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WHAT ARE WE GIVING THANKS TO?

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 26, 2014

BRYCE ON THANKSGIVING

- What kind of grace do you give at turkey time?

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

One of the reasons I enjoy Thanksgiving is because it is one of the few holidays where we do not have to exchange gifts. We simply get together with family and friends and enjoy the company. Maybe we’ll watch a parade on television or perhaps some football, but it’s the communal experience which I enjoy the most. For some reason, the preparation of the meal is less of a chore and more of a pleasure, probably because we realize it is designed for many people on a special day.

We’re all familiar with the origins of Thanksgiving, that the Pilgrims at Plymouth were thankful to celebrate the harvest at the end of the season. Actually, Thanksgiving traces its roots back to the 1500’s in England. It’s an old custom, and a good one as we would be remiss if we didn’t periodically take time to be thankful for the blessings we have received, be they few or many.

As a child, I was thankful simply to have the clan assemble, which was a rarity as the family was spread out across the country. We would have the meal at my grandmother’s house in Buffalo, New York, and I can distinctly remember the aromatic smells emanating from the kitchen which seemed heavenly. I would get the opportunity to talk with my grandparents, great-grandparents, and aunts and uncles. Everyone was in good spirits and helped as required. Occasionally, a squabble would erupt between family members over some innocuous subject which was quickly quelled and forgotten. If my great-grandfather was in high spirits, he would bring out his fiddle and play a tune from a distant era, much to everyone’s approval. It was interesting to watch the family dynamics, even at an early age. From time to time, I would sneak into the kitchen to check on progress and steal a nibble of something before getting caught. The room was awash in activity; relish trays being garnished with radishes, green onions, celery, and olives; salads being prepared along with appetizer trays consisting of a variety of dips and delicacies; in addition to the turkey and stuffing, there were mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pearl onions, beets, cranberries, crescent rolls, and at least three different pies for dessert. As a kid, the room was a magical tapestry of smells and delights. It still seems this way to me many years later.

As I got older and moved up the family hierarchy, I learned to assume more responsibility in the preparation of the meal, such as dressing the bird and carving the meat. When we were finally called to the table, we all knew this was a special meal for a special occasion. To me, the Thanksgiving dinner is not complete without grace. As a child, it was always considered an honor to be selected to say the grace before the meal, which should be done with tact and presentation. A lot of kids tend to avoid the limelight of saying grace, but we considered it an essential part of the meal, hence an honor to deliver it on such an auspicious occasion.

As an adult, when I am asked to give the grace, I try to convey the fundamental things that truly affect us, such as:

* That we are thankful of all of the blessings we have, large or small; that we have a roof over our head in these perilous economic times; that we are in good health and remember those who are not.

* That we are thankful to live in a great country, even though we are cognizant it is certainly not perfect. We are thankful for the freedoms we enjoy as defined by the U.S. Constitution.

* That we are thankful for the people who protect and defend our nation; we pray they be protected from harms way.

* That we are thankful that we are all together for this bountiful meal, and to remember those who preceded us as well as those yet to come.

I think the Thanksgiving Prayer written by Samuel F. Pugh covers several of my concerns:

O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer,
And remembering,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted.
Amen.

Then again, as a Scotsman, I may turn to “The Selkirk Grace”:

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae let the Lord be thankit.

Just don’t expect me to pipe in a turkey stuffed with haggis.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Originally published: November 20, 2012

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:  THE FACTS OF LIFE REGARDING MANAGEMENT – One of four new books from Tim; this book provides lessons well suited for those aspiring to become effective managers.

LAST TIME:  DOG POOP  – What do your dogs think about all of this?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; The Glenn Pav Show on WTAN-AM (1340) in Clearwater, FL, Mon-Fri (9-10am); 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 Family | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

DOG POOP

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 24, 2014

BRYCE ON LIFE

- What do your dogs think about all of this?

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

It is not often I discuss something as banal as dog poop, but I recently witnessed an incident which caused me to think about it.

