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Archive for January, 2016

THE NEED FOR CONCEALED WEAPONS CLASSES

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 29, 2016

BRYCE ON GUNS

– Why it should be considered mandatory to attend such classes.

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

Let me begin by saying I believe everyone in the country should attend a concealed weapons class. Whether you are a pro or anti gun advocate, every citizen should attend such a class, be it privately taught, in schools, or some other venue. If you are unfamiliar with the class, let me clear up an important misconception, it is NOT about gun advocacy, it is about gun safety. Although such classes vary from state to state, it is essentially used to teach the fundamentals of how a gun is used, how it should be stored and maintained, and all of the pertinent laws associated with it.

I took such a class a few years ago here in Florida and was very much impressed by the knowledge and professionalism of the instructor. Again, this was less about the actual firing of the weapon as opposed to a description of the various types of weapons (e.g., rifle, shotgun, semiautomatic, single and double action revolvers, etc.), what their capabilities are, gun safety “do’s and do nots,” and what to do in an emergency. For example, in my class, the instructor gave some pragmatic advice as to what to do if someone breaks into your home while you are there. It wasn’t so much about shooting the suspect as opposed to contacting the authorities and protecting yourself. Overall, I found the class to be equally useful for those who were already knowledgeable about guns as well as the uninitiated.

While some people see gun control as the answer to solving weapons accidents and assaults, I believe an educated populace would save more lives and result in fewer victims whether it is due to an accident or premeditated assault. An informed public is less likely to become a victim and more likely to survive a shooting situation. Anyone who has attended such a class would probably agree, education is the key. Everyone from Middle School onward should be taught the lessons of gun safety. Even children in Elementary grades should learn some of the basics.

Again, let me be clear, this is not about gun advocacy or how to hurt anyone, and it certainly is not intended to glamorize guns, which we will leave to Hollywood. Instead, it is about safety and knowing what to do in dangerous situations. It is about survival.

Originally published: June 13, 2014

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 © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE NEED FOR CONCEALED WEAPONS CLASSES – Why it should be considered mandatory to attend such classes.

LAST TIME:  ANGERS AWEIGH; CUSTOMER SERVICE AT SEA  – Losing your cool at sea is not conducive for relaxation.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific); and WWBA-AM (News Talk Florida 820). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

ANGERS AWEIGH; CUSTOMER SERVICE AT SEA

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 27, 2016

BRYCE ON CUSTOMER SERVICE

– Losing your cool at sea is not conducive for relaxation.

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

We went on another ocean cruise over the holidays. It has become somewhat of a family tradition with us. This time we tried a Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) ship, “The Spirit,” out of Port Canaveral, Florida for a week long tour of the Eastern Caribbean, a favorite of ours. Unfortunately, this turned into a bad experience and I will never recommend NCL to any of my friends. I have been on many different ships and cruise lines, but this, to me, was the worst I ever experienced. The stops along the way were fine, the room a tad smaller than normal, but we could live with it, and the food can be described as mediocre at best. The real problem was customer service or the lack thereof. This went way beyond just bad service, it was gross incompetence. The only person who seemed to know what he was doing was our cabin steward. However, the bartenders, waiters, and the maitre d’s turned this into a horrible experience, and frankly gave the appearance they couldn’t care less. Let me give you some examples:

First, prior to the cruise, I had ordered and paid for a couple of bottles of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries for our cabins as part of our “bon voyage.” Unfortunately, they were never delivered by the staff, even though I called room service twice to check on the order. Perturbed, the next day I went to the front desk and asked for a credit to my account. The clerk, a young woman from Croatia, looked at me as if I had three eyes. She said the items were still to be delivered. I told her she obviously didn’t understand what a “bon voyage” gift meant, and demanded my money be refunded. I was informed it would take two weeks to issue the credit which I thought was rather unusual; NCL was quick to take my money to make the purchase, but slow to issue a refund. Interestingly, on the third day of the cruise, room service knocked on our cabin door with the champagne and strawberries. They obviously missed the memo and we told them to get lost.

