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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

A HOME OWNERS ASSOCIATION TONG WAR

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 14, 2019

BRYCE ON NONPROFITS

– and a lesson for others.

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

My Home Owners Association (HOA) is currently involved in a dispute between the Board of Directors and the residents. It has become so nasty, it is starting to resemble a Tong War. Interestingly, this is not the first time this has happened. About 25 years ago the association built a substantial brick wall at the front of the neighborhood, but the Board refused to account for the money spent. This turned into an ugly donnybrook and caused a changeover in the board, and feelings were hurt. This is what caused me to get involved and help cleanup the association and restore confidence. Many years have passed since then and many new neighbors have moved in, none with a sense of what happened before, but it appears history is repeating itself.

Our HOA is relatively small, with 163 properties. Shortly after my reign, the board contracted with a management company to implement the administrative detail of the association. This is quite common these days as board members have become reluctant to do hands-on work, regardless of how simple it is. During my day, I built a data base for the group and was able to churn out customized letters, dues notices, and much more. I was fortunate to have a treasurer who was an accountant who used some basic PC financial software. Even though this was hardly rocket science, this was all dropped after the board changed and turned the administrative detail over to the management company.

As time passed, our HOA became overly dependent on the management company. Residents complained of the callous behavior of the company. It got to the point where it appeared the HOA worked for the management company as opposed to the other way around. A flash point occurred earlier this year when our new treasurer asked for a series of financial reports from the management company, none of which were forthcoming. This raised a red flag and caused the treasurer to resign from the Board and write a letter to residents explaining his reasons for his departure.

To me, this was deja vu all over again, as the cover-up of financials is what caused the friction 25 years earlier. Instead of publicly answering the former treasurer’s accusations, the president consulted the association’s attorneys which produced some fine gobbledygook to hide behind, thus arousing suspicions in the neighborhood. Had the president answered the treasurer properly, the issue would have been closed, but instead it escalated, fearing something was being hidden from the residents. So much so, the association called for a full audit of its financial activities by an independent firm, a very expensive proposition I might add. This vote to call for an audit essentially meant the board had lost the trust of the association.

As I mentioned, managing a nonprofit organization as small as this is not exactly rocket science. I have written about this in the past, “Managing a Nonprofit Organization.” In such groups, the board has a fiduciary responsibility to its membership. As such, finances, minutes, and governing docs must be transparent. In both instances, 25 years ago and today, this is the cause for the uproar.

As the board hides behind its lawyers, the association realizes they cannot fight city hall and the only thing to do is to fire the board at the end of the year, and start over again with new members (and hopefully without the management company). I am somewhat philosophical about this, as I have a sense of history with this association. It’s good to clear the air every so often. Like any organization, a lot of crud creeps into a nonprofit over time, and without strong management, it will continue to grow unabated (see Parkinson’s Law).

I have served on many board of directors over the years, for a variety of groups. I would have to say though that participating on a HOA board is the most thankless job around. It is essential to keep things simple, transparent, be well organized, and act professionally. In other words, learn Robert’s Rules of Order, print an agenda, get a gavel and give it to someone who knows how to use it. This will go a long way to simplifying work, communicating with your membership, and maintaining their trust. It is rather sad to see neighbors viscerally attack each other and hurt feelings in the process. This type of pettiness and drama is what discourages residents from participating in such associations. Further, this has an adverse effect on the spirit of the neighborhood and is actually detrimental to house values. After all, who wants to move into a neighborhood where everyone is at each other’s throats?

Hopefully, we can begin the mending process once the board has been voted out of office. The only positive effect of all this, is that people are beginning to ask to participate on the board. I’ve been asked, “Tim, why don’t you get involved again?” The answer is rather simple, after I cleaned it up last time, finally getting us to operate in the black for the first time, I stepped off the board, whereby new members changed it and turned everything over to the management company. I cleaned up one gigantic mess years ago, and they screwed it up. I certainly am not going to go through such madness a second time. What’s the old expression, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice…”?

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – Don’t forget my new book, “Tim’s Senior Moments” now available in Printed and eBook form.

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 timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

RUNNING THE LIFE MARATHON

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 11, 2019

BRYCE ON LIFE

– It is something we must all run.

