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Archive for March, 2016

12 ATTRIBUTES SEPARATING LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 30, 2016

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– How can we be so different?

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

There is no doubt there are significant differences between the ideologies of the Liberal Left and Conservative Right. We are a nation divided by two distinctly separate interpretations of who we are and the direction our country should be moving towards. I have narrowed it down to twelve distinct attributes discerning our differences. Some will accuse me of oversimplification, but I think they will readily understand what I’m trying to say.

ECONOMIC POLICY
LEFT: Socialists – believes the rights of the community supersedes those of the individual. No success or failure. Wants to redistribute the wealth.
RIGHT: Capitalists – believes in individual initiative, risk and the freedom to try. The individual should keep what he makes.

RELIGIOUS BELIEFS
LEFT: God jeering – many agnostics and atheists determined to remove God from our lives.
RIGHT: God fearing – most believe in a supreme being and govern their lives by religious morals.

WORK ETHIC
LEFT: Entitlements – assumes no responsibility; believes they have a right to something even if they didn’t earn it.
RIGHT: Responsibility – assumes both credit and blame for personal actions.

MORALITY
LEFT: Breaking the law to suit their agenda is considered acceptable.
RIGHT: Respect for the rule of law.

GOVERNMENT
LEFT: Believes the Constitution no longer serves the needs of society and should be replaced.
RIGHT: Believes in the U.S. Constitution.

IMMIGRATION
LEFT: Welcomes illegal immigrants.
RIGHT: Welcomes legal immigrants.

GUNS
LEFT: Believes guns are dangerous and should be banned.
RIGHT: Advocates the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

FEDERAL DEBT
LEFT: Credit card mentality; wants to keep raising the debt ceiling as opposed to addressing the problem.
RIGHT: Believes we owe it to future generations not to burden them with an insurmountable debt.

FEDERAL BUDGET
LEFT: Balancing the budget is immaterial. Keeps raising spending and lowering income.
RIGHT: Wants to balance the budget and live within our means.

WORK ETHIC
LEFT: The public should be treated like cattle. Government will do the thinking for them.
RIGHT: Respects the dignity of the individual human spirit and the importance of each person to lead a worthy and productive life.

SIZE OF GOVERNMENT
LEFT: Believes a larger government is needed to regulate everything.
RIGHT: Believes in smaller government, thereby less bureaucratic interference with business.

PATRIOTISM
LEFT: Wants to make us ashamed of our past by rewriting the history books, and eliminating our sense of exceptionalism.
RIGHT: Loves country; believes in exceptionalism.

It is like we live in separate countries with little compatibility between the two. Whoever wins the presidential election in November, the other side is certainly not going to like it.

Related articles:

“A New Mason-Dixon Line” (Dec 13, 2011)

“What if the South had Won the War?” (Dec 20, 2011)

Also published with News Talk Florida.

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:  HAVING A BAD DAY – Thank heaven it doesn’t occur often.

LAST TIME:  THE WORD “GOBBLEDYGOOK”  – Cheap words and expressions that bother me.

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.

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

THE WORD “GOBBLEDYGOOK”

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 28, 2016

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Cheap words and expressions that bother me.

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

I always liked the word “gobbledygook” ever since I first heard it in my High School English class. If memory serves me correctly, the term resulted from World War II to combat bureaucratic processes that impeded progress in the war plants. Basically, it refers to unclear or wordy jargon that is more inclined to confuse than to clarify something. It seems to me there is an abundance of gobbledygook in our daily vernacular. Let me give you a few examples of such expressions that particularly tests my patience.

The term “workaround” has been popular for at least the last ten years and I believe it was derived from the Information Technology (I.T.) sector. I tried looking it up in both Webster’s and The New Heritage Dictionary and, of course, I couldn’t find it. As we all know, it has come to mean finding a way around a technical problem. It doesn’t mean it’s a correction to a problem but rather, a way of addressing a problem. Make no mistake though, “workarounds” ultimately represent errors or “bugs” in the system and we should refer to them as such. I’m amazed by programmers when they proudly proclaim they’ve found a “workaround” as opposed to admitting they have a problem and don’t know how to fix it.

