then emulated and simplified by ensuing programming languages. We also discussed the premise behind the JAVA language (“Write once, run everywhere”).

I next asked if they were familiar with the various DBMS models (Data Base Management Systems). Again, none knew anything about them. I then went on to explain the differences between the Hierarchical Model (e.g., IBM’s IMS and D-BOMP), the CODASYL Network Model (e.g., IDS, TOTAL, IDMS, and ADABAS), the Relational model (used by most computers today, e.g., DB2 and ORACLE), and the Object Oriented Model which is slowly gaining in acceptance. More importantly, I explained why the DBMS was invented. A large amount of the credit goes to Charles Bachman of GE/Honeywell where he invented IDS to implement Bill of Materials processing (BOMP) in manufacturing.

My point to the young students, and to you, is that it is important to study the past so we do not replicate the same mistakes. This is what craftsmen do regardless of the industry. Regretfully, I see little of this in business anymore, particularly in the computer field. It is difficult to innovate and invent without a sense of such history. Considerable time and effort is wasted as a result.

As to UNIVAC itself (UNIVersal Automatic Computer), the computer was invented by the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation which became a division of the Remington Rand corporation. Remington was acquired by the Sperry Rand corporation and dubbed the computer division, Sperry Univac, then just UNIVAC. In 1986, the company merged with Burroughs Corporation, another maker of mainframe computers, to become UNISYS.

I think I will continue to carry my father’s UNIVAC lighter in case I run into more people involved with the computer business. It’s quite a conversational piece.

One last bit of trivia, who were the “BUNCH” competing with IBM in the mainframe wars of yesteryear? Answer: Burroughs, UNIVAC, NCR, CDC, and Honeywell. Where are they now?

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&JB Investment Company (M&JB) 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:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  JOB CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK… – Something for young people; describing the types of checks an employer will perform.

LAST TIME:  WORKING FOR GOONS

  – Making the work environment unbearable.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Business, Computers, History, Technology | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

WORKING FOR GOONS

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 17, 2014

BRYCE ON SOCIETY

- Making the work environment unbearable.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

One of the reasons Scott Adams’ cartoon, “Dilbert,” is so successful is because it hits close to home in depicting office life. Corporate management is one of Adams’ favorite targets in which they are shown as bumbling idiots. They are very determined in controlling all activities of the business. Their approach is predictably wrong, and they embrace every management fad that comes along. Because of their strong sense of authority and control, perhaps “goons” is a more appropriate label. This is essentially no different than Hitler’s goon squads during World War II where they harassed people, and practiced thuggery to implement the Führer’s policies. Under this approach, management’s policies are implemented top-down with no bottom-up input being tolerated.

Earlier this year, I wrote a column entitled, “Beware of the MBA’s,” whereby I made the observation today’s management tends to manage people more from a numbers point of view as opposed to a results perspective and their ability to work with others. I recently saw this first hand in a company with a national chain of outlets for manufacturing products. After several years at the helm, the founder and president stepped aside and retired. Shortly thereafter, the board of directors appointed a new CEO, someone with experience in the company but who was much younger and ambitious. The first thing he did was replace all of the regional sales managers with younger people (late twenties), and office managers in their early twenties. The more experienced sales and office managers were demoted and pushed aside. Instead of sales volume, the sales force was managed by a series of spreadsheets which considered the number of sales calls made, both in person and on the telephone. Instead of worrying about customer care and satisfaction, the numbers were of paramount importance. To make matters worse, whereas salesmen had previously been managed by the local sales manager, who was there to review their progress and solve their problems, the sales force now reported to a goon squad of regional sales managers, who were located out of state, and local office managers who acted as the eyes and ears of the regional managers.

This resulted in a serious morale problem. Since people were managed primarily by numbers, they became apathetic in the company’s business. They quickly realized concepts such as customer service and quality assurance were considered passé. They also knew they could easily outfox the young office managers who lacked experience. Over time, the office units started to experience delays in shipments to customers, lost revenue, sloppy inventory, and a general disregard for the company overall. Since they realized fighting the goon squad was futile, they undermined the company instead. Conditions became so bad, the employees began to resign, the key ones first (sales and customer service), then the clerical workers. Today, approximately 40% of the people in the local office have resigned and moved on. At first, the goon squad believed it would be easy to find replacements, but after realizing what the corporate culture entailed, the company can only afford mediocre workers. Maybe that is how management wants it.

