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Archive for the ‘Social Issues’ Category

WHY ARE NONPROFITS FAILING?

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 27, 2019

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– Because we are not dedicated “for the good of the order.”

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

Shortly after I wrote a recent article regarding the problems my home owners association was experiencing, I received several notes regarding the problems in other nonprofit groups in my area. This includes fraternal, political, religious, club sports and other home owner groups. I know many of them as I have actively participated in them over the years, but today they all seem to be struggling to keep their heads above water. It appears most, if not all, are in a self-destruct mode, which caused me to wonder why.

Let’s put our cards on the table; the biggest problem with most nonprofits is they are run by nice people, who mean well, but haven’t a clue as to what they are doing. Many of these offices come with a fancy title, but offer little in terms of insight for performing the work. Very few provide training in how to run a nonprofit effectively. There are some state courses describing pertinent rules and regulations to be observed, but none to my knowledge in terms of how to actually lead and manage. Consequently, nonprofits flounder due to ineffective leadership, causing meetings to become chaotic, financial reports to be prepared with errors, and the attitude of the general membership suffers, causing a decline, all because it is well known management is incompetent. Even worse, stories of embezzlement and gross negligence have become common.

People who serve on the Board of Directors for nonprofits should only do so “for the good of the order,” meaning it has more to do with the overall group and less about the individual. In the early days of our country, the Congress consisted of representatives from farms and other businesses who took turns serving, and at the end of their term, were anxious to return home and tend to their farm or business. There was no thought of lifetime service as there is today. They came, they performed the nation’s business “for the good of the order,” and returned home. This simply is not so anymore.

Today we have people who serve only to fuel their ego or career. There are those who take on a position to give themselves visibility to promote their products and/or services. Of course, the membership has no interest in this, yet the individual persists in his/her agenda. Then there are others who look to add a feather in their cap which will look good on a resume. In Freemasonry, we call this “chasing aprons,” meaning they are actively pursuing fancy Masonic aprons and titles. Most of these people never accomplished much in life and thrive on the adulation associated with such recognition. I have always been of the opinion that such people should be given their apron, then get them out of the way so they do not impede progress.

Such conduct results in what today is called an “Ineptocracy,” an incompetent ruling government where the least capable are elected to positions of authority. Quite often, this is done not because the person has exhibited any special talent, but rather there is nobody willing to serve or, perhaps worse, “it’s his/her turn” to preside. Not surprising, people quite often rise above their level of competency (aka, “The Peter Principle”). This does a disservice to both the organization and the person as well. When a person has risen above their level of competency, it will become obvious to others and will likely affect morale.

Working “for the good of the order,” means you believe in the virtues of the group, that it serves a useful purpose, and that you possess something to help the group, be it a specific talent or you are willing to work in any capacity. This is an important point. If you are unwilling to get your hands dirty, you should not be serving on a Board of Directors. It is like the old saying, “talk is cheap.” The effort of ALL members of the board are required in order to be successful. It is one thing to offer advice, quite another to see it through to completion.

There is one other cause for failure, that people believe management is not “cool.” Translation: a person lacks the discipline, organization, and structure to effectively lead people and hold them accountable. This normally results in either one person doing all the work so others are not burdened, but more likely, everything falls through the cracks and chaos ensues.

Whoever leads a nonprofit, must set the proper tone from the beginning, including the “5-W’s and H,” meaning “Who” is assigned to “What” work, “When” and “Where” it must be performed and “Why.” As to “How,” there may be standard protocols, tools and techniques to be followed, but it may be time to upgrade them. This should be followed by a prioritized list of objectives for the nonprofit to pursue in the operating year.

This brings up an important point, I am a strong proponent of “Managing from the Bottom-Up,” meaning assign responsibility, train accordingly, and get out of their way. Unless there are specific time constraints requiring urgency, it is not necessary to micromanage everything. Most nonprofits are volunteer organizations, and as such, people typically want to go about their jobs without Attila the Hun breathing down their necks.

“Managing from the bottom-up” also includes the formation and empowerment of committees to perform specific functions, such as reviewing finances, planning social affairs, membership and programming, property maintenance, or special projects. By building legitimate committees, you are cultivating people to succeed to the Board over time. This is why they must be allowed to speak and think for themselves.

As I have said repetitively over the years, running a nonprofit organization doesn’t require rocket science. Actually, in most cases, it is quite simple. You need simple and responsible management; someone who knows the governing docs, Robert’s Rules of Order, and knows how to write an agenda and use a gavel. It is not necessary for the leader to have all the answers, but how to formulate the answers with the rest of the board.

One last responsibility the leader must master is to “do yourself out of a job.” Your tenure is typically brief, such as a year or two. Before you leave though, it is essential you have taught the Board to carry on without you. This is actually an on-going process beginning on the first day of your tenure. Take plenty of notes, perhaps a log of your activities, but also create or update checklists, job descriptions, governing docs (e.g., bylaws), and technical “how to” procedures.

The chaos within nonprofit groups these days has gotten worse because the leaders have either forgotten the basics of management or were never trained to begin with, or maybe worse, they’re in it for the wrong reasons, such as accolades. It is like they have come down with a bad case of “The Stupids.” All of this is so unnecessary. We must always remember, we are there to serve for “the good of the order,” and no other reason.

Maybe I should give a class “for the good of the order.” Let me know if you are interested.