The next incident was staged at one of the ship’s many bars, a small one with about ten stools, of which my son and I sat along with an Englishman we met. Two bartenders were actively taking orders and serving customers, except us, and we sat directly across from them. I leaned over to my son and the Englishman and said, “Let’s see how long they neglect us; let’s wait fifteen minutes and see what happens.” Again, the bartenders were directly across the bar from us. Fifteen minutes came and went with no service whatsoever, and my Scottish blood began to boil. I then got up, slapped my hand on the bar and loudly said, “What in the world is the matter with you two; are you stupid? We’ve been waiting here for fifteen minutes and you don’t even look up at us to ask for our order? Are you stupid?”

They both jumped back surprised and said, “Oh sir, you should make a sign to request service.”

“You want a sign? Well here it is,” and I took off my hat and waved it in their faces, “Here, we want service!” And they finally got our drinks. I have to admit I was explosively angry causing a stir in the bar, but the Englishman commented I was justified in my outburst.

When I turned 60, I made a pledge to myself there would be “No more games,” meaning I would no longer tolerate incompetence. Whereas over the years I was taught to be patient, courteous and wait my turn, I learned people charged with customer service will abuse such people and take them for granted. In other words, patience and manners comes at the cost of being treated badly. If you wait your turn, you will likely lose it to another obnoxious lout. So, I decided to fight fire with fire, thereby employing the axiom, “The Squeaky wheel gets the oil.” However, on an ocean cruise, the intention is to have passengers relax, not erupt into anger and upsetting everyone concerned, particularly the disgruntled passenger.

Part of the problem is the NCL adopted a policy of automatically including an 18% gratuity into every cocktail or item you buy on board. The ship’s crew takes this for granted thereby becoming apathetic towards the passengers. In other words, the passengers are automatically tipping the servers for both good service and bad.

There were many other problems along the way, such as having our luggage delivered to our cabin very late, meaning we couldn’t clean up before dinner, elevators were constantly dirty, as were tables in the casino and bars. Half empty glasses, ashtrays and debris were everywhere and nobody seemed interested in cleaning them up.

When I happened to mention this to some of the other passengers, they too were in agreement the service was rotten. Some claimed to have cruised on other NCL ships and experienced satisfactory service, totally unlike what they found on “The Spirit.”

This cruise had an adverse affect on me causing me to redefine an Ocean Cruise as “a journey at sea with incompetent service, unsanitary conditions, mediocre food, and traveling with people you would normally not be seen with.” All because of incompetent customer service.

So, why does NCL allow this ship to get into such a condition? Blame should obviously be pinned on management where the officers accept inferior workmanship, and have allowed the crew members to take passengers for granted, probably because of their policy of including gratuity into every bill, large of small. Beyond this, I believe society has been trained to accept incompetence as a natural part of our existence. Instead of complaining, we tend to roll with the punches and accept whatever the vendor is willing to give us, good or bad. To me, this is indicative of a decay in our culture where we used to work harder to please customers knowing this would result in references and repetitive business. A little customer service would have gone a long way to alleviate the problem. Evidently, NCL no longer cares.

As for me, I did not like having to create an ugly scene, it was unsettling. Shortly after returning home, one of my friends observed I looked more agitated than relaxed. It was obvious the cruise did not agree with me. This is why I will not cruise with NCL again. It was such a toxic experience, I may give up cruising completely, regardless of the line.

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 © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE NEED FOR CONCEALED WEAPONS CLASSES – Why it should be considered mandatory to attend such classes.

LAST TIME:  UNDERSTANDING THE TRUMP PERSONALITY  – People simply do not understand the “Type A” personality.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Business, Transportation, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

UNDERSTANDING THE TRUMP PERSONALITY

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 25, 2016

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– People simply do not understand the “Type A” personality.

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

The media and a substantial number of people in this country do not seem to understand Donald Trump, claiming he is crude, racist, greedy, and several other unflattering adjectives. The reality is, they really do not understand such a person. In my 40 years of travel through the corporate world, I have met my fair share of Donald Trumps, be it here in North America or overseas. He is certainly not unique.