An I.T. Department should avoid the term “workaround” as it tends to irritate end-users and causes them to lose faith in the development staff’s ability for solving their problems. An error is an error, I don’t care what you call it; don’t try to sugarcoat it, fix it.

As an aside, I was finally able to find “workaround” defined in the Redneck Dictionary. It’s typically used to determine the location of employees. For example, “Hey, Y’all workaround here?”

Next, we have the word “guestimate.” I have been involved in the systems industry for a long time and have taught Project Management for the past three decades. I have always found it unsettling how people try to invent new words in an attempt to appear cute and clever. “Guestimate” is such a word which implies an estimate is simply a guess, to which I have to give a great big “DUH.” Estimating is fundamentally an effort at projecting the future. Like all projections, the more facts and information available, the better the estimate will be, but rarely is it ever perfect. There is a natural human tendency to avoid making estimates because estimates are expressions of commitments, and people tend to shy away from commitments and accountability, particularly when they are not sure of the facts. Look, let’s keep it simple, an estimate is an estimate and a guess is a guess, let’s not create any more 3rd grade words such as “guestimate.”

Another word that bothers me is “reiterate” and you hear it just about everywhere these days. Think about it; what does it mean? The word “iterate” refers to the repetition of something. So what do we mean when we say “RE-iterate”? An infinite loop? Our language is sloppy enough without us having to produce new words to dilute old ones, but I guestimate I am reiterating myself.

There is an old expression which I have been hearing a lot in our vernacular these days, and that is “Let me be honest with you.” I personally know a lot of people that use this expression and frankly, its getting old. When a person says it, I come away thinking he has been dishonest with me all other times.

As creatures of habit, we tend to be repetitive in our speech. I have also heard expressions like “At the end of the day” and “Frankly” (which I am also guilty of using myself). Excessive use of expressions and buzzwords tend to be very distracting in a conversation and doesn’t serve the speaker well. “But frankly, at the end of the day, we have to be honest with each other.” See what I mean?

I hear America talking, but I don’t like what I’m hearing. Our language is sloppy and convoluted, or should I say filled with “gobbledygook”? It makes you wonder how people from foreign countries ever learn our language and understand us. We can’t even understand ourselves.

One last note: The word “often” is pronounced with the “t” silent (“off-en”), not “off-ten” – Look it up.

Originally published: January 24, 2011

Also published with News Talk Florida.

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:  12 ATTRIBUTES SEPARATING LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES – How can we be so different?

LAST TIME:  DOG TREATS  – They may look good, but what are they made of?

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 Communications, Life | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

DOG TREATS

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 25, 2016

BRYCE ON LIFE

– They may look good, but what are they made of?

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

My mom has two miniature dachshunds whom she is very attached to. Like a lot of dog owners, she pampers them and frankly, I think they lead a very comfortable existence. It’s a good gig. All they have to do is return her love and try not to soil the carpet too often. Other than that, she dotes on them as if they were her own children. They have comfortable beds to sleep in, plenty of toys and chew sticks to occupy their time, they can play in a fenced-in yard, and have homemade dinners prepared for their finicky tastes. I would probably sign up for such a program myself, but I fear my testicles would be sacrificed like the dogs did.

You may remember me talking about the German Shepherds we had when I was younger. Back then, all we fed them was some Purina Dog Chow mixed with a can of Ken-L Ration. Sometimes we would add a raw egg to give their coat a shine. If they were lucky they might get some leftover table scraps, but we were careful not to overindulge them. If they were really lucky, we would give them a Milk Bone which was one of the few treats available at the time. The dogs would have to earn the treat by performing some sort of trick, such as sitting up on their back paws, barking on command, or balancing the treat on their nose. They were quite good at entertaining us. However, this didn’t hold up over the years, and today the dachshunds have turned the tables on my mom where she is now trained to give them treats on command.