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

As we pass through life there are several milestones we observe, such as our sixteenth birthday when we normally get a driver’s license, or our 21st birthday when we become “legal.” I didn’t think too much of it when I turned thirty, nor did I pay much attention to forty; frankly, I didn’t know what all the hubbub was about. However, when I turned fifty I suddenly went, “Whoops!” I guess it was the greeting from AARP that got my attention and let me know that time was quickly passing.

I’ve found that once you enter your fifties you become more reflective on where you’ve been and where you’re going. When you think about it, you have an internal clock telling you there are several appointments you have to make during your life, assuming you live a full life; to illustrate:

1. Time to get married – time to grow up, clean up your act, and get a job.

2. Time to have kids – time to start thinking about insurance, including life, medical, and auto.

3. Time to buy or build a house – which, coincidentally, also represents the official point where we start to go into debt.

4. Time to advance your career – after all, someone has to pay all those bills.

5. Time to send the kids off to college, the military, or wherever – it is at this point when you develop a false sense of independence. Even as the kids move away, they still depend on you for guidance, advice, a few bucks, and anything around the house that isn’t nailed down.

6. Time to get the kids married off – time to get a bank loan, particularly if you are the father of the bride.

7. Time to retire – which is also when you make plans for your demise. For example, you no longer celebrate Labor Day at the beach, but rather tour cemeteries picking out grave sights.

8. Time to play with the grand kids and watch them grow up – This is also the time when you celebrate your wedding anniversaries and take trips you couldn’t afford earlier.

9. Time to checkout.

Interestingly, when you go to High School reunions, you compare notes with your classmates as to where they stand on this time line. I guess misery loves company after all.

Actually, I resent the time line we impose on ourselves and don’t recall this as being part of the job description. It’s kind of like saying, “All right, come on, do this, do that, move along, and don’t forget to do this as well, move along.” It kind of reminds me of an assembly line where we are nothing but products moving from one work station to the next. It strikes me that we spend so much time running the marathon, we never take time to truly enjoy the scenery. But alas, the marathon is something we all must inevitably run.

My father-in-law had a simpler way of expressing our passage through life. It was his contention that we have 30 years to learn, 30 years to earn, and 30 years to burn (the money that is). I can’t help but believe he was on to something.

By the way, turning sixty is another wake-up call. Interestingly, you find the physical pains of life intensify, you are no longer care about being politically correct, and you certainly do not impress easily anymore as you’ve seen too much.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – Don’t forget my new book, “Tim’s Senior Moments” now available in Printed and eBook form.

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 timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

SOMETHING IN THE WATER?

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 28, 2019

BRYCE ON LIFE

– What’s causing people to become angrier and irrational?

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

My mother recently made the observation that people seem to be angrier these days. Frankly, I couldn’t argue with her as I see it too. I would like to believe there is something in the water causing this, but I’m afraid it is a bit more complicated.

I tend to believe it is primarily because we do not promote cooperation but stubborn independence instead. We see this on the road where people like to block traffic, cut in line, or do anything that suits their specific needs. We see this in public schools with a lack of discipline, lack of enforced dress codes, and lack of respect for teachers and others. Students are not being taught how to cooperate, other than in sports. Even then, there seems to be greater encouragement for individual achievement as opposed to team effort. However, I would remind people that every state High School athletic team championship I’ve ever seen is won by cooperation, not by individual effort.

We see stubborn independence just about everywhere, including the politics of the corporate world, someone seeking petty notoriety in a nonprofit organization, or even in the supermarket where people clog the aisles to suit their personal needs, with no concern whatsoever for others around them . All of this means people have become self-aware of their own needs and desires, and lack empathy for others.

This reminds me, ever notice in the supermarket, there always seems to be one person you cannot elude who constantly blocks your path? No matter how you try to alter your path through the store, you inevitably run into the same person time and again. I don’t mean to sound paranoid, but I tend to believe the store assigns “blockers” to shoppers to assure we spend more time in the store purchasing more stuff than we really need. Wouldn’t it be nice if they painted a dashed line down the middle of the aisles to suggest people stay on one side or the other? It would be an interesting experiment to say the least.