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 Management, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

THE POLITICS OF CHILDREN’S GAMES

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 25, 2019

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Why are we banning certain games?

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

During my elementary grade school years in Connecticut, my neighborhood friends and I would play all kinds of outdoor games. Living in a wooded setting, we loved to run, hide, and tag each other. Kids have been playing such games for centuries. I’m not talking about a card game, board game, or even a computer game, just simple human interaction which we found exhilarating. Interestingly, I never knew these were all designed to be political in nature, but now we are hearing such games are affecting young egos and, consequently, are being banned in schools.

We did a lot of things outdoors, regardless of the season, but we were very keen on summer and autumn as we could run through the forests, play in a river, stay up late, and explore our world. I’m not sure children today play such games as they are probably perceived as archaic. I liked it because it gave us a chance to get some exercise, and use your imagination for competitive purposes.

Here are the games I remember:

TAG – was one of the easiest games to play. Someone is appointed “it,” who must then touch another person who becomes “it.” You, of course, tried to avoid becoming “it.” Remarkably, I have heard stories of adults playing this game today in the corporate world. I also remember watching my son playing it with his friends as well. The version I played included a “home base,” usually consisting of a tree, where a contestant could rest and be free of becoming “it.” The only problem here though, the “it” person stood near you to assure you didn’t get away. You had to time your escape carefully to elude being tagged.

According to “experts,” the game of tag promotes a predatory experience, thereby causing school districts in Alabama, California, South Carolina, and Washington to ban the game. Not surprising, some people today view the game as promoting sexual harassment and bullying. I never thought of the game this way, it was just a great way to learn to sprint, dodge around objects and, if captured, learn to defend “home base.” I never saw it as a game of intimidation, nor did my friends or my son’s generation. If you didn’t want to play, nobody forced you, but if you elected to play, you better be fast on your feet and know how to use your head.

HIDE AND SEEK – another old favorite, particularly being in a wooded setting which afforded some great places to hide. Here, the “it” person would have to close his eyes and count to ten (or higher), after which he would declare, “Ready or not, here I come!” and try to locate everyone who was concealed. Here, the “it” person didn’t wander too far from “home base” as the other contestants would race to the base and yell, “Home free” (meaning safe from capture). If the “it” person discovered a concealed contestant, the race was on for home base where the “it” person declared “Tap, tap, tap, I see Joe, 1, 2, 3.” Joe would then become the next “it” person.

I’m sure Hide and Seek is another game frowned on by some people as they see this it as another way to mentally scar children. If anything, the game taught the “it” person to be more cunning and protect home base. We used to play this for hours, and at night.

RED ROVER – originated in England and migrated around the world. The contestants are split into two teams. Each team holds hands and forms a line. The two teams, East and West, take turns calling for someone from the other team to try and break their human chain, “Red Rove, Red Rover, can Billie come over?” If they cannot break the chain, they join the other side. If the person breaks through, he takes two players back to his team. This goes on until one person is left on a team.

Some would say this somehow promotes discrimination, which, of course, is not so. It is a strategy game to build up your line, promote teamwork, and to find “the weakest link.”

RED LIGHT/GREEN LIGHT – was a favorite of mine. The “it” person would be separated from the rest of the contestants by approximately fifty feet. The objective was for the others to cross the distance as fast as possible to tag the “it” person. However, they had to observe the commands of the “it” person who would hide his face and yell, “Green Light” (meaning to go), and “Red Light” (meaning to stop). If the person yells “Red Light” and turns his head and finds someone moving, the offender must return to the starting line. Again, this was a game of strategy as you had to out-think the “it” person’s cadence.

This is somewhat like tag in that you had to act and think fast. Critics claim it is not fair as the fastest person typically wins. Not true. Quite often, the fast person would be spotted moving and caused to return to the starting line. The winner would be the person who would avoid the line of sight of the “it” person and steadily advance.

COPS AND ROBBERS – was another variation of tag, except this version was played as a team. The cops were “it” and had to find the robbers who would hide out and try to sneak back to home base to spring one of their fellow robbers.

In this age of political incorrectness, I suspect kids want to be “robbers” as opposed to “cops,” just the antithesis of my day.

SCAVENGER HUNT – was a rare game of seeking clues around the neighborhood until we discovered the end. If parents wanted to occupy our time at considerable length, they would have an adult design a hunt that would run us around the neighborhood, and even to our nearby school. Frankly, it was diabolical, but we had a ball chasing our tails around town.

Scavenger Hunts are still common today, particularly by the homeless in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

We also did such things as collecting lightning bugs (fireflies) in jars. Back in the 1950’s there was an infestation of Japanese beetles on the eastern seaboard. I can vividly remember using similar jars to catch the beetles before they ate everything in site. I’m sure someone will say this is cruel treatment for such insects. The lightning bugs we would eventually let go, but we killed the Japanese beetles as they were obnoxious little critters.

And finally, we spent considerable time spinning tops and yo-yos. I still have my top from grade school and know how to tie the string to spin it. I’m sure, those imbued in political correctness would say we were creating a hazard on sidewalks, or worse, we would strangle the blood flow to the finger, thereby causing amputation. Get real.

Again, if you didn’t want to play these games, nobody was holding a gun to your head to do so. If you didn’t want to play, you didn’t play, but if you did, you knew the rules and used your head.

