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Archive for October, 2017

THE CAUSES FOR MORALITY DECLINE

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 31, 2017

BRYCE ON MORALITY

– The causes are right in front of us, but is anyone paying attention?

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

Not long ago, I wrote about “Our Changing Values” whereby I noted our shifting attitudes towards what is considered right and wrong. This was based on Gallup’s May 2017 report noting an accelerated trend toward liberal positions. The purpose of my column was to have people take notice of an emerging problem. Unfortunately, most Americans have not noticed, or are simply apathetic about the problem and do not understand what is causing it. Perhaps I can help.

The cause for our changing attitudes does not reside in a single area, but rather a combination of different elements, such as technology addiction, our drug culture, parental abdication, Hollywood values, a decline in church influence, and an influx of immigrants. Let’s consider each separately:

First, not long ago it was discovered technology possesses the same addictive powers as drugs. In my column on “Proof of Technology Addiction,” I reported on the work of Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, who contends technology raises dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with rewards, as does sex and drugs. He goes on to say, “Recent brain imaging research is showing that they affect the brain’s frontal cortex – which controls executive functioning, including impulse control – in exactly the same way that cocaine does.”

This addiction to technology, such as smart phones, tablets and pc’s, is affecting our social skills, including our ability to converse orally or through the printed word. When we become more fixated on technology as opposed to humans, it denotes a change in our perceptions, values and priorities.

Second, we are plagued by a fifty year drug culture that is becoming more invasive in our lives. News of a rising opioid epidemic is common today and shows no sign of abating. Heroin is on the rise, as is marijuana where states are starting to embrace it for both medicinal and recreational purposes. Like technology, when we become addicted to drugs, our values and priorities change. Instead of working harder and leading a worthy life, we become consumed with getting high as an escape outlet.

Third, parental abdication – unlike yesteryear, it is now common for both parents to be fully employed. This means an adult is not home to tend to the needs of their offspring. It also means parents are tired and willing to have others look after their children, such as teachers and coaches, people charged with teaching various skills, but not morality. Parents also generously provide youth with computer games to occupy their time, but such games may encourage violence and other vices. On the plus side, families still enjoy assembling around the dinner table if it is nothing more than once each week. Interestingly, a 2016 Harris Poll claims 4 in 10 families eat their meals in front of the TV, not the dinner table, another sign of deteriorating social skills and a gravitational pull by technology. This abdication by parents to teach morality to their children is perhaps the most disturbing element here.

Fourth, the values of Hollywood greatly influence youth. Sexual remarks and innuendo often is emulated, and massive amounts of violence may also lead to unhealthy decisions. The lessons of greed, lust, selfishness, theft, deceit, etc. are all graphically displayed, but not necessarily in a positive manner.

Fifth, declines in the belief of God and church attendance – both Gallup and Harris have produced polls showing the belief in a Supreme Being is slowly declining. Further, attendance at religious institutions is also declining; “65 percent of churches are declining or plateaued.”

Even more disturbing is fewer younger people are going to church which, of course, affects membership. “For every new church that opens, four close.” For many years, churches and temples preached the lessons of right and wrong, but with fewer attendees, these lessons now go unheeded. It has become glaringly obvious to churches they must change in order to survive, be it the venue or how to disseminate their message.

And finally, sixth, we are faced with an enormous influx of immigrants, both legal and illegal. According to a recent report, “U.S. Immigrant Population Hit Record 43.7 Million in 2016,” representing an increase of half a million since 2015, 3.8 million since 2010, and 12.6 million since 2000. And the figure of 437 million immigrants will likely double by 2060 if left unchecked.

America has always been a melting pot of immigrants, but those coming to our shores have adapted to the American way of life, not the other way around. It is true, each ethnic group brings their own unique peculiarities to the table, but it is necessary for them to adapt to the language, customs and laws of their new country as several generations have done so before them. However, if they refuse to adapt, an unhealthy adversarial relationship is created which affects our social climate, such as offering different rules of right and wrong.

With the decline of the family unit and organized religion, there are fewer and fewer outlets to teach moral values, such as the Golden Rule (“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”), and the virtues of such things as the Ten Commandments. This opens the door to learn new values as proposed by Hollywood, immigrants, and driven home through technology.

Now that we have identified the problem, and noted its causes, the next question should be rather obvious; What can be done about them? As long as the public remains apathetic to the problem, and refuses to discuss it, it will certainly not get better on its own. If you would like me to speak on this subject at your house of worship or nonprofit group, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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 40 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 © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  THINNING THE HERD – Are accidents truly accidental or a matter of “natural selection”?

LAST TIME:  HOW WELL ARE WE PREPARING THE NEXT GENERATION?  – Not as well as we might think.

Listen to Tim on 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). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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HOW WELL ARE WE PREPARING THE NEXT GENERATION?

