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Archive for May, 2009

TALKING WITH YOUR HANDS

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 29, 2009

I find it interesting how people use their hands when they talk, kind of like a comedy routine. Just about everyone does it, yours truly included. We use our hands to emphasize a point, exemplify something, but more than anything we use them to command the attention of our audience. So much so, people tend to use hands as a second set of lips. Actually, I do not believe we can help ourselves as we tend to emulate everyone also suffering from the same affliction.

I find it difficult to talk without the use of hands, and it seems the people who can do so are few and far between (and generally tend to be quite boring). Comedians and politicians often use their hands to emphasize a point. In fact, some people are better remembered not for what they said, but how they said it instead. Comedian Jack Benny exemplifies the point of someone who is better remembered for his mannerisms than his jokes. Jack could get a laugh simply by looking at people or using his hands.

The occasional hand gesture is fine but it becomes somewhat distracting and annoying when you start using your hands excessively thereby taking on the appearance of an animated windmill. Those who are deaf have a legitimate excuse, but the rest of us do not want to suffer with someone who seems to be going through mime school.

I tend to believe there are three types of active uses of the hand for communications: what I call “The Fencer,” “The Gunslinger,” and “The Punctuator.” “The Fencer” (aka “The Boxer”) uses his hands to swirl, parry and thrust himself in a debate; in his mind, he is in the midst of a dual with an opponent, but with a lot of finesse and footwork. Make no mistake, such histrionics represent a contest to dominate or win over an opponent. Then we have “The Gunslinger” who uses his hands less than the others, often keeping them hidden in his pockets as he contemplates a response to a question, but when he responds, out come the hands like six-guns blazing and shooting down his opponent. The “Punctuator” tends to be less threatening and more academic in nature. Here, hands are used to highlight a point, such as using two fingers on both hands to make the “quotes” sign, or an exclamation point, an underline or a period. Do we tend to favor one form over another? Sometimes, but I tend to believe we use all three forms to suit our needs in a conversation.

What I find most interesting in our use of hands is that we are usually not cognizant we are using them in our daily discourse. Sometimes I will parody a friend when I notice they are speaking excessively with their hands. This usually results in a look of total surprise as they were unaware of the use of their hands. It’s all very subliminal.

Using our hands is a natural part of the way we communicate. However, if you are worried you use your hands excessively, either ask your friends, or better yet, try sitting on your hands during a conversation. If one or both hands pop out, you probably use them to excess.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

Keep the Faith!

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

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

For a listing of Tim’s Pet Peeves, click HERE.

Download Tim’s new eBook (PDF), “Bryce’s Pet Peeve Anthology – Volume I” (free) DOWNLOAD).

Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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

GETTING FIRED

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 26, 2009

People get fired from their jobs for a lot of reasons, such as a company struggling in today’s economy, poor job performance, corporate politics, or even petty jealousies. Being fired is a real shot to the ego regardless of the reason. The first question one asks is, “Why?” Unfortunately, we don’t always get the answer, maybe because companies are afraid of possible litigation resulting from the dismissal or they believe they are trying to let the worker down easily. Consequently, employees are dumbfounded as to why they were fired or are left with a fabricated excuse, which, to me, can be more damaging than the actual firing itself.

Years ago, my father had to fire someone who had risen above his level of competency (aka “The Peter Principle”). He pulled the man aside, explained what he had done wrong and let him go. Years later, my father bumped into the man who was now working at another company. My father wasn’t sure how the man would react to their meeting. Actually, the man was quite warm to my father and confided to him that getting fired was the best thing that happened to him as he realized he was on a collision course with disaster in his old job and my father’s advice helped point him in the right direction. In other words, the firing had ultimately benefited the man in the long run and proved the point that keeping a poor performer does a disservice to both the company and the person.

Aside from economic downturns, employees typically get fired for a variety of reasons: incompetence, inability to grow and assume responsibility, failure to adapt to the corporate culture, excessive tardiness and absenteeism, bad attitude towards work, illegal acts, etc. In this situation, it is about you, the employee, and highlights a character flaw you may or may not be conscious of. In this situation, you should resist the temptation to become bitter, and try to learn from it instead. It must be something you have done (or not done), or the perception of what you have done. Either way, try to find the truth. If it is something concrete, that’s easy, but if it is a problem of perception, try to determine what the cause of the perception is and try to correct it. For example, maybe you were the victim of gossip or something misreported. Then again, maybe there is something in your character that causes people to perceive you as something that you are not. In other words, it’s time for some retrospection and soul searching. Regardless, do not dismiss the firing as just the ravings of a nut job. Remember, it is either something you have done, or the perception of what you have done.