I deeply resent these games being politicized and banned by public schools. Liberals typically object to these games as they feel they are unfair and, as such, accuse them of being abusive. On the other hand, conservatives understand and accepts the rules of the game and participates accordingly.

As far as I am concerned, let kids be kids. Let’s not inhibit their playtime as this is important for developing their socialization skills. Then again, maybe this is what the opposition is trying to control. By the way, in my neighborhood, boys and girls played these games together with no thought of one sex being superior to the other, but I’m sure someone will say it is harmful to equal rights.

One last thing. No, this is not about everyone needing to win a trophy or ribbon for playing such games. It was a simple matter of going out and having some fun.

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, Politics, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

365 TIMES A YEAR?

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 18, 2019

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Is this the right approach for maintaining relationships?

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

A few years ago, I read about a married couple in Tampa who agreed to engage in sex every day for a year. It seems they were trying to improve their relationship and commitment to each other, and even their church condoned it. I chuckled and turned the page, but I recently heard of other couples trying to do the same thing and posted their rationale on the Internet. One was even posted in “Good Housekeeping.” Hmm…

Evidently, the concept here is to encourage romance and commitment among couples, particularly as we advance in years and we’re past the kid stage. It seems some women have self-esteem issues after child birth and are concerned with they’re attractiveness to their spouse. I suspect men are no different, but beer guts suggest otherwise.

According to the National Opinion Research Center, on the average, couples engage in sex about 62 times per year, a little over once a week. When you’re young, you have no problem exceeding this number. However, as children come and middle-age sets in, we start to miss the mark, probably because we’re exhausted and need to re-charge our batteries. It’s not that we do not love our spouses, we do, but hard work and advancing age tends to burn us out and we are no longer on top of our game so to speak.

62 times a year is not a bad number to shoot for, but 365? Perhaps some knotty pine is required to reach such a lofty number. In the studies I read, there are testimonies indicating regular sex makes people happier, less angry, and less stressed. As Helen Fisher, PhD, a research professor at Rutgers University points out, “It’s good for your health and good for your relationship. It’s good for respiration, muscles, and bladder control. It’s a fine antidepressant, and it can renew your energy.” I believe Milk of Magnessia can do the same thing.

Nonetheless, studies indicate a regular diet of sex leads to more romance, and stronger relationships.

During my research on this, time and again I read where sex was treated more like a job as opposed to a true romantic encounter. Some commented they were simply going through the motions, and some were quickies. In other words, several were not genuine passionate affairs, yet it was claimed this enforced romance and commitment.

I have trouble with this analogy to work. On the job, I see a lot of people who don’t know where they are going, don’t know what they’re doing, and afterwards didn’t know where they had been, regardless of how many times they performed the same task. I wonder if this is the same approach they use in the bedroom? Then there are the problems of boredom, tardiness, absenteeism, poor performance and defects in workmanship. I’m sure there is little sexual craftsmanship going on if it is a regularly scheduled activity.

As much as I marvel at the concept of assembly lines in manufacturing, I do not see the romance in it. Here, I would rather build something unique as opposed to mass production. I guess what I’m suggesting is that sex should be more spontaneous as opposed to scheduled. The 365 day approach is an interesting concept, but I tend to see the repetition as dulling the experience.

It is true, relationships are something you have to work at, but not to the point it becomes mechanical (and meaningless). As to the physical demands of 365 at my age, I think I would be a dead man.

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 Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

CAPITALISTIC CRABS

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 7, 2019

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Even fiddler crabs understand the basics of our economic system.

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

I went to the beach recently with my wife where we planted our umbrella and chairs in the sand as we usually do. It was low tide so we moved down closer to the edge of the water. Interestingly, we found ourselves situated in the midst of a colony of fiddler crabs who were busy digging holes in the sand and filtering the granules for some sort of nutritious treasure, whatever that might be. Although there were dozens of them around us, they took care to keep their distance from us and quickly buried themselves in the sand if we moved too quickly or stamped our feet.

They appeared to be quite industrious in their work and quite amusing to watch. Each dug a hole and mined balls of sand from it which they patiently picked through for nutrients. I noticed there were physical differences in the various crabs. Some were larger and possessed one rather impressive pincer claw which made it look like it was playing a fiddle (hence the name). Sometimes the claw was on the right side, others were southpaws. My attention focused on a particular crab which I called “Lefty” who seemed to have one of the more prominent holes in the sand. I was genuinely impressed by the amount of sand Lefty excavated from his lair. He seemed to be very concerned with keeping the area around his den neat and tidy. If a neighboring crab came too close, Lefty would ward him off by flashing his pincer. Most of the time though, he would simply push them out of his territory before retreating back to his hole where he would continue in his endeavors. Most of the crabs I saw seemed to follow Lefty’s lead whereby they worked hard and enjoyed the bounty of their efforts. Although they were rather territorial in nature, they allowed neighbors on their property only if they respected his domain.

Lefty became bored with the routine after awhile, and decided to survey the world around him. Unlike others who remained at home, Lefty traveled far and wide looking for new opportunities (at least ten feet away). Inevitably, he would have to cross over the territory of other crabs who quickly rebuffed his advances, regardless of his size. Nonetheless, Lefty continued on his trek until he found himself outside of the colony. He eventually found a new spot on the beach which evidently had a better view of the ocean, not to mention nutrients in the sand, and began to dig a new burrow. Never satisfied, he moved on to another location after he exhausted the nutrients. Interestingly, the other crabs didn’t seem to have his adventurous spirit and stayed home while Lefty saw the world.