Businesses certainly do not have a monopoly on goon squads. Nonprofit organizations typically have more than commercial enterprises. When the goons have captured the leadership of such groups, they recruit assistants and deputies not because they are intelligent or hard workers, but because they know how to follow orders with gusto, regardless if they know them to be harmful.

To the goons, it is not about offering inspired leadership, it is all about maintaining control over the organization and stifling resistance. It is no small wonder we live in an age of autocratic rule (Theory X). Goon squads are not interested in listening to the input of the workers. You either play ball or be prepared to be turned out. Such a management philosophy is dangerous in my opinion. It means spreadsheets take precedence over customer service, sales calls over sales volume, and in the case of nonprofits, suffocating rules over flourishing membership.

I am certainly not suggesting all companies operate in this fashion, but the reality is Scott Adams has a lot of material to work with for a long time. If we cannot relate to it, it wouldn’t exist. Unfortunately, goon squads are very much alive and well in this country.

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&JB Investment Company (M&JB) 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:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO UNIVAC? – Why it is necessary to learn industrial history.

LAST TIME:  GANG MARKINGS

  – Gangs exist because parents fail.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Business, Management, Social Issues, Society | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

GANG MARKINGS

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 15, 2014

BRYCE ON SOCIETY

- Gangs exist because parents fail.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I recently attended a couple of meetings on gang activity here in Pinellas County. They were conducted by the county’s special prosecutors. Although we do not have as massive a problem as places like Los Angeles or Miami, make no mistake, there is gang activity in beautiful Pinellas County (more in the south as opposed to north county).

In Florida, gangs are defined as three or more people with similar markings and plot to conduct illicit criminal activities. No, the Masons are not on the watch list. Not everyone who wears uniform clothing is a gang member, but this is what law enforcement is trained to observe. They are also trained to look for certain tattoos and body piercings.

Tattoos are not just for decoration any more. It is not uncommon to see criminal bodies totally covered much like Ray Bradbury’s “The Illustrated Man.” Gang tattoos are more designed for meaning as opposed to artwork. They denote membership in a specific gang, describe personal history (what crimes they have committed), the skills they possess (e.g., burglary, drugs, murder, etc.), and the gang’s history which evidently is very important to the gang members. By depicting gang history, the tattoos represent a celebration of the gang’s past and cherished members, much like depicting a family member.

Click HERE for a sampling of gang related tattoos.

The only problem with tattoos, they are a convenient means for the public to identify lawbreakers, and for law enforcement to check criminal backgrounds. Because of this, a recent AP report indicates the use of tattoos are starting to decline as gang members want to avoid being identified.

What is puzzling is why anyone would want to join a gang in the first place. Gangs simply represent a surrogate family. While the family unit has slowly deteriorated in America, especially among the poor, young people gravitate to gang leaders who assume parental responsibility and give the person a sense of purpose. The military does likewise, but gang members start at a very young age, much too young to serve in the military.

Within the gang, the younger members learn their moral values from their leaders, something they never learned from their parents. The more they identify with the other members of the gang, the more loyal they become and act more like a family. Nevertheless, the rise of gang activity in this country can be directly attributed to the decline of parenting.

Consider this, music is very important to gang members, particularly Rap music. This helps to build spirituality amongst its members. Again, this is something lost in the family unit but enforced within the gangs.

If the moral values of gangs weren’t so evil in intent, gangs would be a great way to raise kids from broken homes. Perhaps a younger version of military service would be more beneficial. Something that would teach structure, purpose, and morality. I believe we used to call them “Boy Scouts.”

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&JB Investment Company (M&JB) 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:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  WORKING FOR GOONS – Making the work environment unbearable.