First, I use the term “poop” here as it is perhaps the least offensive word describing the item in question. I could try using more cerebral adaptations, such as “stool,” “excrement,” “feces,” or “manure,” but I do not think there are many veterinarians who follow my column. As kids, we knew better than to say “crap,” and the “S” word was guaranteed to get your mouth washed out with soap. So, we defaulted to “poop,” especially when we were around adults.

It wasn’t that long ago when most people let their dogs relieve themselves in the confines of the backyard. When there was too much poop on hand, someone would have to shovel it up, a task usually assigned to the offspring. However, if you walked the dog around the neighborhood, the animal was allowed to do his business and you simply moved along.

Somewhere in the 1990’s though this started to change, and to be a good neighbor you were expected to pick up your dog’s poop in plastic bags. I think this was when we started to become “politically correct.” Initially, newspaper bags were convenient for picking up the poop, but now we have all kinds of designer bags for securing the merchandise. In other words, something that once was free was now beginning to cost money. I wish I could find a way to blame technology for this, but I tend to blame the media instead.

The ASPCA reports there are an estimated 70-80 million dogs in the United States representing approximately 37-47% of all households. No matter how you slice it, that’s a lot of poop. The next question is how much of our garbage dumps are filled with these little plastic poopy packages? I wonder how archeologists centuries from now will interpret these voluminous fun bags. I can hear them now saying, “Why did they bag it? Didn’t they know the plastic was bad for the environment? They should have just allowed it to work into the soil naturally.”

Recently though, I happened to watch a neighbor walking his two dogs. Before he could walk them off his property, nature called and both animals left their packages on his front lawn. As my neighbor leaned down to pick up the poop in a decorative plastic bag, I happened to notice the expressions of both dogs as they waited for their master to complete his task. They seemed to look at him puzzled, seeming to say, “What the heck are you doing? Have you lost your mind? I put that there for a purpose. You’re embarrassing me. Surely, you’re not bringing that home with us. Just leave it alone or I’ll do it again.” And inevitably he did. Next time you see someone walking their dog, watch the animal’s expression and you’ll see what I mean.

After witnessing this incident, I came to the conclusion it is more difficult to train the master than the animal.

As an aside, I think I’ve discovered a new Murphy’s Law: “A dog will only poop if he can embarrass the walker.” Meaning, if you happen to be recognized by a good neighbor, or a fine looking woman or man, your dog will inevitably decide to take this opportunity to do his business, and so much for you leaving a good impression on the other person.

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 ARE WE GIVING THANKS TO? – What kind of grace do you give at turkey time?

LAST TIME:  COMPUTER PRINTERS  – They should be simple to maintain; invariably, they are not.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; The Glenn Pav Show on WTAN-AM (1340) in Clearwater, FL, Mon-Fri (9-10am); 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, Pets | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

COMPUTER PRINTERS

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 21, 2014

BRYCE ON TECHNOLOGY

- They should be simple to maintain; invariably, they are not.

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

In my 30+ years in the systems industry, I have seen a lot of computer printers; everything from high speed line printers that print 132 characters per line to the early laser printers and plotters, to today’s consumer dot-matrix printers. I even have some of the original print wheels from the first high speed printer for the UNIVAC I. They’re over 50 years old and I’m sure they’re worth something, but I digress.

What bugs me though are today’s consumer printers which can be unusually inexpensive, so much so, the ink cartridges for them are almost as expensive as the whole printer, which turns the printers into disposable commodities. It’s no small wonder that our garbage dumps are filling up with printers as people change printers more frequently than years ago. This implies the real money is not in the printers themselves, but in the ink cartridges which bears a hefty price tag for replacements, be it new or recycled, which, to me, seems odd as ink should be relatively cheap. Then again, I suspect the manufacturers of such products probably have a better grasp of marketing than I do. As a consumer though, I object to paying $25 – $35 for a lousy little black ink cartridge which lasts no more than a month, and much more for color.

