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Archive for February, 2016

ACQUISITIONS: A BAD SIGN?

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 29, 2016

BRYCE ON BUSINESS

– Another indicator of the fragile state of our economy.

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

Normally, when you want to analyze the state of our economy, you examine such things as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is currently at a paltry annual rate of 0.7%. Or you might consider unemployment which, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is at 5%. This, of course, does not include people who have stopped looking for work over the past four weeks, thereby bringing the real unemployment rate up to 9.9% (according to Gallup).

However, the Gallup organization recently produced a new report about corporate acquisitions corporate acquisitions which reveals some unsettling numbers affecting the economy. In a nutshell, Gallup discovered companies are frustrated by an economy inhibiting them from growing from within, preferring instead to acquire competitive companies.

In studying the Forbes Global 2000 (G2000) companies, Gallup discovered the number of publicly traded companies have been cut in half over the past twenty years, going from approximately 7,300 to 3,700. As the company correctly points out, “In a perfect world, the market would have doubled the number of big public companies instead of halving it.”

However, getting companies to improve internally has become a serious challenge. As Gallup explains it, 71% of workers have become indifferent about their companies and have actively disengaged from them. This means only a handful of employees find meaning in their work and are industrious.

The question is, why have so many people become disengaged at work? In large part, blame can be placed on management’s inclination to micromanage everything in an office, thereby creating a master/slave mentality which is hardly conducive for encouraging workers to assume responsibility, take charge, and become engaged in the business of the company. As I’ve mentioned on many occasions, I am more of a believer in managing from the bottom-up, meaning you should train your people properly, empower them to execute project assignments on their own, and get out of their way. Of course, managers should monitor project status and run interference on problems as required, thereby allowing the workers to focus on their responsibilities. Such an approach encourages workers to take ownership of their projects and create an esprit de corps. In other words, managers should manage more and supervise less.

By simply “managing from the bottom-up,” companies can engage their workers, thereby providing them with the ability to improve from within, and deter the need to acquire other companies. Besides, how do we know these other companies are any better than our own?

Related article:
“Are You Engaged in Work?” (Nov 11, 2013)

Also published with News Talk Florida.

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:  AT HOME WITH THE MILLENNIALS – Why are so many staying home?

LAST TIME:  GREETINGS FROM PLANET NINE  – The new Hollywood.

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 Business, Management | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

GREETINGS FROM PLANET NINE

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 26, 2016

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– The new Hollywood.

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

Last month, scientists at the California Institute of Technology claim to have discovered a new planet, temporarily named, “Planet Nine.” This was welcome news since Pluto was downgraded to “dwarf planet” status. Planet Nine is said to be 10 times bigger than Earth, and as the farthest planet in our solar system, it takes approximately 20,000 years to complete one orbit.

In truth, the planet was discovered eight years ago but has been kept secret by developers who are turning it into a luxurious retreat where Hollywood celebrities will be moving following the election of Donald Trump as President in 2016. Insiders claim the new planet will be dubbed “Hollyworld.” and celebrities have already mapped out spacious estates. One developer was quoted as saying the smallest property will make the Ponderosa seem puny.

In addition to homes, a massive media infrastructure is planned so entertainers can continue their work there and is said to include studios for motion pictures, television, radio, music, etc. Although travel to and from the new planet would normally take years using conventional spacecraft, technicians have finally unlocked the secrets of beaming technology as introduced by Gene Roddenberry, the creator of “Star Trek.” This reduces the amount of travel from years to minutes.

The project is a joint venture by Hollywood entertainers and the main street media. It was kept secret so the founders could finalize plans for a new form of government and policies. Breitbart broke the story after stumbling on a planning session at the New York Times. Among the decisions outlined include:

* A massive government infrastructure will control everything. You will not be able to do anything without a permit. As such, it will be the largest employer on the planet, followed by 7-11 clerks. Nonetheless, Civil Servants will run the world.

* There will be no taxes; everyone will be required to turn their assets over to the state for safekeeping and financing the world. This means there will be no theft or burglary, but little in terms of employment as everyone will be classified as wards of the state.