The dachshunds don’t eat Milk Bones either. The times have changed and I am amazed by the variety of dog treats available today. I guess Milk Bones are no longer considered acceptable for the discriminating tastes of dogs. Huh? There is now a wide selection of “softer” and more meatier treats. For example, there are treats shaped liked miniature porterhouse steaks (complete with bone), dog pepperoni sticks, bacon shaped strips, drumsticks, sausages, etc., all in a variety of flavors such as beef, cheese, bacon, and there is even one claiming a filet mignon taste. All very appetizing.

This got me thinking, how do we truly know these treats taste as they claim? In examining the ingredients of these products, I noticed most consist of such things as chicken by-product meal, liver, animal fat, and dried cheese product. I’m not sure how you produce a “filet mignon” flavor from this. I never liked liver, yet this seems to be one of the main ingredients and I suspect effects the taste. But how do we know, in fact, something tastes as they’re advertised? The animals are certainly not going to tell us. So, there must be some poor slob out there actually taste-testing these products and giving their stamp of approval, but I don’t think this is a job I would volunteer for.

It is my guess all these dog treats actually taste the same and are just stamped out to form different meaty shapes. I also believe the so-called “flavors” are designed to appeal more to the owners as opposed to the pets themselves. After all, I can’t remember the last time a dog said to its owner, “Yea, pick me up a bag of the pepperoni sticks, and don’t forget the nacho cheese.”

Ah, the life of a dog.

Originally published: January 21, 2011

Also published with News Talk Florida.

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 WORD “GOBBLEDYGOOK” – Cheap words and expressions that bother me.

LAST TIME:  THE NAIVE SANDERS SUPPORTERS  – Just ask them.

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, Pets | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

THE NAIVE SANDERS SUPPORTERS

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 23, 2016

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Just ask them.

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

There have been some recent videos on television and the Internet showing young supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders being interviewed and asked why they support the Vermont senator. Many say they want free education and other entitlements, but have no idea how to pay for it. Those who claim to like the Socialist agenda, cannot explain the differences between socialism and capitalism. For example, they are clueless about the recent problems in Greece. Supporting Bernie though is the “hip” thing to do from a young person’s perspective. It is reminiscent of the Winston Churchill quote whereby, “Any 20 year-old who isn’t a liberal doesn’t have a heart, and any 40 year-old who isn’t a conservative doesn’t have a brain.”

To illustrate the problem, it is disheartening that younger people do not understand who pays the most in income taxes, the 1% they love to lambast, or the rest of the country. According to Pew Research“In 2013, according to our analysis of preliminary IRS data, people with adjusted gross incomes above $250,000 paid nearly half (48.9%) of all individual income taxes, though they accounted for only 2.4% of all returns filed. Their average tax rate (total taxes paid divided by cumulative AGI) was 25.6%. By contrast, people whose incomes were less than $50,000 accounted for 63.4% of all individual income tax returns filed in 2013, but they paid just 6.2% of total taxes; their average tax rate was 4.2%.”

Other research firms confirm these figures. Even though the 1% pay more than their fair share, young people believe they should pay more. If their average tax rate rises much higher, such as above 50%, you will likely see a mass exodus from our shores.

Youth also believe they are entitled to free higher education. I personally do not subscribe to this notion as I see it more as a privilege as opposed to a guaranteed right. Nonetheless, the United States is already having difficulty paying off our record tax debt ($19T) and a $5.8T budget deficit. This simply means we are losing more than we are taking in. Now add on free education, which has been estimated as high as $5T and the problem is compounded further. When you ask young people how this should be paid, they again point at the 1%. However, there are limits on how much the 1% can pay, and when the money is gone, the entitlements are gone.

If Sen. Sanders’ supporters really want to feel the “Bern,” elect him President and watch them try to pay for it all. It will be one heck of a wake up call.

I do not believe Democrats, in general, know the difference between Socialism and being a Democrat; even the head of the DNC, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, admits she doesn’t know, so why should the rest of her party? The difference between Sen. Sanders and Sec. Clinton is that Bernie openly admits he is Socialist, Hillary will not.

I too want to do what is fair, but I also do not want to be driven into the poor house. This is what happens when the uninformed and naive vote.

Also published with News Talk Florida.

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:  DOG TREATS – They may look good, but what are they made of?