In psychological parlance, people such as Trump possess a “Type A” personality (of which there are four types: A, B, C, and D); see “Personalities” – (Aug 13, 2012). The “Type A” person possesses a strong entrepreneurial spirit, typically representing the captains of industry. These are the “movers and shakers” as found in just about any industry. As gamblers, they know how to quickly calculate risk and will not proceed until they are convinced it is the correct course of action. Occasionally they are wrong in their conclusion, at which time they are smart enough to know how to back out of a deal as opposed to continuing uninterrupted to disaster.

One key attribute is their stubborn independence. As mavericks, they hold the cards and want to play the game their way. They do not like to be told what to do and will resist accordingly. It is extremely difficult to paint such a person into a corner as they are always thinking two or three steps ahead. This explains why they want to dominate a situation and are competitively driven.

Such people are normally quite intelligent, be it through formal education, pedigree, or a healthy dose of common sense. I met one such person who did not have much of an education, other than a high school diploma, yet possessed uncanny street smarts, the likes of which I have never seen. He understood what the market wanted, created a company from nothing, and made it a first class operation. I found him to have more savvy about his industry than 90% of the corporate managers I have met.

To the “Type A” person, the company is an extension of their personality. If it is successful, they are successful. The same is true with failure. Not surprising, they are driven by accomplishment and possess a no-nonsense approach to business whereby they are doggedly determined to succeed, and are not easily distracted. They are usually well organized and understand the power of communications. Project delays and cost overruns are closely monitored. They can understand accidents and forces detrimental to project completion, but the one thing they cannot tolerate is incompetence. Consequently, the “Type A” person prefers honest frankness rather than excuses.

It is not unusual for the “Type A” to become a friendly bully to encourage others to improve their performance. Normally, they have an acerbic tongue and challenge their people through cynical teasing. By doing so, they are more concerned with challenging a person instead of becoming an overbearing ogre. To them, they are trying to use humor as a tool, but not everyone appreciates what the person says. However, they are more inclined to speak bluntly with their employees, not so much as to offend them but to rationalize their strengths and weaknesses. While others may take such criticism negatively, the “Type A” person is normally fair and correct in his/her observations. Aside from this, they have a playful side and an infectious enthusiasm that inspires workers, thereby creating employee loyalty. It also causes outsiders, such as customers and vendors, to gravitate towards them.

The “Type A” person understands the power of appearances, and dresses accordingly to garner respect and leave a good impression. Likewise, they are acutely aware of business etiquette and uses it for their benefit, such as making introductions, thanking someone appropriately, tipping, commending employees for a job well done, buying gifts, and more.

The “Type A” personality is not agreeable with everyone though, particularly the “Type D” personality which is best characterized as those people who resist any form of change and prefer the tedium of routine, such as in clerical assignments. They are not adventurous, resist responsibility and prefer to be told what to do. As such, they are the antithesis of the “Type A” and will naturally clash with them. Whereas “Type A” is extroverted, “Type D” is introverted; where “Type A” thrives on risk and success, “Type D” prefers safety and security, and; where “Type A” assumes responsibility for their actions, “Type D” resists being held accountable.

The question before American voters is whether a “Type A” personality, like Mr. Trump, could be an effective president. When it comes to recent presidential politics, we have tried a peanut farmer, a community organizer, professional politicians, and some oil men, all with minimal success. Now, how about a businessman, preferably with a “Type A” personality? Such people have worked wonders in the business world, let’s see what they can do for our country.

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 © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  ANGERS AWEIGH; CUSTOMER SERVICE AT SEA – Losing your cool at sea is not conducive for relaxation.

LAST TIME:  WORK HORSES  – They may not be glamorous, but they are the ones we count on to tow the line.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

WORK HORSES

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 22, 2016

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– They may not be glamorous, but they are the ones we count on to tow the line.

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

Within any company or organization, there is at least one person who managers count on time and again to get a particular job done. Such a person is commonly referred to as the “Work Horse” of the group, the “Go-to guy” or the “Iron Man.” Such a person is not necessarily the smartest or most physically endowed, but can be counted on to see a task through to completion based on sheer will and determination, something we used to call “dedication.” The Work Horse may not be a thoroughbred, but possesses certain talents and strengths we find vital for running a company. Without such people, companies tend to flounder, thereby they should be prized and coveted. Quite often they are not, unfortunately.