The second aspect of our anger deals with our dependency on technology. Whether I’m in a company, a store, or on the highway, people are plugged-in and tuned out. It is no small wonder our socialization skills are deteriorating as people prefer their technology over human contact. Such a shift signals the decline of such things as common courtesy and manners.

The third and final aspect with anger is our declining moral values which includes respect for the human spirit. Gallup polls clearly show religion and morality have been declining in recent years. Again, this affects our socialization skills and recognition of what is right and what is wrong. The media blurs the lines as well as they no longer practice restraint in telling a story or accurately reporting the news. From this, an ideological chasm has emerged which continues to widen.

My mother also made the observation that people seem to be making more mistakes these days. This is based on her shopping experiences either over the telephone or on the Internet. She said it has become quite common for vendors to ship the wrong product, or cause a delay due to improper shipping instructions, or perhaps bank cards are improperly credited or debited. “I’m sorry” is the common excuse, but nothing is done to truly correct the problem which is often repeated. Under this scenario, the problem is apathy, whereby the company is indifferent to the problems of the customer. Even if you threaten to terminate business with a company, the general attitude is “Okay,” meaning they do not really care. Instead of fighting for your business, they just move on to someone else, and the mistakes continue unabated.

Is the anger issue related to mistakes? I cannot help but think it is for the same reasons mentioned earlier. People have become jaded in terms of socializing with others. The sad thing is, it is so unnecessary. If people would only become a little more sensitive to others around them, maybe we would start to wear a smile again.

I don’t know. Maybe there is something in the water after all causing all this. I hope it’s not the fluoride.

Come on America, take a breath and loosen up!

P.S. – Don’t forget my new book, “Tim’s Senior Moments” now available in Printed and eBook form.

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 timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

ARE THESE THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 23, 2019

BRYCE ON LIFE

– That’s up for our kids to decide.

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

As we get older we’re very much inclined to talk about the “good old days.” I’m sure I have bored my kids to death over what happened back in the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s. My parents liked to talk about the 30’s and 40’s as they survived the Great Depression and World War II. And my grandparents used to talk about World War I and the Roaring 20’s.

However, it occurred to me recently that nowadays may very well be considered the “good old days” for someone else, probably my children’s generation. If these are really the “good” old days, it makes me wonder what awaits us in the years ahead. Today’s sociopolitical unrest makes us worry about tomorrow, e.g., will we remain a capitalist society or will we turn to the dark side of socialism; will America remain the beacon for liberty in the world or will it be snuffed out like the Romans? Our permissive society makes me wonder what our morality and values will be. Will religious fanaticism and/or the struggle over energy plunge us into a new kind of war? Will we be kind to mother Earth? And will our ever-changing technology affect global communications and economics? There are a lot of unknowns here which we can only speculate on without absolute certainty. It’s hard to plan for the future not knowing where it might take us.

It would be wrong to paint a picture of nothing but doom and gloom. As a species, we must always try to put our best foot forward and hope to build a better tomorrow, but to do so we have to become engaged in what is going on and chart our own course of action as opposed to allowing others to dictate our future, such as the media. This means we have to become more proactive, and less reactive, in living our lives. We have enough people sitting on the sidelines, it’s time for the younger generation to get into the game and run with the ball, not just in government, but in our companies, our communities, our schools, our places of worship, and other volunteer organizations. As Americans, we can ill afford to simply maintain the status quo.

One reason we like the “good old days” is because they represent a seemingly simpler time in our youth, something we all yearn for as we grow weary of the rat race. I’ll be curious to see in twenty to thirty years from now, God willing I’m still around, if we look back at this decade as a simpler time. I tend to describe it as much more fast-paced and fiercely competitive than the last forty years. If this is true, what will the 30’s look like? The 2000-30’s (2030) that is.

I take comfort watching my grown son still interested in casting a fishing line now and then, watching a baseball game, working hard, showing empathy to others, and by performing his civic duty by voting or serving on a jury. Such simple acts, gives me hope for our future.

God help us.

P.S. – Don’t forget my new book, “Tim’s Senior Moments” now available in Printed and eBook form.

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 timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT BECOMING A SENIOR?

