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Archive for October, 2021

GLIMMERS OF HOPE

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 19, 2021

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Finding the true human spirit on the Internet.

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The spirit of the country has changed since the 20th century, and not necessarily for the better. Gallup tells us Americans continue to believe our morality is in decline. The country is politically polarized, our discourse is visceral, common courtesy has become uncommon, and our social skills are diminishing. It is hard to remain optimistic under such conditions, but I recently witnessed some glimmers of hope in the human spirit which shows promise.

I have been a fan of YouTube for a long time, and it is my go-to channel I stream on both my computer and TV. I find just about everything I want on it, including news, sports, music, entertainment, classic movies, and a plethora of odd-ball videos on a variety of subjects. It is here where I find both the harsh realities of the world as well as the glimmers of hope.

The videos I will list herein may not win any award, but they are some interesting segments which you will not find in the news media today. To them, it is as if such acts of kindness do not exist, but in reality, they do. However, you have to hunt to find them. What follows are some heart-warming clips which demonstrate humans do not have to be crass, vulgar or unkind all of the time; that there are still people with good hearts and well meaning intentions. There are obviously many more of these videos on the Internet, but you should think of this as a starter kit.

* Lending a Helping Hand – a series of clips showing humans going out of their way to rescue animals, and the thankfulness of the rescued. True, people can be cruel and ignore others in distress, but this first clip shows what animals can teach us about ourselves.

* Simple acts of kindness – Yes, we are capable of helping others, even those we do not know.

* Mowing Lawns – this is a favorite of mine, representing another random act of kindness. This shows a man mowing and cleaning up a yard for free. It may not be the most exciting to watch, but it is from the heart. Anyone who has mowed a lawn will relate to it. As an aside, there are several such videos on YouTube.

* Lending a helping hand – much like the lawn mowing video, a church comes to the aid of a stroke victim by expanding his driveway and adding a wheelchair ramp to his house.

* Empathy – a boy and a three-legged dog teaches the concept of empathy.

* Expressions of True Love – shows how dogs react to their owners returning home.

* More expressions of True Love – an outpouring of love when soldiers return home. It is always a pleasure to watch.

* Inspiration – A pep talk from a kid which encourages people to lead a better life.

* Signs of respect – as expressed by athletes.

* Common Courtesy – as conveyed by a television station in Detroit, Michigan.

* Citizenship/patriotism – another favorite of mine showing a group of people taking the naturalization oath to become citizens of the United States. The looks on their faces at the end are priceless.

* The Young Crooner – A young man, Sal Valentinetti, wows the crowd on America’s Got Talent with his charm and his voice singing a Sinatra classic. His story and music is heart-warming.

Such videos are important as they teach by example, and hopefully, people will emulate them. They also reveal we are not all jaded and evil, but possess compassion, empathy, charity, kindness, and respect. Seniors in this country like to talk about the “good old days” when there was more courtesy and spirit of cooperation. Such virtues are not as visible today, thanks to the news media and changing social mores, but fortunately there still seems to be some deep-seeded respect for the human spirit. We can learn a lot about ourselves from these videos, as well as the many others on the Internet. It may be wise to watch these “glimmers of hope” now, before someone removes them later.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

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

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance 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 timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2021 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on Spotify, WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; SVA RADIO – “Senior Voice America”, the leading newspaper for active mature adults; or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

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BUILDING TEAM MORALE THROUGH LEADERSHIP

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 14, 2021

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– How a classic World War II movie teaches the basic lessons of leadership.

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In the movie, “Twelve O’Clock High,” actor Gregory Peck plays the role of a World War II Brigadier General charged with taking command of an American B-17 bombing group stationed in Britain, and suffering from a bad case of “hard luck.” To make matters worse, the men of the group hold a fondness for Peck’s predecessor, yet were prone to making mistakes and missing targets. As a result, the group experiences heavy losses and morale worsens. As Peck takes command he makes it clear to his group he doesn’t accept the concept of “hard luck,” that the men should stop feeling sorry for themselves, and they need to build their confidence.