Day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year we saddle up the Work Horse and have him pull the cart on his appointed rounds, feeding on nothing more than a modest diet. The Work Horse seldom complains even when the load gets heavy. He simply perseveres and keeps going until the job is done or he drops over from exhaustion. Driving such a person is a deeply seeded love of the job and sense of responsibility. He does not think in terms of making a quick buck. Instead, his personal and professional lives are one and the same, it is his livelihood.

Should the Work Horse leave, pandemonium tends to break loose, at least for awhile until someone else picks up the load or the company goes defunct. This brings up an interesting point, what makes the Work Horse unique is his intimacy with the system of the company, complete with all its foibles. Over time, the Work Horse has learned all of the weaknesses of the system and how to get around them, thereby making the person indispensable. Work Horses can perhaps be best described as “resourceful.”

Despite his abilities, the Work Horse is typically taken for granted. This can be dangerous as the Work Horse likes to know his work is noticed and appreciated. A little recognition now and then can work wonders, be it nothing more than being treated with courtesy and respect. Abuse tends to wear out the Work Horse and makes him less productive.

Until such time as managers can move their workers around like interchangeable parts in a machine, they would be wise to take note of their Work Horses and care for them accordingly. Work Horses may not be glamorous, but they’re the ones that get the job done.

Originally published: December 9, 2010

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 © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  UNDERSTANDING THE TRUMP PERSONALITY – People simply do not understand the “Type A” personality.

LAST TIME:  JUST FOR TODAY  – Take time once a day to stop and think. Reflection is good for the soul.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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

JUST FOR TODAY

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 20, 2016

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Take time once a day to stop and think. Reflection is good for the soul.

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

Recently, the wife of a good friend passed away due to cancer. She was a great gal who was normally vibrant and sharp as a tack. As a part of her memorial service, I was asked to read from a slip of newspaper she had kept on her refrigerator for the last few years, and something she read daily as she fought her disease. It was a quote from Abigail Van Buren (Pauline Phillips), the original Dear Abbey, the famed advice columnist. It was titled, “Just for Today,” offering advice on how to live each day.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will live through this day only. I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow. I will not set far-reaching goals or try to overcome all of my problems at once.

I know that I can do something for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will be happy. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. If my mind fills with clouds, I will chase them away and fill it with sunshine.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will accept what is. I will face reality. I will correct those things that I can correct and accept those I cannot.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will improve my mind. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration. I will not be a mental loafer.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will be kind and courteous to those who cross my path, and I’ll not speak ill of others. I will improve my appearance, speak softly, and not interrupt when someone else is talking. Just for today, I will refrain from improving anybody but myself.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will do something positive to improve my health. If I’m a smoker, I’ll quit. If I’m overweight, I will eat healthfully — if only for today. And not only that, I will get off the couch and take a brisk walk, even if it’s only around the block.

JUST FOR TODAY, I will gather the courage to do what is right and take the responsibility for my own actions.

There are other “Just for Today” postings on the Internet, but I prefer Van Buren’s version. These are some fine words which everyone should observe. They were a source of solace to my friend’s wife as she fought her battle with cancer. Perhaps there is someone else you know who may be comforted by these words, which I advise to you to pass on to.

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 © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  WORK HORSES – They may not be glamorous, but they are the ones we count on to tow the line.

LAST TIME:  A COMMUNICATIONS CURRICULUM  – What should High School students know about this important subject.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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

A COMMUNICATIONS CURRICULUM

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 18, 2016

BRYCE ON EDUCATION

– What should High School students know about this important subject.

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

For the last few years I have sat on a board of directors for a special business school at our local high school. The purpose of this program is to prepare students for the business world. In addition to teaching technical skills, community leaders address the students as part of a lecture series. We have discussed such things as career path planning, the use of math in business, adapting to the corporate culture, and more. Recently we began discussing future topics for next year. Among the ideas presented was the subject of communications as it was felt students are having difficulty adapting to business environments without such skills.

