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Archive for January, 2013

LESSONS OF LEADERSHIP (Part 1 of 2)

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 30, 2013

BRYCE ON BOOKS

– Two published biographies, about Churchill & Jackson, can teach us some important lessons regarding leadership.

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

I took a Caribbean cruise over the Christmas holidays. Once I’m on board, I don’t disembark too often as I’ve already seen most of the sights. Instead, I prefer to catch up on my reading. While the passengers are ashore, I have the run of the ship to myself. It’s very peaceful and relaxing I might add. As I grow older, I now gravitate to biographies and history as I find it more interesting than fiction. On this particular trip, I read two books:

“CHURCHILL & SEA POWER” – Christopher M. Bell (2013, Oxford University Press, ISBN 987-0-19-969357-3) – Bell, is an Associate Professor of History at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia..

“AMERICAN LION – ANDREW JACKSON IN THE WHITE HOUSE” – Jon Meacham (2008, Random House, ISBN 978-0-8129-7346-4) – Meacham, is executive editor and executive VP at Random House. He is also a former editor-in-chief of “Newsweek.”

Both books had their own unique story to tell, but from my perspective they provided me with some interesting insight into what made Churchill and Jackson effective leaders. In Part One, herein, I will first discuss the Churchill book. In Part Two, I will address the Jackson book and make some conclusions about both leaders.

“CHURCHILL & SEA POWER”

This was certainly not my first book on the legendary former Prime Minister. Years ago I read William Manchester’s “THE LAST LION, Winston Spencer Churchill: Alone, 1932-1940” (1988, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN 0-316-54512-0) which I still consider the authoritative description of Churchill between the world wars. I recently purchased Bell’s book as I wanted to know more about the Gallipoli campaign which is generally regarded as a major failure of Churchill’s. In fact, the purpose of the Bell book is to analyze the prime minister’s failures over the years in order to ascertain if the blame truly belonged to him, or possibly rested elsewhere. In other words, Bell was attempting to impartially set the record straight. In particular, Bell challenges the findings of Captain Stephen Roskill who was charged with producing the official British history of naval operations in World War II, where he was highly critical of Churchill’s perceived “interferences” with naval strategy.

By the time Churchill assumed the role of Prime Minister in 1940, he was uniquely qualified as a military leader. He saw active duty in the Army during the Boer War, was Lord of the Admiralty (twice), and was a proponent of Air Power. Whether he was working at the Admiralty, Treasury, Exchequer, or as PM, all jobs were performed with the same level of zeal and vigor.

As the British Isles are separated from Europe, it naturally relied on naval supremacy to form a defensive shield around it. This meant the thinking in military circles was more defensive in nature as opposed to offensive, particularly during the 20th century. This didn’t sit well with Churchill who always wanted to take the war to the enemy as opposed to waiting to be pummeled by his opponent. He despised military idleness, whether it be in the Navy, Army or Air Force, particularly when there were offensive opportunities available. This thinking was in sharp contrast to military planners at the time.

During the first World War, when Churchill served as First Lord of the Admiralty (overseeing the Royal Navy), he proposed the Dardanelles Campaign in Turkey whereby he intended to move a force of aging Dreadnaughts, along with one modern battleship, up into the Dardanelles straight and pound Turkish positions, possibly going as far as Constantinople (today’s Istanbul). It was thought the Turks would be weak, and with a show of force from Britain, they would renege their support of Germany. Should anything go wrong, the naval force could easily retire from their positions back into the Mediterranean Sea. The plan was simple and could have succeeded, but it was considered too risky by military planners who insisted on invading the Gallipoli peninsula with a force of approximately 70,000 men. As the British were to discover, the Turks were in a better position to defend their land and much tougher to fight than was envisioned, thereby becoming a bloody defeat and an embarrassing loss. Churchill was blamed for the defeat which ultimately cost him his position as head of the Admiralty and politically devastated his career, which took several years to rebuild. As Bell points out in his book, Churchill’s original plan was much simpler in ambition and scope, but he bowed to the conservative views of the military who brought in the Army as part of the campaign. Even though it was not entirely his fault, Churchill assumed the blame for the defeat and nobody else.