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 30, 2017

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Not as well as we might think.

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

Today we have got some very bright and ambitious young people joining the work force but they are coming at a very different time in the business world. Thanks to technology, we now live and work in a much faster paced society than what I joined just three short decades ago. It is also a much more competitive environment due to changing economic conditions. True, the Greatest Generation has basically moved along, but the Baby Boomers are still firmly in place and are not inclined to retire any time soon. This means the class of 2012 will be competing not only with people in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, but also with people in their 50’s and 60’s who cannot afford to retire.

This got me thinking about how well we are preparing the next generation of workers. Are we really training them to succeed or are we setting them up to fail? Sure, they might be well educated in their professional area of expertise, but I am finding a remarkable number who lack basic street smarts. Somewhere between the safety of home and school, and the bitter realities of the real world, a void exists in preparing our youth for adulthood. In a way its like being a parachutist for the first time, except you are being pushed out the door with no instruction on what to do. This can be very traumatizing to young people who tend to be overwhelmed by the responsibilities of adult life.

In school, students were only concerned with attending class, absorbing the material, eating and their social life. However, in adulthood they suddenly have to face such things as insurance, taxes, housing, transportation, banking, investments, retirement accounts, health care, nutrition, paying bills, corporate cultures, etiquette, dress, career development, business ethics, office politics, networking, employment, management, etc. Oh yea, and Work. They may have been adequately trained for their profession, but nobody is preparing them to make the transition into adulthood.

The parents haven’t prepared them. If anything, they have sheltered their youth from reality for far too long. For example, many kids today have not had to mow a lawn, clean a dish, push a broom, or hold a part-time job. Instead, they were free to concentrate on their homework and video games. In other words, parents have failed to instill the concept of simple responsibility and the value of a dollar. A lot of parents today are “hands-off” meaning they are content to let others raise their children for them, be it a relative, a nanny, a coach, or a teacher, thereby providing them with some free time to rest and relax.

The teachers haven’t prepared them either, but in their defense this shouldn’t be in their job description. Instead, they should be concerned with teaching academic subjects, such as math, literature, languages, science, etc. However, since a lot of mom and dads have dropped the ball, teachers have been forced to become surrogate parents, something they are not necessarily trained in or suited for.

Ultimately, this means today’s corporate managers are inheriting a generation of naive young people with unbridled enthusiasm who are having difficulty adapting to the corporate world. Many of this generation seem to believe they are uniquely different, that the old established rules of today’s corporate culture no longer applies to them; that corporations must adapt to them, not the other way around. Such naivety can be dangerous and lead to their demise as reality sets in.

To overcome this problem, perhaps we can help our youth by devising a new type of curriculum that would teach such things as:

* Personal Organization – e.g., managing finances, insurance, housing, transportation, etc.

* Adapting to the Corporate Culture – how to understand the culture and adapt to it. This would include discussions on business ethics, and studying change.

* Professional Development – teaching concepts of craftsmanship, continuous improvement, and basic business skills.

* Social Skills – how to effectively communicate and socialize in an office environment.

* Do’s and Don’ts in the Workplace – discussing the realities of employment, company policy manuals, and other legal issues.

* Management 101 – teaching basic management concepts and rules to help “newbies” fit into the corporate culture.

Actually, none of this is new. We have all had to learn it through the School of Hard Knocks. However, if the next generation is to ever have a chance in today’s fast paced world, we have to jump-start this process for them. Otherwise they will have difficulty surviving. Basically, what is needed is just some simple parental advice.

NOTE: A lot of this is explained in my book, “Morphing into the Real World – The Handbook for Entering the Work Force”

First published: June 18, 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 40 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 © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  THE CAUSES FOR MORALITY DECLINE – The causes are right in front of us, but is anyone paying attention?

LAST TIME:  DANCING SHRIMP  – Just another Japanese fish story.

Listen to Tim on 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). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

DANCING SHRIMP

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 27, 2017

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Just another Japanese fish story.

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

Sushi has been a favorite of mine since I began visiting Japan back in the 1970’s. When I first tasted it, I was somewhat surprised by the hot wasabe mustard carefully hidden between the fish and the rice cake, but as I am somewhat of an aficionado of hot and spicey food, I adapted to it quickly. For the uninitiated, sashimi is simply raw fish, but sushi consists of a small rice cake, usually the size of a pinky finger, topped with green wasabe mustard and sashimi. Sushi comes in as many varieties as there are fish in the sea, and I’ve tried just about everything from eels and fish heads to Dancing Shrimp. “Dancing Shrimp?” you might ask. Actually it’s an interesting story.