LAST TIME:  HONEST DEBATE (OR THE LACK THEREOF)   – Our lack of tolerance has a lot to do with it.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Crime, Society | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

HONEST DEBATE (OR THE LACK THEREOF)

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 13, 2014

BRYCE ON SOCIETY

- Our lack of tolerance has a lot to do with it.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Like any other red-blooded American male on a Sunday afternoon, I like to exercise my right to surf the television channels using my remote control from the comfort of my easy chair. Years ago, when there was only four channels on TV, such a device wasn’t really needed, but now with the hundreds of available channels, it would be unimaginable to live without one. Nonetheless, I was flipping through the channels and started to notice something…

CLICK – a show describing the men and women serving in our military. The show highlights their spirit of teamwork and sacrifice for the betterment of all.

CLICK – a documentary describing the proliferation of street gangs and how people become territorial and find ways to beat the system for personal greed and vice.

CLICK – a Wall Street report on the virtues of the free enterprise system and how the entrepreneurial spirit of small companies promote job growth.

CLICK – a show describing the plight of the homeless and why it is necessary to redistribute the wealth in this country.

CLICK – a report on the Tea Party and 9.12 movements.

CLICK – a community talk show featuring a college professor discussing why conservative values are no longer valid in the world today.

CLICK – a variety of shows providing a forum to worship God.

CLICK – a program discussing the point of view of atheists and agnostics who want to have “In God we Trust” removed from American currency.

It struck me there were extreme opposites for just about everything in our society. The incompatibility between extremes is such, you start to wonder how this country survived for over 200 years. Then again, I guess it is not surprising as America’s melting pot represents a heterogeneous society, most definitely not homogeneous. This is nothing new and has been with us a long time. Also, think how boring our society would be if we all thought the same.

The only difference is we no longer practice tolerance and have forgotten how to engage in honest debate. For example, on the Internet, rarely is there any respect for other opinions and beliefs. Instead, people are inclined to viciously attack others and slander their character, a sort of “attack mode” of operating. I guess this is the price we must pay for becoming a technology based society.

French writer Voltaire is credited with saying, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” I don’t think people feel this way anymore. Instead of talking through a problem or issue, as all of the great civilizations have done before us, we have to suffer through spin and attack. Plain and simply, we no longer know how to practice the art of honest discourse, which I interpret as a sign of deterioration of our culture.

We may not always agree with each other, but we must find ways to work together, not apart. This requires tolerance, respect, and the need to be a heck of a lot more articulate than just saying, “Up yours!”

Originally published: December 11, 2009

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&JB Investment Company (M&JB) 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:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  GANG MARKINGS – Gangs exist because parents fail.

LAST TIME:  WHAT DOES CORPORATE ‘INFUSION’ MEAN?  – Or is it a misnomer?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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

WHAT DOES CORPORATE ‘INFUSION’ MEAN?

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 10, 2014

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- Or is it a misnomer?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

One of the latest $3 words invented by the media is “inversion” and is used to describe the transfer of corporate headquarters, and jobs, to another locale outside of the United States. When I first heard the expression, it conjured up an image of an office turned inside-out, but that is not exactly what is meant. Perhaps the best example for describing the concept is the recent merger of Canadian based Tim Horton’s restaurants (coffee and donuts) with fast food giant Burger King of Miami, Florida. In doing so, Burger King opened the door to move their headquarters from Miami to Toronto, thereby escaping America’s high corporate tax rates.

A handful of Senate Democrats cried foul when they learned of the move and accused Burger King of being unpatriotic and not paying their fair share of taxes. Patriotism has nothing to do with it. This is a smart business move in these troubled economic times and, frankly, I’m surprised we do not see more of it.

The impetus for this, of course, is America’s high corporate tax rate. Of all of the modern industrial countries in the world, America has the highest tax rate at 40%. By comparison, Canada offers a paltry 26.5%. Since Canada began dropping their tax rate in 2008, the Canadian economy has rebounded and turned into a dynamo.

Likewise, Japan, who had higher rates than the United States, began lowering their rates in 2012 and is experiencing a resurgence in their economy. In 2008, Germany also dropped their rates from 38% to 29%.