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 14, 2019

BRYCE ON AGING

– AKA, “Why I wrote the book.”

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

Following the release of my new book, “Tim’s Senior Moments,” interviewers asked what compelled me to write it. As I mentioned in the introduction of the book, I discovered people tend to treat you differently the moment you reach the magical age of sixty, the Big 6-0. Younger people think you are through with the productive part of your life and are just phasing into retirement. It’s like, “Hey Big Guy, here is your cookie, just sit there in the corner and we’ll take it from here.” And it gets worse with every passing year. I’m sorry, but I still have quite a few dances left on my card and I am not ready to give up yet. That’s why I particularly enjoyed Jack Palance’s acceptance speech at the 1992 Oscars, followed by his one-handed push-ups on the stage.

My old friend Chris Payne, who drew the cover of the book, made the following observation years ago, “Guys like us always have to keep doing something; with you, it’s writing; with me, it’s drawing. If you were to force us to quit, you might as well take a gun out and shoot us dead, as our lives are tied to what we do. It is an intricate part of us, something we have always loved to do.”

Chris is right, and as long as someone enjoys our work, we will persevere. In other words, you can take that cookie and…

Some people are embarrassed about growing old (like we can control it, right?), others recognize the change and role with the punches. While we might not be as physically agile or strong as we once were, we’re certainly smarter thanks to experience and the naivety of youth. Instead of picking up and moving that refrigerator like I used to, now I say, “Hmm, let me think about that for a moment,” and come up with a less strenuous way of moving the object. So, Yes, we get smarter, or is it guile?

I know seniors who would love to play golf everyday if they could. Not me. I was never too fond of it, and don’t look for me on the shuffleboard courts or in basket-weaving classes either. I simply like to meet people, attend meetings, and find out what is going on this crazy world of ours. If I lose my spark, I hope somebody will put me down quietly. Maybe a Viking funeral.

This is why when I hear a High School classmate proudly say to me, “Hey Tim, guess what, I’m retiring and moving to Florida (or Arizona).” Naturally, they expect me to say how happy I was for them, but instead, I say, “Oh, I am so sorry for you.” These are people who obviously hated their jobs and couldn’t wait to move along.

I have found retirement is like a race where people are competing for bragging rites as to who did it first. I have seen several friends rush into retirement, only to become bored out of their minds, and eventually go back to work in some capacity.

The other thing I mention to interviewers is that as you transfer to the senior ranks, your problems and concerns do not dissipate and go away, they just go through a metamorphosis. Let me give you an example. As we begin our professional careers and start a family, we are concerned about the development of our offspring. As years go by, and our children leave the nest, we honestly believe things will slow down and we can start to smell the roses. Wow, was I wrong. You discover you now have to look after your parents or perhaps an aunt or uncle. Next, along comes grandchildren to babysit and entertain, and of course your spouse. In other words, your concern and responsibilities shift from one group to another. This, of course, assumes you are not a deadbeat and willing to assume responsibility. In fact, the only time you are not taking care of someone is until the end, when you are trying to take care of yourself.

As you become a senior, your priorities begin to shift to figure a way out of this life with as few a complications as possible. Your mantra becomes, “Simplify, simplify, simplify.” You find yourself downsizing to smaller living quarters and disposing of the tons of junk you managed to accumulate over the years. As I often remind people, everything you own, be it valuables, automobiles, houses, and all the other bric a brac you possess, must all eventually end up in the junk yard some day, like it or not.

So, while my friends line up for shuffleboard or golf, I would like to learn the tango instead, as it looks much more interesting. But in the end, I’ll settle for doing more interviews and lectures on aging. Call 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 timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

CHECKING OUT THE CHECKOUT

Posted by Tim Bryce on April 18, 2019

BRYCE ON LIFE

– In appreciation of old brass cash registers.

