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TELL THEM WHAT YOU NEED, NOT WHAT YOU WANT

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 31, 2020

BRYCE ON BUSINESS

– Getting to the root of an I.T. problem.

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

When a person visits a doctor to complain about an ailment, it is not uncommon for the patient to try and diagnose the problem himself and prescribe a cure. The doctor listens politely but then asks a series of questions aimed at analyzing the patient’s symptoms, for example, “When and where did you first notice this?” “How often does this happen?” “What medication are you currently taking?,” etc. By analyzing the symptoms, the physician is trying to diagnose the problem. If he cannot ascertain the problem through questioning or a basic examination, he may order additional tests, such as an MRI, X-rays, a CAT scan, blood tests, urine samples, etc. The point is, the doctor is more interested in attacking the root cause, not just the symptoms.

We see this same type of phenomenon in Information Technology (I.T.) related projects where the end-user approaches the I.T. manager with a request for service whereby he sincerely believes he knows the right technical solution to solve his business problems. Two things may result from this request: either the I.T. department will treat the users symptoms, and give him what he wants, thereby not really solving his business problem correctly, or; the I.T. department will study the user’s problem more closely, possibly order some tests, and prescribe a solution that properly addresses his problems. Regrettably, this latter approach is rarely performed in companies anymore.

There is still a huge frustration factor between users and I.T. developers. On the one hand, users claim, “They (the I.T. people) don’t understand me,” and on the other hand, the I.T. people contend the users “don’t know what they want.” This void between the two groups is unhealthy and not conducive for solving the company’s problems. Frustrated, I.T. management tells developers not to ask questions, “Just give them what they want.” This scenario is obviously counterproductive, yet commonplace in the corporate world today.

When I am asked how to deal with this situation, I emphasize the doctor-patient analogy as mentioned above. First, the I.T. people have to learn to ask more questions and differentiate symptoms from problems. In other words, let’s not be in such a hurry to program a solution before we truly understand the problem. I.T. has a horrible track record in this regard. The idea of specifying user information requirements is the Achilles’ Heel of every development project. If it is performed superficially, the wrong solution will inevitably be delivered. Second, the user should play the role of a patient, meaning don’t try to prescribe a solution but concentrate on what you truly need and let the doctor (the I.T. department) prescribe a suitable solution. After all, who has more training in this regard, the doctor or the patient? Let the I.T. people do what they’re trained to do (and are paid for).

As long as we know our roles and do not try to do the other person’s job, we’ll get along just fine. Now turn your head and cough.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – Also, I have a NEW book, “Before You Vote: Know How Your Government Works”, What American youth should know about government, available in Printed, PDF and eBook form. DON’T FORGET GRADUATION DAY. This is the perfect gift!

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

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2020 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Business | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

WHAT WE CAN EXPECT AFTER THE CORONAVIRUS

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 26, 2020

BRYCE ON THE VIRUS

– Coming attractions.

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By the time the coronavirus (COVID-19) has run its course, what can we expect from the fall-out? Hopefully, we will learn from this episode and make changes to address future epidemics, and believe me, this will not be the end of it as the media has discovered such disasters are bigger business than mere politics. What can we expect though from this episode and what awaits us in the months ahead?

First, this will be on everyone’s mind as we head to the voting booths in November. As of now, President Trump has been getting favorable poll ratings for his handling of the problem, so this shouldn’t effect him in a negative way. However, the key will be to see how the economy bounces back. It will undoubtedly take a dip in the Spring, but when the panic is over and life begins to return to normal, will another bull market emerge? If not, this could present a serious problem for the Republicans. As of now, the American public doesn’t blame President Trump for the declining stock markets, but when this is over, they will want to see it come roaring back.

Now that stocks are down, shrewd investors will be picking up some bargain stocks and making a killing. Transportations may be slow to rebound, but others should come back faster, such as electronics and food related companies. One of the biggest surprises during the panic was our attachment to paper products. Who would have thought toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues would be so much in demand? Companies such as Scott Paper, Kimberly-Clark, and Procter & Gamble should be sitting pretty following the panic.