* Energy will be furnished exclusively by solar wind farms. Without petroleum, there will be no pipelines or carbon emissions other than the hot air from the inhabitants. Interestingly, there is a genuine concern for the polar caps melting, even though the planet is the farthest from the sun.

* Guns are not permitted, which explains why there will be a major drug culture on the planet. Meth labs will operate 24/7.

* A complete program of socialized medicine will be available to inhabitants. Everyone will be entitled to free health care, generously paid for by the celebrities. Hospital doctors and nurses will work for the government.

* Illegal immigration will be permitted and will be allowed to vote in elections, as well as those deceased and buried on the planet. It is expected, immigrants will come from Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Mexico, of course.

This social paradise, code named as “Obamanation,” has been under development for six years and will likely be occupied following the presidential election in November. In addition to estates for elite Hollywood celebrities, a major section has been reserved for the Main Street Media, tentatively named “Fantasyland.”

It is expected California Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown will be named the planet’s first “Chief,” a title selected in honor of Native Americans and the Washington NFL franchise. No word yet as to who will fill the seats for the Secretaries of Karma, Inner Consciousness, and Meditation.

In related news, Donald Trump announced a new magnetic beam that is reported to be so strong, it can release a planet from the solar system thereby allowing it to float out into space. Americans eagerly await the first demonstration so that Earth may return to normal.

Also published with News Talk Florida.

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:  ACQUISITIONS: A BAD SIGN? – Another indicator of the fragile state of our economy.

LAST TIME:  NOBODY THINKS BIG ANYMORE  – particularly in the systems world.

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 humor, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

NOBODY THINKS BIG ANYMORE

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 24, 2016

BRYCE ON SYSTEMS

– particularly in the systems world.

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

If you think the physical infrastructure of our country is bad, its bridges and highways, you should see its systems. Like it or not, we are a nation run by systems developed as far back as the 1960’s. No wonder COBOL programmers are still in demand. Over the years I have heard one horror story after another, be it in banking, insurance, manufacturing, or government. I have also written about such snafus, such as at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Security Agency (NSA). Another that comes to mind is the Obamacare health system which was delivered late and horribly over budget. These are mammoth systems wasting taxpayer dollars in the millions and billions. The big question is, Why?

Whereas other countries have cleaned up their messes, such as the banking systems of Japan and Europe, we are just the antithesis. While others are moving forward introducing new banking products, the Americans find themselves in the role of constantly fighting fires. You cannot move forward until you put your house in order by bringing standard practices and discipline into your work effort. This is what happens when you treat system design as an art form, as opposed to a science.

Until the 1980’s, there was an abundance of trained systems people in the work force. We then began to see our focus shift from total systems to how to write a single program efficiently, meaning the Structured Programming and CASE movement (Computer Aided Software Engineering) of that period. This led to a void of systems people and, without such talent, major system projects began to die in the 1980’s and 90’s. So much so, nobody is willing to try it anymore, primarily because they have forgotten how to do so and settle for building smaller things, such as an “app.”

For example, developers no longer know how to write information requirements or project scopes. They may know how to produce a program spec, but have no idea how to develop the high level requirements needed to satisfy the actions and decisions of a business. Without such requirements, developers waste considerable time building the wrong system. Without a well defined project scope, developers frequently wander outside the boundaries of a project and either perform too little or too much work.

Systems design is to programming what architects are to carpenters. Without a proper set of blueprints, the carpenters will likely build the wrong product, regardless of the elaborate tools they may use. Unfortunately, the systems architects disappeared in the 1980’s which explains why we lack the know-how to build systems anymore.

A major system can take several months, if not a couple of years to build, but we now possess the attention span of a gnat. If we cannot produce something quickly, such as in a couple of days, we tend to lose interest. This is why long-term planning is usually no longer than thirty days and why we find ourselves in a reactionary form of management.

When you talk with programmers about doing something bigger and better, the excuse typically is, “We do not have time to do things right.” Translation: “We have plenty of time to do things wrong.”

