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Archive for August, 2009

CHALLENGING THE STATUS QUO

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 28, 2009

I’ve been teaching systems design for over thirty years now and the mechanics for such work is fairly simple and straightforward. However, as I’ve told my students, the Achilles’ heel to systems work is not in design, but rather in implementation. I’ve seen some truly wondrous systems fail, not because of any serious design flaw but due to a general failure to recognize the new system’s impact on the status quo.

Changing the status quo of anything is not a simple task, primarily because people are creatures of habit and form allegiances to the processes and tools they use to perform their work. Further, there is a tendency to develop a protectionist attitude by those who may view a change as an infringement of a corporate or political fiefdom, something that will be staunchly defended.

The one inescapable fact remains though is, “If anything in life is constant, it is change” (Bryce’s Law). We change for a variety of reasons, e.g., economics, competition, politics, society, technology, legal, or due to government regulations. Change is simply a fact of life. We may either embrace change or stubbornly resist it, but ignoring it won’t make it go away.

It is our duty, therefore, to challenge the status quo in order to evolve and improve, which is something we must admonish our youth to perpetuate. This does not mean we should change something simply for the sake of change, which would be madness, but we should strive to seek new and improved solutions so we can serve our customers or constituents better. For example, we cannot escape certain laws and rules, such as those found in math and physics, but we should certainly explore new ways for implementing them.

This means we must reserve the right to question and discuss. Banning such discourse is like sticking your head in the sand. After discussion though, if the status quo is still a sound and viable solution, fine, then it should remain unaltered. If not, it should be modified and improved accordingly (assuming it is cost justifiable to do so).

Regardless if a change is justified or not, be prepared to ruffle feathers when implementing it. As Machiavalli correctly observed in “The Prince” (1513):

“It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who would gain by the new ones.”

Just remember, progress is arrested when we surrender to the status quo, that we no longer strive to exceed it. That would indeed be a sad day. Stagnation is not an option.

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

KEEPING MEN GUESSING

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 25, 2009

I’ve been married now for over 25 years and you would think that after a quarter century I would have a good idea what my wife likes and dislikes. Frankly, I haven’t a clue, and I don’t think I’m any different than a lot of other guys out there who still have trouble understanding the feminine mystique. Let me give you some examples…

In preparing to go out for a major social function, my wife typically comes out to model an outfit she is considering to wear and asks what I think about it. Usually she gives me a couple of choices, either this, this, or that. They all look nice, but regardless what I choose, she always settles for something else. After the outfit is selected, then it’s a matter of what shoes to wear; again, this, this or that. Whatever I pick, she picks the opposite. Then of course comes the accompanying purse to complete the ensemble where I, of course, swing and miss again. Strike three. Frankly, I believe I’m a broken barometer when it comes to predicting what a woman wants to wear.

My daughter picked up this same modeling habit as she was growing up and would ask my son and I what we thought she should wear. Again, whatever we picked, she picked the opposite. Although she trusted my wife’s judgment, my son and I always struck out. However, I got a little comfort out of this as I realized I wasn’t alone in picking the wrong fashion.

This phenomenon isn’t restricted to clothing either. I run across it whenever I want to order her food, or shop for presents. Whatever I pick, it’s never quite right.

I’m flattered she still asks for my opinion on what she wants, but it’s all very demoralizing when she ignores you. I am not allowed to take on a defeatist attitude either. For example, if I were to say something like, “Pick whatever you like,” I’m accused of not caring. Then again, there is the game of deliberately picking the wrong item in the hopes she will pick what you want. Unfortunately, she sees though this ploy too easily and doesn’t fall for it. Bottom-line she picks what she wants and I am nothing more than a shallow endorsement.

I guess the point of this exercise is to simply keep men on their toes and never allow them to get the upper hand.

While I’m on it, another part of the feminine mystique is the woman’s purse. This is something I learned a long time ago not to go into as God only knows what you’ll find in there, least of all something you’re looking for. As I was growing up, my mother would ask me, “Just reach inside my purse and get me this or that.” Of course I could never find what she wanted and, instead, learned to just retrieve the purse for her to look through. My wife is no different in this regards.

Women store a lot of things in a purse, such as their wallet, cosmetics, memo pads, glasses, cigarettes, cell phones, menus, report cards (from the 1960’s), broken items in need of repair, and other pieces of bricabrac. Actually, the purse is more of a footlocker than anything else, which makes me wonder why anyone would try to snatch a purse as they would get a hernia trying to do so and wouldn’t be able to find anything in it even if they were successful.