After studying the habits of the fiddler crab for a couple of hours, I came to the conclusion they were a perfect example of capitalism in practice. Everyone worked hard for their food; freeloaders were taught to work if they wanted to eat, but some were allowed to graze on private property if the tenant was so inclined. The crabs were also free to roam and explore new endeavors, as exemplified by Lefty who enjoyed the bounties of success after leaving the colony, a very risky proposition. I don’t think Aesop could have made a better analogy.

I found this all rather intriguing and wondered if I could simulate this phenomenon on a larger scale. To do so, I purchased a dozen sand shovels and left them on the beach near a group of children who eagerly used them to dig holes and make sand forts. Each worked merrily to carve up their small piece of the beach which they were all very proud of. At the end of the day, they left their shovels in the sand and watched as the incoming tide reclaimed their creations. Again, this was another fine example of capitalism as each person was allowed to work as hard as they wanted and enjoyed the fruits of their labor.

Next, I obtained a dozen trowels, along with four shovels, and placed them near a group of conservatives on the beach. They eagerly picked up the tools and started to create some rather inspiring structures, including a six foot high sand castle complete with turrets, bridges, a moat with water, and the inside was large enough to hold a small child within its walls. It was pretty impressive. Other participants sculpted some interesting shapes, including a sea serpent, a ship, and what appeared to be a submarine. They took turns using the shovels as there were only four of them. Although a few people worked independently, most paired up into teams to create their structures and some friendly competition ensued. At the end, they congratulated each other on the job they had done. It was so impressive, curiosity seekers stopped by to admire their work and praised them accordingly. All of the tools were cleaned off and returned to the spot where I had brought them.

Finally, I took the same utensils and dropped them near a group of liberals. Frankly, they weren’t too impressed with them. Having watched the conservatives work and the adulation they received, instead of building something new, they complained to the media who filmed them tearing down the work of the conservatives. They complained about the heat and the working conditions and fought each other over territory in the sand. They then sold the tools and pocketed the money, and blamed the conservatives for defacing the beach.

Frankly, I was disappointed with the results of my experiment. I hoped the liberals had been at least as smart and industrious as the tiny fiddler crab, but I guess I was wrong.

Originally published: June 27, 2012. Updated 2019.

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 Economics, Politics, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

CAPITALISM VERSUS SOCIALISM: REFERENCE GUIDE

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 6, 2019

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– What every young person should know.

Click for MINI-POSTER.

REFERENCE GUIDE

                                                              CAPITALISM                                SOCIALISM

WHAT IS IT? Socioeconomic system based on PRIVATE ownership of the means of production and operates for PROFIT.

Encourages independence and the rights of the INDIVIDUAL over the group.

The individual is allowed to try any endeavor, including the development, marketing and support of products and services for public consumption.

The individual is allowed to keep and enjoy the fruits of his/her labors.

Socioeconomic system based on STATE ownership of the means of production; not driven by profit.

Encourages state dependency and the rights of the GROUP over the individual.

The state dictates what products and services are to be developed, and who shall produce them.

Each person works for the state, not individually, and receives compensation in the form of shared wealth and free services.

A pseudo-Utopia.

ECONOMY Free economy; based on private buyers and sellers.

Competition flourishes and causes natural evolution of products and services through market demand (akin to Darwin’s “Natural Selection”).

Consumers free to choose the products and services they want.

Economy is controlled by the state; little, if any, competition.
Buyer has fewer choices to make.
CLASS STRUCTURE 3 levels – Upper/Middle/Lower classes.
Middle class powers economy through purchasing power.
2 levels – State/Worker classes (aka, “Master/Slave”).

No middle class, no economic engine, a redistribution of the wealth.

Workers become wards of the state.

THE INDIVIDUAL Independence encourages personal initiative and work ethic.

More earning power, but individual assumes risk.

Enjoys protection of Intellectual Property, e.g., patents, copyrights, trade secrets, etc.

Employment will experience ups and downs due to economic conditions.

Discourages personal initiative (“everyone wins”). No Super Rich.

Compensation is evenly distributed among workers.

Earning power is limited. Individual assumes no risk.

Intellectual Property is owned by the state, not individual.

Employment is guaranteed.

EFFECT ON GOVERNMENT Personal independence requires freedom and equal rights in order to function.

Requires less bureaucracy, smaller government.

Flourishes under a Republic with democratically elected representatives.

Creates dependency on state; Requires more bureaucracy (larger government) through regulation as the state controls everything, including food, education, housing, communications, health care, energy, transportation, etc.

Hinders rights and loss of liberty. Encourages autocratic rule.
Less freedom.

Click for MINI-POSTER.

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 Economics, Politics, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

THE MIDDLE CLASS: SEPARATING CAPITALISM FROM SOCIALISM

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 5, 2019

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Why capitalism makes more sense.

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

One of the fundamental differences between capitalism and socialism is in the area of class structure and, unfortunately, many people do not grasp this difference. Under capitalism, there are three levels: an upper class representing super successful people who have earned a fortune, the middle class representing John/Jane Doe who works diligently to put food on the table for their family, and a lower class representing the less fortunate of us. Influence is top-down based on the economic pecking order, thereby creating resentment by those lower in the chain.