Like any discipline, in order to perform systems design properly, a standard body of knowledge is required featuring common sense concepts, principles, and defined terminology. Such knowledge should be tested and proven. This is the purpose of a standardized methodology, like “PRIDE,” which is aimed at bringing uniformity to the design and development process. By doing so, it can turn a heterogeneous environment into a homogeneous one, thereby forcing people to speak common language and perform work in a standard manner.

So, the reason nobody thinks big in the systems field anymore is simple; they do not know how to.

“If we built bridges the same way we build systems in this country, this would be a nation run by ferryboats.”
– Bryce’s Law

Related article:
“Too Many Carpenters, Not Enough Architects” (Sep 10, 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:  GREETINGS FROM PLANET NINE – The new Hollywood.

LAST TIME:  WASTING TIME WITH MY CREDIT CARD COMPANY  – Actually, the programmers are at fault.

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 Systems | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

WASTING TIME WITH MY CREDIT CARD COMPANY

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 22, 2016

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Actually, the programmers are at fault.

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

I recently received in e-mail from my credit card company notifying me of the rewards I earned last year. It’s not necessary to mention their name as I believe they are all basically the same. In my case, I have two separate credit cards administered through the same rewards program. This hasn’t been a problem until I was asked to check my points. In doing so, I discovered the company was moving away from their old login routine to a new one, meaning I had to re-register my account. Fine. After dutifully registering my first card, I was shown my balance and reward points, but this was a card I seldom used and had few points associated with it.

I then tried to register my second card but hit a roadblock. It simply wouldn’t allow me to add another credit card to my account which I thought rather odd as it is not uncommon for people to have multiple cards. This made me nervous as I had visions of losing all of my travel points. After banging my head against the wall for several minutes I then called their Customer Service telephone number as instructed. Of course, I had to fight through voice mail jail until I could speak with a human being. I patiently explained my problem to her, but I do not believe she understand what I was saying and, frankly, I had trouble understanding her heavy Spanish accent. I didn’t push #2 on my phone did I? Frustrated, I hung up and, No, she will not get high marks on the follow-up Customer Service survey.

I then started over again but hit the same roadblock. I tried the Customer Service number again. This time I talked with a woman located in Kentucky. After explaining my problem, she explained they could not accommodate multiple credit cards in the system. This was ultimately an admission of the weakness of their software people. Nonetheless, she was very professional and walked me through the problem.

Once again, I found myself trying to register a new account for a separate credit card. All went well until, at the end of the process, they were to send me a secret code verifying my new account. Unfortunately, there was no way to send me the code as there wasn’t a way to input my e-mail address or telephone number. So, I went back to Customer Service for the third time, this time to Arizona. After describing my problem, the representative was perplexed what to do and put me in touch with Technical Support who patiently walked me through the process three more times, all with the same result, Nada! This forced them to go in manually and make the necessary adjustments so I could finally log back in. And voilà, my odyssey was finally over.

Keep in mind, all I wanted to do was login and review my reward points, nothing more, nothing less. The amount of time for me to finally do so was 90 minutes, a colossal waste of time for both the Customer Service reps and myself, all because their programmers couldn’t figure out how to include multiple credit cards under one account, and implemented a poorly designed login process that was far from bulletproof.

I have been involved with the computer industry for forty years now. This problem only confirmed my belief that, “Programmers will only do what is easiest for them to implement, not what is best for the customer.” I didn’t blame the Customer Service reps, but the software people who programmed this mess has probably caused pandemonium. Then again, maybe this was an isolated incident and I am the only person to suffer through such a problem. Yea, right.

Also published with News Talk Florida.

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:  NOBODY THINKS BIG ANYMORE – particularly in the systems world.

LAST TIME:  WHEN THE OLD SURPASSES THE NEW  – What does this say about our culture?

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 Life | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

WHEN THE OLD SURPASSES THE NEW

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 19, 2016

BRYCE ON SOCIETY

– What does this say about our culture?

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

“Chart Attack,” an on-line publication monitoring the entertainment industry, recently reported on a Nielson survey revealing old music is outselling new music for the first time in history.