Having been a college communications graduate myself, I realize this is a robust subject area. However, for high school students, I considered what would be a suitable curriculum. Keep in mind, a lot of this is based from the vantage point of someone who has had a ring side seat observing management and Information Technology for nearly forty years. Here is what I would like to see adopted for a communications curriculum at the high school level:

Written Communications – Writing a decent business letter is essential, yet we must recognize most of today’s written communications is delivered by e-mail. Nonetheless, learning how to properly address someone, be it for sales or customer service purposes, is necessary for success. Interestingly, it was pointed out to me that most high school students do not use e-mail, preferring text messaging or use of social media instead. I assumed most students made active use of e-mail. Unfortunately, they do not which is another reason for them to brush up on their writing skills.

The fundamentals of giving a speech – whether it is for the presentation of an argument, to perform a lecture, of for humorous purposes, students should understand the basics of rhetorical thought, persuasion, and negotiations. This includes the three canons of speech as represented by ethos (an appeal based on the character of the speaker), pathos (emotional appeal) and logos (logical argument). In discourse, we will likely use all three when making a presentation, but it is necessary students understand what they mean and how to use them. Personally, I would like to see the students stand on a soap box and give a five minute speech to classmates passing by at lunch time. This would help them overcome their fear of speaking and give them the confidence to argue a point.

Conducting a meeting – unless students understand the basics for running a meeting, they will likely waste the time of everyone involved for years to come, thereby turning a useful communications tool into something counterproductive. An introduction to Robert’s Rules of Order (Parliamentary Procedure) would be useful to teach the mechanics of a well structured meeting.

Interviewing – this will likely affect their lives going forward from now on, be it for a job or for college placement.

And finally, Common Courtesy – aside from a student’s ability to write and speak, they will be judged by their ability to socialize with others. This specifically includes their ability to cooperate and work harmoniously with people. This is much more than just “please and thank you,” but also includes how to conduct introductions (handshakes), greeting people, and generally getting along with others.

This may all seem rather obvious, but these are important life lessons which will serve young people throughout their academic and professional careers. I just wish I had known some of this before going to college. It would have certainly made my life a lot easier (and more productive).

Related articles:

“All I ask about running a Meeting” (April 5, 2013)
“The Art of Persuasion” (February 20, 2006)
“Business Writing” (April 20, 2015)
“Common Courtesy” (September 24, 2012)

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 © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  JUST FOR TODAY – Take time once a day to stop and think. Reflection is good for the soul.

LAST TIME:  CHILI RECIPES – IT’S PERSONAL  – Safely guarded family treasurers.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Communications, Education | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

CHILI RECIPES – IT’S PERSONAL

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 15, 2016

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Safely guarded family treasurers.

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

A couple of weeks ago I attended a Chili cookoff at a nearby town. For the uninformed, a “cookoff” is a cooking competition that concentrates on a particular dish, in this case, chili or “chili con carne” to be more precise, a spicy meat stew which is particularly popular in the South. There were a few dozen vendors in attendance and I took my time to sample all of them. I’ve tasted a lot of different interpretations of chili over the years, e.g., shredded beef versus ground beef, various types of chili peppers, textures, not to mention how served, such as on a bed of rice, on spaghetti, with corn bread, etc. Because of these many variations, I like to believe I have a pretty open mind when it comes to chili.

The competitors in the chili cookoff came from different backgrounds; everything from restaurants to mom and pop operations, to individuals who relished participating in such events. Usually when you go to a cookoff like this, you are likely to run across some commonality between entries. Interestingly, I didn’t find anything remotely similar between the various competitors. Although I thought when it came to chili I had seen everything, I of course didn’t as everyone seemed to have their own unique interpretation. Most had little or no spice whatsoever in it, which baffled me. Some were runny or soupy and others had more kidney beans than meat. I even found one with shrimp that could have easily passed for gumbo as opposed to chili (I think the guy was lost). There was also a vegetarian chili which I personally consider blasphemous. Regardless, each and every competitor was genuinely proud of their entry and boasted it was the best in the competition. Frankly, most of the entries could have been better used as fishing chum in the Gulf. I may not be a chili connoisseur, but this was bad and I think it would have offended everyone in the great state of Texas where chili is the official dish.