Socialism, on the other hand, has just two classes: the ruling class, as represented by the state, and the working class where everyone is equal. I tend to refer to this as a “Master/Slave” relationship as the analogy to slavery is uncanny, where the Master micromanages everything and the Slave puts forth just enough effort to get by, but expects to be taken care of by the Master. There are many other nuances, but for the purposes of this article, the big difference here is the middle class.

A sizable middle class represents an economic engine for a country. Capitalism encourages people to work, to invest and to spend their money, allowing a country to collectively compete. The average person wants nothing more than to earn a respectable livelihood, so they can enjoy life and raise a family unencumbered by overbearing government regulations. As President Calvin Coolidge observed, “After all, the chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world. I am strongly of the opinion that the great majority of people will always find these the moving impulses of our life.”

Do people truly understand the power of the middle class? I think they’re starting to overseas. We may not have invented the concept of a middle class, but we sure perfected it, and everyone wants to emulate it. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, countries around the world have been re-configuring their economic policies in order to remain competitive in a global economy. In case you haven’t been paying attention, new middle classes have slowly emerged in such places as China, Belarus, Brazil, Russia, Vietnam, and among South African blacks. People in these countries now have spending power thereby causing a demand for products and services, not to mention a call for construction of new houses and businesses.

In order for capitalism to work, you need to be allowed to have certain freedoms, such as the freedom of expression, the freedom to innovate and invent, the freedom to choose your own path, the freedom to conduct legitimate business, etc. This is why it is rather ironic how some of our former communist foes are now embracing capitalism. Under socialism, there is no protection of intellectual property, such as patents, trade secrets, copyrights, etc. Everything is owned by the state, not the individual.

In the absence of a middle class, you have just the rich and the poor (the “have’s” and the “have not’s”) which lends itself to being a feudal state controlled by dictators or monarchies. Such a state does not operate harmoniously, corruption is rampant, and unrest is common. The “have not’s”, which is a sizable majority, have little to earn and spend. Consequently, the economy sputters and stagnates which our communist friends discovered the hard way.

As mentioned, in order for capitalism to work, certain freedoms have to be permitted to allow a person to work, earn, and save their money, not to have it redistributed to others by government decree. This means there is an explicit relationship between freedom and capitalism. Implicitly, it means capitalism requires a certain amount of democracy to allow the citizens to participate in how the government runs, which means capitalism cannot work under a dictatorship (see Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, et al). As an aside, it is the middle class who elects government officials, not the upper or lower classes. The upper class may support politicians economically, but it is the middle class that casts the votes.

When someone asks me about my political leanings, I tell them I am an unabashed capitalist. This of course means I believe in liberty, and the right of the individual to lead a meaningful life, and I abhor any attempt by government to alter this or forcibly redistribute the wealth earned by the individual. I can understand government monitoring the legality of someone’s occupation, but aside from this they should not hinder a person’s right to earn a living.

Capitalism is our greatest export. It represents the seeds of freedom and economic prosperity. If it spreads, it could lead to world stability and peace which, of course, certain tyrants and crackpots openly reject. For example, Iraq will be an interesting experiment in capitalism. If Iraq succeeds, freedom and democracy will succeed, which is why Middle Eastern terrorists desperately want to see it fail as it represents a challenge to their authority. It’s not so much about religion as it is about control. Capitalism is a genuine threat to feudalism, a system which has no regards for the rights of the human-being and respect for the human spirit. Make no mistake, feudalism is barbaric.

To summarize:

1. In order to effectively compete in a world economy, you need capitalism.

2. In order for capitalism to flourish, you need freedom and democracy.

3. A byproduct of capitalism is a sizable middle class with spending power.

4. Therefore, any attempt to change capitalism is a threat to freedom, democracy, and the middle class.

No, I am not a proponent of government sponsored bailouts, stimulus packages or the creation of artificial jobs. Such devices does a disservice to capitalism and is unnatural. It is not government’s role to tamper with capitalism, only to establish the environment for capitalism to flourish, namely assuring freedom and protecting rights, serving its constituents, and providing incentives to encourage new avenues of business.

I am also of the belief that capitalism is very much akin to Darwin’s “natural selection” whereby goods and services evolve and improve in order to effectively compete. Under socialism, there is no competition as everything is controlled by the state. From this perspective, it is not “natural.” In other words, capitalism recognizes change through competition; in order for it to succeed, you must allow for the right to failure. By doing so, you assure our right to succeed.

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 Economics, Politics, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

THE TRUMP CULTURAL REVOLUTION

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 1, 2019

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Is the nation changing or resisting?

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When I hear the vicious political discourse and boisterous hyperbole of today, it suggests to me the country is embroiled in a cultural revolution the likes of which we haven’t seen since before the Civil War. One of the basic precepts regarding culture is, in order for a person to function and succeed, he/she must learn to conform to the culture or face rejection. Enter the ultimate outsider to our federal government, Donald Trump, a businessman who has never held political office. It is the very fact he was an outsider that propelled him to the presidency. After all, people had grown weary of “business as usual” in the nation’s capitol by both Republicans and Democrats, and were ready for a change.