Years ago I was in Tokyo on business. On this particular occasion, my representative and I were visiting several clients around Yokohama. One day, we made our last stop at an ink manufacturing company who had been a customer of ours for a long time and we had developed a good relationship with the director of the computer department. We invited him to dinner that evening and he recommended a small sushi restaurant nearby who had some of the freshest fish around. We got there early and secured three seats right up front at the sushi bar where they prepared the food. It was a small restaurant, probably no more than twenty feet long and twelve feet deep, which is customary for a lot of restaurants over there. I remember they had the Japanese world series on the television which was situated up in a corner of the restaurant so everyone could see it. By the way, I love Japanese baseball. I try to attend at least one game every time I go over there, provided it’s in season of course. The Japanese take their baseball very seriously and although I’m partial to the Tokyo Giants, I like all of the teams.

While we waited for the chef to prepare our sushi, the three of us downed several bottles of Sapporo beer and some sake. It had been a long day, and the libations went down nicely as we watched the game. The chef then presented us with a wide assortment of sushi which we gobbled up. I guess my customer was surprised to see a foreigner enjoy sushi as much as I did. Most Americans he knew would only try the standard tuna sushi and the tekamaki cucumber roll. He was surprised that I had no problem with the octopus, cuttlefish, and roe. He then whispered something to my rep who laughed and shook his head in agreement, then placed another order with the chef. He then turned to me with a big grin on his face and said they had a little surprise for me, something they called Dancing Shrimp.

Like you, I was puzzled by the name and didn’t know what to expect. Anyway, the chef brought out three beautiful prawns and showed them to us. I could see they were still alive by the way they were flopping around in the chef’s hands. The chef washed them off, then carefully removed the small shell off of their backs. To stop their flopping around, the chef calmed them by massaging their back with his finger. This seemed to relax them quite a bit and then he positioned them decoratively on our plates with their heads down and their tails high up in the air. At first I thought he was showing us some sort of trick before cutting up the prawns into some more sushi, but I was surprised when my friends picked up the shrimp with their chopsticks, dipped them in soy sauce, then unceremoniously popped them in their mouths. I could tell the prawns were just as surprised as I was because I could see them flopping around as they went into the mouths of my friends who quickly crunched them up and swallowed them whole.

My friends could tell their little ruse had the desired effect they had hoped for and they laughed. They then dared me to eat my prawn. I was still surprised by what I had just witnessed but I knew that I would have to eat the prawn in order to save face. I then downed the remainder of my beer before picking up my chopsticks. I figured I better get this over with as fast as possible and try to make it look like I knew what I was doing. I snatched up the prawn, dipped it in the soy sauce and popped it in my mouth. No doubt I had a surprised expression on my face. The prawn came very much to life in my mouth and I realized I better put it out of its misery as fast as possible and began to crunch it up. Much to my surprise, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The meat was actually sweet and my friends could tell I was beginning to enjoy it. I then washed it down with a sip of sake and kiddingly asked them what was for dessert. They were delighted I had enjoyed it so much, but I also noticed that some money passed from my customer to my rep. Evidently, I had been the subject of a small wager between the two.

Since then, I haven’t been able to find Dancing Shrimp in the United States, just the normal types of sushis suited to American tastes. I’m glad I tried it though. Every once and awhile you have to try something different. It’s what makes life interesting. I could have easily insisted on burgers or pizza when I’m overseas but that would limit my scope and I wouldn’t get the opportunity to truly experience the local culture which I find so fascinating. In all likelihood, I wouldn’t have been able to develop a good relation with our customers in Japan if I didn’t at least try to sample the local cuisine.

So, would I order Dancing Shrimp again? I guess it would depend on what we were drinking with dinner and the amount of the wager.

First published: May 18, 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 40 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 © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  HOW WELL ARE WE PREPARING THE NEXT GENERATION? – Not as well as we might think.

LAST TIME:  MALL MADNESS  – Are they designed for men or women (or both?)

Listen to Tim on 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). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

MALL MADNESS

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 25, 2017

BRYCE ON SHOPPING

– Are they designed for men or women (or both?)

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

I went to the local mall recently to look for a gift. It has probably been over ten years since I last visited a mall as I have learned to find merchandise at specialty stores and on the Internet. I generally do not do well with crowds of unthinking clods at the mall. Maybe it is because I suffer from a claustrophobic image of being entrapped by gangs of carnies. Whatever it is, I discovered nothing has really changed in this regard.

The mall I visited apparently underwent some major remodeling and it looked a lot cleaner and sharper than as I remembered it, at least on the inside. The outside was still a death trap for parking. People still circle like barracudas looking for the ideal spot which, at minimum, is at least 50 yards from the front door. Whenever a parking space opens, the race is on to fill it. Regardless what the shop owners in the mall tell you, the front rows of cars closest to the door, are all reserved for the employees who arrive early to claim them. The security guard in the recycled golf cart who circles the parking lot aimlessly is charged with making sure customers are miserable before they enter the mall. As unpleasant as it is outside, it is much nicer inside, thereby encouraging people to stay longer and spend more money.