During World War II, when Churchill was now serving as PM, the Nazis were dependent on iron ore from Sweden for their development of armaments. This was being shipped through the northern Norwegian port of Narvik. As Norway was still neutral at the time, Churchill devised a plan to invade Norway and seize the port, thereby intercepting the flow of iron ore to Germany. Again, conservative military planners thought this was too risky and required a massive buildup of forces on the ground to repel Germany should they decide to retaliate, and to mine the waters. The operation was delayed due to intensive planning. In the meantime, the Nazis trumped the British by invading and seizing the country in its entirety. Again, Churchill’s plans were thwarted by indecision and caution. As before, Churchill assumed lone responsibility for the failure while others remained silent.

As a leader, Churchill was well informed, decisive, and probably not as “reckless” as his critics would argue. He possessed an intellectual curiosity on just about everything and thrived on debate, either in public forums or close personal relations. He would challenge his advisers to stand up to his arguments and would be frustrated when they would not. Bottom-line, he would listen to his subordinates, but they would have to argue to defend their positions. While some would suggest Churchill was “browbeating” his people, he was simply challenging them to think and take a stand, a smart tactic in motivating people.

As Bell points out, in the end, Churchill’s record was misunderstood by the public and his critics, leaving it to historians to sort out his intentions. There is considerable detail in the book to support his arguments, but what emerges from the pages is a profile of a strong leader with a Type “A” personality who is bold and imaginative, and deeply frustrated by cautious people particularly early in his political career. So much so, he would challenge them to think outside of the box, take risks, and force them to argue their case. After all, this was war.

Whether you are a fan or foe of Churchill’s, Bell’s new book is an excellent read to consider both the pros and cons of the British leader.

NEXT UP: In Part Two, I will address the Jackson book and make some conclusions about both leaders. Stay tuned!

Keep the Faith!

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

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

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
LESSONS OF LEADERSHIP (Part 2 of 2) – Two published biographies, about Churchill & Jackson, can teach us some important lessons regarding leadership.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 12:30-3:00pm ET), and KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays. 6:00-10:00am MST).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

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Posted in Books, Management, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 9 Comments »

BECOMING “AMERICANIZED”

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 28, 2013

BRYCE ON BUSINESS

– Thanks to the Internet, the work habits of other countries is changing.

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

When I began visiting Japan in the late 1970’s, I was somewhat taken aback by some of the business customs of the day which I considered rather unusual. Unlike American businesses, protocol and honor were of paramount importance. Everyone knew their place in the pecking order of business, and never did anything to violate the integrity of the family and company (aka, “Saving Face”). This was never quite as apparent as when making introductions in business, a very formal affair as opposed to Americans who tend to treat it more frivolously. Japanese culture emphasizes each employee should lead an honorable and respectable life. Both the manager and employee were cognizant of this and act accordingly.

A couple of other incidents caught my attention:

In most offices, desks were organized in a symmetrical classroom format, with the manager’s desk typically in the middle of the room, along with a small meeting area usually consisting of either two sofas or a table and chairs for meetings. There was no partitioning of desks or cubicles for privacy. Everyone could see and hear everyone else in the office. Remarkably, the office was generally quiet and quite productive as a result of this format. I visited one such office with our Japanese representative where we met with the manager to discuss our product. While my rep was talking in his native tongue I would occasionally look around to study the layout of the office. Suddenly, I was taken by surprise when a young man a few rows away from me, jumped up on his desk and read something aloud to his fellow employees. Everyone dutifully stopped, listened, and applauded when he finished. Afterwards I asked my rep what all the hubbub was about. He explained to me it was nothing special, the employee just read a small speech to his fellow employees on how proud and pleased he was to work for this company and the people in his department. “It happens all the time,” my rep said.