As an outsider and businessman more concerned with results, Mr. Trump decided not to adapt to the Washington culture, but deliberately contested it instead, thereby causing friction with both parties. His agenda included overturning a great deal of former President Obama’s policies and treaties. More importantly, he wanted to change the mood and outlook of the country. To the public, this represented a “correction,” to the politicians, it represented heresy and a significant change to the status quo. The big question thereby becomes, was this change necessary? To those who elected Mr. Trump, the unequivocal answer is “Yes”; to everyone else, he is perceived as a genuine threat to their existence, which has triggered an uproar.

Some time ago, I wrote a review of author Mark Leibovich’s book, “This Town.” This was a fascinating description of the power and control of the Washington establishment. As I wrote back then…

“Leibovich reveals the true culture of DC, where an incestuous relationship exists between Government, Journalists, and Lobbyists. All scratch each other’s backs in order to climb their respective totem polls and grab as much money as possible along the way. He paints a picture of unadulterated collusion. He makes it clear Washington exists not to solve the problems of the country but to line the pockets of the residents there.”

“Through the book, Leibovich slips and reveals the Democratic bias of the press. Regardless of President Obama’s problems, he can do no wrong in the eyes of the mainstream media. In their eyes, the president is blameless for everything and genuinely the most brilliant president there has ever been. This is only surpassed by the media’s love affair with the Clintons. For some unknown reason, they are totally in awe of Hillary as well as her husband.”

“If the book teaches us anything, it is that the system is broken and in need of major repair.”

More than anything else, the corruption of the Washington establishment paved the way for Donald Trump’s ascension to the presidency.

The push back to President Trump has been incredible, yet expected. Both political parties could not believe he was elected to the highest office in the land. The media considered him DOA as a candidate and nothing but a joke who could be easily defeated by Her Highness Hillary. They grossly underestimated the dissatisfaction of the American public to the goings-on in Washington. In contrast, Donald Trump didn’t underestimate the people and used this to his advantage. His election left the establishment in shock and awe, thereby creating the push back we’ve been experiencing since Mr. Trump’s election.

To illustrate, consider the substantial body of changes we have observed in just the first two years of Mr. Trump’s presidency, and how our lexicon has changed. It has hardly been “business as usual” since his arrival.

* We’re now familiar with the concept of the “Deep State,” representing a body of people believed to be involved in the secret manipulation of government. We never heard of this expression prior to President Trump.

* The terms “resistance” and “obstruction” are now commonly used in Congress to delay and thwart the president’s plans and appointees, such as the recent showdowns over the wall along our southern border.

* Talks of presidential impeachment have surfaced in both the press and the Congress. The 25th amendment of the Constitution was relatively unknown. Now it is frequently quoted as a means to remove the president.

* The “Mueller Probe” was initiated in the hopes it would discover the president was working illegally with the Russians in the election. So far, nothing of any substance has surfaced.

* The term “RINO” was coined to denote “Republicans In Name Only,” meaning moderate Republicans who resist the president’s agenda. There is also the “Never Trump” movement consisting of Republicans dead set against Mr. Trump’s election and policies. It is this latter group that foiled the President’s plans for replacing Obamacare. He could have done much more without such people in the political establishment.

* The “take a knee” protest in the National Football League caused a furor over the patriotism of the NFL players. Further, snubbing a White House visit upon winning a sports championship came into vogue. Such shenanigans were never considered before.

* The public now accepts “Fake News” as a valid concept associated with the Main Stream Media, which continues to lose credibility (and subscribers). According to the MSM, President Trump is incompetent and, as such, is incapable of doing anything right, be it large or small.

* Anti-Trump marches are still popular. We’ve also witnessed the rise of “ANTIFA,” self-proclaimed “Anti-Fascists” who use violence and mayhem as their tactics in demonstrations. We’ve also seen the rise of left-wing organizations, such as the Sunrise Movement, representing young demonstrators supporting such things as the “New Green Deal.” There is also the rise of the “#MeToo Movement” who attempted to disrupt the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

* Free-speech on college campuses is under attack. If a talk does not conform to “political correctness,” the person’s 1st Amendment rights are suspended or assaulted. This has resulted in states writing legislation to overturn this policy.

* It is not uncommon for social media to censor postings supporting President Trump.

* Entertainer award ceremonies are now used as a political soap box as opposed to recognizing their craft.

* Trump supporters are now regularly ridiculed and demeaned in terms of their intelligence and values.

* Late night television, which used to avoid political subjects, is now dependent on jabs at the president.

* We have witnessed fraudulent claims of victimization (e.g., Jussie Smollet, Covington Catholic) and false accusations of hate crimes, racism, xenophobia, and homophobia. This is all widely reported by the news media, regardless if it is right or wrong.

* Anything said or done by the President, be it meaningful or a trifle, results in a Pavlovian protest and lampoon. This includes his family, the Vice President, and his inner circle of advisers. Opponents encourage people to openly harass them in public.

* President Trump is frequently labeled a “pathological liar,” yet when the establishment is caught spreading falsehoods, “Oops” is the typical response and all is forgiven. Further, the days of respectful debate are long gone, and replaced by hate and yelling.

* Today, we are witnessing the migration of people away from states controlled by Democrats, such as California and New York, to Republican controlled states, such as Texas and Florida, which are considered economically stable.

* We are seeing the erosion of history and civics in our classrooms, thereby grooming a generation of people ignorant of how and why government works, thereby making them more manipulative.