I suspect malls are more suited for women as evidenced by females outnumbering men by as much as 3:1. Most men do not really want to be there unless they absolutely have to. I believe they are there more to lend moral support to their spouses as opposed to do any substantial shopping. When they become bored, the men are sequestered to a “time out” area where benches and chairs are provided so they can either stare blankly into space or at the skirts walking by.

I have also noticed women tend to dress better going into a mall as opposed to other retail stores. There seems to be more makeup, the hair is better coifed, and they generally look more alluring. This may be caused by many young girls growing up in the mall, with tight fitting and suggestive clothing used to attract the male of the species, all plugged into their cell phones talking incessantly to their best friend who is walking but a few feet away from them. Anthropologists find this fascinating, as do I.

Women probably enjoy malls more than men. After all, they are designed primarily around them. Whereas men tend to become more reclusive in a mall, women flourish. As a friend of mine recently observed, “Women go to the mall to shop, men go there to purchase a specific item; there’s a big difference.”

Women go to shop for upcoming birthdays, anniversaries and holidays, or to cash in on special discounts and sales, something they are constantly on the prowl for. While women find happiness in stores like Macy’s, Lord & Taylor and Dillard’s, men find solace in the hardware department at Sears where they check out the latest in ratchet sets and lawn mowers. However, they do try to keep an eye open when they pass the Victoria’s Secret store.

There is considerable flash and mirrors in the stores themselves aimed at creating a mystique to trigger the purchasing gene, particularly in the big anchor stores. The flotsam and jetsam is so pervasive, it is difficult to walk around a store, or escape from it for that matter. There’s so much overhead, no wonder a simple $5 blouse sells for $90. There isn’t anything particularly special about the design or the material used, as much as it is necessary to cover the expenses of the store decor. The retailers could probably save consumers a lot of money with a simpler layout, but that would negate the purchasing gene.

The retail clerks are very cooperative and hospitable, if you can understand the language they are speaking. They spend a lot of time keeping their area neat and clean, but I’ve learned you do not dare ask for their advice on sizes or color matching. As bad as I am with such estimates, they are worse (and usually more expensive).

There is a wide variety of stores in the mall, all offering products at exorbitant prices. I don’t think anybody truly goes there to save a buck. It’s intended to be more of a recreational outing like what you experience at an amusement park, where you stay all day.

Food courts have replaced most of the restaurants at malls. The food isn’t really any better, or cheaper, but they are designed to encourage the consumer to spend less time eating and more time shopping. According to a 2003 report of Mall Shopping Patterns by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the average shopper is making fewer visits to the mall, but is staying longer (in excess of 90 minutes), and spending averages over $75 per person, with women easily outspending men.

None of this should come as a surprise as retailers and mall designers have figured us out a long time ago, perhaps too well. The original concept of the mall was to provide consumers with a one-stop destination thereby affording convenience. Now, as the malls have grown to mega proportions, they have replaced convenience with an all-day shopping experience under the guise of entertainment.

I think it will probably be another ten years until I visit the mall again. I’ll take the Internet over entertainment any day of the week, plus save a lot of money to boot.

First published: June 8, 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 40 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 © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  DANCING SHRIMP – Just another Japanese fish story.

LAST TIME:  THE GREATEST, WORST, BIGGEST, FASTEST OF ALL TIME  – Is it legitimate or fabricated?

Listen to Tim on 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). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

THE GREATEST, WORST, BIGGEST, FASTEST OF ALL TIME

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 24, 2017

BRYCE ON THE MEDIA

– Is it legitimate or fabricated?

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

Last August, America experienced a total solar eclipse which spanned fourteen states, and was seen as a partial eclipse in most of the rest of the country. The media seized on the phenomenon and dubbed it “The Great American Eclipse.” I heard commentators say this was the greatest event of its kind in American history. As a result, millions of Americans got caught up in the event and paid good money to wear some cheap sunglasses to watch the eclipse. It was a welcomed diversion from the political woes normally reported on television. However, I couldn’t help but wonder what all the hubbub was all about. After all, we have witnessed plenty of eclipses over the years, but this one seemed to capture the fancy of the media.

Shortly thereafter we entered hurricane season where the Caribbean and Southern states were pummeled by Harvey, Irma, and Maria. We were told by the media these were the fiercest and most destructive storms in history. In reality, they were bad, but there have been more severe storms over the years.

In September, earthquakes struck Mexico, killing hundreds of people and destroyed several buildings and homes. As bad as it was, it paled in comparison to the 1985 Mexico City earthquake where several thousand people perished.