Remarkably, this movie represents a text book description of leadership. So much so, for many years it was considered mandatory viewing in the Officer Candidate Schools in the military as part of their curriculum on leadership. It is also something managers should observe in business, even today.

Due to the nature of the war at that moment (1942), Peck has no time to coddle his young flyers and realizes they have to mature quickly. If his bombing group folds, others could potentially do likewise which could impact the outcome of the war. So, he explains this to the group and why it is necessary for them to take on a professional attitude. Recognizing the discipline and work involved, the young soldiers resist Peck at first, but eventually succumbs after realizing Peck’s refusal to compromise.

Peck finds it necessary to replace elements of his management team, specifically his #2 man, the Air Exec. Interestingly, Peck selects a man who, at first, shows contempt for Peck, but recognizing the flyer’s impeccable credentials, he promotes him, a decision he doesn’t regret as he realizes the job was more important than his personal feelings.

Next, Peck halts all bombing runs so he can hold practice missions to determine the skills of his crews, and identify their strengths and weaknesses. Finally, Peck weeds out the weaklings of the group and puts them in a separate dead-beat team labeled the “Leper Colony,” where they are forced to turn things around.

From the outset, in order to change the psychological dynamics of the group, Peck recognizes he must instill a sense of pride and confidence in his men; that they are not “hard luck” misfits, but professional soldiers who can get the job done with an esprit de corps.

Aside from being an interesting tale about World War II, “Twelve O’Clock High” is a worthwhile management read teaching several lessons:

1. A manager should try to earn the respect of his workers, not their love. Any manager who tries to win a popularity contest is courting disaster. In the movie, the demise of Peck’s predecessor could be traced back to his close attachment to his men. Instead of looking at problems objectively, his mind was clouded by too much empathy for his men. Managers must walk a fine line between jocularity and discipline. Too much familiarity breeds contempt for the manager, and too much discipline can make life unbearable for workers. In Peck’s case, his men initially exhibit slovenly behavior. To curb it, he deliberately intimidates his men to teach them such behavior was unacceptable and discipline would be enforced.

2. A manager should design his department in such a way as it can function without him. Basically, a manager’s task is to do himself out of a job. By doing so, he is displacing the management responsibility on a group of people as opposed to just one. This is a clever way to communicate to workers this is the will of the group, not just one person. If it becomes dependent on just one person, the whole group will fail if the manager fails.

3. Open the lines of communications. The manager must effectively communicate the necessity of a task to his workers, along with its urgency. Only then will they put forth the proper amount of effort it deserves. In the film, Peck gives his men the shock treatment by telling them they are in a “shooting war” and there is no time to coddle them, plus he believes in their abilities. Beyond this, Peck develops a rapport with a young Lieutenant who acts as a spokesman for the flyers. He does this in order to get a pulse of what his young men are thinking.

4. There is no such thing as “hard luck.” The morale of the bomb group plummets under Peck’s predecessor. As much as they liked their Colonel, they felt sorry for themselves, and lacked confidence in their ability to do anything correctly. Such an attitude can be very demoralizing and contagious thereby causing workers to make more mistakes than necessary. A change of attitude is warranted, which leads to the next point…

5. Managers need to build self esteem in their workers, thereby fueling their confidence and building pride in workmanship. The message, “There is dignity in all forms of work,” must come across loud and clear. Sometimes it is beneficial for management to pay special attention to his workers who should respond positively to such attention. Somehow the manager needs to communicate how important or challenging the work is. This means investing such things as time, money, clothes, changing the surroundings, or improving the technology to perform the work. Such token gestures are noticed by workers who appreciate the recognition of management and respond accordingly. With rare exception, workers rise to the occasion when faced with new and exciting challenges, as opposed to tedious and repetitive tasks.

6. Managers must encourage workers to strive for perfection, but realize they may never achieve it. A program of continued practice helps to identify minor flaws in workmanship which can be corrected. In the movie, Peck orders several practice bombing runs to correct weaknesses in targeting and flying in formation. Such practices also raise the awareness of workers to think about their work product and the processes involved with producing it.