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

When I was a young lad visiting my grandparents in Buffalo, New York, there was a local grocery store I loved to visit with them. It had wooden floors, a pickle barrel, and separate barrels for butter and cheese. Milk was still sold in glass bottles, and the store butcher cut meat in accordance with your wishes and wrapped it wax paper and string. There was also freshly ground coffee that smelled heavenly, as well as the fresh bread sold there. To a young boy, the shop was a wonder to behold with all of its sights, sounds, and smells. The only other institution that could hold a candle to it was an old hardware store in my hometown of Norwalk, Connecticut. It too had wooden floors, barrels on the floor for different nails and screws, a wide array of tools for just about any task, and the smell of freshly cut pine enraptured me. Such stores were magical and I never wanted to leave.

The focal point of both stores understandably was the checkout counter featuring a massive cash register with a wide array of white ivory buttons. I was mesmerized by the clerk whose fingers flew across the rows of buttons rapidly and accurately to record the transactions, each making a distinct and authoritative mechanical click. When the register drawer was opened, a pleasant sounding bell would ring. A simple receipt was printed which identified the store by name and number, today’s date, the price of each item you purchased, sales tax, and the total. The whole receipt was no bigger than a baseball card. The machine itself was a majestic instrument made of brass with decorative swirls and lines adorning it and there was a massive handle on the right side of the register to process the final transaction. The register drawer inside it was made of wood and the oils from the fingers of clerks over the years turned it deep brown thereby revealing its age. The machine was sturdy, reliable and never broke down. To my young mind, it was truly a work of art and added a touch of class to the establishment.

Today the checkout counter is a much less pleasurable experience. Registers are plain looking plastic boxes with considerable electronics, making them much less impressive than the splendid grandeur of yesteryear. In most stores we are asked to swipe credit cards or insert the memory chip. Then we must sign our names to acknowledge the transaction, not on paper, but on a touch screen which has a tendency of making our autographs look garbled as if it were signed by a five year old huckleberry.

Then there is the matter of the paper receipts. Instead of simple slips of paper, the machine now generates “War and Peace” containing legal terms and conditions, rebate offers that are too illegible to properly process, along with coupons and discounts on everything except what you want to buy. Reams of paper are generated thereby taking up considerable space in our wallets or purses. For a paperless society, we sure know how to kill a lot of trees.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, I’m always amazed by the automatic checkout counters in the mega hardware stores and supermarkets. The concept is to allow customers to check themselves out without assistance from clerks, thereby saving the company money in terms of personnel needed to process the order. Interestingly, I have yet to see an automatic checkout counter without a human standing nearby to supervise activity and intervene when trouble arises, which seems to be always. Because these checkouts seem to be prone to processing snafus, I wonder why companies bother. After all, I prefer human contact where you are, in theory, to be treated cordially and friendly, thereby encouraging repeat business, references, and increased sales. I don’t need clerks heckling me with “Good Mornings,” but rather someone who cares about me visiting his/her store.

God, how I miss those big brass cash registers.

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 timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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FIGHTING WITH MY GARAGE DOOR REMOTE

Posted by Tim Bryce on April 12, 2019

BRYCE ON LIFE

– It’s the little things that makes life enjoyable.

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

When I was younger and starting my professional career, I relished tackling big projects, probably because I saw it as an adventure and a learning experience. However, as the years went by and I mastered many big things, I started to appreciate the little things in life, such as a graduation, a wedding, a birth or an anniversary (you can skip the birthdays). It might even be a little simpler like a fine meal, warm slippers or comfortable clothes.

Recently, I noticed my remote garage door opener wasn’t working. I dutifully changed the battery but, alas, it still didn’t work. Thinking I had somehow lost the proper signal, I tested my wife’s remote unit. Yes, it worked fine, but mine was being finicky. So, I took my unit apart, replaced the battery and delicately tried to put it back together again, again, and again. Frustrated, I took the unit apart and pretended to play technician with the computer chip included therein, which is actually a bad idea. I delicately blew on it, rubbed it clean, tried to position the parts back together carefully, all to no avail. I then found myself talking to it, first calmly, “Come on, nice and easy, let’s try it again.” Finally, as I was close to losing my sweet disposition, I ended up cursing at it with some choice expletives. I raised my hand and threatened to throw it against the wall in a fit of rage when, lo and behold, it started to work. In other words, a good cursing worked wonders. Even though I wasted a half hour on this small task, I felt triumphant for having conquered this problem, and proudly showed it to my wife (who, having watched me through all of this, thought I was about to lose my mind). Nonetheless, fixing this little triviality made my day.