I also find it interesting how women have different sizes of purses; small dainty ones for social occasions, medium sizes for travel, or the “Big Mama” pack horses. Regardless of the size, they all manage to squeeze the same paraphernalia in them, which would even impress Harry Houdini. Regardless, I’ve learned to keep a safe distance away from women’s purses and when asked to retrieve one, I treat it like a delicate Claymore mine.

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 »

NEWS OVERLOAD

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 21, 2009

For many years, we usually got our news from the morning or evening newspapers. This was then supplemented by radio, which we either listened to at home or in our cars to and from work. The radio was eventually replaced by television, with news either early in the morning, or at 6:30 at night. Ted Turner then introduced us to 24/7 news reporting, and the race was on to create whole television networks to report on the slightest development of anything. In the meantime, computers and the Internet were phased in with web browsers and e-mail which, among other things, allowed us to peruse news of interest at our leisure. This also allowed news alerts and feeds to be automatically generated about selectable subjects of interest, and distributed not only through computers, but through cell phones and other hand held devices.

If I ever need to know what’s going on though, I just ask my wife. She mans what I call the “Media Center” in our family room, whereby she scours the morning newspaper from cover to cover, and any other periodical that comes our way. Next to her is her morning coffee and cigarette, her cell phone, and the house phone. The television is tuned to a morning news program which, in addition to video, includes several scrollable news bars telling viewers what is going on in Tierra del Fuego. In front of her is her laptop which receives her e-mail and news alerts. She’s very informed. If she doesn’t know about something, it probably didn’t happen. Actually, I think the folks at mission control in Houston would be a bit envious of her setup.

Today we have more sources for news than ever before, thus establishing fierce competition for the attention of the consumer. So much so, it is changing our habits for receiving and digesting the news. It puzzles me though, with so many news outlets at our disposal, how can the American people be so uninformed? Think about it. In this country most of us now have access to publications, television, computers, and cell phones, yet most people haven’t got a clue as to what is going on (other than in the world of entertainment).

Maybe the reason is that we actually get less news today and more spin. Instead of “here are the facts” (and allow you to arrive at your own conclusion), we now have “here are the facts and this is what they mean.” In other words, hard news is sacrificed for analysis and hyperbole. Let’s face it though, news can be pretty dry and boring and, instead of putting their audience to sleep, the media moguls add glitz and controversy to spark interest from their audience (and continue to peddle their wares). The danger here however, is too much spin lends itself to brainwashing. It’s like saying, “Look, you’re too stupid to figure this out, so this is what it means and here is what you should be thinking.” I fear too many people have been conditioned to think this way, leaving the door open to politicians with the most money to sway voters as they see fit.

The answer is not necessarily to develop your own personal “Media Center” like my wife did, but to just pay more attention to what is going on and challenge what is being preached to you by the media. Just remember, honest journalism died with the advent of 24/7 news reporting.

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, Media | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

GUN CONTROL

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 18, 2009

Well I think it’s time to open Pandora’s Box again and discuss another subject sure to generate some discussion, namely gun control, a subject which divides the country as much as the subject of abortion. Let me say from the outset that I support the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights which secures the right of the people to keep and bear arms. The quandary though is how guns are used in this country, either for good or evil. Antigun proponents would like to see all guns eradicated completely. This is simply an impractical and unworkable solution, particularly when you consider the country’s history and the volume of guns produced. Even if such a program was implemented, we would be surrendering the country to criminals, our enemies, or a military state.

Proper gun owners use their weapons for three purposes: defense, hunting, or marksmanship. Not long ago, when I was on a fishing trip in the wilds of Alaska I noticed our guides were all packing heat (and I’m glad they did as I had no interest in a close encounter with a bear or moose). I have no problem with people hunting wild game, assuming its not an endangered species and legal to do so. I also enjoy trap and skeet shooting, as well as general target practice. Something I’ve learned from all of this is that serious shooters are less inclined to discharge their weapons frivolously and are very safety conscious.

With all this said, what do I consider reasonable precautions for reducing gun related crimes and accidents?

First, a criminal background check should be performed on anyone purchasing a gun. There should also be stiff penalties for people selling or transferring ownership of a gun to a person with a felonious record. Further, such criminals found in possession of a firearm should be charged accordingly.