Likewise, pharmacies have taken a noticeable upturn and will continue to grow.

Supply chains will need to be re-evaluated and improved in order to prevent another product shortage in the future. Freight truck sales are booming and will continue to do so to help in this regard. Freight trains should also do well.

People have learned the need for maintaining emergency supplies on hand. Look for increased sales in refrigerators and freezers to accommodate this. Shelving, storage and security items should also do well.

The service industry should prosper substantially; “Sit down” restaurants will eventually recover but there will be an explosion in “To Go” ordering, something people have become used to during the panic and has altered our eating habits. Look for a revolution in home delivery. Walmart, Amazon, and the major Supermarkets have been moving in this direction for a long time, but the panic clearly demonstrated its viability.

The tobacco industry will take a hit as we were once again reminded of the ill-effects of tobacco. Not surprising, liquor sales held strong as people got together in impromptu groups and enjoyed libations to pass the time of day.

As much as we hate the politically correct expression, “Social Distancing,” it will become a part of life from now on as it has become a habit. There will be fewer handshakes and hugs, people will keep their distance, and there will still be fewer group activities, including nonprofits and church meetings. Also watch for surgical masks to become more commonplace, as well as the re-introduction of gloves at group events.

Perhaps the most noticeable coming attraction will be a baby boom in December. As people went into hibernation during the panic, as requested by government, they had to find ways to entertain themselves. Hence, we are on the verge of a major baby boom, the likes of which will make the old New York blackouts seem pale by comparison. Inevitably, even more paper products will be needed to accommodate the influx of infants.

Should there be another virus like this, it is hoped we will be better prepared. Personally, I would like to see someone take the news media to task, but this will likely never happen. And I certainly hope a panic such as this never happens again during an election year. This was too much of a coincidence for my liking.

By the way, Rod Serling couldn’t have written a better script than what the coronavirus politicians and media did.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – Also, I have a NEW book, “Before You Vote: Know How Your Government Works”, What American youth should know about government, available in Printed, PDF and eBook form. DON’T FORGET GRADUATION DAY. This is the perfect gift!

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

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2020 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Healthcare, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

THE SHOW MUST GO ON!

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 24, 2020

BRYCE ON THE VIRUS

– “Break a Leg!”

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I think it is time I weighed in on the coronavirus panic choking our country. Currently, we are a nation suffocating in a depressing doom and gloom; where the media seems to take delight in telling us how bad things are, all in the name of improved ratings. Frankly, they haven’t hit a bonanza like this in a long time, even in spite of their sloppy reporting. This has been exacerbated by lawyers, accountants, politicians, and a greedy media who will not be happy until the country is ground to a halt. Frankly, this is one American who has had enough.

In show business, the expression, “The Show Must Go On!”, means we must go forward even in the face of adversity. It is time for this country to do likewise in lieu of the panic. Currently, we are experiencing a domino effect whereby restaurants and businesses are closing, as are schools, the travel industry is tanking, people are working from home or are being let go, people are hoarding toilet paper (of all things), we are rationing food, etc., thereby causing the economy to tremble. The new politically correct concept of “Social Distancing” is forcing people to turn inwards to home, and avoid human contact, not just group activities such as sporting events, church meetings, schools, going to the beach, or a drink at the local tavern. Terrified of the virus, people are hiding out until the all-clear siren is sounded. There is one problem with this, we cannot afford to bring the country to a standstill as exemplified by the movie, “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” Our choice is simple: We can either resign ourselves to a fate of destruction or pick up the pieces and move forward. I choose the latter.

Some claim we have never seen anything like this virus (COVID-19). This is simply not true. The 2009-2010 Swine Flu Pandemic saw upwards to 1.4 billion cases, with deaths estimated between 150,000–575,000. Today, we are nowhere near these numbers. I am not doubting the legitimacy of the coronavirus, but I am questioning the panic that has ensued. It reminds me of how we handle hurricanes in Florida. It used to be, the public was alerted about an approaching storm, we took the necessary precautions (such as replenishing supplies and boarding up homes) and then rode it out. However, when Hurricane Irma appeared in 2017, Floridians were panicked by the media, forcing the closure of restaurants and businesses, and the stoppage of water, gasoline, and electricity in some areas. Frankly, it turned out to be a rather lame storm here in Florida by comparison to other hurricanes, but the public was panicked into a frenzy by the media, not too dissimilar to what we are experiencing today. The point is, something is horribly wrong in how the media is communicating with the public these days.