I replied, “Not where I come from.”

I also learned it was a taboo to openly criticize your manager and talk back. Knowing this might cause frustration, companies provided a small room adjoining the office where an employee could go in and, using a bamboo cane, beat an effigy of the boss, thereby relieving the worker’s passions. As strange as this custom sounded, it worked.

Unlike most American companies, where the individual is encouraged to kick, scratch and claw their way to the top, in Japan I learned it was typical for a class of workers to enter a company at the same time and work in different capacities, yet all are on a predefined ten year career path. During this time they are carefully scrutinized in terms of their performance and attitudes towards work. At the end of the ten years, the class is evaluated and individuals are either promoted or demoted based on their service with the company. Again, this was atypical from American custom.

All of this has changed a lot over the last fifteen years with the propagation of the Internet whereby oung Japanese workers took note of the laid back attitudes of their American counterparts. Protocol and honor are still important to the Japanese, but not to the degree they once were. They have also become less industrious preferring to have more free time. Their emphasis on teamwork is slowly deteriorating and becoming more individualistic in attitude. For example, office partitioning is now found in Japanese offices, as is gossip and politics.

This is an interesting phenomenon and demonstrates the power of the Internet and how our attitudes towards work affects others. Who knows? If the Japanese had invented the Internet first, maybe we would all be using bamboo canes today.

Keep the Faith!

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

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

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
LESSONS OF LEADERSHIP (Part 1 of 2) – Two published biographies, about Churchill & Jackson, can teach us some important lessons regarding leadership.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 12:30-3:00pm ET), and KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays. 6:00-10:00am MST).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Business, Management | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

FIXING TOILETS

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 25, 2013

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Not a fun job to do, but something most of us have to face sooner or later.

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

As the man of the house I have had to do a lot of odd jobs around it, everything from fixing sprinkler heads and garbage disposals to replacing lights. However, I would have to say one of the most irritating jobs to perform is fixing the toilet. Regardless how clean they are, I don’t think anybody likes to work on a toilet which typically breaks down at the worst possible moment, such as just before you host a dinner party.

It seems you never have the correct parts on hand to fix the toilet. You then have to go to the hardware store where you inevitably pickup the wrong parts which forces you to return them to the store and pickup replacements. For those of you who have had to fix a toilet, wouldn’t it be nice if they had standard parts so you picked up the right thing the first time? I remember one time when I picked up the wrong overflow pipe. It worked fine, but the back toilet lid sat up several inches too high. I kind of felt like the guy on the old Ed Sullivan show who spun dinner plates on top of six foot wooden sticks. The wife didn’t think it was funny either.

I also had to replace the copper tubing that feeds water to the toilet with some of the new flexible tubing. These worked great but the sales clerk sold me lines that were simply too long. Now my toilet looks like its got a Boa Constrictor hiding behind the bowl.

The biggest problem though is when you have to totally replace all of the guts in the tank. No matter how you try to drain the tank before you work on it, whenever you loosen the master screw underneath it, water inevitably comes out either on the floor, you or both. I’m sure the person who designed the tank did this deliberately for a good laugh. They also designed it so all of the screws are in the most uncomfortable place possible, making it awkward at best to loosen or tighten them. In most cases you feel like Helen Keller groping around underneath the tank.

Thomas Crapper is credited with the propagation of indoor toilets, hence the use of his name to denote what you are using the toilet for. I find it somewhat ironic that the name of the person who gave us what is generally regarded as the most useful plumbing device ever is now a term we use in a derogatory sense. I wonder what would have happened had his name been something else like “Schmidlap”? Would we say, “I have to take a good schmidt”? But I guess we use something like that already.

Toilets may be invaluable indoor commodities but I wish they were easier to work on. I guess the alternative would be to go back to outhouses and Sears catalogs.