Second, competent safety instruction in the use of the firearm should be considered a prerequisite for gun ownership. Most of the gun accidents you hear about relate to some huckleberry who treats a gun like a toy. When not in use, all guns should be under lock and key. Duh!

Third, I seriously question the need to sell to the general public such things as assault weapons, machine guns, grenade launchers, etc.

This last item is perhaps the most controversial as some people would argue such firearms are needed for defensive reasons. Come on, who’s kidding who here? If you really need to defend the Alamo, try calling the police or military first. Where would such an escalation of firepower end? With everyone driving around in Abrams Tanks?

I guess what I’m driving at is that you can reduce the number of accidents and crimes attributed to firearms simply by applying a little common sense. You cannot argue from a far-left or far-right position when it comes to gun control. As to the left, who would like to see guns disappear altogether, sorry, it won’t work and it won’t happen. As to the right, sorry, but I really don’t think you need a howitzer to go hunting (and it kind of takes the sport out of things).

In studying this, I discovered Switzerland is supposed to he one of the safest countries in the world in terms of gun control. Under their system, all adult men are subject to conscription in the military, thereby requiring them to keep government issued firearms at home in case of a call-up. Not only does everyone have a gun, they all know how to use it. Hmm…maybe the Swiss are on to something here.

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, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

REMEMBERING NAMES

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 14, 2009

I hate to forget a person’s name. There is probably nothing more rude in business than to forget someone’s name, particularly if you have had to deal with them one-on-one. Years ago, when I was just starting out in business, I met a gentleman from Worcester, Massachusetts who attended one of our systems courses in Cincinnati. He was a nice guy and I actively worked with him during the class. Two weeks later, we held a customer conference in French Lick, Indiana where I happened to run into him again, this time on the golf course. My mind went totally blank as to what his name was, thus creating an awkward moment as we greeted each other (he, of course, remembered my name, but I was blocked). After some clever maneuvering, I finally got him to say his name which I instantly recognized. However, to make matters worse, I mispronounced the name of the town he is from which, if you are not from Massachusetts, is easy to butcher (look up “Worcester” in the dictionary and you’ll see what I mean). All in all, I didn’t score well in front of my customer that day. Consequently, I was determined not to let this happen again.

Following this episode, I started to take introductions more seriously and made a concerted effort to learn a person’s name, how they liked to be addressed, where he or she was from, and their interests. At the time, I developed a Rolodex file with this information printed on it. If I had to leave my office and visit customers on their premises, I would be sure to take pertinent cards from the file with me. Today, of course, I keep everything in a Personal Information Manager (PIM) which I can take with me anywhere on a flash drive, but the principle is still the same. This little intelligence has served me well over the years and I have impressed many customers with what I remembered about them, even years later. It’s not that I have developed a great memory, I haven’t, it’s just that I recognized the usefulness for remembering little details about people, cataloged them, either in my head or written down somewhere, and used it as needed to develop a good rapport with my clients.

Customers find it very comforting when such detail is remembered by their vendor. It gives them a sense of security that their interests are being maintained, which helps to develop trust and a bond between customer and vendor.

These days though, few people take the time to remember your name. As a small example, when you go to the drive-up window of a local bank, tellers are typically hospitable, but rarely do they take the time to remember your name. I hate it when they try to be pseudo-flirtatious with you when they don’t know who you really are. No, it doesn’t endear me to the bank.

It is these little observations that go a long way. As an example, perhaps the best secretary I ever saw was a lady named Myrna who worked for an I.T. Director in Chicago. The first time I visited the office, Myrna warmly greeted me and asked if I wanted a cup of coffee. Saying Yes, she then asked me what I wanted in it. I said cream and sugar, which she then made for me. Months later when I returned to visit the I.T. Director, Myrna greeted me by name and presented me with a cup of coffee with cream and sugar. Frankly, I was startled that she not only remembered my name but how I also liked my coffee. Later I found out that Myrna also maintained a simple card file; whenever someone visited the office, Myrna would record their name and the type of coffee they liked. Sharp. Very sharp.

It’s these little details that make a difference in customer relations. As Michelangelo said, “Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle.”

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 »

CREDIT SCORES

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 11, 2009

Whether we like it or not, our lives are greatly impacted by our financial credit scores. If you have a good credit rating, lending institutions are more than happy to loan you the money to buy a house, a boat, a car, help you start a business venture, or whatever. If you have a bad rating, you’re basically stuck in Nowheresville.