The survey revealed “Current” music (new), was outsold by “Catalog” sales (albums released more than 18 months ago).

Current – 118.5M
Catalog – 122.8M
Source: Nielson

This includes physical albums (CD’s and vinyl), and digital tracks. The one exception was digital albums where “Current” sales squeaked by “Catalog.” Remarkably, the sale of vinyl records experienced a 52% increase in 2015. Once considered a dead music venue, vinyl is developing a cult following which explains its resurgence. To illustrate, Nielsen reported Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” vinyl album sold 50,000 copies in 2015.

The big question is, Why? I believe it has less to do with vinyl records and more to do with a change in our culture. I suspect a new form of music is in the offing, as Hip Hop (rap) may have run its course and youngsters are becoming more cognizant of quality music. In a way, it is reminiscent of the cultural change in the late 1940s and early 1950s when Rock and Roll supplanted Big Band music at the top of the charts.

Another indicator of the change in our culture is the rise of nostalgia television. On January 1st, Antenna TV began running reruns of “The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson.” Likewise, Sony’s GetTV began showing reruns of “The Merv Griffin Show,” as well as the “Decades” network featuring the old Dick Cavett show. If they ever bring back the old Joey Bishop show from ABC or Mike Douglas, I will start to wonder what decade we’re living in. I believe these networks are tapping into the viewer loyalty of old shows the way Turner Classic Movies (TCM) created a venue for older films.

I also suspect nostalgia TV is doing well with the Baby Boomers who cannot relate to today’s version of late nite television, finding the humor sophomoric and too political for their liking. So much so, they do not even find it worthwhile to DVR. But Carson and the others, that’s another story. If these old talk shows start pulling viewers away from the new shows, as in the case of the music poll, some network heads will likely roll and the late nite talk show will have to be reinvented.

Another reason for the rise of the older music and talk shows is a longing for normalcy, particularly by the Baby Boomer generation who cannot relate to today’s music, television or movies. And by ignoring the latest in entertainment, a schism grows between the generations.

Technology, war and political unrest are normally recognized as causes for social change, but our technology is stagnating and we are relatively at peace, not counting the Middle East, so the reason must lie elsewhere. Perhaps it is nothing more than content or the lack thereof, or youth no longer wants to buy what the media moguls sell.

One thing is clear, if these trends persist, where we embrace the old versus the new, something has to change in our culture. It is inevitable.

Also published with News Talk Florida.

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:  WASTING TIME WITH MY CREDIT CARD COMPANY – Actually, the programmers are at fault.

LAST TIME:  TRUMP’S “CRIPPLED AMERICA” GIVES INSIGHT INTO HOW HE THINKS  – A book review of Mr. Trump’s latest work.

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 Life, Society | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

TRUMP’S “CRIPPLED AMERICA” GIVES INSIGHT INTO HOW HE THINKS

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 17, 2016

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– A book review of Mr. Trump’s latest work.

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

On the cover of his new book, “Crippled America” Donald Trump wears a scowl on his face. Over the protests of his family to use a more positive photo featuring him smiling, Trump selected “the scowl” as he contends there is not much to smile about in the United States today, that we are crippled and need to get serious about fixing our problems. The theme of his book, therefore, is based on the old adage, “You cannot help a patient if he doesn’t know he is sick,” and Trump goes to great length to enumerate the problems facing the country.

I read the book rather quickly as it was just 208 pages and well organized. It was not the most eloquent writing, yet each chapter reads like a Trump speech. Writing a candidate book is an important part of any campaign strategy, but this one gives you a glimpse into the mind of a businessman, not a candidate. This is an important distinction as it becomes obvious he is more concerned with finding pragmatic solutions to our problems rather than following the political ideologues of the left or the right. He writes more like a businessman, and is more interested in common sense than being politically correct.

On page six, he writes, “I’m not a diplomat who wants everybody to be happy. I’m a practical businessman who has learned that when you believe in something, you never stop, you never quit, and if you get knocked down, you climb right back up and keep fighting until you win. That’s been my strategy all my life, and I’ve been very successful following it.”