I generally don’t have much of a problem installing printers, then again, I have a bit more experience than most people. To the novice consumer though, installing a printer can be a very traumatic experience, primarily because the software is designed by programmer geeks who haven’t got a clue what “user friendly” means. Some of the common mistakes I’ve seen include:

* Installing a cartridge without first removing the tiny plastic strip under it.

* Trying to insert the cartridge backwards or upside-down.

* Inserting the black cartridge into the color cartridge position, and vice versa.

* Plugging the printer cables into the wrong sockets.

* For Wi-Fi printers, trying to get them to communicate with your network. Better yet, if something crashes, reestablishing the connection can be a painful experience, even for me.

* My personal favorite though is fighting with the printer to get the cartridges to reveal themselves in order to change them. You know, watching the cartridges as they zip from side-to-side in the printer thereby keeping them out of the person’s reach, kind of like a game of Tag.

Then there are the printers that talk to you, such as “Printing started” and “Printing complete.” Then it begins to get insolent with you when something goes awry, “Please fill paper in the auto sheet feeder” or “Your ink is low, time to replace the cartridge.” These statements are all based on small sound bites that are assembled and broadcast as required. Interestingly, one of my computers suffered a crash which distorted the sequence of the sound bites. Now I get things like, “Problem started” and “Please fill your ink in the auto sheet feeder and replace the cartridge with paper.” Frankly, if I’m going to be insulted in this manner, they could at least do it with a sexy voice.

The geeks may think this is funny. The rest of us do not.

Originally Published: November 24, 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:  DOG POOP – What do your dogs think about all of this?

LAST TIME:  BUYING THE VOTES  – Can anything be done about the money spent on political campaigns?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; The Glenn Pav Show on WTAN-AM (1340) in Clearwater, FL, Mon-Fri (9-10am); 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 Technology | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

BUYING THE VOTES

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 19, 2014

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- Can anything be done about the money spent on political campaigns?

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

OpenSecrets.org recently reported $3.67B was spent on the 2014 Mid-Term Elections, another record. The GOP spent $1.75 billion, and the Democrats spent $1.64 billion. No matter how you try to rationalize it, this is an obscene amount of money and foreshadows what will be spent in the 2016 election.

This tells us a few things. First, the money reinvigorates an irresponsible press. Instead of it going to such things as medical research, fixing our infrastructure, or helping the needy, we’re going to give it all to the morons in the media, thereby making them stronger and more influential (and misleading). Second, it means you cannot possibly win a major race, such as the presidency, without at least $1B, probably more. This promotes the influence of the rich, the 1% the Democrats complain about. Third, and most importantly, it tells us about the sheeple who vote.

It occurred to me this election cycle we have traded votes for advertising. It is no longer a matter of the voter taking the time to study the issues and making an intelligent decision. Instead, people prefer listening to the distorted rhetoric of the media and be herded accordingly. Such tactics are dangerous in a democratically elected Republic. It means money supersedes human intelligence.

This is why I have long been an advocate of voter certification. To my way of thinking, people should not be allowed to vote unless they can pass a basic civics test, and can prove they are upstanding citizens, meaning they can prove their citizenship and haven’t committed any felonious crime.

I would also like to see some campaign reform whereby for every two dollars collected as a political contribution, one dollar must go into a special fund used to support medical research, fixing our infrastructure, or helping the needy. This kills two birds with one stone; It does some good by contributing to some worthy causes while diminishing the power of the media. That’s called, a “Win-Win” scenario.

This, of course, will never happen as no politician has the moral fortitude to implement such a policy since they would perceive it as a threat to their reelection. Nor do I suspect the media will be supportive advocates. I suspect we’ll have to be content knowing whoever has the largest purse strings will win the next election.

Ah well, I can dream can’t I?

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:  COMPUTER PRINTERS – They should be simple to maintain; invariably, they are not.

