THE BRYCE IS RIGHT!

Software for the finest computer – The Mind

  • Tim’s YouTube Channel

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 967 other followers

  • Categories

  • Fan Page

  • Since 1971:
    "Software for the finest computer - The Mind"

    Follow me on Twitter: @timbryce

  • Subscribe

Archive for January, 2011

THE HASSLE OF METAL KEYS

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 6, 2011

A person’s trustworthiness can be measured by the number of metal keys he possesses. Each key represents a trust or responsibility the person has committed to maintaining. I tend to believe the more keys a person has, the more he is trusted; the fewer keys he possesses, less so. I have three sets of keys I maintain; one set for my office and home, one for the Masonic Lodge where I serve as Secretary, and a set of car keys; in all, I generally carry 40+ keys which is a lot and quite uncomfortable if I try to carry them in a single pocket.

We use keys because most of us cannot remember combinations or passwords. For example, I would be hard pressed to remember combinations and passwords to replace my 40+ keys. Keys may be low tech, but they are effective for safeguarding most of our possessions, such as houses, offices, desks, equipment, supplies, vehicles, boats, garbage cans, weapons, etc. Some people believe magnetic cards are an effective alternative to keys, but I am hearing too many horror stories of people having their identities stolen through such cards. Key pads are nice too, but again you have the memorization problem to consider. Keys may be a hassle to carry, but they are probably the most cost effective solution around.

Perhaps the biggest problem with keys is we often forget what they are used for. As I mentioned, I have three sets. I know all of my car keys, but I probably only know 75% of my office/house keys. I have had them so long I frankly have forgotten what they are all used for. The big keys I can generally figure out, usually for a door of some kind, but it’s the little ones where I draw a blank. I’m sure they are for some obscure cabinets or desks I’ve long forgotten about. I may have even discarded the cabinets or desks and forgotten to throw the keys away in the process.

The same is true with my Lodge keys which I inherited some time ago. I know most of them, but there are a few that I simply draw a blank. This disturbs me greatly as I don’t like to be so disorganized, but I think all of us are in possession of a key or two (or more) which we haven’t got a clue as to its purpose.

When I assumed the Secretary’s duties, I dutifully cleaned out my predecessor’s desk. In the process, I found even more keys which looked quite old but seemed to be important. I’ve tried them on many locks but cannot seem to figure out what they are used for. I suspect one is for some secret vault where Masonic treasures are stored, such as the Holy Grail.

As tempted as I am to throw all of these old keys away, I’m afraid of doing so because, “You never know” when they might indeed serve a purpose. I don’t know about you but my luck is such that as soon as I discard a key, I inevitably discover its purpose and need to reproduce it requiring a locksmith thereby becoming a more costly proposition.

The only thing worse than having too many keys is to lose them. For most of us, this is the closest thing to madness we’ll ever experience. It’s bad enough we have misplaced our keys, we then begin to suffer from delusional scenarios of Jack the Ripper sacking our homes in the middle of the night.

Keys may be symbolic of someone’s trustworthiness, but they are certainly a hassle to hold and to lose. I just wish retina-scanning or fingerprint technology was more advanced and affordable. It would certainly be a lot easier on my pocket and state of mind.

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. 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 Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 11:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2011 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Advertisements

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

FLATTENING GOVERNMENT

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 4, 2011

People in the Capital are only now beginning to realize the size of the federal government is too massive and thereby contributing to our deficit. The president has ordered wage freezes to which I say, “So what?” as it is only a temporary solution. Even the president’s debt reduction commission has come to the realization the government is simply too big. To illustrate, from the commission’s “Moment of Truth” report: “Washington needs to learn to do more with less, using fewer resources to accomplish existing goals without risking a decline in essential government services.” The report goes on to suggest trimming the government’s work force by 10% and budget by 15%. No doubt this will save money, but it is only a guess as to how much to trim. I contend they could trim as much as 25% or more of the work force and still provide adequate government service.

First, you have to recognize the federal government is a perfect example of Parkinson’s Law whereby “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” I tend to see Air Force One as an example of this. True, it is an opulent icon of our country, but is the extravagance really worth it? According to U.S. military estimates, the total operating cost to fly Air Force One is $181,757 per hour. I’m told this does not include other travel expenses, such as maintaining backup aircraft and helicopters, or transporting the president’s motorcade. Undeniably, this is more expensive than the days of the old Boeing 707s, but then again there were fewer people involved. As Air Force One got bigger, Parkinson’s Law kicked in and the president’s entourage grew radically. If the plane was smaller, fewer people would obviously accompany the president.