7. It is easier to lead workers if they trust you. Quite simply, workers are more likely to follow you if they have confidence in your abilities and decision making skills. This means managers must demonstrate they know what they are doing. Talk is cheap, action is more visible to workers. As such, managers need to go the extra mile further to earn the confidence of their workers. Immoral behavior is not tolerated. If workers suspect the manager is a liar, cheat, or does not support them, they will quickly turn on him.

8. Develop a skills inventory. In the picture, Peck reviews the dossiers of all of the members of the group, studying their strengths and weaknesses. From this, he makes decisions as to assigning people to their area of expertise. In the corporate world, skill inventories are used to track the talents and experiences of workers, along with their level of proficiency. Such a tool is invaluable for selecting people to suitable assignments, not to mention identifying the need for additional training.

9. Identify your weakest workers and encourage them to perform better. Peck assigns a B-17 as the “Leper Colony” where all of the dead-beats of the group are placed. Such recognition encourages them to try harder. In this day of political correctness though, it is unlikely Peck’s tactics would be used. However, it is necessary to somehow put a spotlight on workers who are not performing to their fullest potential. Today, Employee Evaluations are used to document worker strengths and weaknesses, which is normally reviewed between the manager and worker in a one-on-one basis.

10. Get some wins under your belt to build confidence. In the movie, Peck’s group bombs a target that others couldn’t. For their efforts, they were awarded accommodations for distinguished service. This helps build their confidence. This also explains why sports teams have preseason schedules to not only judge the ability of players, but to instill confidence. The same is true in business where it is wise to start small before tackling major assignments. Mentors and coaches should be nearby to offer advice.

11. As manager, articulate your objectives, their urgency, your plan of attack, then lead your workers into battle. Today, it shouldn’t be so much about micromanagement which can stifle worker creativity and initiative. Instead, the manager should establish the right working conditions (corporate culture), provide them with the best training, tools and techniques available, empower them, and turn them loose.

It’s amazing what workers can do with a little leadership, such as conquering the skies over Nazi Germany.

First published: April 7, 2014

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

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

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance 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 timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014, 2021 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on Spotify, WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; SVA RADIO – “Senior Voice America”, the leading newspaper for active mature adults; or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

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LIVING BEHIND FACADE

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 12, 2021

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Why do we hide behind things?

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I was recently in North Carolina on a little fishing getaway and stayed with an old friend I’ve known since High School. He lived toward the middle of the state, out in the country, and adjoining a massive lake. It was one of those areas in the country where you either had a nice, massive house and property, like my friend, or a mobile home with a small farm surrounding you. I’m not going to pass judgement on which home was better as we do what we can to survive, but I observed both types of properties lived behind some form of facade, and this got me thinking.

Some homes lived behind a plethora of flotsam and jetsam, while others were more orderly, yet I suspect most of it was facade. Ultimately, it represented the image people wanted to express, either “I don’t care anymore” or “Welcome.” It was here when I realized how dependant people are on facade.

We all use some form of facade to our advantage, such as cosmetics to hide a blemish, hair styles, personal hygiene, tattoos and body piercings, clothing and fashion, decor, automobile types, jewelry, even political correctness. All of this is geared to transmit certain messages to others telling them what kind of people we are, and what our interests happen to be. By doing so, it speaks volumes of our values and morality, e.g., what we deem to be important and what we do not.

We’re all trying to convey an image of some kind, particularly when we are young. Is it the true us? Hardly. It is how we want people to perceive us. Facade hides our flaws and imperfections. Perhaps the best way to think of it as a deflector shield, thereby telling the public what we want them to know about us, and what we do not.

Behind facade is the naked truth, something we’re trying to conceal for one reason or another. We do this because we fear honesty and it may reveal a weakness about us to the world. As Jack Nicholson said, “You can’t handle the truth!”