Regardless of the outcome, I discovered chili is a very personal dish and there are probably no two people who prepare it exactly the same. Even if people use prepackaged ingredients, I have found they like to add their own unique nuance to the recipe. When you ask someone to describe their version you usually get a contrived answer like, “It’s Spanish style,” or Cuban, Greek, Filipino or Ethiopian (huh?), not to mention Cincinnati-style with its “5 ways” of combining ingredients.

I have also found chili recipes are usually jealously guarded family secrets (sometimes even between family members). As to the cookoff competitors I experienced, I don’t think they have to worry about the misappropriation of any trade secret. They could paste their recipes on every telephone poll from Tampa to Fairbanks and I think it is safe to say their secrets will remain proprietary.

I guess I don’t see chili as a complicated dish. There is meat and there are spices. To me, it’s the spices that distinguishes the dish. When you are in the southwest, it’s usually a matter of red chilies versus green chilies, both have different tastes and degrees of heat. We could easily stop there but inevitably we do not as evidenced by the many different interpretations I experienced at the cookoff. But shrimp chili? Vegetarian chili? Turkey chili? Ethiopian chili? No, no, no, and Hell no. Just give me the beef and an interesting spice, two things I didn’t find at this year’s “chili cookoff.”

Originally published: November 29, 2010

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 © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  A COMMUNICATIONS CURRICULUM – What should High School students know about this important subject.

LAST TIME:  LEARNING A LOT FROM VOTER REGISTRATION  – Just sit and listen to the people; you will get an earful.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Food, Life | Tagged: , , , , | 10 Comments »

LEARNING A LOT FROM VOTER REGISTRATION

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 13, 2016

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Just sit and listen to the people; you will get an earful.

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

Last month I attended an Art Festival in the downtown area of Palm Harbor. This is a typical small town affair attracting no more than a couple of thousand people. The downtown street was closed off from traffic so vendors could erect tents and displays for their wares. At this time, I volunteered to assist in the registration of voters for the 2016 election. This was a first for me, so I didn’t quite know what to expect. Now, I know some of you will say, “Wait Tim, you’re a Republican; Republicans don’t want people to vote.”  “Au contraire” my liberal opponents; You have to remember, I come from a generation who believes you do not have the right to complain about the country unless you are at least willing to vote. It is the most fundamental way of demonstrating your civic responsibility.

The organizer of the event had a simple table and chairs for us to distribute Florida standard voter registration forms. The form served three purposes: to register a new voter, to change voter address, and to change political parties.

This was a party neutral activity as we would assist anyone with their registration needs, regardless of their party affiliation. As we sat there, we would cheerfully ask passerbys if they were registered to vote. I was pleasantly surprised to find most of the people were already registered, and we would thank them for being so. We also ran into some people who growled they had no interest in voting whatsoever, which I still do not fully comprehend.

We had a few dozen who were new to the area and wanted to register to vote, but most of the people we talked with wanted to change their address or party affiliation. I was particularly surprised by the latter. These were Democrats who wanted to change to the GOP. Although most wouldn’t comment on their reasons for doing so, one woman in particular adamantly said, “Enough is enough.”

Although this was a party neutral event, there were many people who wanted to engage us in conversation regarding politics. Topics included everything from Obamacare to ISIS and “Muslim extremists,” to Voter ID, to our fragile economy. We also heard opinions regarding the candidates, particularly Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It was most illuminating to just sit back and listen to John Q. Public, who made it plain they were unhappy with the current state of affairs in our country.

If you ever get a chance to participate in such an event, I encourage you to volunteer your time. First, it is not difficult to do, but more importantly, you will learn a lot about what people think of our system of government.

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 © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  CHILI RECIPES – Safely guarded family treasurers.

LAST TIME:  WHY DO WE FIGHT EVERY LITTLE THING?  – Where is the cooperation and common courtesy?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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

WHY DO WE FIGHT EVERY LITTLE THING?

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 11, 2016

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Where is the cooperation and common courtesy?

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

Ever have a day where it seems it is almost impossible to get anything done? I’ve been experiencing a lot of these lately, as have my friends, and I’m not too sure why they occur. Let me explain by providing three examples which you might possibly be able to relate to. Even though these are minor incidents, they blossomed into ugly affairs and threatened business.