What we are witnessing is an interesting social experiment. It proves people can be easily manipulated by the media and politicians. It also demonstrates people prefer operating on autopilot, and when it is switched off, they do not know how to improvise, adapt and overcome, and this is what is perhaps most disturbing about the panic.

There are, of course, some things beyond our control, such as financial markets, government regulations, etc., and I am certainly not advocating disobeying the law, but we need to challenge our politicians and hold them accountable, as well as the media. It also means we have to learn to think for ourselves and become proactive as opposed to reactive. In other words, we need to think differently, break old habits, and replace them with new ones. Remember the old maxim, “In confusion there is profits.”

We need to begin by changing our perspective to believe the glass is half full, not half empty as the media suggests. In other words, let’s think positive, not negative. Now is the time for innovation in the workplace, to think smarter, and introduce new ideas to get the job done. There are opportunities out there waiting to be exploited, we just have to find them.

So, should we place our faith in the hands of our politicians and the media? As for me, I will put my trust in common sense instead.

By the way, perhaps the biggest difference between the 2009-2010 Swine Flu Pandemic and the 2020 COVID-19 panic is that 2009-2010 was not a presidential election year. Hmm, must be nothing more than a coincidence, right?

Another stage related expression is “Break a Leg,” representing a wish for good luck to a performer. It’s an old expression reflecting an ancient superstition that wishing someone “good luck” was considered somewhat of a jinx.

Since I am from the South, I will leave you with…

Break a Leg (Y’all)!

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – Also, I have a NEW book, “Before You Vote: Know How Your Government Works”, What American youth should know about government, available in Printed, PDF and eBook form. DON’T FORGET GRADUATION DAY. This is the perfect gift!

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

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2020 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Government, Healthcare, Media | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

BRYCE INTRODUCES NEW BOOK SUPPORTING CIVICS FOR YOUTH

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 20, 2020

BRYCE ON GOVERNMENT

– “Before You Vote: Know How Your Government Works”

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PALM HARBOR, FLORIDA (March 20, 2020) – In an effort to educate High School and College aged students about government, author Tim Bryce has introduced a new book titled, “Before You Vote: Know How Your Government Works.” A brief, easy-to-read book aimed at combating the naiveté of those who do not understand how and why their government works.

According to Bryce, “Basically, I have created a mini-course in Civics. I was inspired by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ recent initiative to re-introduce Civics into the classroom. Frankly, I have been appalled by how few students today appear to understand history and government. I therefore wanted to write a text describing the basics of government for American youth. For example, most do not understand the checks and balances defined by the Constitution, nor do they appreciate the concept of the Electoral College, or how legislation is passed. They certainly do not know the difference between a Republic and a Democracy, nor Socialism vs. Capitalism. So, my intention is to clarify all of this, plus more.”

The purpose of the Bryce book is to provide a guide to clear up misconceptions, e.g.; how our government is organized, how it works, and why certain mechanisms are in place, thanks in large part to the U.S. Constitution, one of the most brilliant inventions ever created by mankind.

Early reviews are positive thus far; according to book reviewer Helena Nunn of Tampa Bay, “Your book will be an important addition for educating the youth of our country about our own government, our rights and our Constitution. I love the fact you emphasize the importance that all U.S. citizens, and not just immigrants, learn their Constitutional rights and responsibilities. It is so important every citizen understands the difference between Capitalism and Socialism. Your book should be mandatory reading in schools and before one can vote in this country. It has helped me know my government better and reacquainted me to our wonderful Constitution! We all can use a refresher course on our government and our Constitution!”