Likewise, it is the little things in baseball that attracts me to the sport. Home runs are nice, but I enjoy a clean well-targeted base hit better, or a well layed down bunt, a stolen base, a pick-off, and the nuances of the defensive field positions. I particularly enjoy a runner on first base distracting a pitcher by threatening to steal a base, thereby upsetting the pitcher’s rhythm and accuracy to the batter at home plate. It’s these little things I love to watch.

I also appreciate simple common courtesy from a clerk or waiter, be it in person or on the telephone. Expressions like “please” and “thank you” still go a long way in my book, as well as a smile and good service. It may not sound like a lot, but it is what makes life bearable.

No, I don’t need the big or flashy car anymore, nor a yacht or be a globe trotter (as I have already seen the world). All I need is some good conversation, a politically incorrect joke, honesty, politeness, a fly-rod, and perhaps a good drink. Like I said, it’s the little things.

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 timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

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

AMERICANS EMBRACE REACTIVE MANAGEMENT

Posted by Tim Bryce on April 9, 2019

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– Why we are inclined to accept disaster.

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

Planning is not natural to most Americans. We resist it because it requires some foresight, analysis, and change. In other words, work. Our history is littered with stories of snafus resulting from poor planning, both large and small; Pearl Harbor, 911, and Hurricane Katrina are legendary. In the case of Pearl Harbor, the Army’s Colonel Billy Mitchell studied the island’s defenses and wrote a report detailing how the island would be attacked with incredible accuracy. The report was written a full 17 years prior to December 7th, 1941. Instead of heeding his advice, the Army would eventually lose patience with Mitchell and run him out of the military.

In terms of Hurricane Katrina, civil engineers were acutely aware the weaknesses of the levee system protecting New Orleans was inadequate to withstand a Category 5 storm, as well as Category 4. Their warnings though, unfortunately, went unheeded.

Overseas, particularly in Asia, planning is more common. For example, it was incredibly important in the re-development of Japan following World War II. In business, Japanese companies spend much more time planning than Americans as they like to “look before they leap.” Americans, on the other hand tend to take the plunge before they know what they are jumping into. Even worse, they often take the wrong course of action when faced with disaster. Allow me to explain…

I know a Florida fraternal organization who, like a lot of nonprofits, is losing members. However, this is not new as they have been losing on the average of +1,500 members per year for the last 15 years. Everyone in the organization is cognizant of it, but the leadership has done nothing to stem the problem, hoping it is a temporary condition and will simply go away. Whereas there were in excess of 58K members in 2003, by 2017 there was approximately 35K. It was only this year that the leadership decided to take action by leveraging a hefty per capita tax on each member, which will inevitably drive more members away. Whereas they should have been studying the problem all along, they waited until the last minute to make a decision which will ultimately have an adverse effect on membership.

Similarly, New York State has one of the highest tax rates in the country. So much so, it is causing New Yorkers to flee the state as economic refugees seeking shelter in more tax-friendly states, such as Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. To compensate for their departure, the state recently added new taxes in New York City; a “congestion tax” to ride on city streets, and a “mansion tax” on expensive estates. This too will likely cause more New Yorkers to flee the state. Instead of cutting expenses and lowering taxes to make the state more inviting to live in, they continue to tax and spend madly. As an aside, according to a recent Mercatus Center study, New York State is ranked #41 of the fifty states in terms of fiscal health (Florida is #4, North Carolina is #9, Georgia is #18, and South Carolina is #20).

As in the Florida fraternal example, New York State waited too late until conditions worsened, failed to change their ways, and opted to burden the remaining people instead. Such “knee-jerk” reactions is typical of incompetent leadership.

Then we have the crisis of illegal immigrants at our southern border, a problem threatening our country’s sovereignty. While some claim the problem is “manufactured,” reports from the Department of Homeland Security are undeniable. The American people have known this to be a problem well before the 2016 elections. Remarkably, the Congress fails to address the problem, even to this day. Regardless of the party in power, if this is a legitimate problem, where is the House and Senate in terms of changing our laws? The fact they insist of ignoring the problem goes beyond simple dereliction of duty; it is pure negligence, if not treasonous.