Then in October, we heard of the many fires plaquing California. Again, this was labeled by the media as the “worst natural disaster” in memory. Yes, the fires were certainly destructive, but the worst? Hardly.

I find this labeling by the media interesting. It tells us more about the hyperbole of the press than in does of the phenomenons themselves. It appears the media wants to make everything historic in one way or another, thereby giving people a sense of achievement, e.g., “I survived the wrath or Irma.” I do not want to demean the destruction caused by the hurricanes, earthquakes and fires, but I also believe using such adjectives as “the greatest,” the worst,” “the fastest,” or even “#1” tends to conjur up images that leads to viewership and panic. I certainly saw this here in Florida during Hurricane Irma, where my surrounding area was completely shutdown. Something I have never witnessed before.

I have survived many hurricanes, much more powerful than Irma. I also lived through a record snowfall in Chicago during the winter of 1967. I have also seen the destruction caused by riots during the late 1960’s, I watched the first man on the moon, the first president to resign from office, the Big Red Machine, Jimi Hendrix, and a remarkable horse named Secretariat. However, these events are now poo-pooed by the media today as meaningless, and the only thing that matters is today’s events.

One could conclude this is indicative of our diminishing sense of history, but I believe it goes beyond that. It seems the media is counting on people to forget the past, and only relish today. They want to give the populace a sense of purpose in order to manipulate them. If people believe what they are doing is unique, or even groundbreaking, they will embrace it more readily than if it wasn’t. This is one reason why we have people demonstrating and marching, people like Antifa promoting anarchy, and other political movements. In other words, people want to be part of something meaningful, if not historical, particularly in their youth.

The truth though is all of these “greatest/worst/biggest/fastest” events have all been played out before, and at larger scales, and all of this is nothing more than history repeating itself. It also means the media will go to any length, say anything, in pursuit of the almighty dollar, regardless if it factual or not.

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 40 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 © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  MALL MADNESS – Are they designed for men or women (or both?)

LAST TIME:  JUST SAY ‘NO’…TO BUSINESS?  – Is the customer always right?

Listen to Tim on 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). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

JUST SAY ‘NO’…TO BUSINESS?

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 23, 2017

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– Is the customer always right?

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

Although vendors will generally work overtime to satisfy the wants and needs of a customer, sometimes it is more important to maintain one’s dignity as opposed to allowing the customer to walk all over you. I have seen many situations in sales and customer service where the client relentlessly pushes for the lowest prices and/or maximum benefits, just to earn brownie points with his management. He is not so much concerned with doing business with a particular vendor as much as he wants to look good in the eyes of his boss.

There are many danger signs to look for in bad business relationships, lying, cheating, and verbal abuse are but a few. Another telltale sign is when a customer asks for copies of the contracts between your two firms. This means two things: first, they’re screwed up administratively, but more importantly, you are about to be cancelled and replaced as a vendor.

One of Bryce’s Laws states, “The only good business relationship is where both parties benefit.” If one party wins at the expense of the other, then you have an unhealthy business relationship which is doomed from the beginning. To prevent such a situation from arising, it is sometimes necessary to just say “No” to the other party. They may not like it, and it might cost you money, but by saying “No”, you are defending the integrity of your business and yourself.

To illustrate, years ago we were asked to give a sales presentation to a well known Fortune 100 company in Dallas, Texas. At the time we were marketing a proprietary methodology for the design of information systems. To maintain the confidentiality of the product, it was necessary for customers to sign a non-disclosure agreement, even in sales situations. We informed the company in Dallas about this stipulation in advance and they agreed to it. We then booked a flight to Texas and arrived at the company to conduct the presentation. There were ten people scheduled for the meeting who greeted us cordially. As we were setting up for the presentation, we distributed the non-disclosure agreements for signing by the attendees. It was at this moment, the senior manager announced nobody from his organization would be signing the non-disclosures but we should proceed with the sales presentation anyway. When we protested we could not conduct the presentation without the signed non-disclosures, they adamantly refused.

This was obviously a situation where the corporate giant was trying to bully the small business. From their perspective, they believed we needed their business more than they needed us. We explained that due to the proprietary nature of our trade secret, we had to take precautions to protect it. Frankly, they didn’t care and called our bluff. Without batting an eye, we thanked them for their time, packed up our materials, and left the premises before showing them anything. One of the Texans followed us out into the parking late, apologized for the snafu, and begged us to come back. We said very matter-of-factly and professionally, we could not, thanked him for his time and departed. From our perspective, it was a wasted trip and even though we were not rash or disrespectful, we felt mistreated by the company. Nonetheless, our dignity and integrity remained intact, not to mention the confidentiality of our product. Interestingly, the Dallas company was still interested in our product as they heard many good things about it from our customers. They subsequently called us many times imploring another chance for a sales presentation, even at their expense, but we respectfully declined their offer. Remarkably, they ended up buying our product sight-unseen, our only customer ever to do so. They did this because they knew the reputation of both our product and the company. They may have been much larger than us, but they respected our integrity.