* Democrat candidates for president in 2020 have difficulty demonstrating their accomplishments. Instead of touting policy, they promise a multitude of public freebies and bash the President at every opportunity. Linked to this…

* We’re witnessing a rise in Socialism in this country as it is perceived as the antithesis of the policies of the Trump administration. Even though Socialism has failed throughout the world, liberals continue to embrace it and vilify anyone opposing it.

Gee, have I missed anything?

Does this sound like a culture embracing Mr. Trump or stubbornly rejecting him? Such fierce refutation of the President denotes the severity of cultural change. It also appears to be orchestrated. Whereas the country was rapidly moving towards a liberal agenda under former President Obama, President Trump has changed the course of the country by 180 degrees, hence the push back.

Within any culture, a person must observe the rules of morality, protocol, and socialization. To change the culture, you must address all three areas, which is what the president has been doing since his inauguration.

* In terms of morality, he has embraced God (and refuses to apologize for it), believes in the rule of law (particularly in the areas of immigration, and law and order), he is pro-life, supports charitable organizations (especially those for children), and believes in the dignity of work as it is important to the well-being of humans, both financially and mentally.

* In terms of protocol, President Trump has let the world know, under no uncertain terms, it is no longer business as usual, that important treaties have to be renegotiated, he has re-appraised our allies and enemies, and spurns the culture of political correctness.

* In terms of socialization, he has assumed a brash, unapologetic tone, and is unafraid to push back against his opponents, particularly the main stream media, which other presidents have been afraid to do. He has effectively used social media to perform an end-run around the press and get his message directly to the public, without the media’s filtering, something no other president has had the luxury of doing.

In other words, he has been bucking the establishment as described in Leibovich’s book.

President Trump has embraced the 3-Cs, Christianity, Capitalism, and Conservative values, all of which causes the news media and Democrats to panic, as well as a few Republicans. Yet, he perseveres. To change the culture of the country, he must remain steadfast and resolute, in spite of constant criticisms and resistance. This is something he became adept at as a successful businessman. He is fully cognizant success depends on “winning,” which explains why he has been pushing hard on economic initiatives, trade, peace, and safety of the country. This is not so much about creating a “Win-Lose” scenario (whereby in order for one to win, the other party must lose), as much as it is about changing the culture to “Win-Win” whereby the secret to success is getting people to take pride in their country, themselves, work together and thwart those who would undermine this extraordinary country as devised by our founding fathers. By doing so, he hopes to restore a sense of patriotism, citizenship, work ethic, and family values.

Yes, President Trump understands this is a cultural revolution we are embroiled in. He has seen it before in business on a smaller scale and understands it is difficult to change it, but he also understands the virtue of having everyone pulling on the same oar. He may have a few scars on him before he is finished, but he is unafraid to lead us into this brave new world. If he was to quit, the status quo wins and the establishment continues unabated.

Had the Democrat candidate won in 2016, there would not be the brouhaha we are experiencing today. Had any other Republican won the candidacy, most of whom were politicians, there would have likely been a cultural revolution, but not to the degree we are embroiled in now as Mr. Trump is the outsider and willing to push back against his opponents.

One last note, the 2020 election will tell us the effect of changing the nation’s culture. If President Trump wins, we know he is being successful, but if he is defeated, the Washington establishment will return to normal and the status quo has won. This will also affect the 2024 election in terms of electing Mr. Trump’s successor. Our support for President Trump will be measured by whether we want to see the culture of the country return to a liberal agenda, or if we favor a return to traditional conservative values.

Stay tuned.

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 Politics, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

CHASING APRONS

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 19, 2018

BRYCE ON NONPROFITS

– What is more important, the institution or our vanity?

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As a follow-up to my recent column on “Do Just One Thing,” I want to describe another problem involving nonprofit organizations, and that is “Chasing Aprons.” This is an expression derived from Freemasonry, the ancient fraternity. For those unfamiliar with the Craft, it is customary for Masons to wear a plain white leather apron at our meetings, symbolizing the aprons worn by workmen years ago. We are admonished there is nothing more ancient or honorable than the plain white apron, yet there are other more decorative aprons awarded as gifts to Masonic officers. Over the years, such aprons have become coveted as a means of identifying a Mason of influence. Unfortunately, some Masons desperately pursue these ornate aprons only to denote their authority, not for accomplishing anything of substance, hence the expression “Chasing Aprons.”

The Masons are not alone in this regards as I have seen similar situations in other nonprofit groups. For example, I remember attending a party when I moved into my neighborhood and a man approached me with some swagger saying, “Hi, I’m John Doe, President of the homeowner association” (it was kind of like, “Hi, I’m the Head Raccoon”). He winked at me, then turned away to glad hand someone else. Frankly, I burst out laughing as he thought he was impressing me. In reality, this same gentleman ran the homeowner association right into the ground and nearly bankrupted it.

At some of the I.T. related associations I was involved in, there would be the usual officer titles, such as President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer, but then there are higher titles such as “Division Director” as you now oversaw several chapters as opposed to just one. There are other names for this, such as “District Deputy” or “Inspector,” but you get the idea. Such titles denote a loftier position and are either given to people to perform a legitimate responsibility or awarded as gifts to cronies.

I have seen people “Chasing Aprons” in just about every nonprofit group I’ve been involved in, be it fraternal, political, professional, educational, even in sports clubs, such as those related to baseball, softball, football and soccer.