For our younger readers, your credit score begins the day you get a revolving line of credit, such as a credit card or gasoline card, or purchase something on time, such as a house, furniture, or whatever. Your ability to pay off debt is monitored and scored from this point to the day you finally die (and pass your financial troubles to your heirs). In other words, it is an albatross hanging around all of our necks.

Interestingly, most consumers pay little attention to their credit scores which are ultimately maintained by three major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. A lot of people seem to prefer operating in the dark. I guess ignorance is bliss. To the rest of us, it’s a wise move to periodically look over your credit report and make sure it is an accurate accounting of your credit history. If it is wrong, it could do considerable damage to your reputation from a financial perspective.

Your credit score is primarily a reflection of your ability to pay your debt. Period. Remarkably, your income is of little concern in this regards. Just because you make a lot of money, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will use it to pay off your debt. Instead, they carefully monitor your credit cards and loans. In particular, they analyze the amount of credit available to you, your outstanding balance, and if you are paying it off on time. Late payments are flagged accordingly. From this, they calculate a credit score which lending institutions use to pass judgment on you. Having a good credit score, therefore, is a sign you are able to manage your finances responsibly. It should be noted that gender, race, and religion are not considered when determining scores.

Although the credit report is available free to you once a year, the credit score must be purchased separately for a modest fee. Perhaps the best place to begin to study your credit profile is at the web site, Annual Credit Report, a free service to guide you through requesting a credit check.

We all understand what is necessary to raise credit scores; in a nutshell, don’t bite off more than you can chew, and pay it off on time. However, knowing this and having the discipline to implement it are two different things, as evidenced by our current recession which was started, in large part, by people defaulting on home loans (and don’t get me started on the idiots who loaned them the money in the first place).

At the time of this writing, the Experian credit bureau reported that America’s “National Score Index” was 692 which, by my estimate, is a “Good” credit rating (“B”). This is either an overly generous estimate or perhaps Experian is telling us our economy is not as bad as we thought and is indicative of a healthy rebound. I suspect the latter as their numbers are based on fact, not speculation.

If anything, this recession has taught us the virtue of paying attention to credit ratings, both for the consumer and for lending institutions. Like it or not, it is how we quantify an individual’s financial responsibility. Regardless of your credit score though, always remember this: The less money you have, the less likely you will get a loan. Conversely, if you already have a lot of money, you’ll get all the cash and credit you want. Sorry, that’s just the way it is. I don’t make the rules, I just report them.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

Keep the Faith!

(A tip of the hat to T.D.P. for the topic suggestion)

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 Credit, Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

BIG FISH IN SMALL PONDS

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 7, 2009

Do you remember the Dr. Seuss classic, “Yertle the Turtle”? In it, Yertle was the king of the turtles in a pond who demanded his subjects elevate him higher than the moon. The story was intended to make a mockery of ultimate power. There are still a lot of Yertles out there living separately in small ponds and I’m sure we all know a few of them. You can find them in companies, nonprofit groups, schools, even in our neighborhoods. They may not have been officially anointed king, but they very much try to play the role. It is what we commonly refer to as the “Big Fish in a Small Pond” phenomenon.

Titles and material objects are very important to the Big Fish, such as the biggest house in the neighborhood, the sportiest car, the largest boat, or whatever. They flaunt their extravagance as opposed to modestly concealing it. It thereby becomes a game with them to give the illusion they are somehow superior to everyone else. They basically want to be considered some sort of local power broker or social elitist, but in reality, they are essentially no different than anyone else, perhaps even weaker. True, people are impressed with such materialism at first, but I find the Big Fish tend to have serious character flaws and insecurities and, as such, are trying to purchase admiration and prestige as opposed to earning it through simple social skills.

The flaw in the Big Fish concept though is that size is relative. Whereas the fish may be big in one pond, it may very well be small in another wherein it’s limitations and insecurities are easily detected. Their ego is quickly deflated when this is brought to their attention. One has to ask if they are truly a big fish, why aren’t they living among their own kind? Why do they find it necessary to live among people they admittedly consider their inferiors?

The antithesis to this phenomenon is someone like Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world (and a very BIG fish), yet lives in the same house in Omaha, Nebraska he bought in 1958 for $31,500 (although some modification/improvements have certainly been made over the years). Nonetheless, I’m led to believe he has tried to lead a peaceful and unassuming life in his neighborhood for over 50 years.