LAST TIME:  LOUD AND CLEAR  – The need for honest criticism.

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: , , , , | 2 Comments »

LOUD AND CLEAR

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 21, 2016

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– The need for honest criticism.

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

My father has been gone for eleven years now. We worked together for nearly thirty years and in that time, he taught me the ins and outs of the information systems industry and the corporate world. What I particularly miss about him is the arguments we would get into. I don’t mean vicious discourse but rather serious debates on a variety of topics. He had a good logical mind and we would often spar if for no other reason than to clarify an idea or concept. My dad was old school though who was of Scottish stock and came up the hard way. If you screwed up, he would let you know about it loud and clear. There was no sugarcoating a mistake with him. Over time I came to learn the reason he jumped down your throat was that he didn’t want you to commit the same mistake twice, and to his credit, you wouldn’t.

Some people were offended by his candor, others thrived on it as they understood the intellectual dynamics involved. Even customers would call my father to pick a friendly fight with him and, in the process, would learn a lot. I knew of other men of his generation who were also not exactly politically correct and not afraid to give it to you loud and clear. However, I think we now live in a time when such discourse is frowned upon and you don’t see too much of it anymore.

People are hesitant to be critical in the work place, school, or just about everywhere. I think this is bred into people at an early age whereby everybody has to be a winner, and nobody should suffer the stigma of being labeled a loser. Consequently we become hesitant to tell someone when he is wrong in that it might hurt his feelings. The only problem here though is if everyone tells you nothing is wrong and that everything is great, you’ll never get to the bottom of what is wrong. Every once and awhile you need the naked truth, and you can only get this through honest criticism.

Sugarcoating a problem only delays its resolution thereby costing more money to correct or allowing someone to commit a mistake repetitively. If you give it to them loud and clear, they may not like how you said it, but they will most assuredly comprehend what you meant and will not forget it. One point to make in this regard, when you are criticizing or arguing with someone, simple “yes” and “no’s” are not sufficient. It is vital you explain your rationale, otherwise they will remain skeptical and learn nothing.

Perhaps the biggest problem with honest criticism is to learn not to take it personally. The “loud and clear” person is trying to teach you something and obviously thinks it is important for you to learn it properly which is why you are getting it loud and clear. I realize we are supposed to be sensitive to the feelings of others, but we must understand that conducting business does not involve participating in a personality contest. Sometimes, to get the necessary results, a manager needs to get into a worker’s face and talk to him heart to heart. We would make little progress if we had to constantly hold the hands of our workers. At some point, the training wheels have to come off and they have to drive the bicycle themselves.

Years ago, when I first volunteered to be a Little League umpire, I had to attend a clinic to learn the duties and responsibilities of the job. At the time I was only signing up to umpire eight year old girls softball which I didn’t exactly consider a heavy duty assignment. The instructors of the clinic taught us a lot of things, but one thing they emphasized was to make your calls “loud and clear” regardless of the age of the kids or sex. A watered-down call or one without authority will challenge your credibility not only with the coaches, but with the players as well. Basically, they were saying, “If you’re going to do something, do it right.” As I was quick to learn, this was perhaps the best advice I could have received. Consequently, I rendered my calls as umpire “loud and clear.” Interestingly, I discovered even the youngest kid on the team seemed to instinctively understand what I was doing and respected the call. In all the years I umpired, not once was a tear shed.

For those of you who believe loud and clear is “not cool” in the workplace, you have to remember we live in a fast paced world and managers do not always have the time or luxury to patiently offer tender and sympathetic advice. Honest criticism is a fact of life and a necessity for us to grow and evolve, and we should certainly not be embarrassed to receive it “loud and clear.”

Originally published: January 10, 2011

Also published with News Talk Florida.

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 NAIVE SANDERS SUPPORTERS – Just ask them.

LAST TIME:  THE HASSLE OF METAL KEYS  – A low tech solution for solving our security problems.

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, Communications, Management | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

THE HASSLE OF METAL KEYS

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 18, 2016

BRYCE ON LIFE

– A low tech solution for solving our security problems.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Originally published: January 7, 2011

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:  LOUD AND CLEAR – The need for honest criticism.