LAST TIME:  THE GOOD LIFE FOR MILLENNIALS?  – Who are the advertisers appealing to?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; The Glenn Pav Show on WTAN-AM (1340) in Clearwater, FL, Mon-Fri (9-10am); 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: , , , , | 8 Comments »

4 NEW BOOKS FOR COMMON SENSE DURING UNCOMMON TIMES

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 18, 2014

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

TIM BRYCE – 4 NEW BOOKS FOR COMMON SENSE DURING UNCOMMON TIMES

Management, Change, Technology, Politics, and the American Scene

3cover3

PALM HARBOR, FL, USA (NOV 18, 2014) – While some authors are satisfied producing just one book, author Tim Bryce has produced four. Bryce is an essayist who has written on such things as business management, technology, politics, our changing world, and profiles of the American character. Urged on by his readers and listeners on the radio, he has produced a series of books based on his columns. Entitled, “Bryce’s Uncommon Sense Series,” it includes:

“ESSAYS ON THE AMERICAN SCENE” – Humorous descriptions of the human condition in America.
ISBN-13: 978-1503115576
ISBN-10: 1503115577
Click for FLYER

“ESSAYS ON OUR EVER CHANGING WORLD” – Describes cultural changes and why they occur, particularly due to technology.
ISBN-13: 978-1503102187
ISBN-10: 1503102181
Click for FLYER

“THE FACTS OF LIFE REGARDING MANAGEMENT” – Lessons well suited for those aspiring to become effective managers, as well as for those who require a refresher or change of focus.
ISBN-13: 978-1503127043
ISBN-10: 1503127044
Click for FLYER

“LIBERAL KRYPTONITE” – Tim’s political writings warning America about the liberal agenda.
ISBN-13: 978-1503126893
ISBN-10: 1503126897
Click for FLYER

All books are available in paper and eBook format (Kindle) and are distributed by Create Space and Amazon.

Tim’s work varies from being educational one moment, to controversial or humorous the next. He describes it as “Software for the finest computer – the Mind” as he is asking his readers to think about things they either take for granted or simply overlook. From his perspective, it is just “common sense,” to others it is cause to stop and think. According to Bryce, “If the mind really is the finest computer, then there are a lot of people out there who need to be rebooted,” and this is where his writings come to play.

Bryce argues, “Management is not really complicated, but we now have a lot of bean counters who are overlooking the most important variable in the equation, namely ‘people’. Change is all around us, but as the use of technology increases, social skills decrease. As for the American Scene, I compare and contrast the human character of yesterday to today and simply ask, Why?”

While Bryce has a number of books to his credit, “Liberal Kryptonite,” is his first specifically addressing politics. This will be controversial in that he pins the country’s decline on the liberal agenda. It it, he challenges the mores of today and how it is influenced by the media. Several sections are included on history as well.

What they think of Tim’s work:

“Our listeners depend on Tim’s wit and wisdom and he always delivers from beautiful Palm Harbor Florida. Talk Radio listeners have many choices, none better than Tim Bryce.”
-John Siggins, WJTN-AM
Jamestown, NY

“Tim Bryce – rants on – and I often recoil from the tone but often there’s some uncluttered truth being written out loud.”
– Sarah Farrugia
London, UK

“He writes in a way that just inspires. He slowly takes things apart and puts them back together right before your eyes.”
– Wayne Brown
Arlington, TX

For more info on the four book series, including how to order, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/mba/sense.htm

Published by:

MBA PRESS
(a division of M&JB Investment Company)
P.O. Box 675
Palm Harbor, FL 34682-0675
United States of America
Tel: 727-786-4567
http://www.phmainstreet.com/mba/mbapress.htm
http://www.phmainstreet.com/mba/

Mr. Bryce is available for radio interviews and speaking engagements.

Posted in Books | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

THE GOOD LIFE FOR MILLENNIALS?

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 17, 2014

BRYCE ON LIFE

- Who are the advertisers appealing to?

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

You know you’re getting older when advertisers on television no longer solicit your business. It is natural for ad agencies to target the younger generation; the youngsters may not have the money, but they sure know how to spend it. Today, the “Millennials,” those in their twenties to early thirties, seems to be the target du jour. However, I question the validity of the commercials today. For example, today’s television ads show young people driving luxury automobiles, eating at fine restaurants, traveling to exotic locations, purchasing sizable homes and furnishing them with expensive furniture and electronics. They also enjoy lavish parties and participate in extreme sports.