Air Force One is but one small example. All three branches of government are undoubtedly bloated. How much though? We can only guess. Unlike a commercial enterprise, government is rarely, if ever, trimmed of fat.

Back in the 1990’s Jack Welch embarked on a program to flatten corporate behemoth General Electric to rid the company of waste and get it to operate on a leaner and more productive level. One by one he patiently waded through the many divisions of G.E. and flattened them down to size thereby earning him the nickname “Neutron Jack.”

Welch used a “three purge” approach to flatten each division. The first purge was used to eliminate the dead wood everyone knew existed and were glad to rid themselves of. However, in the second pass, everyone began to feel the pinch as some clerical staff members were eliminated, thereby forcing managers to devise imaginative ways to accomplish the work without such assistance. The third purge was the hardest as key people were eliminated or forced to retire, but it was Welch’s intent to find out what exactly made the division work and only by flattening it could this become apparent. Now, with a leaner and meaner operation in place, Welch could vividly see what was working profitably and what wasn’t thereby allowing him to make informed strategic decisions about the company.

Basically, Welch’s approach tackled Parkinson’s Law head on, something that has not happened at the federal government level. It has been speculated that Welch’s tactics were based on Russian dictator Joseph Stalin who executed bloody purges in his country multiple times in the 1930’s. One by one, Stalin purged each government and political body methodically, using the Army as his muscle. Not surprising, the Army was purged last using Stalin’s secret police. This happened not just once, but twice. Although Stalin’s motives were entirely different than Welch’s, his tactics didn’t go unnoticed.

Bottom-line, having the debt reduction commission suggest the federal government should be trimmed by 10% is plain and simply a wild guess and not based on any credible facts. Only a purge approach a la Welch (and not Stalin) would tell us just how fat our government truly is.

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. 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 Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 11:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2011 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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

CULTURAL ASSIMILATION

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 3, 2011

When new people join companies and nonprofit groups there is a natural tendency for them to try and change the culture to suit their work habits, attitudes, and customs. Such changes are sometimes welcomed by the culture, but more often than not, it is steadfastly resisted and the person is rebuffed. Those people who believe the culture should adapt to them, as opposed to the other way around, are in for a rude awakening.

Any time you join an organization, you have to remember YOU are joining THEM, they are not joining you. You would be wise, therefore, to tread lightly until you truly understand the culture and can work within it. In order for any employee or member to be successful, they must believe in and possess the ability to adapt to the corporate culture.

Over the years I have been involved with a plethora of nonprofit groups and have observed the initial reaction of new members to the group. Some can adapt and become a member of the group, others tend to butt heads, become frustrated and quit. As a new member, there is a natural inclination to question policies and procedures in order to better understand the dynamics of the group. I consider this healthy. As an aside, I’m mystified when people join a group blindly and don’t ask any questions whatsoever. However, before offering suggestions to change the group, be sure to understand how the group is organized, its history, the duties and responsibilities of the officers, and the politics involved. With rare exception, nonprofit groups can be every bit as political as commercial enterprises, perhaps more so.

People who offer changes without first studying the corporate culture are usually surprised when the officers, elders or the entire membership reject their ideas. As a result, they feel rejected and move along to the next group where they will inevitably run into the same scenario again. Remember this, no matter how logical your arguments are in favor of a change, it is an emotional decision as people perceive it as an alteration to the status quo. If you are a dictator, people will reluctantly accept your changes, but most nonprofits involve a group of officers and people who only understand the status quo and, as such, staunchly defend it. Their mantra is typically, “That’s the way we have always done it.”

So, what is the best way to implement changes in such groups? First, assimilate the culture and take note of what is right and wrong with it. Second, get into a position of authority, such as an officer where you can establish your visibility and credibility. Third, introduce your changes in smaller increments. If they are successful, the group will begin to trust your judgment thereby paving the way to implement bolder changes later on. Just remember, “You eat elephants one spoonful at a time.” (Bryce’s Law) If you come on too strong, too bold, too fast, you will undoubtedly become too disappointed and too disillusioned.

Do not despair if things do not go your way. You will inevitably meet with setbacks. It is only natural. You can either decide to withdraw from the group or lick your wounds and move forward. Either way, do not take it personally; you are fighting a culture, not an individual.

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. 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 Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 11:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2011 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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