LAST TIME:  40 YEARS OF CHANGE  – Observations of my walk through the corporate 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 Life | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

40 YEARS OF CHANGE

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 16, 2016

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– Observations of my walk through the corporate world.

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

This year I celebrate 40 continuous years in business, not counting menial jobs I took in high school and college. Whenever I mention this, people start to look at me as some type of dinosaur, but it seems like it was only yesterday when I entered the work force. As a management consultant, I have had the good fortune to see a lot during this period; I’ve traveled considerably and worked with just about every type of business imaginable, and, because my profession is closely tied to the computer industry, I have had a front row seat in watching the evolution of computing.

Because of my background, I am often asked what is different today than back in 1976? Three interconnected areas come to mind: technology, business, and society.

TECHNOLOGY drives change and I have witnessed more than my share in the areas of transportation, communications, health care, and computing. I have watched us go from an analog to digital generation. Instead of carburetors, we now talk about electronic ignition; instead of vinyl records, we now download music off of the Internet and play it on a variety of devices; instead of spending weeks or months recovering in a hospital, we now expect to be released either the same day of our visit or shortly thereafter, and; computers have shrunk from mainframes, to minis, to micros, to hand held devices.

During this time, we have become closely dependent on our technology, most likely to the point of addiction. We simply cannot comprehend being without our devices regardless of where we are or who we are with. This has caused us to become impatient and short-tempered as we want everything NOW. We want instant photos, instant communications, instant access to information, instant entertainment, and much more. If we do not get it, we become frustrated and irritated. All of this has had an adverse affect on our social skills and temperament. Not surprising, we are witnessing changes in our personalities and the rise of a variety of neurosis, such as depression, high anxiety, and obsessive behavior. None of this was as prevalent in 1976 as it is today. This manifests itself into narcissistic behavior, and diminishing common courtesy. And let us not forget an escalating drug culture.

It is unsettling we now possess more trust in technology than people.

BUSINESS – Back in the 1970’s, business was more oriented towards a Theory Y form of management whereby workers were “managed from the bottom-up,” meaning employees were properly trained, assigned tasks and delegated authority to conquer projects on their own. If a problem surfaced, the manager would get involved, otherwise he/she maintained a “hand’s off” policy towards project development. The manager, of course would routinely monitor progress reports, but spent little time supervising workers.

Today we are imbued with “micromanagement,” a Theory X form of management where the actions and decisions of the workers are tightly controlled by the manager. To me, this is dehumanizing, but interestingly, there are people who prefer to have others do the thinking for them, thereby deflecting responsibility for any problems that may ensue. This results in a corporate culture where employees are more inclined to watch the clock as opposed to the product or service they are responsible for.

As an aside, we see signs of micromanagement as early as high school and college where “helicopter parents” try to coordinate their offspring’s activities at school. As a class ends, students are expected to report on classroom activities and tests via smart phone. If anything is amiss, the parent calls the instructor. To take it further, parents are now accompanying their children on interviews at major companies, something unheard of not long ago. By the time young adults enter the work force, they are already conditioned for micromanagement.

Back in the 1970’s, offices were tidy, employees came to work properly groomed and dressed, and there was much more discipline in our work habits. Unlike today, there was more emphasis on craftsmanship, customer service, and quality, which are casualties caused by micromanagement.

Just as we rely on technology to assume many functions of the intellect, such as math and spell-checking, some people are perfectly content to let managers control their activities. For most workers though, micromanagement causes workers not to trust management.

When I entered the work force, business was exciting. We looked forward to going to work, solving problems, and creating new products. Lunches were often used to debate ideas and formulate strategies. Beyond this, we talked about our families and personal lives, thereby forming friendships and bonds with co-workers. You do not see this too much anymore, unless it can be found in Silicon Valley, but I fear this is changing as well.

The concept of business is much different forty years ago. Those entering the work force today seem to believe it is nothing more than creating an app and building an Internet presence. Everything else is meaningless, and there is a tendency to look down their nose at anyone who has to work with their hands for a living. In other words, there is no longer a recognition of the dignity of work.