These three incidents are typical of American planning, as they prefer waiting for disaster to strike before taking action. This, of course, is madness. The reason for it should be rather obvious, we feel comfortable operating in an auto-pilot mode and resist making hard decisions that might offend someone. Yet in the end, reactionary behavior ultimately hurts everyone.

Let me give you one last example, knowing our Fraternal Lodge was losing membership and money, and realizing the costs to maintain our building were escalating, I prepared a Feasibility Study which came to the conclusion the Lodge should sell the building and move in with a neighboring Lodge. Had we done so, we would have probably sold the building for $750K. Unfortunately, the members voted to stay and hoped the problem would alleviate itself. It did not. Consequently, 13 years later, the Lodge was finally forced to sell the building for $500K, a substantially lower number. In other words, they avoided the inevitable which ultimately cost them. Think about it, it is essentially no different than the Billy Mitchell story which cost the military dearly.

Planning requires foresight, keeping a pulse on changing conditions, the ability to adapt to change, and above all else, effective leadership. If the leaders are operating on auto-pilot, the group should not be surprised by the consequences when havoc strikes.

For more information on Reactive Management, click HERE.

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 timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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MAYBE YES MEANS NO

Posted by Tim Bryce on April 4, 2019

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– There are some significant differences between Eastern and Western management.

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

I have been to Japan several times over the years on business and have had the privilege of seeing Japanese work habits first hand, which are noticeably different than in the United States. As a small example, the first time I visited, I noticed that in addition to having Coke and Pepsi machines on a street corner, there were also beer and whiskey machines. I discovered the Japanese were not worried about their youth getting alcohol from the machines as it would cause their families to “lose face” through embarrassment. If we had such machines in this country, they would probably be emptied by our youth faster than the vendors could stock them.

Aside from this though, there are a few other differences I observed in corporate Japan:

* Japanese do not like to say “No” to someone as they do not want to offend the person. Instead, they tend to say, “Maybe Yes,” which, when translated, means “No.” This is similar in intent to the American habit of saying, “I’ll try to make it” (to a meeting or appointment), yet never do.

If the Japanese nod their heads in the affirmative, it only means they understand what you are saying but they don’t necessarily agree with you. Because of this, it is not uncommon for American businessmen to fool themselves into believing they are being successful when they make a presentation in Japan. In reality, the Japanese understood the presentation but need time to digest and discuss it among themselves. If an American asks them something like, “Was I correct in this regards?” If they answer, “Maybe Yes,” the American is in trouble.

* I have been in a few large offices in Japan where I have seen young employees suddenly jump up on their desks and give a five minute speech on why he/she is proud of his company and what a pleasure it is to work with their coworkers. When finished, the rest of the office politely applauds before returning to their work. I wish I could say I have seen this in the United States, but I’m afraid I cannot.

* It is not proper for an employee to be insolent and openly criticize his superior. Knowing this may lead to pent up frustrations, some companies have small closet-sized rooms where the disgruntled employee can go into, close the door, and quietly beat an effigy of the boss with a bamboo stick. It may sound kind of silly, then again, you don’t hear of anyone going “postal” in Japan either.

* It is still important for the Japanese to reach a consensus on any significant decision. This process may take some time to perform, but they want to emphasize team building and inclusion of employees in the decision making process. In other words, you do not see too much in the way of “micromanagement” over there.

* When you join a major company in Japan it is common to first “pay your dues,” whereby you and your “class” (those who joined at the same time) are put on the same employment level and work for ten years, after which it is determined who the hard workers are and reward them with a major job promotion. If you didn’t work hard, the company won’t necessarily fire you, but your advancement in the company is arrested. Nonetheless, the emphasis here is on teamwork and creating a spirit of cooperation.

In the United States though, things are a little different…

* Americans are not afraid of offending anyone. So much so, that “Hell No!” (or stronger) is a natural part of our vernacular. Unlike the Japanese who digest something before speaking, Americans do not hesitate to tell you whether they agree with you or not.

* Rarely do you find an American employee who is steadfastly loyal to his company. Instead, it is more likely he will start an anonymous blog to bitch about his company and slander the character of the boss and his coworkers.