Keep the Faith!

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

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

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
BECOMING “AMERICANIZED” – Thanks to the Internet, the work habits of other countries is changing.


Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 12:30-3:00pm ET), and KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays. 6:00-10:00am MST).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

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

LET’S FOCUS PEOPLE!

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 24, 2013

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Are we really addressing the challenges of the day, or are we being distracted?

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

I recently posted a comment on Facebook regarding the presidential inauguration held last Monday, to wit:

“You know, I am really not interested that:
– Beyonce lip synched during the inauguration.
– What clothes Michele or the children wore, or how they wore their hair.
– Bill Clinton was caught ogling Kelly Clarkson.
– Michelle was spotted rolling her eyes at House Speaker John Boehner.
– The president’s speech focused on social reform.

Frankly, I’m more interested in:
– Fixing our struggling economy.
– Putting America back to work.
– Reducing the federal deficit and debt.
– Creating the first budget in four years.
– Revising and enforcing our immigration policies.
– Enacting a sane policy for energy independence.
– Devising a standard and intelligent electoral process that doesn’t cost a fortune.
– Revising our policies on federal lobbying.

Let’s focus people! Beyonce can wait. The American people cannot.”

I made this comment off the cuff. I didn’t realize it would result in several “Likes” and “Shares” in the network, not to mention considerable feedback from my readers. I guess I had touched a nerve and was surprised by how many people felt likewise.

It should be the media’s responsibility to keep us focused on the pressing issues of the day, not to distract us from them. Tabloid journalism is one thing, keeping the American public abreast of our challenges is another. It makes you question their motive and who they are working for, certainly not the people.

I don’t care how the president tries to dress it up on February 12th, the State of the Union is not good. Whether you voted for the president or not, the facts are undeniable. The quandry though is what our priorities should be, the economy or social reform? Will we be proactive or reactive in how we address these problems? Our government only reacts to what they consider are the country’s highest priorities (with some miscellaneous pork thrown in). If the media contends Beyonce’s lip synch is more important than the federal debt, don’t look for the powers in Washington to be overly concerned with our $16.3 trillion debt, or with our GDP, unemployment, balance of exports, etc.

Until such time as the American public demands more journalistic responsibility from the media, don’t look for our government to address the proper priorities of the people.

Like I said, let’s focus people!

Keep the Faith!

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

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

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
FIXING TOILETS – Not a fun job to do, but something most of us have to face sooner or later.


Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 12:30-3:00pm ET), and KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays. 6:00-10:00am MST).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 12 Comments »

BUREAUCRATS

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 23, 2013

BRYCE ON GOVERNMENT

– Impediments to progress or necessary evils?

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

Some time ago we built our office building down here in Florida. We also built one up in Ohio and this gave us an opportunity to watch bureaucrats up close and personal, but I cannot really say there are substantial differences between the north and the south in this regards. In both instances we had to deal with government regulators who issued permits, inspectors and others who supervised construction. I think it’s good that we have such checks and balances, but I’m disturbed by the inordinate amount of red tape they create. I also find such bureaucrats to be a temperamental lot who changes their minds at the drop of a hat. One minute our water and sewer lines were fine, the next minute they weren’t. Most of the time you get the feeling that the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing. Frankly, I believe bureaucrats add at least 33% to the cost and time for such projects, but perhaps I’m being too conservative in my estimate.

Obviously bureaucrats are not limited to the construction field. We find them in post offices, drivers license bureaus, and just about anywhere we have to interact with the government. I’m certainly not suggesting all civil servants are bureaucrats, but it sure seems like they’ve got the lion’s share of them. These are people who like to create little fiefdoms and thrive on power plays over the people they are supposed to be serving.

You’ve got to wonder about the effect such people have on productivity. For example, I’ve been reading about companies who are privatizing the prison system. Instead of the government constructing and operating the prisons, private companies have gotten into the business and are building and operating first class facilities at a fraction of the cost than governments do. Some people are alarmed by this. Frankly, I think its a no-brainer and smart business.