After watching this awhile, you start to question how realistic these ads are. I hardly think all of the Millennials are making six digit incomes. If they were, why does the country still have the highest student loan debt in our history (currently, it is in excess of one trillion dollars)? Add on to this car payments and home mortgages (if they are lucky to own such property) or apartment rent, and you start to understand why the Millennials are slow to leave the family nest.

When you look at the financial burden Millennials are under, you wonder how they can afford the luxuries being promoted through television or the Internet. Maybe one in ten of that generation can afford such opulence, and that is likely a liberal figure. The rest have to watch their money carefully and live off peanut butter sandwiches for awhile. (As an aside, even peanut butter has gone up in price.)

So, what is the message advertisers are sending Millennials? Go deeper into debt at warp speed? Frankly, I suspect such ads are not really aimed at the Millennials, but at their predecessors (Generation X and the Baby Boomers) who are young at heart and want to maintain a hipster image. These other generations are much more likely to afford the luxury automobiles, exotic vacations, and the fine life as opposed to the Millennials. Such ads, therefore, are aimed at their vanity more than anything else. However, as a Baby Boomer myself, I do not foresee jumping off a cliff in a wing-suit any time soon, or drinking Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey. I’m sorry, but I have no illusions of being someone I am not, but I do not believe advertisers see it this way. Instead, they are appealing to the oldsters who want to be youngsters. Such is my theory.

If advertisers are truly aiming at Millennials, they are either making exorbitant amounts of money we do not know about or the advertisers are trying to drive them into the poor house. I suspect the latter.

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:  BUYING THE VOTES – Can anything be done about the money spent on political campaigns?

LAST TIME:  THE FALLACY OF MAN HOURS  – There is, of course, a better way.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; The Glenn Pav Show on WTAN-AM (1340) in Clearwater, FL, Mon-Fri (9-10am); 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 | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

THE FALLACY OF MAN HOURS

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 14, 2014

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

- There is, of course, a better way.

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

I’ve never been comfortable with the concept of “Man Hours,” not that it’s a gender issue, but rather it implies ignorance of how time is used in the work place and fumbles away some simple management concepts needed to run any business, namely accountability and commitment. Actually, I thought the “Man Hour” concept disappeared with the passing of the 20th century, but it appears to be making a comeback.

The fallacy of the “Man Hour” concept is that it assumes a person is working productively 100% of the time. This, of course, is hardly the case in any company. Workers are either working on their assignments, be they what they may, or there are interferences keeping them from their work, such as meetings, phone calls, e-mails, reading, breaks, etc. Time spent on work assignments is referred to as “Direct,” and time spent on interferences is referred to as “Indirect.” The relationship of Direct to Indirect time is referred to as an “Effectiveness Rate” delineating the use of time during the work day. For example, in an office environment, 5.6 hours are typically spent on Direct work, and 2.4 hours are typically spent on Indirect interferences (assuming an eight hour business day), or an Effectiveness Rate of approximately 70%. In no way should Effectiveness Rate be confused as an efficiency rating; the two are NOT synonymous. Whereas an efficiency rating measures how well someone performs a task in a given time, Effectiveness Rate simply measures the use of time during the work day.

Effectiveness Rate teaches us that a person cannot be 100% effective all the time, which is at the crux of the problem with “Man Hours.” Let’s go beyond this though and show how this simple concept should be applied in the work place. For example, Direct time is the responsibility of the individual worker to manage, and Indirect time is the responsibility of the manager to manage. Both Direct and Indirect time should be recorded either using computer software (such as a Project Management system) or with a paper time sheet. To make this work, the individual must participate in the estimating process of an assignment. Instead of an estimate being forced on to a worker, as in a micromanagement scenario, the worker is asked to consider the complexity of the assignment and make a personal commitment in terms of the Direct Hours needed to complete the task. As work progresses, the worker posts his/her time to the time sheet/screen and updates the amount of time remaining on a given task, not in terms of “percent complete” but by the number of Direct hours remaining (aka, “Estimate to Do”). This emphasis on estimating and reporting Direct Hours means the individual must supervise him/herself, thereby the manager spends less time supervising the worker. In other words, workers are treated like professionals and are expected to act as such in return.