* Americans tend to vent their frustrations more publicly than the Japanese. For example, you might get attacked in the company parking lot, or someone may pull a gun out and start shooting.

* Instead of group decision making, Americans prefer rugged individualism whereby decisions tend to be made unilaterally as opposed to seeking the counsel of others. Consequently, employees tend to undermine any decision which is jammed down their throats.

* When you join a major company in the United States, you are rewarded more for individual acts as opposed to team playing. This results in a never ending game of scratching and clawing your way up the corporate hierarchy. Obviously, this approach promotes interoffice politics and cutthroat tactics as opposed to a spirit of cooperation.

Why the substantial differences? Primarily because Japan is a homogeneous culture, and the American “melting pot” is heterogeneous which includes people of all races, faiths, and beliefs.

Although the differences between east and west are noticeable, things are slowly changing in Japan, whose youth have grown up with the Internet and are starting to emulate the work habits of their counterparts in the west. In other words, instead of observing courtesy, honor and respect, Japan is slowly becoming Westernized and I fear that some time in the not too distant future “Maybe Yes” will mean nothing more than that.

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 timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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KEEPING MEN GUESSING

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 29, 2019

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Guys have a hard time guessing what women like.

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

I’ve been married now for over 35 years and you would think that after such a period of time I would have a good idea what my wife likes and dislikes. Frankly, I haven’t a clue, and I don’t think I’m any different than a lot of other guys out there who still have trouble understanding the feminine mystique. Let me give you some examples…

In preparing to go out for a major social function, my wife typically comes out to model an outfit she is considering to wear and asks what I think about it. Usually she gives me a couple of choices, either this, this, or that. They all look nice, but regardless what I choose, she always settles for something else. After the outfit is selected, then it’s a matter of what shoes to wear; again, this, this or that. Whatever I pick, she picks the opposite. Then of course comes the accompanying purse to complete the ensemble where I, of course, swing and miss again. Strike three. Frankly, I believe I’m a broken barometer when it comes to predicting what a woman wants to wear.

My daughter picked up this same modeling habit as she was growing up and would ask my son and I what we thought she should wear. Again, whatever we picked, she picked the opposite. Although she trusted my wife’s judgment, my son and I always struck out. However, I got a little comfort out of this as I realized I wasn’t alone in picking the wrong fashion.

This phenomenon isn’t restricted to clothing either. I run across it whenever I want to order her food, or shop for presents. Whatever I pick, it’s never quite right.

I’m flattered she still asks for my opinion on what she wants, but it’s all very demoralizing when she ignores you. I am not allowed to take on a defeatist attitude either. For example, if I were to say something like, “Pick whatever you like,” I’m accused of not caring. Then again, there is the game of deliberately picking the wrong item in the hopes she will pick what you want. Unfortunately, she sees though this ploy too easily and doesn’t fall for it. Bottom-line she picks what she wants and I am nothing more than a shallow endorsement.

I guess the point of this exercise is to simply keep men on their toes and never allow them to get the upper hand.

While I’m on it, another part of the feminine mystique is the woman’s purse. This is something I learned a long time ago not to go into as God only knows what you’ll find in there, least of all something you’re looking for. As I was growing up, my mother would ask me, “Just reach inside my purse and get me this or that.” Of course I could never find “this or that” and, instead, learned to just retrieve the purse for her to look through. My wife is no different in this regards.

Women store a lot of things in a purse, such as their wallet, cosmetics, memo pads, glasses, cigarettes, cell phones, menus, report cards (from the 1960’s), broken items in need of repair, and other pieces of bricabrac. Actually, the purse is more of a footlocker than anything else, which makes me wonder why anyone would try to snatch a purse as they would get a hernia trying to do so and wouldn’t be able to find anything in it even if they were successful.

I also find it interesting how women have different sizes of purses; small dainty ones for social occasions, medium sizes for travel, or the “Big Mama” pack horses. Regardless of the size, they all manage to squeeze the same paraphernalia in them, which would even impress Harry Houdini. Regardless, I’ve learned to keep a safe distance away from women’s purses and when asked to retrieve one, I treat it like a delicate Claymore mine.

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 timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

 
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