In addition to the Introduction, the book is a collection of essays on such subjects as:

“Government Begins at Home”
“Understanding the Constitution”
“What are Your Rights (or is it Wrongs?)”
“What Does it Mean to be a Citizen of the United States”
“Democracy versus Republic”
“How Legislation is Passed or Vetoed”
“What Does a Constitutional Convention Mean?”
“Understanding the Electoral College”
“Senators and the 17th Amendment”
“Congressional Term Limits”
“The Middle Class: Separating Capitalism from Socialism”
“Capitalism versus Socialism: Reference Guide”
“Lacking Faith in Political Polling”
“The Media Industrial Complex (MIC)”

There is also a section for “Suggested Books” which includes additional readings pertinent to young voters.

Bryce’s “Before You Vote” book is available in three formats: Printed ($5.75 U.S.), PDF ($5.00 U.S.), and Kindle eBook version (ASIN: B085TQN34G) ($5.00 U.S.).

The book is published by Amazon and can be found in their book store (67 pages). The ISBN for the printed version is: 9798623807946

Details on the book, along with ordering information, can be found at Bryce’s Blog: https://timbryce.com/

Or directly at:http://www.phmainstreet.com/mba/government.htm

The author points out this makes a great graduation gift, or some interesting reading while schools are closed due to the coronavirus.

Tim Bryce is well-known for his blog, “The Bryce is Right!,” and has written for the Tampa Tribune, Huffington Post, News Talk Florida, The Patch, as well as numerous management and technical journals around the world. This is his 16th book. Past titles include, “Tim’s Senior Moments,” “How to Run a Nonprofit,” “Morphing into the Real World,” “The IRM Revolution,” and others; see: https://timbryce.com/mba-press/

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2020 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

THE PROBLEM WITH CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 19, 2020

BRYCE ON BUSINESS

– They are not all created equally.

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There are several types of professional certification programs in the world today, be it in engineering, construction, auto repair, medicine, etc. Basically, certification is saying the holder is proficient in a specific subject and should be recognized as a legitimate professional. To the holder, certification looks good on a resume and, thereby, is useful for generating more income. To the customer, certification instills confidence that the holder theoretically knows what he or she is doing. Such programs are supposed to define the level of competency needed to perform certain tasks and means the holder is intimate with specific methods, tools and techniques needed to perform the work. It is also not unusual for certifications to be renewed periodically to assure the holder is staying abreast of industrial developments.

However, not all certification programs are created equally and many are not worth the paper they are printed on. Two things bother me about certification: when it becomes too easy to obtain one, and if the certification is based on sheer humbug.

I’ve seen some programs where a person is awarded certification simply for signing the attendance roster for a class or seminar (and then quietly slips away for a round of golf). It shouldn’t be a matter of merely attending a class, but if you truly learned something which, of course, should mean passing a test of some kind. The validity of certification is dubious if it only requires signing your name and answering an open book test. All it means is that the holder knows how to read and write.

I have seen some certification programs based on plain quackery, particularly in the I.T. industry. It is one thing to demonstrate proficiency in a particular programming language or technology, quite another when it comes to theories of management, systems or any area lacking standardization. In other words, certification should be based on science, not art. The difference between an art and a science is subtle but significant. An art form is based on the intuitiveness of the person performing the work, something that is difficult, if not impossible, to pass on to another human being. For example, apprentices serving under an artist may try for years to emulate the master, but may never attain his level of skill and creativity. In contrast, a science is based on tried and proven concepts and facts and, as such, can be easily taught to others. Certification, therefore, should be based on science, not art. Any certification program Without a set of standards and proven principles is meaningless.

It should be no small wonder why I am skeptical of someone claiming to be certified in a particular field of endeavor. It might sound nice, but I still want to determine if the person is truly competent before they perform a service for me. I consider such things as: what they know, what experience they have, how rigorous was the testing for their certification, and the integrity of the institution issuing the certificate.

Just remember, certification programs are big business. True, there are legitimate certification programs out there, but there are also some that are nothing more than marketing ploys. Does all this mean I frown upon certification programs? Absolutely not. I’m just saying, “caveat emptor” and challenging the institutions to be less frivolous in how they are issued.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – Also, I have a NEW book, “Before You Vote: Know How Your Government Works”, What American youth should know about government, available in Printed, PDF and eBook form. DON’T FORGET GRADUATION DAY. This is the perfect gift!