Today, the United Kingdom is at 21%. Switzerland is at 17.92%, and Ireland at 12.5%, which explains why a lot of companies are moving to these countries. It’s not unpatriotic, it is called survival. However, in doing so, a lot of jobs leave our shores and unemployment rises. One would think the Democrats do not understand the situation, that lowering the corporate tax rates would ignite the economy. Actually they understand the concept quite well, but are unwilling to drop the rate in fear of losing tax income. By keeping America’s corporate tax rate high, they are encouraging businesses to leave. The hard truth is “inversion” is not about corporate greed as it is about government stupidity.

Even the public understands what is going on better than government officials. In a recent Toronto Sun poll, when people were asked, “Should Burger King move to Canada?”

76% – Sure
19% – No
05% – Maybe

Then again, most of the people responding were likely Canadians and fully cognizant of the benefits derived from lowering corporate tax rates.

With all this said, I tend to believe the expression “infusion” is a misnomer. Perhaps it should be called a “transfusion” as overseas tax rates provide the means to survive.

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&JB Investment Company (M&JB) 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:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  HONEST DEBATE (OR THE LACK THEREOF) – Our lack of tolerance has a lot to do with it.

LAST TIME:  WHO SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR CHARITY?  – The government or the individual?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Economics, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

WHO SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR CHARITY?

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 8, 2014

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- The government or the individual?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I am concerned about our perspective on charity. President Obama seems to believe it is our duty to help others. His mantra is, “We are all in this together.” There is only one problem with this concept; some people are givers and some are takers. We are certainly not rowing on the same oar in unison. Consequently, I reject the president’s position. This certainly doesn’t make me a miser as I have made more than my fair share of volunteer donations over the years and helped many causes. If I believe the person or charity is worthy, and I can afford it, I will gladly help out. As a Mason I am admonished to help others in destitute circumstances if it is within my power. I am also reminded of the passage in Corinthians (13:13, King James), “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

There is nothing in this passage defining how charity is to be implemented. Most people see this as a voluntary act, from one person to another. Others see this as mandated by government and borders on Socialism. In this regard, there are two types of people; those such as myself who consider charity a voluntary act, and; those who believe government is more fit to determine the needs of the people and tax accordingly.

Historically, the moral fiber of the country called for people to work and not become a burden on society. Not surprisingly, concepts such as divorce, bankruptcy, and unemployment were considered a disgrace. Not anymore. Today, such things are considered commonplace, and are celebrated as opposed to bringing shame on the person. Today’s moral values are certainly not those of yesteryear, and this is particularly disturbing to those people working hard and being asked to support those who do not.

Over time, the government created safety nets to help people when they either failed or became disabled, such as unemployment and welfare. Some use it as it was intended, others as a loop hole for free money and services. We are all familiar with stories of people exploiting the system. Interestingly, we never seem to hear of violators who have been apprehended and penalized accordingly.

Whereas we used to believe everyone should lead a worthy and productive life, and there is dignity in all forms of legitimate work, today we prefer exploiting the system and becoming a freeloader as exemplified by the Aesop fable, “The Ant and the Grasshopper.” In many cases, exploiting the system is now cause for celebration and a sense of pride, just as any criminal who gets away with an illicit activity.

Instead of creating programs to encourage people to work, the government does the opposite. Compensating people for six months does not encourage them to seek employment any faster, nor does compensating people who do not genuinely seek employment. By taking this tact, the government is encouraging a slave mentality where people become wards of the state. Frankly, I deeply resent seeing our country turn into a welfare state. It is tearing apart the moral fabric of America.

Admittedly, the government is better equipped to deliver mass goods and equipment in times of emergency, such as those disasters caused by Mother Nature. These situations are essentially no different than defending our country through times of military conflict. Under these circumstances, I consider helping those injured by natural disasters no different than going to war.

So, who is more faithful to the concept of altruism, the person who helps when he can, or the government who does it for political purposes (e.g., promising “a chicken in every pot” or a free iPhone, liquor and lobster in every household). Coerced charity certainly does not promote brotherhood. It is simply a redistribution of the wealth.