I guess the point is, bureaucrats impede progress and productivity. They may like to create their little fiefdoms and drive us all crazy on detail, but I see them more as a barrier than anything else. These are the types of people who see the glass as half empty; they can dream up more reasons why something can’t be done as opposed to accomplishing anything. I guess they have forgotten the meaning of the expression “civil servant” which is supposed to serve the public as opposed to the other way around.

Keep the Faith!

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

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

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
FIXING TOILETS – Not a fun job to do, but something most of us have to face sooner or later.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Government, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 8 Comments »

OFFICE TEMPERATURE

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 21, 2013

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– Who controls the thermostat in your office?

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

One of the touchiest subjects in any office is the room temperature. This has probably caused more arguments in the office than just about anything else. It may seem like a small thing but people tend to be passionate about the temperature. When it comes to controlling the thermostat, women typically like to turn it up, while men turn it down.

There are pros and cons to keeping the office cool or warm. If it is cool, people tend to be more alert but it may also affect the joints (as anyone with arthritis can tell you). Interestingly, certain office equipment, such as computers, operate better under cooler temperatures. On the other hand, a warm room on a cold winter day is welcomed by just about everyone, but if it becomes too warm, especially on a summer day, it can put people to sleep particularly after lunch. It can also cause people to slowly become irritable, impatient and irrational which isn’t exactly conducive fora cooperative work environment.

If you leave the temperature to the employees to control, you’ll probably hear the thermostat click up and down like a pogo stick which inevitably drives heating and air conditioning bills sky high. If you’re an office manager, you would be wise to put a lock on the thermostat and hide the key. Whatever you do, don’t turn the temperature over to the employees by a show of hands. I’ve seen this done and believe it or not has led to a division in the employees and hurt morale. As manager, you are responsible for controlling the work environment which includes the temperature of the room as well as other things, such as noise and cleanliness.

As for me, I’m of the school of keeping it “cool” as I would rather keep the employees more alert during the work day. If you’ve got a problem with it, they’ve got this new thing out to keep you warm: sweaters.

Keep the Faith!

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

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

For Tim’s columns, see:  
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
BUREAUCRATS – Impediments to progress or necessary evils?


Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Business, Management | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

PARENTAL VISIONS OF GRANDEUR

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 18, 2013

BRYCE ON PARENTING

– Just who are you trying to impress anyway? Certainly not me.

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

Naturally, we all love our children, but it has always bothered me how parents want to impress you with how much better their kids are than your own. I remember years ago hearing a friend brag to me, “Well, our little girl has been accepted into Montessori school.” I would counter by saying, “Gee, I didn’t know she was having a problem.” I don’t think he saw the humor in this.

Back when I was coaching Little League, I ran into many parents who saw their kid as the next Babe Ruth and made sure I knew about it. One by one, they all eventually dropped out of baseball in favor of pursuing other interests or simply because they knew they couldn’t excel in it any longer. This was fine with me as it meant I didn’t have to listen to the parents’ malarkey anymore.

I find it interesting how parents try to live vicariously through their offspring. I guess they feel they blew it in life and are now getting a second chance through their children. This puts a lot of pressure on the kids to satisfy their parents and not enjoy the moment. Kids have a tough enough time with school and learning how to socialize; the last thing they need is an overbearing parent pushing them too hard. Yes, we want parents to be an active part of their children’s lives, but they shouldn’t try to live their lives through them. Sometimes, kids just need to be kids. In Little League, as well as youth soccer and football, it’s now quite common to have parents sign a code of conduct requiring them not to be obnoxious at sporting events. I never dreamt we would ever need such a contract, but with some parents trying to live through their kids, I guess I’m really not surprised.