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

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2020 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 17, 2020

BRYCE ON BUSINESS

– Why can’t we build anything of substance anymore?

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Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium was opened in 1970. At the time, it was considered “state-of-the-art” and easily accommodated two professional teams as their home, the Cincinnati Reds (MLB) and Bengals (NFL). I lived in Cincinnati at the time and vividly recall the sales pitch presented the public. Not only would the stadium be large and spacious with ample parking, the structure would also be easy to maintain and modify to accommodate future considerations. For example, it was claimed the roof could be enclosed, thereby offering an indoor stadium safe from inclement weather. Guess what? The roof was never added, nor much of anything else. Although the stadium was structurally fine and in good shape, it was closed in 2002 and replaced by two separate stadiums, one for baseball and another for football, both at considerable expense to the taxpayer. Whereas Riverfront lasted just 32 years, its predecessor, Crosley Field, a stadium which was certainly no engineering marvel, lasted 58 years. The point is, Riverfront was an excellent example of planned obsolescence. Architects knew the stadium would be demolished and replaced before a nickel would ever be spent on its modification.

We see other examples of planned obsolescence just about everywhere: in our automobiles, where everything expires when the warranty times out; in our homes, which require constant upkeep, and; most noticeably in our electronic devices, particularly computers and cell phones which seem to be designed to self-destruct in about two years. Maybe we don’t know how to design things to last anymore, but I tend to believe the consumers have been conditioned to think with a disposable mentality. We no longer try to build anything for the future, just for the almighty buck. It’s no small wonder “quick and dirty” has replaced craftsmanship in the workplace.

Although we like to brag about our technology, I seriously doubt we could build anything as durable as the Great Pyramids of Egypt, the Great wall of China, Stonehenge, the Roman Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or the Taj Mahal of India. Even the great Hoover Dam, the Empire State Building, and the Golden Gate Bridge are under 90 years of age (the Brooklyn Bridge though is 136 years old). Is it because we lack the knowledge to build things to last? No, we simply lack the desire to do so as it is all about economics.

The classic 1951 comedy, “The Man in the White Suit,” starring Alec Guinness, drives this point forcefully home. Guiness plays a researcher at a textile mill who invents a new type of thread that is indestructible and repels dirt. When both the mill’s managers and the union workers realize Guiness’ invention would ultimately cost them money in the long run (as people would not need to constantly buy new clothing), they go out of their way to undermine his discovery and sabotage his work. It’s an excellent movie, and I particularly liked the ending.

Interestingly, even our movies are not meant to last as they are remade every few years; consider, for example, “Mutiny on the Bounty” which was made into motion pictures in 1916, 1933, 1935, 1962, and 1984. Even our movies and music are not meant to stand the test of time.

I don’t know about you, but it bothers me that we lack the ability to build anything of substance anymore. It sure doesn’t instill any confidence in our civilization. As an aside, wouldn’t it be funny if we learned that Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium and the Great American Ball Park, the two stadiums replacing Riverfront, were designed complete with places to plant dynamite charges to implode the structures at the end of their usefulness? I’m betting by 2030, the City of Cincinnati will pull the trigger on both stadiums. Boom! I guess it’s “easy come, easy go” (with the taxpayer picking up the tab).

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – Also do not forget my books, “How to Run a Nonprofit” and “Tim’s Senior Moments”, both available in Printed and eBook form.

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

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2020 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Business | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EAST & WEST

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 12, 2020

BRYCE ON BUSINESS

– Big differences in corporate culture.

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

I’ve been to Japan several times over the years on business and have had the privilege of seeing Japanese work habits first hand, which are noticeably different than in the United States. As a small example, the first time I visited, I noticed in addition to having Coke and Pepsi machines on a street corner, there were also beer and whiskey machines. I discovered the Japanese were not worried about the youth getting alcohol from the machines as it would cause their families to “lose face” through embarrassment. If we had such machines in this country, they would probably be emptied by our youth faster than the vendors could stock them.