Because the manager is responsible for managing the work environment, he/she monitors and controls the worker’s indirect time. Again, it should be remembered that a person cannot be 100% effective. If pushed too hard, the worker may start to make mistakes or accidents which would certainly be counterproductive. This is why, for example, Japanese assembly lines will stop periodically to allow workers to back away from their machines and briefly perform some basic exercise before resuming their work, thereby clearing their heads. The exercise is most certainly an Indirect activity that keeps them from their tasks, but it refreshes them and allows them to refocus.

In the average office, each person will have a different Effectiveness Rate which the manager will monitor. Again, there is a big difference between Effectiveness Rate and an Efficiency Rating. To illustrate, a novice worker may have a high Effectiveness Rate, but it may take him/her more time to perform a task than an experienced worker who might have a lower Effectiveness Rate. Here, the manager must consider the skills and proficiencies of the workers when selecting personnel to perform a task. For more information, see my paper on “Creating a Skills Inventory.”

One of the main benefits of Indirect Time, is its use in calculating schedules. For example, if 100 hours have been estimated to perform a given task, under the “Man Hour” approach, the task would be performed in 12.5 business days (assuming an eight hour business day). By studying Effectiveness Rate though, the manager can use it to calculate a more realistic schedule; for example, assuming a worker is 70% effective, this means there are 5.6 Direct Hours in the business day to perform the work, which calculates into 17.8 business days (and substantially different than the “Man Hour” approach). The point is, Effectiveness Rate builds reality into a schedule.

As work progresses on an assignment, the worker reports his/her time which the manager monitors. If the manager observes the worker’s Effectiveness Rate dropping, he will endeavor to determine the reason why and exercise authority to try to raise it (within reason of course) in order to keep the schedule on track. For example, the manager may instruct the worker to minimize personal phone calls and attendance at meetings. By doing so, the manager is controlling the work environment.

To make this all work, the workers need to report their use of time, something that some office workers spurn claiming it is “unprofessional.” Nonsense. Being a professional means you are held accountable for your actions and committed to delivering on your promises. Since professionals such as lawyers, doctors and accountants keep track of their time, why not other workers? If workers truly want to be treated like professionals, with less micromanagement, then they must accurately report their use of time. Bottom-line, this interpretation of the use of time promotes the concept of the “Mini-Project Manager” whereby workers supervise themselves. In other words, the company is managing from the bottom-up as opposed to top-down. If done properly, the manager will find he/she will spend more time managing and less time supervising. The concept of “Man Hours” is simply the antithesis of this approach.

As an aside, this concept can hardly be considered new as it was derived from construction projects in the 1950’s. Do you know what the average Effectiveness Rate of a construction worker is? 25% Call the Ripley people, they don’t even believe it.

Originally Published: October 20, 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:  THE GOOD LIFE FOR MILLENNIALS? – Who are the advertisers appealing to?

LAST TIME:  THE NEED FOR EMPATHY  – Does the excessive use of technology affect our compassion for others?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; The Glenn Pav Show on WTAN-AM (1340) in Clearwater, FL, Mon-Fri (9-10am); 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 Management, Project Management | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

THE NEED FOR EMPATHY

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 12, 2014

BRYCE ON LIFE

- Does the excessive use of technology affect our compassion for others?

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

When I was very young I was involved in a bicycle accident whereby I was run over by a friend’s bike, leaving a painful welt across my stomach. I recovered quickly, but ever since then whenever I see someone injured, I am overcome with a strange sense of pain. For example, if I happen to watch a video on the Internet showing some bone-heads involved in accidents, such as with skate boards, bicycles, or jumping off buildings, I can feel their pain. Consequently, I avoid watching such things. I call it extreme empathy.