I’m now a little older and have seen the children grow into adulthood. I find it amusing that the kids who were touted as geniuses by their parents are now working at convenience marts, and the star athletes now work on fishing boats. I guess they either peaked too early or their parents burned them out.

Those parents suffering from visions of grandeur need a reality check. There is certainly nothing wrong with a kid who shows signs of intelligence or possesses a talent, but there is a difference between nurturing their abilities and pushing them too hard. I guess some parents need to be reminded whose life it is, their children’s or their own? Whichever it is, please keep it to yourself as nobody else really cares.

Keep the Faith!

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

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

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
OFFICE TEMPERATURE – Who controls the thermostat in your office?


Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Family, Life | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

CONDUCTING BUSINESS WITHIN THE LAWS, RULES AND REGULATIONS

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 16, 2013

BRYCE ON GOVERNMENT

– 68 new regulations are introduced on a daily basis.

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

Starting your own business may sound like something exciting to do, but be forewarned, it can be a challenging and painful experience. Most fail during the first year of operation. There is more to it than just renting a store front and beginning to sell products and services. Much more. In addition to labor and materials, there are a considerable number of laws, rules and regulations to contend with, to illustrate:

FLOOR SPACE – Most start-ups will lease office space as opposed to purchasing or constructing a new building. This is perhaps the lesser of two evils, yet there are still rules and regulations to be observed with the landlord and local government, such as smoking policies, trash removal, use of utilities, etc. If you elect to build a new office, there are countless construction rules and regulations to contend with; everything from producing blueprints, civil engineering, easements, not to mention numerous inspectors to check on materials, safety, plumbing and electrical, sewage, roofing, and many other concerns. Local governments have strict rules for displaying business signs as well. Your occupational license means the building is suitable to conduct business, but you still must observe numerous fire, health, and safety regulations.

CONDUCT BUSINESS – to legally conduct business, your organization must be registered with the Secretary of State (of the state you reside) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) who identifies you as the type of corporation you are, such as a Subchapter S, an LLC, a nonprofit, or whatever. Such classification defines what types of activities you may perform. Depending on the nature of your business, you may need certain permits and certificates, such as a contractor’s license, an operator’s license for special equipment, a certificate denoting bonding, insurance, etc. You may also require clearance from a federal or state government agency such as the EPA, FDA, FCC, FTC, FHA, and E-I-E-I-O. Not surprising, you will be asked to routinely report on your activities to these bodies.

Conducting business also means issuing invoices for products and services rendered; translation, you will probably have to report sales tax to the government. In terms of payroll, you will have to make deductions and report on Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment, and now health care. Each employee has to be defined in terms of their status, such as exempt versus nonexempt, full-time versus part-time, all of which denotes how much time they can work and how they should be compensated. There may also be unions involved which will likely incur additional work restraints.

A Bail Bondsman in Florida recently pointed out to me the numerous regulations he has to operate under, starting with Florida Statutes Chapter 903, and Chapter 648. Such voluminous laws and rules make his business one of the most regulated I’ve run across. However, I’m sure others would argue their industry is much more regulated, such as the medical field.

As a business owner, you cannot claim ignorance of the law (Latin: “ignorantia legis neminem excusat”). As such, it is important to stay abreast of the laws, rules, and regulations which impacts your business, which can be substantial. To illustrate, see USA.gov Laws and Regulations.

In November 2012, CNSNews reported(1) an average of 68 new regulations were being introduced on a daily basis by various government agencies. This was based on a study of the government’s Regulations.gov website which allows visitors to find and comment on proposed regulations and related documents published by the federal government. This means, approximately 25,000 new rules and regulations are being issued each year, a staggering number by anyone’s estimation. This means business, which is responsible for generating capital to fuel the economy is being kept on a very short leash, one that thwarts growth and expansion.

Why so many rules? One cannot help but wonder if it’s to protect consumers or to justify the existence of government. Frankly, I think it is a prime example of “Parkinson’s Law” whereby “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion,” hence the need for government bureaucracy.