This is why I’m a big believer of regularly scheduled employee performance reviews, which many people avoid as they feel uncomfortable talking about a person’s character. These reviews should not be taken lightly by either the manager or the employee. They are invaluable for pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of the employee, clearing up misconceptions, and formulating a course of action to improve the employee. Some companies have a policy of performing such a review 30 days from the first day of work, others wait 60 or 90 days. They are then reviewed either on an annual or semiannual basis. The point is, don’t take your evaluation lightly, try to understand what the manager is telling you and ask questions. Otherwise you might find yourself totally surprised when the boss fires you.

Hopefully, the person doing the firing will do it professionally. I have seen too many people stumble clumsily through it thereby turning it into an ugly affair, benefiting no one. This is why I wrote the paper “Firing Employees isn’t for Sissies” some time ago.

Bottom-line: Don’t be bitter about firings and reviews. You might not like them, but you should definitely learn from them.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

Keep the Faith!

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

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

For a listing of Tim’s Pet Peeves, click HERE.

Download Tim’s new eBook (PDF), “Bryce’s Pet Peeve Anthology – Volume I” (free) DOWNLOAD).

Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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

REQUEST FOR WHATEVER (RFW)

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 22, 2009

If you have ever served in a sales position for a major company, you will inevitably come across a request from a government agency to make a bid for their business, be it at the federal, state or local level. This is typically called an RFP (Request for Proposal), an RFI (Request for Information), an RFQ (Request for Quotation) or, as I like to call it, an RFW (Request for Whatever). I say this because I do not have a lot of respect for these bid processes and have found they are more rigged for a particular vendor than they are honest requests for competitive business. Government agencies perform RFW’s to try and demonstrate to the public they are being fair and forthright in their bidding process, but the reality is you really don’t have a chance of winning the contract unless you already have the inside track.

We’ve done our fair share of RFW’s over the years. We’ve won some, but also lost many others. For example, there was one state government where we had two agencies who had already purchased our products. When the state wanted to have all of their agencies and departments purchase similar products, we thought we had the inside track due to the two agencies. We then went about the process of producing a comprehensive and professional response to the RFW, and at a reasonable price I might add. The size of the contract was such that just about everyone in our office dropped what they were doing in order to concentrate on the RFW. We felt pretty good about the proposal we produced and confident we would be the winning bid. However, despite all of our efforts, we lost the contract which went to a competitor with a greatly inferior product. Only years later did we find out that our competitor had a local salesman who wined and dined the state’s evaluation team, even going so far as to arrange for some hookers to take an “active” part in the selection process. In other words, we never stood a chance.

I don’t mind losing on a level playing field, but when the chips are stacked against you before you even get started, my Scottish blood begins to boil. This little episode forced us to rethink our policy on RFW’s and, as a result, we no longer waste our time on them. If someone wants our products, we instruct them to use the “sole source” designation, meaning they must declare we are the only vendor who offers this type of product. This works fine for us, but think about it, the government is stacking the deck against others by doing this. None of this sounds very fair or honest does it? But this is what happens when you try to pacify the public.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

Keep the Faith!

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

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

For a listing of Tim’s Pet Peeves, click HERE.

Download Tim’s new eBook (PDF), “Bryce’s Pet Peeve Anthology – Volume I” (free) DOWNLOAD).

Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Life, Management | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

TOO BIG TO FAIL?

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 19, 2009

A friend and I were recently talking about the bailout programs the government enacted and discussed how it was primarily targeted at big business, not the little guys, which we thought was rather unfair. Over the last 100 years, Americans have come to believe that “Big” meant best, that behemoths were generally regarded as invincible. If the recession has taught us anything, it is this is certainly not true.