SOCIETY – Perhaps the most noteworthy change in this area has been the steady decline of morality. Organized religion has spiraled downwards, as have institutions such as scouting, youth sports, and many other nonprofit activities. This leads me to believe that instead of group activities featuring teamwork, we value individuality and have become narcissistic in the process. We even see this on the highway, where people drive to suit their individual whims as opposed to practicing courtesy. Again, I believe technology has affected our attitude in this regard and has made us more angry. Today we hear not only of road rage, but sports rage, school rage, work rage, etc.

Parents have also dropped the ball on raising children. Forty years ago there were many households where the mothers stayed home to tend to their family. However, due to changing socioeconomic conditions, both parents are now more likely to be working as opposed to just one. Consequently, children learn their values from Hollywood and the Internet, not their parents. In many cases, the perspective of children are shaped by teachers, coaches, and classmates, whatever they may be.

There has also been changes in the institution of marriage, where it is now more common to seek divorce instead of trying to work things out and stay together. Even our sense of sexuality is under scrutiny by the PC police. Not surprising, whereas we used to respect laws, be it legal or company policies, now we are too willing to break them.

Today, political correctness rules decorum. What was funny forty years ago is now considered vulgar. We now have to watch our language carefully so we dare not offend anyone, particularly the media. One of the primary reasons Donald J. Trump is so popular with voters today is because people are sick of political correctness.

I also tend to believe we have become socially dysfunctional, again, thanks in large part to technology. We used to have a sense of community where people watched out for their neighbors. If someone was in trouble, you helped out. We would often stop to greet and talk with our neighbors, to perhaps share a joke or tidbit of gossip. Not so anymore; jokes are taboo, and you are now more conscious of what you share with your neighbor. Today, we are less likely to volunteer our time to help anyone or any institution. Now we withdraw into our abodes.

So, What have I learned in the last 40 years? Several things:

* If anything is constant, it is change. And the speed of change is measured by our technology.

* Although technology has changed the world, it has also dramatically changed our personalities.

* We now think smaller, and are afraid of larger challenges.

* Common sense is certainly not common anymore.

* There is little trust between management and workers.

The fact I have remained with the same company for 40 years makes me an anomaly. Years ago, when you joined a baseball team, it was usually for your entire professional career. Free agency changed all that, and changed the economics of the game. Today, it is unlikely anyone will stay with a company for more than ten years, let alone forty.

As to the sweeping changes in technology we have witnessed, I always like to ask, “Has it really improved our quality of life?” There has never been any data to suggest so. It is true we can communicate and compute faster, it has accelerated our healing time in hospitals, etc., but now we demand instant gratification, and we’re not happy when we do not get it.

By the way, over the last forty years, I have seen seven presidents; Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama.

So, have I seen any changes in my 40 years of business? Perhaps too many. I’ll be curious what the next ten years bring.

Also published with News Talk Florida.

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 HASSLE OF METAL KEYS – A low tech solution for solving our security problems.

LAST TIME:  CULTURAL ASSIMILATION  – Adapting to change; WHO is joining WHO?

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.

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CULTURAL ASSIMILATION

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 14, 2016

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– Adapting to change; WHO is joining WHO?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who would gain by the new ones.”
– Machiavelli, “The Prince” (1513)

First published: January 3, 2011

Also published with News Talk Florida.

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:  40 YEARS OF CHANGE – Observations of my walk through the corporate world.

LAST TIME:  RECOGNIZING THE PETER PRINCIPLE  – “A man has got to know his limitations.” – Dirty Harry

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.

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RECOGNIZING THE PETER PRINCIPLE

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 11, 2016

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– “A man has got to know his limitations.” – Dirty Harry

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

The Peter Principle was introduced back in 1969 by Dr. Laurence J. Peter in his book of the same name. In a nutshell, the principle contends that in a hierarchical organization a person will rise to the level of their competency, and trouble arises if the person rises above it. Along with Parkinson’s Law, it is one of the most well known principles in the world of management. Unfortunately, young people are unfamiliar with the concept which is perhaps why we are seeing more people lately rising above their level of competency.