I write this column not to discourage entrepreneurs but to point out the harsh reality of conducting business today, which many employees and young people do not comprehend. This means there are considerable risks associated with starting and running a business as the owner becomes legally responsible for not only producing a marketable work product, but adhering to the massive laws, rules, and regulations he must operate under. Should the business turn a profit, he/she is entitled to reap the rewards, deservedly so I might add. Just remember, managing a business is most definitely not for the faint of heart.

Keep the Faith!

1 – “6,125 Proposed Regulations and Notifications Posted in Last 90 Days–Average 68 per Day” (Nov 9, 2012)

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

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

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
PARENTAL VISIONS OF GRANDEUR – Just who are you trying to impress anyway? Certainly not me.


Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

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

$3 WORDS

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 14, 2013

BRYCE ON LANGUAGE

– For all those boring and effete intellectuals out there.

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

When you travel around the corporate world you inevitably run into a lot of buzzwords and catch phrases which we like to use in our daily vocabulary. This may be okay if we are amongst our peers, but it has a tendency to turn off strangers, such as guests visiting our offices. There seems to be a great inclination to impress others with a rather verbose vocabulary. Some people take it a step further and use what I call “$3 words” in an attempt to impress you. For example, today you hear a lot about project “stakeholders” which represent the customers or clients sponsoring a project and are footing the bill. I guess terms such as “customer” and “client” sound rather mundane when compared to something like “stakeholder.” Another term we hear a lot about is “agile” which implies a speedy approach to solving a problem. Frankly, I find the expression “quick and dirty” to be a more apt description of what people have in mind. “Nonlinear management” is another classic expression. I’m not too sure exactly what this means; “linear management” would imply an orderly progression of decision making. So I presume “nonlinear management” simply means “chaos.”

I find $3 words to be very irritating and I’m sure they are used to do nothing more than divert attention away from the subject matter. I know it turns me off immediately. Whenever I hear terms like these, I start to hold on to my wallet as I know someone wants something from me.

Having been in the Information Technology business for a long time, I have heard a lot of mumbo jumbo over the years. For example, I have heard expressions like “data stores,” “tuples,” “views,” and “segments” which, when translated, means “files” and “records.” I have also heard of such things as “afferents” and “efferents” (meaning “inputs” and “outputs”), and “central transforms” (meaning “updates”). I guess if you can’t invent anything original, you simply change the vocabulary so you can sell more books and training courses. If you have ever had to work closely with Microsoft products you know they march to their own drummer and use technical words to suit their needs as opposed to those already adopted by the industry.

Here’s a tip I learned a long time ago: “speak to communicate.” Wouldn’t it be nice if people used words we already understood as opposed to trying to invent a whole new vocabulary to impress and confuse others? Think of the time we would save just using what we already have. But alas, we live in a world that resists any form of standardization. To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw, we live in a single country separated by a common language. I’ll give you one last $3 word: “pseudo-intellectual” and that’s simply referring to people who pretend to be something that they really are not (and like to use $3 words).

Keep the Faith!

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

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

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
CONDUCTING BUSINESS WITHIN THE LAWS, RULES AND REGULATIONS – 68 new regulations are introduced on a daily basis.


Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

ALL THAT JAZZ

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 11, 2013

BRYCE ON MUSIC

– Better take in some “cool” before it disappears completely.

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

About three years ago my wife and I were saddened to learn WSJT-FM, the “Smooth Jazz” channel in Tampa, was leaving the airwaves. We had listened to it for years, either outside on the patio, inside on the weekends, or while driving around. Although we didn’t know the names of all the songs, we always found it calm, relaxing, and just plain “cool.” I like to believe I have an eclectic taste in music. Even though I was of the Rock generation. I love classical, Big Band, some international sounds, particularly Japanese and Spanish, but Jazz holds a special place in my heart. After college, I picked up on it in some small nightclubs in Cincinnati, but as I traveled on business I found some excellent jazz in Chicago, New York, Toronto, and on top of the legendary Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, but that was some time ago. So, when WSJT announced they were abandoning jazz, we were greatly disappointed. They didn’t shut down completely though. Today, you can listen to them streaming over the Internet.