This is the same attitude he wants America to embrace. He continues by stating, “The fact is I give people what they need and deserve to hear – exactly what they don’t get from politicians – and that is The Truth. Our country is a mess right now and we don’t have time to pretend otherwise. We don’t have time to waste on being politically correct.” (page 8)

It is this no-nonsense, politically neutral approach which has made him a populist, yet has drawn the ire of the press and his political opponents. Because of his wealth, which is itemized in the Appendix, Trump makes it clear he is someone who cannot be bought and manipulated by the media or special interests.

The Preface sets the stage for the book, briefly summarizing the problems of the country, which is something everyone should read to truly understand Trump. You will either agree with him or you will not. Liberals and the media will naturally hate it. Just about everyone else with an open mind will identify with the problems he discusses. In a nutshell, Mr. Trump contends the problems of America are due to a lack of common sense, incompetent self-serving politicians, and lack of leadership. It’s a compelling argument for America to consider.

In particular, Trump takes the media to task and exposes their political inclinations; “They (the American people) have finally figured out that a lot of the political media aren’t trying to give the people a fair representation of the important issues. Instead, they are trying to manipulate the people – and the election – in favor of the candidates they want to see elected. These media companies are owned by billionaires. These are smart people who know which candidates are going to be best for them, and they find a way to support the person they want.” (page 15)

In terms of leadership, he reminds us of one of his principal rules of negotiation, “The side that needs the deal the most is the one that should walk away with the least.” (page 40). He uses this to criticize President Obama’s failures in negotiating with other countries, particularly during the Iran nuclear deal.

Perhaps the most illuminating part of the book, to me, was the description of his values sprinkled throughout it. Without a doubt, he is a confirmed capitalist. One of the mottos by his father left a lasting impression on him, “You do your job, you keep your job. Do it well, get a better job.” (page 94)

He goes on to describe himself, saying, “I don’t make promises I can’t keep. I don’t make threats without following through. Don’t ever make the mistake you can bully me. My business partners and employees know that my word is as good as any contract – and that better go for the other side’s word as well.” (page 138)

His confidence and entrepreneurial spirit comes through the book vividly, something his opposition interprets as conceit. However, such values are typical for most successful businessmen such as Trump.

The chapters discuss such things as the political media, immigration, foreign policy, education, energy, health care, the economy, the 2nd amendment and gun control, our infrastructure, and our values, which I found particularly interesting. Each section reads like a Trump speech, and you get the feeling he is trying to tell the truth to the best of his ability. After listening to his arguments, I couldn’t refute them as they were expressed as common sense.

For every person who loves Mr. Trump, there is another who hates him. This is essentially no different than how the country feels about Mr. Obama. Through this book, Trump is trying to convince his opponents he is not the bogeyman he is portrayed to be by the media.

Liberals promote the stereotype of Trump supporters as racist uneducated red necks, thereby hoping people will not support him. After reading “Cripple America,” you come to understand why main street Americans are tired of the status quo, the gridlock in Washington, the incompetence of the career politicians, and our slippage as a world leader in just about every category. Trump claims it doesn’t have to be this way, that if we took more of a professional business approach we can make America great again.

After reading this book, you get the uneasy feeling that if Mr. Trump is defeated, it would be a refutation of American business in general, and that is something we cannot afford.

Also published with News Talk Florida.

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:  WHEN THE OLD SURPASSES THE NEW – What does this say about our culture?

LAST TIME:  WHAT DOES PRESIDENTS’ DAY MEAN?  – and how would our former presidents do today?

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 Books, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

WHAT DOES PRESIDENTS’ DAY MEAN?

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 15, 2016

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– and how would our former presidents do today?

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

It’s Presidents’ Day again, a day when the schools and banks are closed, the local, state and federal bureaucracies leave us alone, and everyone else is busy working to pay for it all. The holiday goes back as far as 1879 and was originally intended to honor our first president, George Washington. This was later amended to include Abraham Lincoln, widely considered the savior of the Union. Interestingly, it is celebrated on the third Monday of February, which doesn’t coincide with either president’s birthday. Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia, and Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 in Hodgenville, Kentucky. In other words, the third Monday was selected as a compromise between the two birthdays. Because of the selection of the third Monday of February, the day never lands on either president’s exact birthday.