So what are the earmarks of the Peter Principle? Actually, three indicators come to mind:

1. Project estimates and schedules are routinely missed. The person doesn’t just miss assignments every now and then, but consistently misses them. This is indicative of the person’s ability to see projects through to successful completion or manage by objectives. If he cannot, he either lacks the proper skills and training to perform the work, or simply doesn’t care about being late or over budget.

2. The duties and responsibilities as defined in a job description are not being met. Again, this may be indicative of the lack of proper knowledge, skills and experience, or an attitude problem.

3. The person lacks the respect and confidence of the people working around him, not only his subordinates, but his superior and lateral relationships as well. Although this is difficult to quantify, it basically tells us, “Where there is smoke, there is fire.” In other words, the person either has bad social skills, or his peers already know what he is capable and incapable of doing.

Aside from dealing with someone who is in over his head, the real challenge is to hire the right person for the right job, which is not quite as easy as it may sound. Human resource departments may have a battery of tests to verify a person’s skills and general knowledge, but successful experience and attitudes are much harder to substantiate. Again, there are three areas to consider:

1. Ability to meet project estimates and schedules. This is difficult to demonstrate and management inevitably has to rely on the person’s word for their performance. Then again, if the person had been using a Project Management system at his last job, he may have access to documentation which reflects his performance.

2. Understands the job he is applying for. This is where a lot of people get into trouble as they do not really grasp the significance of the job they are applying for, but like the title. Regretfully, people too often chase titles as opposed to jobs. To test his knowledge, ask the person to articulate the job description and how he would satisfy the requirements for it. Further, has he performed a comparable job like this before?

3. Respect of the people he worked with. Again, this is difficult to substantiate as people are more reluctant to give references these days in fear of possible litigation for giving a bad reference. Nonetheless, references should be scrutinized as closely as possible.

The one question that is commonly overlooked is, “Why do you want this job?” The answers might surprise you, e.g.; “I need a job”, “I’m looking to advance myself and need a challenge,” “I’m the right person for the job”, etc. The one I particularly like is, “I want to make a difference,” which indicates to me the person’s confidence and ambition.

Hiring people without doing a thorough examination of the person’s background is courting the Peter Principle.

Allowing people to stay in a position where they are in over their head is just plain irresponsible on management’s part. It is a disservice not only to the company, but to the employee as well. When a person has risen above their level of competency, it will become obvious to others and may affect morale. Standard and routine performance appraisals should help overcome this problem, but if they are infrequently performed or done in an inconsistent manner, the Peter Principle will inevitably kick in. Management should either work with the person to get him back on track, or terminate his employment.

I guess what troubles me here is that people apply for jobs they knowingly are not qualified for, and remarkably, every now and then they slip through the cracks and get the job. In this event, management gets what they pay for.

Originally produced: July 21, 2008

Also published with News Talk Florida.

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:  CULTURAL ASSIMILATION – Adapting to change; WHO is joining WHO?

LAST TIME:  THE NEXT PATTON  – Donald Trump possesses many of the same attributes as our famous WW2 field commander.

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 »

THE NEXT PATTON

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 9, 2016

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Donald Trump possesses many of the same attributes as our famous WW2 field commander.

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

Back in 1970, actor George C. Scott portrayed General George S. Patton of World War II fame. The opening monologue in “Patton” was memorable and set the tone for the General’s character in the movie. At the time, the speech was considered rough and crude. So much so, it wasn’t unusual for some viewers to walk out of the theater after only the opening sequence. It was most definitely not politically correct for the times. Actually, the speech was a compilation of several speeches Patton had delivered, not just one. Nonetheless, he said and meant every word. His “Blood and Guts” no-nonsense style captivated viewers which was rather unusual during the age of the hippie revolution and the Viet Nam War.

For our younger readers, General Patton was a senior officer specializing in tank warfare serving under General Dwight D. Eisenhower (“Ike”) in World War II. He commanded forces in Northern Africa, Sicily, and Europe. Patton’s battle philosophy was to constantly attack and never hold a defensive position. It was this no-nonsense offensive philosophy which carried his armies from victory to victory. He was well organized, competitive, innovative, insisted on discipline, results oriented, and possessed a huge ego.