A similar phenomenon happened back in my old hometown of Cincinnati where WVXU (the “Voice of Xavier University”) played jazz classics and “When Swing was King” for years. Unfortunately, their ratings slumped radically and they were forced to abandon jazz. This seems to be a common occurrence as jazz stations are slowly disappearing. According to Lady Jay Davis, a well known radio personality and jazz aficionado in Reno, Nevada, “I have lots of thoughts on how the smooth jazz format was KILLED. Stations turned it into a top 40 format and burned everyone out, then cloned the stations for every market. It is a format that should have evolved into smooth and HOT. Instead they commercialized it and then depended on ratings to sell it. What an excuse for failure.”

As jazz disappears from the airwaves, it is slowly being forgotten, particularly by younger people who simply know nothing about it. Back in 2000, Ken Burns produced his television documentary on “Jazz” which chronicled the development of this unique American sound. More than anything, the miniseries was useful to educate the uninformed regarding the various forms of jazz, everything from Dixieland, which traces its roots back to New Orleans and the South, to “Cool Jazz” emerging after WWII. The program also described the contributions of such people as Charlie Parker, Jr., Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, and Billie Holiday. As an aside, singers such as Bing Crosby and Judy Garland were devotees, and could belt out some excellent jazz songs themselves.

As for me personally, Dave Brubeck, who recently passed away, was the first to bring jazz to my attention. His “Take Five,” which was released in the early 1960’s, should be declared the national anthem of jazz. The clever mixture of piano, sax, bass, and drums is pure genius. It is no small wonder it has been used in television and commercials over the years as an icon of class and elegance. From there, I learned the early work of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, which, of course led me to Charlie Parker, et al.

More recently, I was fortunate to see George Benson in concert. At the time, I knew little about him. I just thought he was another guitarist with some easy listening music to his credit. Boy was I wrong. Although he started slow, I quickly recognized him for what he was, a jazz craftsman. His rendition of Leon Russell’s “This Masquerade” made a believer out of me. He is also known for such classics as “On Broadway,” “Give Me the Night,” and “Breezin’.”

The group who had the most profound influence on me regarding jazz was the Modern Jazz Quartet, whose roots can be traced back to Dizzy Gillespie. The quartet starred Milt Jackson, John Lewis, Percy Heath, and Connie Kay. Although they are perhaps best known for their song, “Django,” there are many other impressive cuts which jazz buffs love, such as “Confirmation,” “Blues on Bach Blues in B flat,” “Concerto De Aranjuez,” “Round Midnight,” and “Willow Weep for Me.”

There are of course many other artists who deserve recognition, but space prohibits me from listing them here. Nonetheless, after learning jazz, I saw Rocker Jimi Hendrix in a new light. It wasn’t Rock that made him unique, it was simply a new form of jazz.

Jazz is still around, but unfortunately it has gone underground in this country. No, you won’t find it on radio or television anymore, but you can still find it on an obscure cable channel or on the Internet. The best way to enjoy it though is to visit one of those small jazz nightclubs which still exists in the big cities or the occasional jazz festival.

As an aside, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the jazz classic, “Just the Two of Us,” recorded by Grover Washington, Jr. and Bill Withers, and written by Withers, Ralph MacDonald, and William Salter. It has a very special meaning for my wife and myself for over 30 years, and produced by some very special people. Yes, jazz can have that kind of effect on you. Be sure to listen to it before it is gone with the wind.

Keep the Faith!

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

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

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
$3 WORDS – For all those boring and effete intellectuals out there.


Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Entertainment, Life | Tagged: , , , , | 11 Comments »

 
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