Although it was originally designed to honor Washington, then Lincoln, it was later intended to honor all presidents, yet most people think of it as it pertains to just our first and sixteenth presidents.

A few years ago, historians were asked if either Washington or Lincoln could win a presidential election today, as well as some of our other famous presidents. It was agreed the only president who might possibly have a chance was Washington due to his sheer character. I’m not sure character alone would cut it anymore. You must remember, Washington was a credible plantation owner, capable military figure, and even a distiller of whiskey, but he was not an educated man, one of the few founding fathers without a college education. He also owned slaves and had it not been for the money Martha brought with her from a previous marriage, Washington would have likely gone bankrupt. All of this would have been fodder for the sensational press of today.

Although historians like to rave about Lincoln’s wit and oratory skills, and perhaps the only president capable of keeping the nation together during our horrific Civil War, his lanky looks, mussed clothes, and his western voice would have been used by comedians to impersonate and lampoon him. Saturday Night Live alone would eat him for lunch.

Teddy Roosevelt would be ridiculed for his squeaky voice. Thomas Jefferson, would not be remembered as the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, the Louisiana Purchase, or for sanctioning the Lewis & Clark expedition. Instead, he would have been exposed for his sexual infidelity with one of his slaves, Sally Hemings. James Madison would not be remembered as the “Father of the Constitution” or the champion of the Bill of Rights, but for allowing the White House and Congress to be burned by the British. Even FDR, Ronald Reagan, JFK, Ike, and many others would be subjects for character assassination.

It’s not that these presidents have changed, as much as our morality and judgement has changed, as has the power of the media. True, none of these presidents were perfect, but they somehow managed to accomplish a lot. Regardless, more than anything else they would be attacked for their character as opposed to their accomplishments.

We should remember this as we go about the process of selecting a new president.

So, what does Presidents’ Day mean to me? It’s a reminder we should elect people based on our own perceptions of their capabilities, and not rely on what the media tells us.

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:  TRUMP’S “CRIPPLED AMERICA” GIVES INSIGHT INTO HOW HE THINKS – A book review of Mr. Trump’s latest work.

LAST TIME:  IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS…   – that makes life worth living.

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: , , , , | 1 Comment »

IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS…

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 12, 2016

BRYCE ON LIFE

– that makes life worth living.

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

Most of us are familiar with the expression, “He who dies with the most toys wins,” meaning people crave recognition for owning the biggest house, the fastest car, a huge yacht, the most expensive watch, or an impressive title. Although such people should be congratulated on their success, to me, this is rather shallow thinking as I believe it is the little things that make life worthwhile. For example:

I really enjoy seeing a job well done, producing a quality product on time and within budget. This is a testament to the people who produced it and the manager in charge. Better yet, performing a job admired by others. Unfortunately, we no longer seem to be able to conquer too many large projects any more, which is why when such projects are completed properly, we should celebrate. This also explains why we are content doing smaller projects these days.

Back in 1985, when we moved our office from Cincinnati to Tampa Bay, we performed a considerable amount of planning. On Friday, the movers came to load our office furniture. We backed up our mini computer for the last time before unplugging it and loading it on the truck. We then drove as a convoy to Florida. On Monday morning, the movers brought in our furniture to the new office, we installed the computer, and were back up and operational by 9:00am Monday morning. Some people thought the move couldn’t be done over a weekend. We didn’t think twice about it. It was a pleasure though to watch this project being performed like clock work.

This leads me to the next point, I enjoy seeing someone solve a problem generally regarded as impossible to conquer. There are a lot of naysayers in the world telling us what can or cannot be done. It’s always a pleasure to prove them wrong. In particular, we produced a technology to automatically design and document information systems based on the interpretation of requirements. People said it couldn’t be done. We proved them wrong. We also produced a technology to automatically calculate corporate priorities which others said couldn’t be done. Again, we proved them wrong. The key to success was nothing more than a little perseverance, and a lot of common sense.