Charity begins at home (1 Timothy 5:8), not in our government.

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&JB Investment Company (M&JB) 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:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  WHAT DOES CORPORATE ‘INFUSION’ MEAN? – Or is it a misnomer?

LAST TIME:  ADAPTING TO CHANGE  – Before we can adapt to it, we have to understand it.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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

ADAPTING TO CHANGE

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 6, 2014

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

- Before we can adapt to it, we have to understand it.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Not long ago I wrote an article entitled, “Why we get peeved,” wherein I made the observation there is a tendency by people to fail to notice changes as they occur, that it only becomes apparent over time. Coping with change has been an underlying part of my writings for a long time now, both in my management papers and in these columns. One of our most fundamental Bryce’s Laws is, “If anything in life is constant, it is change.” Throughout my walk through life, be it in companies, schools, nonprofit groups, neighborhoods, or wherever, it has always amazed me how people steadfastly refuse to recognize change and oppose adapting to it. Some actually become downright belligerent about it, unnecessarily I might add.

In an earlier paper, “Why We Resist Change,” I noted the causes of change and why we resist it which, in a nutshell, is because we are creatures of habit, we tend to fear the unknown, and due to simple human emotion. The fact remains though, change is all around us, mostly small subtle changes that may not be noticeable to the human senses, but they are there nevertheless. Radical change is not very common, but it is perhaps the most offensive to us as it represents a significant variance to the status quo.

When we are presented with a change, large or small, we will either embrace it as something good for us, tolerate it, or reject it out of hand. When we reject a change, it is not necessarily because we truly understand the impact of the change, as much as it is based on our perceptions of it, right or wrong. In other words, despite the logical necessity of the change, it will not be embraced if it is perceived as something bad. This means some good old-fashioned salesmanship is necessary to make the change palatable to the consumer.

Before you can accept or reject a change, you must first be able to recognize it. As mentioned, most changes are not discernible to the human senses. If it is not detected it will be implemented unchallenged. However, if it is detected, we must apply our intellect and endeavor to understand it. If we recognize a change, apply our intellect, and come to a logical conclusion whether it is good or bad, then we should be comfortable with our decision. The problem though is that most people do not take the time to apply their intellect, and rely either on just their perceptions or the judgment of others whose opinion they trust, and this is where salesmanship or “spin doctors” come in handy. In other words, people are either too lazy or preoccupied to properly study a change.

If a change is substantial in size or complexity, it may be difficult for people to come to a logical conclusion regarding it, at which time the agent of change should reconsider how it is presented, such as breaking it down into smaller and more easier to digest pieces.

When it comes to implementing a change to the status quo, you must either change with the change, or the change must change with you. This means you must adapt and learn to cope with the change, or bend the rules to suit your needs. On more than one occasion I have seen changes to corporate information systems either readily embraced, fought and dismissed, or have had the change itself changed to suit a particular environment.

Despite all of the changes around us, be it cultural, technological, political, or whatever, change ultimately involves a personal change to the individual, and the question remains, “Do I really want to change?” Change can be made voluntarily, with a little persuasion, or jammed down our throats. Interestingly, this correlates to the degree of resistance to a change, from no resistance, to suspicion, to outright rebellion. This suggests resistance correlates to how it is presented to us.

Each of us handles change in our own way, but to flatly refuse to recognize and cope with change is called “denial” and an unrealistic approach for walking through life.

Originally published: November 13, 2009

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&JB Investment Company (M&JB) 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:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  WHO SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR CHARITY? – The government or the individual?

LAST TIME:  MAKING MOUNTAINS OUT OF MOLE HILLS  – Why does it take so long to get things done?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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MAKING MOUNTAINS OUT OF MOLE HILLS

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 3, 2014

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

- Why does it take so long to get things done?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Ever have a day in the office where it seems nothing is working for you? I did recently. It seemed whatever I tried to do administratively on my computer took an inordinate amount of time to perform. It was very frustrating. For example, printing a simple business letter and envelope took me about thirty minutes. Admittedly, I spotted a typo in the letter of my own doing, but correcting it and getting it finally printed was slow as molasses. Between the operating system, word processor, and printer something seemed to be wrong. Of course, I experienced a Windoze crash in the process causing me to wait to reboot.