Patton’s politically incorrect ways embarrassed General Eisenhower on more than one occasion, causing Ike to reprimand him. Nonetheless, Ike knew George was his best battle field commander causing him to recall Patton back to the front and turning him loose on the Nazis. Patton liked to characterize his relationship with Ike, as what General William Tecumseh Sherman was to Gen. U.S. Grant during the Civil War. Sherman was a ruthless warrior who split the South. He may have lacked polish, but he got results.

“Patton” was a movie sensation at the box office, and won the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Actor (Scott), Best Director, and four other awards. It touched a nerve with the American people who appreciated Patton’s straight-forward approach as opposed to what they were witnessing in Viet Nam at the time.

The parallel between Patton and Donald J. Trump is uncanny. Trump is politically incorrect and doesn’t sugar-coat his position on anything. Like Patton, he relies on offense when conducting business or campaigning for president. And as should be obvious by now, this election is not politics as usual, this is war.

With each state primary Trump wins, the media becomes more intimidated and attacks him more viciously. It has become so bad, should he win the Presidential election, he might be inclined to put the press corps outside on wooden benches during his administration. Nobody would blame him.

Today we are hearing more and more about holding a brokered Republican convention, meaning the nominee would essentially be selected from a “smoke filled room.” Trump’s GOP opponents think this is a great idea as they know they cannot defeat him. No, the Republicans should play it straight. If he wins, he wins; if he loses, he loses. Simple. If they mess with him, Trump should take the RNC to the wood shed following his election.

So, why do people hate Donald Trump so much? Several reasons come to mind:

* He is beholden to nobody. Because he is self-financed, he cannot be controlled by a Super PAC or the media. They resent this, and are not used to losing control over a candidate, presidential or otherwise.

* People do not understand a Business Type-A personality, particularly bureaucratic “Type D” personalities who are not adventurous and prefer security (entitlements).

* There is petty jealousy over his success, particularly his detractors in the press. They despise his brashness.

* They are scared of his agenda if elected. As a capitalist, he is the antithesis of Democratic Socialists. Career politicians are also frightened he might upset the system in Washington.

* They prefer the current status quo of gridlock, entitlements, and debt, thinking it is natural.

Some people claim to find him acerbic and uncouth. Like Patton, Trump is a straight-forward personality appealing to a certain type of people, namely the “Silent Majority” who wants results as opposed to gridlock and facade. People cringe when he discusses certain sensitive subjects, yet he has been right about such things as illegal immigration, American companies fleeing the country, our policies in the Middle East, our unbalanced trade deficits with other countries, the divisiveness of the country, the control of the government by special interest groups, etc. Whereas other politicians try to tactfully discuss such subjects, Trump tells it as he sees it, warts and all. People either appreciate his unbridled enthusiasm, or they do not. Either way, they respect his ability to get things done.

Trump is a populist because he says what the silent majority thinks, all of which resonates with mainstream America. He may seem pompous, but he speaks from the heart and appears to believe what he says. Further, Trump hasn’t been caught in a lie; and tries to tell the truth, as ugly as it might seem. For example, when he contends, “The World Trade center came down during Bush’s administration,” it may be unpopular to say this, but it was true.

Like Patton, Trump doesn’t seem to care about political correctness. As a businessman, he cares about addressing the true problems and talks about them openly.

He is getting better with the press, but he is still not afraid to body slam a reporter who treats him unfairly. And since the media is predominantly liberal and opposes his every move, can you blame him?

Let’s face it, nobody wants Donald Trump to win except the voters. Point him in the right direction, like Ike did with Patton, and he will be unafraid to form ranks and conquer his objectives.

“Alright now you sons-of-bitches, you know how I feel.

Oh, I will be proud to lead you wonderful guys into battle anytime, anywhere. That’s all.”
– (“Patton”)

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:  RECOGNIZING THE PETER PRINCIPLE – “A man has got to know his limitations.” – Dirty Harry

LAST TIME:  TECHNOLOGY PENETRATION  – Noting a shift in the devices we use.

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 »

 
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