Aside from this though, there are a few other differences I observed in corporate Japan:

1. Japanese do not like to say “No” to someone as they do not want to offend the person. Instead, they tend to say, “Maybe Yes,” which, when translated, means “No.” If they nod their heads in the affirmative, it only means they understand what you are saying but they don’t necessarily agree with you. Because of this, it is not uncommon for American businessmen to fool themselves into believing they are being successful when they make a presentation in Japan. In reality, the Japanese understood the presentation but need time to digest and discuss it among themselves. If an American asks them something like, “Was I correct in this regards?” If they answer, “Maybe Yes,” the American is in trouble.

2. I’ve been in a few large offices in Japan where I have seen young employees suddenly jump up on their desks and give a five minute speech on why he is proud of his company and what a pleasure it is to work with his coworkers. When finished, the rest of the office politely applauds before returning to their work.

3. It is not proper for an employee to be insolent and openly criticize his superior. Knowing this may lead to pent up frustrations, some companies have small closet-sized rooms where the disgruntled employee can go into, close the door, and quietly beat an effigy of the boss with a bamboo stick. It may sound kind of silly, then again, you don’t hear of anyone going “postal” in Japan either.

4. It is still important for the Japanese to reach a consensus on any significant decision. This process may take some time to perform, but they want to emphasize team building and inclusion of employees in the decision making process.

5. When you join a major company in Japan it is common to first “pay your dues,” whereby you and your “class” (those who joined at the same time) are put on the same employment level and work for ten years, after which it is determined who the hard workers are and reward them with a major job promotion. If you didn’t work hard, the company won’t necessarily fire you, but your advancement in the company is arrested. Nonetheless, the emphasis here is on teamwork and creating a spirit of cooperation.

In the United States though, things are a little different…

1. Americans are not afraid of offending anyone. So much so, that “Hell No!” (or stronger) is a natural part of our vernacular. Unlike the Japanese who digest something before speaking, Americans do not hesitate to tell you whether they agree with you or not.

2. Rarely do you find an American employee who is steadfastly loyal to his company. Instead, it is more likely he will start an anonymous blog to bitch about his company and slander the character of the boss and his coworkers.

3. Americans tend to vent their frustrations more publicly than the Japanese. For example, you might get attacked in the company parking lot, or someone may pull a gun out and start shooting.

4. Instead of group decision making, Americans prefer rugged individualism whereby decisions tend to be made unilaterally as opposed to seeking the counsel of others. Consequently, employees tend to undermine any decision which is jammed down their throats.

5. When you join a major company in the United States, you are rewarded more for individual acts as opposed to team playing. This results in a never ending game of scratching and clawing your way up the corporate hierarchy. Obviously, this approach promotes interoffice politics and cutthroat tactics as opposed to a spirit of cooperation.

Why the substantial differences? Primarily because Japan is a homogeneous culture, and the American “melting pot” is heterogeneous which includes people of all races, faiths, and beliefs.

Although the differences between east and west are noticeable, things are slowly changing in Japan, whose youth have grown up with the Internet and are starting to emulate the work habits of their counterparts in the west. In other words, instead of observing courtesy, honor and respect, Japan is slowly becoming Westernized and I fear that some time in the not too distant future “Maybe Yes” will mean nothing more than that.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – Also do not forget my books, “How to Run a Nonprofit” and “Tim’s Senior Moments”, both available in Printed and eBook form.

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

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2020 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Business | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

UNDERSTANDING THE CONSTITUTION

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 10, 2020

BRYCE ON GOVERNMENT

– It is genius, sheer genius.

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

The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land. Its importance cannot be overemphasized. It is what politicians, military personnel, law enforcement, judges, federal employees, and legal immigrants are sworn to uphold, e.g., “…and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So help me God.” It was created in 1787, ratified in 1788, and made effective in 1789. Since then it has become the model by which other countries have re-invented their government.

The first three words of the Constitution are, “We the people,” to indicate it was written to serve the interests of the people of the country, not a monarch or dictator.