First, I was recently charged with obtaining a special plaque for a nonprofit organization I belong to. I had produced a mock-up of what I wanted, complete with text and graphics. The only problem was that my old trophy vendor retired, and I was forced to locate another one. A friend recommended another company, claiming he had used them for years and knew they could perform the task for me. I called the store and talked to a woman about my project. She said she would be happy to look at it, but I would have to get there before they closed at 5:30pm. So far, so good. I arrived at 5:00pm. As I entered the store there were two women behind the front counter sitting at their desks typing on computers. As I approached, I cheerfully said, “Good afternoon ladies; beautiful day out there, isn’t it?”

They displayed no emotion and didn’t reply. Although unlikely, I thought perhaps they hadn’t heard me. I then said, “My name is Tim Bryce, I called earlier about having a plaque made here.”

One of the ladies looked up at me, stone faced, and asked what I wanted. I judged her to be about my age, but it appeared she couldn’t care less as to my needs. I explained what I needed and showed her my mock-up. It wasn’t a complicated order, and I said my friend had something similar produced there which I would like to duplicate. This caused her to dig through her computer files to find my friend’s order and a description of his plaque. She then showed me a blank version of the plaque which I agreed would suit my needs.

After giving her my name, number, and e-mail address, I thought I was finished. Far from it. She insisted I send her the text and graphics by e-mail so they could just cut and paste it into their engraving software. She also pointed out I would incur a $30 fee for converting my graphics into another file format. I told her I could do the conversion for her, but it didn’t matter, I was still going to be charged $30. Finally, she said they would need seven business days to complete the job. Keep in mind, she wasn’t asking for my approval, it was kind of “take it or leave it” with the emphasis on “leave it.” It seemed she went out of her way to try and kill the deal. If I hadn’t been in such a good mood that day I probably would have told her to shove it where the sun doesn’t shine, but I let it go. I finally left the store shaking my head in bewilderment.

The second incident involves a restauranteur friend of mine who told me a story about his credit card machine going down due to an interruption in his Internet service. In all, the service was knocked out for approximately 15 minutes, but this didn’t satisfy one of his patrons who was eager to pay his bill and be on his way. My friend explained to him the problem he was experiencing and if the man could pay with cash or wait just a few minutes for the service to restart. This did not sit well with the patron who started to become belligerent. When my friend asked if the man had cash, the patron became more irritated and vocal. He said he had to leave and would stop back later to pay the bill. This, of course, did not sit well with my friend, who went out and recorded the patron’s license plate number. Interestingly, the man could have easily walked next door to a bank with an ATM to obtain cash, but he rejected this proposal outright and insisted on leaving. In other words, there was no interest in solving the problem amicably. To my knowledge, the man never returned to pay his bill, and he will likely never darken the door of my friend’s restaurant again.

The third incident involves another friend who sells industrial supplies to manufacturing companies in the Tampa Bay area. Recently, he visited one of his larger accounts. His contact there was pleased to inform him that she just issued a purchase order to his company for some supplies. He thanked her for the order, but as he studied it, he discovered it was incorrect in that she was entitled to a volume discount, which obviously pleased her. “Not to worry,” my friend assured her, “I’ll have my office correct it on the Order Confirmation which we’ll send you shortly.” He then dutifully called his office, talked to the people in charge, and reported to her that all was corrected and she’ll receive the confirmation shortly. She thanked him for saving her money before he left.

Three days later, the woman called my friend asking where the Order Confirmation was as she hadn’t received it. My friend checked on it and discovered the people hadn’t processed the order yet, which upset him greatly as it was rather simple procedure to perform. Days later, the woman still had not received the Order Confirmation and phoned my friend to tell him of her displeasure, and that it may threaten future orders.

All three of these incidents were relatively small and insignificant, yet they rippled into having an adverse effect on business. It seems people are going out of their way to irritate others, unnecessarily I might add. Such incidents should never occur, yet they are becoming more frequently these days. As another example, during the holidays, my mother wanted to send a Boneless Ham, fully cooked with a crunchy glaze to one of her neighbors. She contacted the local ham franchise (Yes, it was one of the big ones) and asked a clerk how much it would cost to purchase a whole ham and have it delivered. The clerk quoted a delivery price more than the cost of the ham. When my mother contested the price, the clerk became flustered and couldn’t answer the question. They obviously lost the order simply because the clerk was clueless and made no effort to solve the problem.