In my industry, I remember when IBM was considered the giant you dared not trifle with, that you would be steam rolled if you weren’t careful. Arthur Anderson was also considered a major force to be reckoned with in the consulting and CPA fields. Times have changed though; for example, IBM is now a mere shadow of its old self when it dominated an entire industry, and Arthur Anderson evaporated as the “Big 8” shrunk and merged to become the “Big 4.”

A few scant years ago it would have been unimaginable to see the American automotive and banking industries coughing up blood like they are now, not to mention the huge financial institutions in peril. It’s no small wonder the stock markets sit on shaky ground. Obviously, bad decisions were made and one could argue greed played a significant role in this mess, yet these are the companies we thought were impervious to anything. “Big” does not necessarily mean best, nor does it make a company invincible, which we should have known all along.

This points out a couple of things; first, big business needs to be flattened in order to move with the same ease as companies a fraction of their size. They may be big, but they have to think small. Second, our government is certainly not invincible either. The same type of bad decisions made by big business can also be made by our government. The only difference is that it is unlikely that anyone will bail us out. We may be a great nation with a military second to none, but it is simple economics that can topple even the biggest and best of us. Doesn’t anyone remember how the Soviet Union fell?

This should be a humbling experience to all of us, as well as an invaluable lesson. Just remember the haunting expression, “As GM Goes, So Goes the Nation.” Let’s hope not.

“I do not believe the greatest threat to our future is from bombs or guided missiles. I don’t think our civilization will die that way. I think it will die when we no longer care. Arnold Toynbee has pointed out that 19 of 21 civilizations have died from within and not from without. There were no bands playing and flags waving when these civilizations decayed. It happened slowly, in the quiet and the dark when no one was aware.”

– Laurence M. Gould
President Emeritus
Carleton College

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

Keep the Faith!

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

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

For a listing of Tim’s Pet Peeves, click HERE.

Download Tim’s new eBook (PDF), “Bryce’s Pet Peeve Anthology – Volume I” (free) DOWNLOAD).

Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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

SUPERMARKETS

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 15, 2009

You can learn a lot from a supermarket. For example, if you want to know what a community is really like, visit the local supermarket. To me, it is a microcosm of the community, complete with local cuisine, customs, speech patterns, fashion, and social stature. It also tells us a lot about our driving skills. That’s right, driving. The similarities between how people push their shopping carts in the store and how they motor around town is truly remarkable. Think about it, here’s what you typically find as you meander the store aisles:

Speeders – these are the people who know exactly what they want, and go in and out of the store as fast as possible. They have little time for chitchat and God forbid you get in their way, WHAM! Actually, I like to follow the speeders through the store as they tend to clear the aisles for me (kind of like following an ambulance or fire truck). Most people are put off by speeders though, particularly when they accidentally ram into other shopping carts.

Slow Pokes – obviously this group represents the antithesis of the speeders. These are the people who either go grocery shopping like it is a carefree social outing or the geriatric types who can barely see above the carts. Then of course there are the people talking on cell phones or the handicap wheel chairs the size of a Sherman Tank. All of these people move at a snail’s pace and are totally oblivious to everyone else around them thereby causing traffic jams.

Road Hogs – these are the people who push their carts down the middle of the aisles making it difficult to pass from either direction, left or right. These are the same people who like to double-park their carts in the most congested parts of the store and look offended if you ask them to move (which, of course, they do reluctantly).

Navigation through the supermarket is probably the biggest reason why people loathe going to them. Perhaps if they were designed more like highways it would be simpler, such as turning lanes, traffic signs, and lines painted down the middle of the aisle floors (actually, I think this would be a great idea as people are conditioned to follow painted lines on the road and would probably observe one side or the other).

Thank God nobody ever thought of adding a horn to a grocery cart as I suspect the sound would be deafening. Maybe what we need is a motorcycle cop driving a two wheel Segway up and down the aisles writing tickets or traffic cops strategically located around the store.

Actually, I think they should give driving tests in supermarkets as a precursor to getting your actual driver’s license. Imagine kiosks in supermarkets like Kroger, Publix, and Safeway where you have to complete a written test and then be evaluated by Troopers with drill-sergeant hats and reflective glasses with clipboards judging shoppers on their driving skills. This should significantly cut down on the number of idiots on the road wouldn’t it?