I tend to be suspicious of Big Fish in Little Ponds. To me, they are trying to divert attention away from some other weakness they are hiding or have some ulterior motive. Eventually they are unmasked for what they truly are and their kingdom comes crumbling down. Just remember, Yertle the turtle may have been king for a while, but his subjects ultimately did him in.

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 »

HERD MANAGEMENT

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 4, 2009

Some time ago I commented on how people tend to behave in group settings (see “The Stupids”). This led to a series of e-mails I received from people asking me where they could find more information on what I called, “Herd Management.” Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot to be found, not unless you are talking about the management of cattle, horses or swine. Then again, maybe that’s not a bad place to start as their objective is essentially the same as moving the human animal.

Herd Management is primarily aimed at moving a large volume of living organisms from Point-A to Point-B, which implies the development of a road map to get there. Like any management function, Herd Management requires considerable planning and tightly controlled execution to achieve the desired result. Beyond this, there are three other variables vital to success: Knowing your subjects, how to motivate them, and controlling their environment.

Before you can manage them, you must first know them, thoroughly. This is needed so you can know what they are thinking, what their interests are, what they are capable or incapable of doing, thereby allowing you to manipulate them accordingly. Even in the management of livestock, ranchers closely monitor the attributes of their animals. For our purposes, this suggests the development of a data base whereby each person is uniquely identified and defined in terms of their characteristics; e.g., address, contact data, age, height, weight, education, job function, salary, likes/dislikes, strengths/weaknesses, whatever is pertinent to motivate and manipulate them. Ideally, a cross-reference feature is available to track the person’s relationship to other people, such as friends and family, thus permitting the identification of those who may influence the person’s actions and decisions either positively or negatively. A tracking mechanism is also required, to monitor their proper and improper movements, and to steer them in the right direction. Such intelligence is essential to Herd Management.

The one element unique to the human animal is their brain and, as such, a feedback mechanism is required to closely monitor what the herd is thinking. The more management knows about what the human being is thinking, the better they can influence it. This is why opinion polls are so important. Beyond this, you will find moles among the herd who are charged with quietly listening, taking notes, and reporting back to management what the herd is thinking. Without this feedback mechanism, Herd Management will inevitably make erroneous decisions in terms of how to manipulate the herd, possibly even causing a stampede in the wrong direction.

The second variable involves motivation. A whip or cattle prod may be useful for animals, but you have to be a little more subtle in coercing humans to go in the direction you want them to. This involves controlling the information from which they form opinions and make actions and decisions. Three elements are involved: the actual content, the vehicle to convey it, and the spin of the information. This means controlling the media to communicate to the people. Suppression of information is hardly a new idea. Even if information is leaked that is damaging to your cause, it can be manipulated and spun in any direction to make it look better than it really is. When in trouble, a diversion is created to distract attention away from the subject at hand.

Essential to all of this is to make your position appear to be mainstream thinking (popular), thereby causing people to readily embrace it and defend its position over objections from dissidents and antagonists (who should be suppressed to maintain the harmony of the herd). People want to believe what they are doing is good and that their best interests are being maintained. To this end, rumors, innuendoes, and inaccuracies (lies) are acceptable, and even preferable for those who spurn the truth.

When communicating with large numbers of people, the message should be simple and easy to understand. This is why catch phrases are quickly adopted in order to communicate whole ideas through a few simple words, thereby achieving a Pavlov’s Dog effect.

The third and final variable is controlling the environment which is primarily concerned with eliminating potential obstacles and interferences that may cause delays or a shift in plan. Keep in mind, the mentality of the members of the herd is on autopilot thereby allowing them to focus on the subject at hand, such as your message. Unexpected distractions, such as a bolt of lightning, an explosion or a heckler, upsets the herd causing them to become less manageable. By carefully managing the environment, you make it easier to control the herd. To this end, Herd Management studies people’s wants/needs, habits, diet, affect of climate, and monitors behavior (such as pushing, shoving, and fighting).

Finally, you need sufficient force to control the herd. In the livestock world, we used to talk about cowboys and wranglers. Now we talk about guides and supervisors who keep a close eye on the herd, spot problems, and takes corrective action at a moment’s notice. To do so requires effective communications and a resourceful staff who can adapt to different situations.

No, you won’t find Herd Management mentioned in the business schools on college campuses. It might sound like “Big Brother” watching, but you’ll find it in the play book of everyone dealing with crowds, be it a sporting event, an amusement park, a political convention, or the public in general. It may not seem politically correct to talk about it, but make no mistake, Herd Management is very much a reality.

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 Management | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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