Beyond this, it is a pleasure to watch anyone who knows what he/she is doing, be it a craftsman creating a quality product, a salesman who knows his product line, a customer service agent who knows how to patiently expedite the problems of a client, a waitress who performs her job friendly and professionally, or a janitor who takes pride in his work. The antithesis of this is the person who has earned degrees and/or certificates, yet hasn’t a clue on how to produce or deliver anything.

I also enjoy seeing a good deed performed whether it is for a neighbor, friend, a co-worker, or a complete stranger, thereby maintaining our sense of humanity and decency. It could be as simple as mowing the person’s lawn, shoveling snow from a driveway, offering a meal, or helping out anyway we can, all quietly and respectfully.

Then we come into the simple pleasures of the physical world, such as listening to some great music without commercial interruption. For me, it’s jazz, classical, big band and good old rock and roll.

Many consider food a pleasurable experience, but not just any food. Many of us enjoy the comfort foods prepared by mothers and grandmothers, be it nothing but warm bread, cakes or pies. Perhaps there is a special salad they know how to make, or a main dish such as lasagna, a casserole, or something from our cultural past, such as an ethnic dish. Likewise, they equally enjoy preparing it knowing it to be a favorite of ours.

Then there is the matter of sweets. As a kid, one of my favorite Halloween treats was a Chunky bar, which we considered the nirvana of chocolate. I happened to spot one in a local drug store recently and had to have it, and, Yes, it was every bit as good as I remembered it.

We also take pleasure in local cuisine, especially if we have been away for a period of time. In Buffalo, NY it is char-grilled foot long hot dogs with curly fries, a Beef on a Weck, Chicken Wings, clam bars, and a Friday night fish fry. In Cincinnati, OH it is ribs, goetta, metts and brats, ice cream, a Frisch’s Big Boy, and sliders from White Castle. In Tampa Bay, it’s grouper cooked a variety of ways, shrimp, Cuban sandwiches, and Greek salads. Yum!

There is also nothing quite like the love of a good woman, and to witness the triumphs of your offspring, be it a home run or touchdown, a good report card, graduation, jobs, etc. Sitting on the sidelines and just enjoying the moment can be very rewarding.

Other little pleasures include reading a book that doesn’t disappoint you. You feel like it was time well vested. I also happen to like wadding in a fresh water stream fishing for trout. There is something to be said about being divorced from the real world for a few hours and preoccupied hunting your quarry.

Bottom-line for me, I take pleasure in having a good drink, good cigar, and good conversation with friends. I find this more rewarding than any mansion, yacht or fancy automobile. Then again, I have nothing to prove to anybody.

Also published with News Talk Florida.

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:  WHAT DOES PRESIDENTS’ DAY MEAN? – Who are we celebrating, the people or the office?

LAST TIME:  WHY DO WE TOLERATE THUGS IN SPORTS?  – Is victory more important than morality?

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 Life | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

WHY DO WE TOLERATE THUGS IN SPORTS?

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 10, 2016

BRYCE ON SPORTS

– Is victory more important than morality?

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

Recently, a friend brought to my attention a web page produced by USA Today containing a data base of “NFL Player Arrests.” Between the years 2000-2015 there were 810 players arrested for various offenses. Some beat the rap, others were fined, and some served jail time. In 2015 alone, 28 players from 21 teams, representing two-thirds of the teams in the National Football League (NFL), were arrested for such crimes as illegal drugs, speeding, driving under the influence, other traffic offenses, battery, domestic violence, burglary, animal cruelty, disorderly conduct, rape, and gun offenses. In addition to paying fines and serving jail time, the offenses resulted in player suspensions and, in some cases, they were promptly released by the teams.

These are the cases formally documented in the courts, there are many others simmering on the sidelines, such as the rape case involving Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston which hangs over his head like the Sword of Damocles. Until such time as he can clear his name, he will continue to be a liability to the Buccaneers organization.