Yes, supermarkets tell a lot about ourselves, maybe too much.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

Keep the Faith!

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

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

For a listing of Tim’s Pet Peeves, click HERE.

Download Tim’s new eBook (PDF), “Bryce’s Pet Peeve Anthology – Volume I” (free) DOWNLOAD).

Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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

COMPLIMENTS

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 12, 2009

Something I don’t think we do enough of, in either our personal or professional lives, is to pay someone a compliment. I’m not just talking about a simple “Thank You,” although that probably wouldn’t be a bad place to start, but a genuine note of gratitude for a job well done. A compliment may sound like a trivial thing, but most people tend to respond to recognition as they like to know they are on the right track and their efforts are appreciated. If compliments are not forthcoming, people tend to believe they are simply being ignored or taken for granted.

When a compliment is given, it is typically delivered badly. Expressions like “Cool” and “Awesome” may seem clever, but are hardly an effective form of appreciation. A compliment comes from the heart, it is certainly not mechanical. It must be sincere and a true expression of gratitude. As such, there is no pat formula for giving a compliment. It may be something as simple as a plaque or an award, perhaps a bonus or gift, some sort of public recognition, or maybe nothing more than a sincere handshake and a few kind words like, “Well done.” Actually, it depends on the person; whereas some people thrive on kudos, others are more private and prefer anonymity. Some are confident enough to realize they have done a good job and simply derive pleasure from the work performed; these are the true craftsmen. So, a lot depends on the person to receive the compliment as well as the person who wishes to express his/her gratitude.

Perhaps the best type of compliment is one where the person isn’t expecting to receive it. In fact, it may seem a little more genuine and sincere coming from out of the blue. Let me give you an example, I recently sent a letter to Maria Shriver complimenting her on how well she handles herself as First Lady of California. As you probably know, she is a member of the Kennedy clan, well known for their liberal politics, but she is also married to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a confirmed Republican. She may not always agree with her husband’s politics, but she has always been there to support him and the people of her state. Regardless of her political agenda, which I personally differ with, she has always been a model of poise, dignity, and class. To me, she is a role model to be emulated regardless of your political persuasion. Consequently, I wrote and told her so. I don’t know if it is important for her to receive such a compliment as much as it was for me to say it as I believe it is necessary to recognize the integrity of role models, now more than ever. As First Lady, she may not carry the same authority as her husband, but I thought it was important to let her know that her actions do not go unnoticed or are unappreciated by the public.

Frankly, I do not understand why people are afraid of giving a compliment. If we feel it is necessary to criticize, we should also be prepared to compliment. Whereas one is typically negative and destructive, the other tends to be positive and constructive. Yet we feel more comfortable criticizing than complimenting. I’m not sure why. I’ll tell you this though, a compliment is neither corny or unhip. If done properly, not only is it the right thing to do, but it can actually work miracles as a simple form of encouragement. As the old saying observes, “You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.”

P.S. – I received a gracious letter from Maria Shriver thanking me for the courtesy, “I am truly honored to be serving as California’s First Lady and it can be very challenging juggling the many duties, as well as being a mother of four children. However, we are making a positive difference in the lives of many people and I am thrilled to be doing my part to help. Again, thank you for your very kind words.”

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

Keep the Faith!

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

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

For a listing of Tim’s Pet Peeves, click HERE.

Download Tim’s eBook (PDF), “The Bryce is Right! Empowering Managers in today’s Corporate Culture” (free DOWNLOAD).

Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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

THE STUPIDS

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 8, 2009

Shortly after graduating from high school I went to work at a large amusement park in Cincinnati for a summer where I ran the cable car ride. I had a lot of smaller jobs while in school, but this was the first where I was exposed to the public on a grand scale. The amusement park provided instructional materials to try and prepare employees in dealing with the public, but I don’t think anything truly prepares you for something like this other than to throw you right into it whereby you either sink or swim.