From a marketing perspective, we like to believe “the customer is always right.” In reality though, this is simply not true, as the customer may have a different perspective than your own. As vendor, it is your responsibility to be honest and upfront with your client, do not compromise your principles, be tactful and professional, and never be afraid to say “No.” One “No” can be more valuable than 100 “Yeses” if told at the right moment.

First published: June 4, 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 40 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 © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  THE GREATEST, WORST, BIGGEST, FASTEST OF ALL TIME – Is it legitimate or fabricated?

LAST TIME:  A CORPORATE POLICY FOR PERSONAL ELECTRONIC DEVICES  – Is it necessary to write a formal policy for use of electronic devices in the workplace?

Listen to Tim on 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). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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A CORPORATE POLICY FOR PERSONAL ELECTRONIC DEVICES

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 20, 2017

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– Is it necessary to write a formal policy for use of electronic devices in the workplace?

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A couple of years ago I created somewhat of a ruckus when I wrote an article on “Music in the Workplace.” In it, I suggested there should be restrictions on using personal audio devices in the workplace. This created a bit of a stir particularly with I.T. personnel who staunchly defended the use of their iPods and MP3 players while programming. In the course of the ensuing dialog, I asked what companies, if any, had developed a formal corporate policy regarding the use of such devices. Remarkably, nobody seemed to have one, or if they did, they didn’t want to come forward with it. However, recently I received one from an HR Administrator, perhaps the first of its kind. As this is considered somewhat of a trailblazing effort, the company asked to remain anonymous. All I can tell you is that they represent the North American unit of a global manufacturing company. Nonetheless, here is what they came up with:

“It is critical that employees working in the manufacturing areas remain focused on the tasks at hand and do not have any unnecessary distractions. It is for this reason that our policy on portable personal electronic devices such as cell phones, blackberries, computers, I-pods, CD players, MP3 players, radios, video games and pagers are prohibited in the manufacturing areas.

Company issued cell phones, computers, blackberries and pagers are acceptable as long as they do not create a hazard for the environment.

In non-production areas such as an office, the use of personal portable electronic devices are at the discretion of the manager.

Disciplinary Action

Disciplinary action may be taken against any employee who does not adhere to this policy.”

Frankly, I thought this was well written and quite practical; on the one hand, the company highlights the safety issues involved, and on the other they recognize it might be acceptable in other areas of the business where safety is not an issue. As for me, I might have taken it a step further and added some verbiage whereby such devices should be prohibited from customer service situations where it is necessary to pay attention to the customer. It might also make sense to ban such devices from meeting and training situations. Come to think of it, situations where these devices can be used in the workplace without having an adverse effect on business is becoming rare.

A “BusinessWeek” article (6/23/2008) reported that the amount of time the average U.S. worker loses to interruptions is 28%. This figure pretty much jives with the 70% effectiveness rate figure we have reported over the years (whereby in the average eight hour work day in an office setting, 5.6 hours are spent on direct work, and 2.4 hours are spent on interferences). Frankly, interferences are a natural part of office life (nobody can be 100% effective), but now with these personal electronic devices in play while employees are working, one has to wonder what effect it is having on worker concentration. Some people, particularly programmers (who tend to be somewhat introverted), thrive on such devices. However, these devices can be very distracting to other job functions requiring more extroverted personalities, such as Sales and Customer Service.

So, is a corporate policy on personal electronic devices really necessary? Frankly, I think it would be very irresponsible on management’s part not to have such a policy. It must be remembered that the distraction resulting from these devices can impact three areas:

1. Worker safety.
2. Product/service defects and errors (workmanship).
3. Worker productivity.

If it’s between entertaining the workers and putting the company at risk, I think it’s a no-brainer; the employees can wait until break time to enjoy such devices.

I would like to thank the individual for sharing the above policy with us. It may not be perfect but it’s a good start.

First published: July 9, 2008

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 40 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 © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  JUST SAY ‘NO’…TO BUSINESS? – Is the customer always right?

LAST TIME:  IS THERE REALLY A CASE FOR PRES. TRUMP’S IMPEACHMENT?  – The short answer, No.

Listen to Tim on 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). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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IS THERE REALLY A CASE FOR PRES. TRUMP’S IMPEACHMENT?

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 19, 2017

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– The short answer, No.

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The short answer, No. The long answer requires an explanation. First, the president can be impeached for committing “high crimes and misdemeanors.” In the case of Richard Nixon in 1974, charges were being prepared for obstruction of justice, but Nixon resigned before he could be impeached. On the other hand, Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998 for perjury and obstruction of justice stemming from the sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him by Paula Jones. He was subsequently acquitted by the Senate. Both were embarrassing affairs, and both were politically motivated.