The Constitution was produced by the second Continental Congress, but was preceded in 1781 by the Articles of Confederation, the first true constitution of the country. The weakness in this document was the lack of a strong central government, giving more power to the states instead.

Construction

There are essentially two parts to the Constitution:

The Main Body – specifying the mechanisms of the government.

Amendments – specifying the rights and freedoms enjoyed by the people, and changes made to the Main Body. The first ten amendments are referred to as “The Bill of Rights.” This was a clean way to separate the two parts of the Constitution, thereby making it easier to ratify the overall document. Whereas there have been some changes made to the Main Body, the Amendments have changed more frequently over the years. There have been 27 Amendments made to the Constitution, with the 21st used to repeal prohibition (the 18th amendment).

The Main Body defines the responsibilities of the three “separate but equal” branches of government:

* The Executive Branch – as represented by the office of the President, along with the various agencies and departments controlled by the President’s cabinet.

* The Judicial Branch – representing the Supreme Court and lower federal courts.

* The Legislative Branch – represented by the Congress and responsible for passing laws in conformance to the Constitution. Interestingly, the Congress is referred to as “bicameral,” meaning there are two separate chambers; the House of Representatives (the lower House), and the Senate (the Upper House). Whereas the House is generally regarded as lawmakers from all walks of life, the Senators are typically senior politicians who offer advice and confirm presidential appointments.

These three branches offer “Checks and balances” over each other so one branch doesn’t become stronger than the others. For example, The Executive Branch nominates judges for the Supreme Court and lower courts, but the nominees must be approved by the Senate. The Senate must also approve the President’s nominees for cabinet secretaries, ambassadors, military leaders, and other agency appointments. Without this approval, the people cannot serve.

The Congress may pass laws, but the Supreme Court ultimately determines if the legislation conforms to the Constitution. If it does not, it can be dismissed.

The Congress must secure the President’s signature to enact legislation. Without the signature, the legislation is “vetoed” from being placed into law. The Congress can overturn the President’s veto by securing a 2/3 percent vote in both chambers of Congress. This is difficult to do, but has been done.

This is but a small sampling of the “checks and balances” at play in the Constitution. There are many more. Nothing like these “checks and balances” had been tried before. All of this is a a testament to the brilliance of the founding fathers who devised the Constitution. It is hard to imagine a team of lawyers in today’s world who could produce such a document with such eloquence and conciseness.

Ratifying the Constitution became a problem as antagonists challenged many clauses within the document. To overcome this problem, a series of articles were produced and distributed by newspapers throughout the country explaining the virtues of the various parts of the document. This was referred to as “The Federalist Papers” and written by James Madison (later to become the 4th President of the United States), Alexander Hamilton (later to become the 1st U.S. Treasury Secretary), and John Jay (later to become 1st Chief Justice of the Supreme Court), all under the pseudonym “Publius.”

The Constitution has been with us for well over 200 years and has withstood the test of time. Is it perfect? Of course not, there are some items that should be revisited, such as term limits for politicians, a balanced budget, changing the length of our electoral process, and more. But overall, the Constitution has served us well.

It is genius. Sheer genius.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – Also do not forget my books, “How to Run a Nonprofit” and “Tim’s Senior Moments”, both available in Printed and eBook form.

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

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2020 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Government | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

THE COMPLICATIONS OF AGE

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 5, 2020

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Why are we faced with so many problems?

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

I have discovered a new Bryce’s Law, to wit: “The older you get, the more complicated life becomes.” This came to me recently as I spoke with some contemporaries who have complained about the burdens accompanying age. I’m not talking about physical pain but rather the hectic pace of today along with the social ramifications accompanying it. I have one friend who is at war with his cable company who has not properly credited his account after overcharging him for several months. Another friend complains about the service policy of his two year old car, evidently nothing is free. And others express dissatisfaction with customer service issues or perhaps traffic has become overbearing or they are simply tired of waiting in lines, etc.