We also see signs of facade on social media where it is having a negative impact on teens, particularly girls, who are falsely replicating themselves as other popular students in their school or celebrities, and it is far from reality. Such false identities greatly impact the ego, particularly if it is detected by others nearby who publicize the falsehood. Then there is the matter of dating sites on the web; talk about facade! Both men and women retouch photos and write glorius descriptions of themselves in the hope of securing a date.

All of this implies people tend to suffer from an inferiority complex; that we do not want others to know the naked truth about us as we consider it embarrassing. Whereas we tend to be consumed with facade at an early age as we try to build careers, but as we grow older we tend to become less concerned with facade because we become less consumed by what people think.

Just remember, a coat of paint works just as well on rotten wood as it does on good wood. What will we find when we peel back the paint on you?

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

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

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance 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 timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2021 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on Spotify, WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; SVA RADIO – “Senior Voice America”, the leading newspaper for active mature adults; or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

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OUR RIGHT TO FAIL

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 7, 2021

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Don’t take away this important God-given right.

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

failureNOTE: I originally published this article in 2009, back when the government was offering stimulus money to banks and manufacturing companies during the Recession, a policy I opposed both then and now. The point of the article is as relevant today as it was back then, especially in lieu of the $3.5T stimulus bill President Biden is proposing, which includes a list of new entitlements and a redistribution of the wealth. What I am herein describing is an inherent part of capitalism of which I am a proponent, the “natural” way of encouraging change in our society, certainly not socialism. I hope you enjoy it.

As a youngster, one of the things I learned early on was that winning and losing was a natural part of any game I played, be it baseball, football, hockey, Monopoly, cards, you name it. Somebody wins, somebody loses. Nobody likes to lose, but as I have written in the past, there is nothing to be ashamed of if you have tried your best, but still failed. In fact, I have more respect for the person who valiantly tried and lost, as opposed to the person who won by cutthroat tactics or cheating.

The point is, failure is a natural part of life and an inherent property of evolution (see Charles Darwin). It is a strong message telling us what we are doing is not working, and we can either learn from it and change or ignore it and perish. It’s nice to have a safety net, but where would we be if nobody took a risk? Without failure, life stagnates. We cannot make progress if we are not allowed to fail. Entrepreneurs, adventurers, and other Type A personalities understand in any venture there is a certain element of risk, whereby they will either reap the rewards of success, or taste the agony of defeat. They weigh the risks carefully, then work overtime to assure success, but they clearly understand there is no such thing as a guarantee for success.

There are people today who want to eliminate our right to fail, that nobody should experience the pain or embarrassment of defeat. This is why I have a problem with government bailout and stimulus plans. They will only be a temporary fix, and the companies will not make the severe and necessary changes to survive in the years ahead. Only failure will cause them to make the required changes. To my way of thinking, the government bailout plans are only delaying the inevitable.

All of the greed and corruption we allowed to creep into our business practices have finally come home to roost. Consequently, companies are no longer maintaining a competitive edge in business, and are losing money due to unscrupulous self-centered interests and just plain stupid business decisions. The companies are all sorry for the problem and promise to never allow it to happen again. I don’t believe an accused murderer could say it any better. They all want redemption without having to worry about paying a penalty. I’m sorry, but that is not how the game is supposed to be played, but then again there are those who want to change the rules so that nobody loses. This is just plain wrong.

If you believe companies will make the necessary changes in their policies and operations, simply because the government is going to bail them out, you are taking it in the arm. Like it or not, failure is the only real catalyst to invoke change. Nothing is more powerful to truly change someone than failure; ask anyone who has experienced it.

Nobody likes to take their medicine, but I’m afraid it is time to pass out the Castor Oil and tablespoons. It may sound silly and I don’t expect a lot of people to jump on the bandwagon, but it’s time to “Protect our right to fail!”

First published: March 9, 2009

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

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

tim75x75Tim Bryce is an author, freelance 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 timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2021 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on Spotify, WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; SVA RADIO – “Senior Voice America”, the leading newspaper for active mature adults; or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

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