Empathy itself is concerned with understanding and sharing the feelings of others. Whenever someone is experiencing joy and elation, it can be quite contagious and others may experience a similar euphoric feeling. Conversely, if someone is suffering from an injury or some misfortune, we likewise may experience it. It ultimately depends on the type of relationship we have with the individual in question, particularly family and friends. However, I am seeing a decline in empathy in both the public and in the workplace. For example, we have all seen videos of people falling on railroad tracks or on the street with pedestrians calmly passing by watching the scene, but taking no action. Hopefully, someone will jump to the victim’s relief and help him/her up, but I’m surprised by the blank looks on the faces of bystanders. Maybe they were in shock and had no idea what to do, such as call for help at the very least. More likely, they show no empathy for the person.

In the workplace, employees exhibit little empathy towards their co-workers. If someone experiences a tragedy, be it large or small, few people lift a hand to offer support. I consider this strange and attribute it to the excessive use of technology. In many offices today, people plug into their computers and phones and go about their business. This means people tend to work more independently and, as such, there is little camaraderie between workers, nor empathy. The partitions used in cubicles are nice for privacy, but I tend to believe companies are grooming their workers to work separately as opposed to behaving like a team.

In Japanese offices, partitions are rare, so is the use of personal technology. Basically, you are given a desk and chair, with a computer and telephone, which is organized into a classroom format. Since there are many people in the room, you must respect the privacy of others and do not create any unnecessary noise. However, you come to know your fellow workers and often go to lunch with them or possibly have a drink afterwards on a Friday night. Not surprising, there is a great deal of empathy in the Japanese workplace. Now ask yourself, how many people in your office go out to lunch together? If it is rare, so is the compassion for others.

Is it possible technology is making people too jaded? I tend to believe so. Perhaps it is causing us to lose our sense of humanity; that we are no longer sensitive to the needs and problems of others. It is unimaginable today to ask workers to unplug from their personal devices, remove the partitions, and look over to their fellow workers and say, “Hi, how are you today?”

Maybe everyone should be run over by a bicycle.

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:  THE FALLACY OF MAN HOURS – There is, of course, a better way.

LAST TIME:  BEWARE OF A PERIOD AND TWO SPACES  – How HR Departments are scanning your resumes for punctuation.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; The Glenn Pav Show on WTAN-AM (1340) in Clearwater, FL, Mon-Fri (9-10am); 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, Technology | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

BEWARE OF A PERIOD AND TWO SPACES

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 10, 2014

BRYCE ON RESUMES

- How HR Departments are scanning your resumes for punctuation.

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

File this under, “More changes due to technology.” A friend recently e-mailed me an article on how resumes should be updated to give the impression the person is up-to-date with today’s technology. It contended HR Departments (Human Resources) look at resumes for certain punctuation rules to consider if the candidate is current. The article offered a handful of suggestions which I found rather amusing.

First, it contended you should not waste time showing your home address on the resume. If the company wants to contact you, they will do so either by e-mail or telephone. This caused me to wonder how the HR Department will know if the person lives locally or far away, thereby incurring relocation expenses? Wouldn’t it be simpler to be made aware of this up-front as opposed to discovering later on? Then again, maybe I’m showing my age here. I hope they do not try to deduce it by telephone area code as this is an unreliable way of determining location. To illustrate, if I buy my phone in Miami and activate it there, I will get a Miami area code. Even though I live in the Tampa Bay area, the area code will reflect Miami.

Next, the article said there was no need for including a home telephone number in the resume. Since everyone has a mobile phone, that should suffice shouldn’t it? The assumption here is that everyone has a smart phone turned on 24/7, and, as such land lines are considered passé. The last time I checked though, I can still contact just about anyone on the planet with my land-line. Oh yea, it also has voice mail to record messages. (Please note, I was going to say “cell phone” instead of “mobile” but this is also considered old-school by today’s standards.)