As for me, I have noticed physicians are less inclined to speak with you, the patient, and want you to go to a web site for follow-up questions, such as those regarding a diagnosis. I’m sorry, but it is not very “user friendly’ and I’m less inclined to visit a doctor again if I cannot speak to him. And as you get older, your patience grows thin to the point you want to blow your stack.

I believe as we grow older we assume more responsibilities, e.g., we purchase homes, boats, recreational vehicles, investments, etc.; we assume new responsibilities in our work requiring new skills; we have to fight with people at work, in our neighborhood, or perhaps in a nonprofit, and; children compound the problem as we may love them, but they take up considerable time and attention. We have to maintain all of this, which is not a problem when we are younger, but after the age of 60 we start to wonder why we do the same things over and over again. Maintaining all of these things requires considerable patience, something we start to lose over time.

We find we hate voice mail, sitting in traffic, ordering products on-line, communicating with idiot customer service reps, robo-calls, mysterious invoices for products we know nothing about, on-line banking, and an endless barrage of advertisements on television, none of which are aimed at our age group. Basically, we feel neglected and ignored. Normally we would argue and fight back, but now we’re too tired to do so. Because people have worn us down, we are less likely to be adventurous, and less likely to assume risk. We just do not want to step on any more meadow muffins.

And we finally stop and ask ourselves, “What the hell am I doing?”

The answer becomes rather obvious, we learn to keep things simple, the old KISS approach (Keep It Simple, Stupid). No, we no longer want to rip up and remodel the kitchen. It will keep. No, we no longer need the fancy sports car, just something that is easy to maintain and offers decent fuel efficiency. No, we no longer yearn to visit Timbuktu as we no longer want to drag all of our flotsam and jetsam with us, and what about the grandchildren, and besides, who is going to watch our pets?

No, “simplify, simplify, simplify,” is our mantra, and the only way to maintain our sanity.

Just remember, “Youth is our only true vacation in life, and our most unappreciated.” (another Bryce’s Law)

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – Also do not forget my books, “How to Run a Nonprofit” and “Tim’s Senior Moments”, both available in Printed and eBook form.

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

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2020 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

SUPER TUESDAY DEFINES THE DEMOCRAT PARTY

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 4, 2020

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– What have we learned?

By now, most of us know the results of the Super Tuesday voting. Former VP Joe Biden, made a come from behind charge, and Sen. Bernie Sanders did well out West and in his home state of Vermont. I found the results illuminating, particularly how it defines the interests of the Democrats.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column on which direction the Democrats were heading. At the time, the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary were behind us and the results showed a 60%-40% split in the party (Traditionalists vs. Far-Left). As I mentioned then, we would have a clearer picture of the character of the party following Super Tuesday (yesterday) and, Yes, it has indeed come more into focus.

I have been doing some number crunching today and found on Super Tuesday, over 10.7 million Democrats voted. When you combine the total votes cast for Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, representing the Far-Left interests of the party, you come up with 48.1%, leaving 51.9% for Traditionalist candidates such as former VP Joe Biden, Mayors Pete Buttigieg and Mike Bloomberg (both of whom have bowed out of the race), et al. This is substantially different than the 60/40 split I originally mentioned. Frankly, the party is now split down the middle.

Considerable pressure will be placed on Sen. Elizabeth Warren to exit the race as she has failed to win anything substantial, and consider this; if Sen. Warren had been out of the race, Sen. Sanders would have likely beaten VP Biden in Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Texas (not so in Traditionalist states such as Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia). To combat this, look for a cash infusion into Sen. Warren’s campaign from Traditionalist supporters who want to keep her in the race in order to derail Sen. Sanders campaign.

The most important point to make here is that the personality of the party has split from 60/40 to a near 50/50 split. If the Traditionalist Democrats wrestle the nomination from Sen. Sanders, watch for him to exit the party with his constituents and create a new third party, e.g., “The Democrat Socialists.” It is also conceivable his group would take over an existing party, such as the Green Party, or Socialist Party USA. Either way, the split would be the death knell of the Democrats, at least for the 2020 election.

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and management consultant residing in Palm Harbor, Florida. He is available for lectures and interviews.

Copyright © 2020 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

 

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

 
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