I have to admit, dealing with the masses for the first time is an eye-opening experience and definitely not for the faint of heart. The public’s indiscretions and atrocities are truly mind-numbing as anyone who has ever worked at such a venue can tell you. While at the park, I saw motorcycle gangs, groups of transvestites, drunk hillbillies, etc., but it was Orphan Day at the park that finally pushed me over the edge. Basically, the park opened its doors to every orphan in the state of Ohio which, to me, seemed like releasing all of the animals from the zoo. The kids basically ran amok throughout the park un-chaperoned. In addition to just being pests, they endangered others on the rides, and frequently injured themselves. As I recall, the log-flume ride had more than its share of chopped off fingers from kids who wouldn’t listen to instruction and keep their hands inside the ride. On more than one occasion they caused my cable-car ride to shut down by jumping up and down in the car during the ride. As an aside, seeing a cable car bounce up and down on a line like a pogo stick is a frightening sight. Bottom-line, Orphan Day was my last day of employment at the park.

Recently, I was asked to help out at a major community event in my area. This was not just another rinky-dink arts and crafts festival, but rather a major outdoor event involving thousands of people. The particular group I was involved with was charged with directing parking and securing the entrances and exits to the event. As the human throngs invaded, I started to experience flashbacks to my amusement park days. Instead of dealing with orphans, motorcycle gangs, etc., I was dealing with basic families and retirees. Interestingly, I discovered they suffered from the same case of “the stupids” as the whackos I had in Ohio, It thereby occurred to me that “the stupids” know no boundary and can be found just about anywhere involving large groups of people.

Here are the earmarks of people suffering from “the stupids” in massive venues:

  • Sensory impairment, particularly sight and sound. It seems people cannot see
    the largest of signs, even when it is blinking in front of them. Further, they seem
    to become deaf when you are trying to give them instruction; either that or they
    seem to forget the English language and look at you like you are from another planet.
  • People become self-centered. Instead of trying to cooperate and wait their turn, they are more interested in pushing and shoving to the head of the line. When you try to correct them, they become belligerent, regardless of how polite you try to be.
  • People develop a herd mentality whereby they follow anyone wherever they are going, right or wrong, kind of like lemmings.

Basically, I find people tend to lose consciousness in mass settings and prefer to have others do the thinking for them. If I have learned anything from this, it is:

1. People have no common sense in massive settings and need to be told what to do, not just once but repetitively until it sinks in.

2. People prefer to be led and told what to do. They are more content if they know someone is watching over them.

3. People are easily manipulated using simple commands. If the message is complicated, the less likely they will understand and obey it. Short, simple commands are all that is necessary (and all that John Q. Public understands).

If this all sounds like a cattle drive, it is, complete with park attendants who play the role of cowboys. Next time you visit an amusement park or political rally, observe how the masses are manipulated and you will see what I’m talking about. Just be careful not to spook the herd though, you might start a stampede. This is why you often hear soothing music at such venues, as it tends to calm people down (like the cowboy’s harmonica).

“Get along little doggie!”

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

Keep the Faith!

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

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

For a listing of Tim’s Pet Peeves, click HERE.

Download Tim’s eBook (PDF), “The Bryce is Right! Empowering Managers in today’s Corporate Culture” (free DOWNLOAD).

Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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

THE LAST MAN ON EARTH

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 5, 2009

As many of you know, I have never been a big fan of cell phones, particularly as people use them when driving their cars. My loathe for them was such that I vowed to be the last man on the planet to own one. Well, after seeing countless housewives in the grocery store talking on them, the multitude of idiots using them in cars, kids on tricycles, the homeless gabbing away, even prisoners using them, and finally seeing nobody else in line ahead of me, I finally succumbed and acquiesced to get one. Actually, my wife got it for me as she was frustrated in tracking me down and felt it was time to bell the cat.

Unlike a lot of people, I see the cell phone as something used in emergencies and not as an integral part of my daily life. I can do very well without one. No, I do not need a cell phone to relieve the tedium of waiting in traffic, the radio will do just fine; nor do I find it necessary to entertain someone while sitting on the toilet or standing in the shower. There is a time and place for everything and I do not believe cell phones fall into these categories. Then again, this is not the first time I’ve been accused of being old fashioned, and likely it will not be the last. I tend to believe I am more pragmatic about the use of the cell phone than most and have no intention of allowing it to change my life style. Consequently, I hereby pledge the following in the use of my cell phone:

  • That I will not use it while driving an automobile. If I really need to use it, I’ll pull off the road to talk on it thereby not causing a traffic hazard.
  • That I will not use it in the bathroom. I’m sorry, if another party wants my full attention, they will just have to wait.
  • That I will keep it muted or off in a public venue and if I find it necessary to talk to someone in a public setting, I will excuse myself so that I do not interrupt others.
  • That if I find myself in a situation where I must either focus my attention on either a pressing problem at hand or talk to another party on the cell phone, I will quickly determine which has priority and devote my attention to one or the other, but not both. In other words, I may ask the caller to excuse me so I can finish what I am doing and will call them back when it is convenient for me to do so.
  • That I will be judicious in distributing my cell phone number. I don’t need another blockhead calling me regarding some inconsequential nonsense. If I give you my number, it means I trust your judgment, value your friendship or business, and recognize you will not redistribute it to others unless I ask you to. Further, I will do likewise to safeguard the cell phone numbers I have in my address book.
  • If I have a voice mail message that says I will call you back, I will, but if I have a voice mail message stating I will be unable to return calls, don’t hold your breath.
  • That I will not send text messages while driving or performing some critical function.
  • That I will read the manual even though it is written incomprehensibly by programmers who haven’t got a clue what “user friendly” means.

In other words, I pledge not to let the cell phone run my life, but I’ll run it instead. I may be the last man on Earth to get a cell phone, but, alas, I fear I’ll be the first to use it rationally.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

Keep the Faith!

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

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

For a listing of Tim’s Pet Peeves, click HERE.

Download Tim’s eBook (PDF), “The Bryce is Right! Empowering Managers in today’s Corporate Culture” (free DOWNLOAD).

Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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

MANAGEMENT FADS

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 1, 2009

When it comes to management, businesses are too often seduced by the latest gimmick and gizmo. For example, I have been recently reading about the latest corporate fads for management, such as: voting for the boss; reinventing the budget committee; setting up Wikis for the customer; predictive analytics; global team building; knowledge transfer; and the list goes on and on. Now, I will admit there are a couple of good ideas scattered throughout this Mumbo Jumbo, but I tend to believe we go overboard on the absurd and overlook the obvious. For some reason, people find the allure of smoke and mirrors more irresistible than common sense.

Perhaps the biggest thing overlooked is that management is a people oriented function, not a technical or administrative function; it’s about people. Management is about getting people to do what you want them to do, when you want them to do it, and how you want it done. Face it, we get things done through people, not through machines which are nothing more than mechanical leverage in our work effort. Like it or not, business is about people. Management, therefore, should be less concerned with the latest gadget or slight of hand, and more with mastering people skills.

When companies become consumed by fads, I think they tend to overlook the fundamentals of management; for example:

  • Interpersonal communications/relations skills – speaking, writing, persuasion, negotiating, interviewing, diplomacy, etc.
  • Instituting discipline and organization, (as opposed to free-spirited mavericks that are stubbornly independent).
  • If you want teamwork, you should first learn about coaching and leadership.
  • How to control the corporate culture, including decorum, protocol, ethics, as well as the effect of physical surroundings. This includes professional courtesy extended to workers, customers, vendors, and prospective clients.
  • Establishing and managing priorities and deadlines. This includes how to become less reactive and more proactive in planning processes.
  • Promoting pride in workmanship (craftsmanship); this includes properly equipping and training workers thereby creating a sense of belonging and ownership of the work product.
  • How to fairly and equitably evaluate, compensate and discipline worker performance.
  • How to empower people by delegating responsibility, motivating them, and holding them accountable for their actions. In other words, teach the workers to assume more responsibility and supervise themselves.
It is these skills that move mountains, not the latest wrinkle from Microsoft, cell phones, or some other harebrained scheme. Management is really not that complicated, it’s actually quite simple and goes back to the moral values we were all taught as kids, but, unfortunately, the human being for some reason tries to make things more complicated than they need to be. Basic management may lack flash and sizzle, it may not be couched in esoteric concepts and terminology, but you know what? It works.

No Virginia, there is no panacea.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

Keep the Faith!

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

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

For a listing of Tim’s Pet Peeves, click HERE.

Download Tim’s eBook (PDF), “The Bryce is Right! Empowering Managers in today’s Corporate Culture” (free DOWNLOAD).

Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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