Following the letter, I had to make some entries in a data base and generate some reports. I also backed-up the data base when I was finished. Again, another thirty minute task for something seemingly easy to complete. It’s not that I’m a bad typist or a novice in the use of the computer. After all, I’ve been in the business for over thirty years. It just seemed the technology was Hell-bent on stopping me from my appointed rounds.

Later that same day a friend of mine from the Northeast came down to visit the attractions in Orlando, specifically “The Mouse.” He called and asked me, “How do you stand it down here?”

“Excuse me?” I asked.

“The people down here are incredibly slow and have no sense of urgency when it comes to customer service.”

I started to chuckle. New Yorkers are well known for having a hustle about them. They rightfully want to conduct their business and move along. The South is a little slower. They may be friendlier, but with rare exception they move at their own pace, not the customer’s.

At the end of the day, I considered what I had observed, specifically how we tend to “make mountains out of mole hills.” Three reasons came to mind; first, regardless of how sophisticated we believe our computer technology is, it is still relatively primitive. It is not intuitive to use which prohibits us from not fully capitalizing on its functionality. Keep in mind, today’s technology is designed more in accordance to the whims of the programmer than the end user. This means the end-user is forced to become a technician, something that is not natural to them.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, there are no metrics proving how technology improves the productivity in our lives. For example, had I had access to a typewriter, I could have easily written my letter and envelope in less than five minutes, not thirty. We also seem to spend in an inordinate amount of time maintaining our computers, such as correcting printer queues, closing and cleaning the cache of web browsers, and implementing updates for the various apps. I don’t know about you, but I find I have to reboot my computer at least once a week which wastes five to ten minutes before I can start to work again.

The second element of the “mountains phenomenon” is our interpersonal relations. I find people in the north tend to be more empathetic towards their customers and will go the extra mile in satisfying them. It’s just good business to do so. The South is less concerned which becomes a source of frustration for northerners visiting the area. My friend, for example, ordered a pot of coffee to be delivered to his room early in the morning. When it failed to arrive after thirty minutes, he called Room Service and asked what happened to his coffee? The manager apologized but admitted he had forgotten about it. He received his coffee, another thirty minutes later just as he was preparing to check out.

The third reason is there is a belief we cannot perform a job without some form of computer assistance. We therefore tend to think the only viable solution to a problem is by computer. The idea of conducting business any other way, such as through a manual procedure or a typewriter or some other device is overlooked. This is another indicator of the addictive properties of technology.

Perhaps it is nothing more than Parkinson’s Law in action, whereby, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Humans will make mountains out of mole hills to justify their existence at work. However, this also applies to technology whereby we apply more functionality and use more resources than is necessary and, in the process, we make it too complicated to use.

Whatever the reason, making mountains out of mole hills only impedes progress. It certainly doesn’t enhance it.

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&JB Investment Company (M&JB) 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:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  ADAPTING TO CHANGE – Before we can adapt to it, we have to understand it.

LAST TIME:  THERE IS A REASON FOR EVERYTHING  – Understanding the concept of “cause” and “effect.”

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Business, Management, Technology | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

THERE IS A REASON FOR EVERYTHING

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 1, 2014

BRYCE ON BRAIN POWER

- Understanding the concept of “cause” and “effect.”

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

It was the Greek philosopher Aristotle who originally made the observation, “Everything happens for a reason.” By this, he contended events do not happen simply on their own but are triggered by a specific cause of some kind. This “cause” and “effect” phenomenon is important to understand as we move through life. It means we should ever be mindful to understand why something happens, thereby learning from the experience in order to either replicate it or prevent the event from happening again. It is about our intelligence.

Some time ago, I wrote a paper entitled, “Increasing Brain Power.” In it, I observed the human being acts on three levels:

Level 1 – Primal – where our actions are instinctive or robotic.

Level 2 – Moderate – where we take in more input than output.