In theory, we have the finest technology available to us for communications and office management; technology which is intended to simplify our lives, not make it more complicated. So, why do we keep tripping over our jocks? It baffles me when people seem to come down with a bad case of the stupids over the simplest things. There is no spirit of cooperation or common courtesy anymore over the most mundane tasks. Is it that we rely too heavily on technology as opposed to brain power or do we no longer care? Historically, customer service meant bending over backwards to help customers, thereby allowing them to leave satisfied. I am not asking people to make a herculean effort, just some simple “please and thank you” and a little cooperation can make life so much easier to live, but I guess that is too much to ask in this fast paced world of personal technology.

Related articles:

“Easter Island Statues” (Mar 02, 2012)

“Indifference in Customer Service” (Jul 31, 2015)

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 © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  LEARNING A LOT FROM VOTER REGISTRATION – Just sit and listen to the people; you will get an earful.

LAST TIME:  TEMPERATURE SENSITIVITY  – We may not be cognizant of it, but we do adjust the temperature to suit our comfort zone.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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

TEMPERATURE SENSITIVITY

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 8, 2016

BRYCE ON LIFE

– We may not be cognizant of it, but we do adjust the temperature to suit our comfort zone.

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

I’ve noticed as we get older we become more sensitive to temperature. In our youth it really didn’t bother us. If it was cold, we put on a sweater or sweat shirt; if it was hot, t-shirts were the order of the day. We didn’t think twice about going outside on a snowy day to play. Now we do. Thanks to arthritis invading our joints along with muscle spasms, we become much more aware of temperature and constantly seek a comfort zone on the thermostat. This probably explains why so many people from the North migrate to the South in wintertime.

Seniors who prefer to stay in the North during winter, are inclined to keep a tight rein on the temperature dial. To illustrate, my in-laws in Cincinnati had a big house. Yet, in winter they kept the temperature in the 80’s. It was so warm inside, you would be sweating while it was frozen outside. While other houses had snow on the roofs and around the houses, my in-laws’ roof was warm and dry, even crispy. The radiating heat created a greenhouse effect whereby there was a dry three yard perimeter around the house where foliage flourished and the grass remained green. It is a strange sight to see Crocus and Daffodils in full bloom when it is -30 degrees outside. There was no need to shovel snow near the front door as the cement was so toasty warm, you could walk barefoot outside.

In the summertime, it was just the opposite as the house became Ice Station Zebra. They kept it so cold, you could see your breath and the windows were frosted requiring the occasional scraping and use of ice picks.

Spring and autumn represent the awkward months as people go back and forth clicking between the furnace and the air conditioner. These seasons are favorites for the power companies.

Down here in Florida, we have learned to live with the heat as our friends in the North have learned to live with the snow. As for me, I’ll gladly take the sweat of the heat as opposed to the discomfort of the cold. I lived my first thirty years in the North, and I remember too well the layers of clothes to be worn outside, shoveling driveways, and being forced to stay indoors. In Florida, I wear comfortable shorts year round, particularly when I do yard work. The grass may slow down during Winter, but you still have to mow your lawn all year, such is the price for wearing shorts, which I happily accept. As an aside, if we learn a rare frost is in the offing in Florida, we cover our plants outside with old bed sheets. Northerners visiting our area during this time find it amusing to see our plants “put to bed” for the evening.

Even in Florida though, we become very sensitive to the temperature as we get older. Most of the time we are not cognizant of it. For example, my daughter recently came home for a visit and complained how cold it was in the house. Frankly, I hadn’t thought about it before she made the observation. I then walked around the house to make sure there was no frost on the windows requiring scraping.

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 © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  WHY DO WE FIGHT EVERY LITTLE THING? – Where is the cooperation and common courtesy?

LAST TIME:  WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT MR. TRUMP?  – Not as much as you think.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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

 
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