Today, we are hearing Democrats willing to press charges against President Donald Trump for various reasons, some claiming he obstructed justice in regards to the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. Others believe Trump is involved in a political relationship with Vladimir Putin and Russia to promote his business interests, his seeming determination to go to war, either with North Korea or Iran, and whatever else is bothering the Democrats at the moment. Despite all of the hyperbole of his accusers, the accusations are groundless. Nothing of substance has yet surfaced from the many Russian probes. James Comey’s actions are still being scrutinized, and even though there has been a lot of saber-rattling, the last time I checked we were still relatively at peace (aside from minor actions around the globe).

All of Mr. Trump’s detractors claim their calls for impeachment are not politically motivated. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is all about politics, just as it was with Nixon and Clinton (and, for that matter, Andrew Johnson back in the 19th century).

Since losing the 2016 presidential election, the Democrats have been in a state of denial, specifically that a Washington outsider such as Mr. Trump could win and implement an agenda in stark contrast to their own. Instead of admitting defeat, the Democrats accuse the president of foul play, even going so far as to concoct a myth about Russian influence. In reality, Mrs. Clinton and the Democrats should be investigated for selling political influence.

All of this is part of the left’s plans to try to discredit Mr. Trump and derail his agenda. Calls for impeachment are simply a farce aimed at attracting media attention but going nowhere fast. The question though remains, does anyone honestly believe they have a legitimate case against the president? Aside from the liberal zealots who would like to see this happen, No, nobody is buying it. Even the authors of such legislation know it is nothing but a charade and going nowhere fast. They simply cannot stomach his victory and are bound and determined to remove him from office before his term is over.

All of this jealous rage by the Left leads me to believe they are suffering from an acute case of penis envy. Maybe this explains their sense of inferiority and why they possess a castration complex towards Mr. Trump. Oy!

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 40 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 © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  A CORPORATE POLICY FOR PERSONAL ELECTRONIC DEVICES – Is it necessary to write a formal policy for use of electronic devices in the workplace?

LAST TIME:  SOME MONOTONOUS WORK: JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED  – The therapeutic effects of collating and punching paper.

Listen to Tim on 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). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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SOME MONOTONOUS WORK: JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 18, 2017

BRYCE ON LIFE

– The therapeutic effects of collating and punching paper.

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The original purpose of our company was to develop and market a methodology to walk people step-by-step through the design and development of information systems, from soup-to-nuts. We implemented this as a series of manuals and forms for people to reference during the process. Actually, there were three manuals in the set which were housed in 22-ring binders: a manual to explain the methodology, another to show examples, and a third with training materials and an installation guide. This was done at a time before there were quick copy shops. Based on our artwork, a printer would produce copies of the manuals and forms on an offset press which was returned to us for coallating, punching, and insertion into the binders. This was certainly not a glamorous job, but it had to be done regardless. To implement it, we setup long tables and organized the pages around them. We then began the arduous task of coallating and inserting the paper by encircling those tables for hours. On a good day, we could assemble forty manuals which was considered a respectable pace. Inevitably, we began to experience the effects of monotony and boredom. You couldn’t go on autopilot completely during this assembly as you didn’t want to make a mistake, but it certainly wasn’t complicated either. We did this for several years until we were able to automate our manuals for access via the computer. I cannot honestly say I miss those days, but I appreciate the necessity of the work.

We’ve probably all performed some form of monotonous activity, be it collating and punching paper, stapling, folding, photocopying, applying adhesive labels, or some other task that doesn’t require a lot of brain power, but still has to be done nevertheless. Every now and then, I find such work to be a welcome departure from the trials and tribulations of the day, where you can “zone-out” for a while and yet do something productive in the process. Some might call this “idiot work” but that does a disservice to the necessity of the task and those performing it. Actually, it is rather remarkable how people can become somewhat robotic in performing repetitive tasks over and over again without frequently making mistakes. Occasional breaks help clear the head and allows the worker to re-focus.

Some “professionals” consider it beneath their dignity to perform such work. Actually, it can be rather therapeutic. Not only is it a good distraction to clear the mind, it should also be a reminder of the dignity of work in general. It may not be rocket science, but it is still necessary. For those who suffer from an inflated ego, there is nothing better than a little “idiot work” to bring them back down to earth.

Monotonous work may not be glamorous and seem somewhat boring, but we must be mindful of the fact that just about every business or nonprofit has some form of repetitive task to be performed. I, for one, am cognizant of the need for it and certainly do not demean anyone having to perform such work. My company would certainly not be here today without it. Whenever someone asks for some help in this regard I am glad to assist if time permits. As I said, I see it as a great stress reliever and do some of my best thinking under such conditions. It’s just what the doctor ordered.