The article also recommended expressing telephone numbers with just periods, not hyphens or parentheses. For example:

Wrong Way
727-786-4567
(727)-786-4567
727/786-4567

Right Way
727.786.4567

The expression of telephone numbers with periods was influenced by Internet addresses (URL). Interestingly, the telephone books still make use of hyphens and not periods. I wonder if they are aware how out-of-date they are?

My favorite change though regards punctuation. They claimed at the end of a sentence, you should display a period, followed by a single space, before beginning the next sentence. The article contended a period and two spaces is old school and caused by typing classes of yesteryear, and, as such, is obsolete.

Let me see if I can clear this up. First a period, and two spaces is certainly not obsolete. In the world of publishing, of which I am intimate, it is a necessity. The reason the single space phenomenon came about is primarily due to web pages which is primarily based on HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language). The programmers who developed the language, and other web tools, established a default of a period and single space between sentences. Evidently, it was too difficult for them to figure out a way to insert two spaces after a period; either that or someone failed an English course along the way (I suspect the latter). So, because a programmer couldn’t devise a way to enter two spaces after a period, the world is expected to change how they construct sentences. Technology strikes again.

As an aside, this essay was written with a period and two spaces between sentences, yet you’ll notice the web page shows a period and one space. This is done to prevent me from promoting my heretic beliefs.

I wish Human Resource Departments would pay more attention to the credentials expressed within a resume, as opposed to grammar. It is unfathomable to me, a person would not be considered for a job simply because the wrong characters were used or there was one too many spaces. Unbelievable.

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:  THE NEED FOR EMPATHY – Does the excessive use of technology affect our compassion for others?

LAST TIME:  HOW ARE YOU (REALLY)?  – Are we telling the truth or is it all facade?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; The Glenn Pav Show on WTAN-AM (1340) in Clearwater, FL, Mon-Fri (9-10am); 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, Employment | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

HOW ARE YOU (REALLY)?

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 7, 2014

BRYCE ON LIFE

- Are we telling the truth or is it all facade?

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

“How are you?” is a greeting we’ve been using for a long time and has spawned several mutations, such as the famous, “How ya doin?” The response is usually something like, “Fine, thank you.” Over the years though, we’ve changed our response to indicate elation, such as “Great!”, “Fabulous!”, “Super!”, “Wonderful!”, etc., or to denote depression, such as “Lousy,” “Horrible,” or “I could kill someone!”

You can learn a lot about someone simply by how they answer the question and govern yourself accordingly. I used to hear a lot of people say things were “Terrific” or other such positive exclamations, but I haven’t heard it in awhile. Instead, I tend to hear more negative responses which I interpret as a sign of the times.

I used to know a guy who thought everything was “Super!” and appeared to be very upbeat. Time and again, you can count on him saying everything was “Super!” He was quite a salesman. He moved out of our area years ago and I understand he did quite well for himself in land development. Then the recession came along which clobbered his company into bankruptcy. This snowballed into losing his house, his family, everything. Last I heard, he was sitting in jail somewhere. All his bravado had come crashing down on him. He may have been a positive type of guy, but he didn’t know how to manage his business and overextended himself.

Shortly after learning of this story, I bumped into another friend and when I asked how she was, she looked directly at me and replied, “I’m okay.” Simple, yet sincere. I smiled as I knew it was more of an honest appraisal of her condition than the other guy who said everything was unquestioningly “Super!”

Some people might think the response, “Okay,” as a mediocre answer, if not rather negative. I tend to see it more as a sign of candor and honesty. I would much rather hear a person say they are “Okay” rather than “Super!” any day of the week. As a matter of fact, anyone saying they’re “Great” I tend to treat suspiciously these days. To me, “Okay” is positive, everything else is negative.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to respond to, “Wha’zup?”

Originally Published: November 20, 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:  BEWARE OF A PERIOD AND TWO SPACES – How HR Departments are scanning your resumes for punctuation.

LAST TIME:  SAYING GOODBYE TO A HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER  – Thanks for the memories (and giving us some direction).

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; The Glenn Pav Show on WTAN-AM (1340) in Clearwater, FL, Mon-Fri (9-10am); 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 | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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