Level 3 – Accelerated – where we produce more output as opposed to input.

Ideally, it is at Level 3 where we should be operating, particularly at work. Unfortunately, this is not so as we become tired, distracted, or lose interest, thereby causing us to decelerate to Levels 1 or 2. Technology also dulls brain power either by distracting our attention or we become dependent on it to perform certain mental functions, e.g., basic math through calculators, balancing a checkbook, etc. This is essentially no different than the effects of alcohol or drugs on the brain.

Where we get into trouble is when we operate on the Primal level. Here we rely on our basic instincts which we learn from others, such as our parents, teachers, friends, and the media. However, if we are not being taught properly, that we learn immoral lessons for example, then our instincts will be wrong and we will make bad decisions. We can overcome this problem simply by considering “cause” and “effect” in our perceptions, along with a little logic. This is difficult for a lot of people operating on auto-pilot. Instead, they prefer the simplicity of Level 1 and act on impulse as opposed to analyzing the world around them. This is why people make knee-jerk reactions and either harm themselves or others, or both. As an aside, this explains why mothers tell their children, “I suppose if Joey jumped off the bridge, you would follow him; wouldn’t you?” By doing so, she is saying, “Can’t you think for yourself?”

One last note; in the other article, I made the observation people, on the average, typically operate at a Level 3 for approximately three hours a day. Assuming we sleep for eight hours, this means we have thirteen hours to get into trouble, assuming our instincts are wrong. Kind of scary isn’t it?

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&JB Investment Company (M&JB) 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:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THERE IS A REASON FOR EVERYTHING – Understanding the concept of “cause” and “effect.”

LAST TIME:  WHO HAS GOT YOUR BACK?  – A lesson of loyalty in the workplace, and in life.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Life, Management | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

WHO HAS GOT YOUR BACK?

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 29, 2014

BRYCE ON BUSINESS

- A lesson of loyalty in the workplace, and in life.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)

To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

In the office, we like to believe our fellow co-workers will back us up when push comes to shove. Actually, we’re being quite naive when this occurs. To illustrate, there was a systems manager in Chicago who had grown weary of the petty politics practiced by his boss, the I.T. Director. Projects were late, none of the systems were integrated, end-users were unhappy, and they found themselves in a constant fire-fighting mode (maintenance) as opposed to conquering new challenges. Instead of implementing discipline and organization, the Director played political games pitting his workers against each other, and morale deteriorated. The systems manager’s staff was unhappy and frequently vented their frustrations to him. Conditions got so bad, the manager told his staff he was going to march into the Director’s office, register a formal complaint and threaten that he and his department were prepared to resign. Everyone thought this was a bold and imaginative move which they endorsed.

The Director listened patiently. When the manager was finished, the Director asked for his resignation which the manager produced on the spot. The manager then collected his belongings, told his staff what had just occurred, and said he would be in the bar down the street if anyone would like to join him afterwards. To his surprise, nobody joined him.

Despite what the manager’s staff had told him, that they would resign en masse, they balked. The manager had drawn his confidence from his staff and was sure they would follow him out the door. He was surprised when not one person followed. It was a difficult lesson to learn.

Who has got your back? As the manager discovered the hard way, nobody. There will be times in your life when you are angry over an issue or someone. Your contemporaries may encourage you to act, but the truth is, you are on your own. Think twice. If you threaten to resign or stage a coup d’etat, understand two things: someone will inevitably call your bluff, and; realize you are doing this on your own. Your friends and co-workers may not feel as passionately as you do and may fear for the safety of their careers. In other words, you are advised to speak for yourself and do not rely on the support of others. It will not materialize.

The truth is, co-workers may do favors for you, but do not expect them to watch your back when push comes to shove. In such occasions, it is every man for himself.

The lesson learned by the manager is simple: Speak from your own convictions, not someone else’s.

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&JB Investment Company (M&JB) 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:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THERE IS A REASON FOR EVERYTHING – Understanding the concept of “cause” and “effect.”

LAST TIME:  NONSENSE SONGS  – It is interesting what we remember.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Business, Life, Management | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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