By the way, for those asking, “Why did you use 22-ring binders?” Actually, this was done by design. Most binders only have two or three rings, which means it would be easy to insert additional pages into them. We didn’t want that. In fact, we wanted to make it as difficult as possible to insert more pages, hence the 22-ring binders. You see, there is a method to our madness.

First published: May 11, 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 40 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 © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  IS THERE REALLY A CASE FOR PRES. TRUMP’S IMPEACHMENT? – The short answer, No.

LAST TIME:  A TRIBUTE TO TYPEWRITERS  – In praise of the look, feel, and smell of a typed letter.

Listen to Tim on 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). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

A TRIBUTE TO TYPEWRITERS

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 16, 2017

BRYCE ON LIFE

– In praise of the look, feel, and smell of a typed letter.

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

I have been using a variety of computer word processors over the last thirty years and produced some rather fine looking documents using them, but for some reason I still miss the typewriter. Maybe it’s because you can quickly type up an impressive looking envelope or fill out a form; Yes, many organizations still use paper forms, particularly nonprofits. The look and feel of a business letter seems somehow more impressive when prepared on a typewriter, more professional and authoritative if you will.

Some people have an aversion to typewriters and generally dismiss them as dinosaurs in the office. I certainly am not of this opinion as we still have an aging IBM Wheelwriter 30, Series II in our office which we would never dream of losing. We don’t type a lot of letters with it anymore, but when we do, they still look first class. When compared to today’s computers, the keyboard is starting to show its age, but there is a crispness to the letters it produces as well as a smell, which I attribute to the printer ink and carbon paper which was used to make duplicate copies. In most companies today, you are expected to print an adhesive label to put on an envelope, which pales in comparison to an envelope with a typed address. It looks rather impressive with a touch of class, something you do not see much anymore in the corporate world.

I learned to type in Mrs. Weldman’s class during my junior year in High School. Most of us typed on manual typewriters where pressing a key forced a metallic arm to rise up and strike the paper with a letter. Only a handful of the students in my class were allowed to use the electric models which didn’t require as much umph in pressing the keys. Our teacher would often have us perform three minute tests to monitor our typing speed and accuracy. Repetitive exercises forced us to improve in both, e.g., “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.” Because a typewriter is less forgiving than a word processor in terms of correcting mistakes, you tend to develop better typing habits. I’ve carried these habits forward to this day and consider myself a rather good typist (Thanks Mrs. Weldman).

Since then, I’ve used a variety of manual and electric typewriters, everything from the classic keystroke, to print balls with different fonts, to daisy wheels which spin to the desired letter and prints the character. As good a typist as I consider myself to be, I thank God somebody created correction tape and liquid paper. Letters produced using word processors may be easier to correct and have impressive spell checkers, but they somehow seem plain to me regardless of the stock paper you use or the variety of available fonts. There’s simply a feel to a typed letter that makes it seem more important. Maybe it’s because it takes more effort to create a typed letter, and by doing so it means the typist is more thoughtful of the person who will receive it. To me, it’s just plain classy.

I also go back to a time when I found the tickety-tack sound of the typewriters to be strangely melodic. I’ll admit a room full of typists clicking away could make quite a racket, but it also seemed to suggest to me some serious business was being conducted. It was like going into the nerve center of a newsroom where important stories were being written. It was quite invigorating. Now, when you go into offices where people quietly work away in the privacy of their cubicles, you wonder if anyone is awake. Somehow I miss the hubbub of business, it felt like something was actually happening.

Surprisingly, there is a bit of a Renaissance going on with typewriters these days as it has somehow become hip to be seen as a struggling writer who lugs a portable typewriter around. I think it’s an Ernie Pyle kind of thing. Nonetheless, there is renewed interest in typewriters and devotees are showcasing their classic equipment in museums, both physically and virtually on the Internet. One of the best I’ve found is Mr. Martin’s Typewriter Museum, be sure to check it out. I’m also told that because of their rarity, a typewriter repairman can now make a decent living. Who’da thunk it.

Like music, fashion, and the media, we tend to develop a close association with the technology of our youth. My kids probably have as much trouble understanding my fascination with typewriters, as I have with their smart phones. We appreciate the technology of our era. As much as I would like to believe I am digital, in all likelihood I am more analog in nature.

One last reason why I owe my allegiance to the typewriter; it was in Mrs. Weldman’s class where I first met my wife.

First published: April 27, 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 40 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 © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  SOME MONOTONOUS WORK: JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED – The therapeutic effects of collating and punching paper.

LAST TIME:  THE FOUR STEPS FOR AMERICAN SUBVERSION  – A warning from a former KGB agent.

Listen to Tim on 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). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

 
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