I realize football is a rough sport, but the NFL is developing a reputation for condoning immoral behavior. A lot of this could be chalked up to high spirited young men who do not know better. If this is true, perhaps it is time for the NFL to promote a mentoring system where seasoned veterans offer wise counsel to the young, or perhaps some training. It is the responsibility of the coaching staff to prepare the players for game day, but perhaps it is time for them to assume the same responsibilities corporate managers have in supervising the activities of their younger workers to assure they properly adapt to the corporate culture.

The point is, the youngsters have to be told they are no longer teenagers, but adults who are responsible for their actions, not to mention role models for the teams and cities they represent.

The NFL is not alone in its problems controlling its players. Similar offenses can likely be found in the NBA, MLB, NHL, and just about every organized sport.

Whereas we have been experiencing a general breakdown in morality due to the deterioration of the family unit, it becomes the responsibility of managers to practice what I refer to as “Parenting Management,” whereby the manager has to make up for what the parent failed to instill in their offspring.

There is another major problem though, loyal and enthusiastic fans tend to overlook the indiscretions of the players. To such people, victory is more important than a player’s brush with the law, and this is perhaps more disturbing than the offense itself. The fans and the teams should be as indignant and concerned as the courts. Too often they are not.

Can we completely eradicate thuggery from organized sports? Probably not, but we can significantly reduce the volume of incidents with some basic management techniques, such as education and mentoring.

Also published with News Talk Florida.

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:  IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS… – that makes life worth living.

LAST TIME:  MOVING UP TOO FAST  – What happens when you do not pay your dues.

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 Morality, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

MOVING UP TOO FAST

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 8, 2016

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– What happens when you do not pay your dues.

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

As we enter the workforce, it is natural to be ambitious and make a name for ourselves thereby establishing credibility. This is certainly not new. However, as the Baby Boomers begin to retire, they are rapidly being replaced by Millennials, and frankly, many are not prepared.

Regardless of what they teach in the business schools, there are several nuances to assuming the role of manager. You have to have the proper social and communications skills to work with people, you should be cognizant of the corporate culture and how to manipulate it to your benefit, understanding the systems and technology of the business, and much more. This can only be learned through experience, and hopefully a mentor. Unfortunately, few companies appreciate the mentor concept and throw junior people into the breech prematurely to see who will survive. Without proper supervision, most of the junior people are doomed to failure.

A local distributor of manufacturing products recently changed their management hierarchy, demoting mature sales and administrative managers, and replacing them with people who were young enough to be their children (about 27 years old). There was a lot of unbridled enthusiasm about them, but little in terms of common sense for running a business. To illustrate, their massive warehouse had only one operable light bulb. The young administrative manager believed the landlord was responsible for replacing them, yet it was theirs to maintain. Office equipment was sorely in need of maintenance, particularly the photocopier which regularly printed fuzzy dark images on paper. Neither of the managers knew how to process a customer order electronically. Consequently, the company began to experience delays in processing. Having never performed a year-end inventory, they fudged the numbers as opposed to getting it right. And the year-end company Christmas party was a bust.

None of this was complicated, yet they lacked the experience and common sense to run the office smoothly. Not surprising, employee morale is at an all time low, and for some strange reason, their corporate managers accept their performance.

More troubling, although the juniors may possess infectious enthusiasm, their inexperience could lead the company into a lawsuit due to some unintended faux pas.

The point is, these two junior people were promoted much too fast. Instead of weaning them with a viable career path, corporate officers threw them into their new positions unexpectedly. Being impetuous, they were not interested in seeking the advice of their predecessors who were still employed by the company. The elders simply shook their head in disbelief as they watched the juniors commit one mistake after another.

This is just one instance, but I am seeing similar situations occur in other companies where junior people are asked to sink or swim in higher positions. The logic for this is bewildering to me as the productivity of such companies diminish using this approach. It is also unfair to the junior people who are put into this position and lack the maturity and experience to perform their jobs effectively.

One can only wonder, what in God’s name are they thinking at corporate?

Also published with News Talk Florida.

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 TOLERATE THUGS IN SPORTS? – Is victory more important than morality?

LAST TIME:  FATHERS EAT HEELS  – and perform all the thankless jobs around the house.

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 Business, Management | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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