I have found people who covet such titles tend to be more consumed with the title, and less about the responsibility associated with it. This is essentially no different than in business where people yearn for a job title for political reasons as it will look good on a resume. I tend to see such people as rather shallow. They never accomplished anything of substance in their life, so the appeal for recognition through titles and aprons is irresistible to them. Whenever I run into people like this, who obviously don’t know what they are doing, I tell others to give the person the title or apron and get them out of the way as they will only inhibit progress.

As an aside, I wonder how many people would volunteer their service if there wasn’t a title or apron involved? It would be an interesting experiment to see if people care more about the institution they belong to or are in it for themselves.

Obviously, this is all about the human ego. In Freemasonry, we are taught the importance of the title of “Brother” as it is a fraternity, a Brotherhood. There are many other impressive sounding titles associated with the Masons, but nothing more important than the simple designation of “Brother” and the plain white leather apron.

Just remember, being called a “thoroughbred” doesn’t change the fact that a jackass is a jackass.

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 © 2018 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, Management, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

DO JUST ONE THING

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 18, 2018

BRYCE ON NONPROFITS

– What can be done to rebuild declining nonprofit institutions?

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When I travel around town these days, I often run into old friends and neighbors who know my background regarding nonprofit organizations (I served on +50 board of directors over the years), and they like to unload their frustrations on me. For example:

* The president of a homeowner association complained he had to serve a second term simply because they couldn’t find anyone interested in serving on the board and perform some relatively simple tasks. Consequently, they were forced to hire a management company to perform these tasks and the annual dues skyrocketed. Operating an HOA is certainly not rocket science, but if nobody is willing to perform these simple tasks, then they have to be delegated to an outside contractor.

* A local club for a major political party is also having problems attracting people to their Board of Directors. Further, not long ago, participation in parades was well attended and gave the club visibility in the community. This year, they could only attract four people to walk in the Xmas parade, an embarrassingly low number.

* Masonic lodges continue to shrink in size in my area. Instead of addressing the root cause of their problems, membership continues to diminish, and Lodge funds are being drained to maintain aging building structures. It’s just a matter of time before they disappear just like the Odd Fellows did in our area.

* Information Technology related associations for adults have disappeared. Back in the day, professional trade groups enjoyed a major presence in cities, such as the Association for Systems Management (ASM), the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP; formerly DPMA), and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). Today, these groups are non-existent in the Tampa Bay area (as well as my old stomping grounds in Cincinnati). ACM does maintain student related chapters, but nothing for adults in my area. Other trade groups are experiencing similar problems.

* Attendance at local churches are down. So much so, some have been running in the red for quite a while and are faced with tough decisions for cutting costs, including the firing of pastors. Further, due to lack of participation, the elders have to serve multiple terms.

* Volunteers for public schools are hard to come by these days, not only for general school activities, but for local Parent Teacher Associations (PTA), and School Advisory Councils (SAC).

* Little League programs have shrunk noticeably. In my area alone, children participating have dropped over 50% over the last few years.

It kind of sounds contagious, doesn’t it? So many different nonprofit organizations with similar problems.

In many cases, nonprofits are run by well meaning people who have some time on their hands, yet haven’t a clue as to how to run a business. Consequently, the execution of simple procedures are neglected, e.g.; the preparation of meeting agendas and budgets, issuing routine treasurer reports, auditing finances, or keeping accurate minutes and membership records. For a list of tasks, see my earlier article, “Managing a Nonprofit Organization.”

I guess I have become somewhat of a therapist on such problems as people continue to confide in me. I try to advise them accordingly, but the sad truth is the people running these organizations are frustrated and exhausted. They desperately want to hand the baton off to others, but there is nobody there.

Now and then in nonprofits, someone with a business background comes in, takes the bull by the horns, and does a good job with an assignment. The problem is, it is assumed the person will do it again next year, and possibly for eternity. With rare exception, this is not what people signed up for. To overcome this problem, ask the person to document the steps they used while they were in charge, perhaps through checklists, thereby documenting the procedure for future reference. The person thereby passes this knowledge on to the group overall, and someone else can perform the responsibility. Bottom-line, execution is fairly easy assuming planning is competently performed.

From my perspective, there are three fundamental problems facing nonprofits:

1. Apathy by both the officers and membership who genuinely do not believe a problem exists. The old maxim applies: “You cannot treat a patient if he doesn’t know he is sick.” Such apathy suggests incompetent leadership from the Board of Directors.

As an aside, I tend to believe our excessive use of personal technology shares part of the blame in terms of apathy as people are more imbued with their technology and are losing socialization skills, including volunteering their services.

2. Organizations are stuck in a rut of repetition. They have been doing it wrong for so long, they believe it is right. Instead of making the programs meaningful and interesting, there is little or no imagination to adapt and improve. Again, this suggests incompetence by the Board of Directors.

3. Failure to recruit and train people to succeed the current administration. People today are less inclined to volunteer as in the past. Now, is the time to personally ask for assistance, indoctrinate them in one aspect, and empower them to conquer problems. Start by asking people to serve on committees. To get the ball rolling, simply make a list of committees and tasks, and get everyone’s name on it. To gain their commitment, have them sign their name.

As to this last point of recruiting support, during my talks to such groups I generally admonish all of the attendees to “Do just one thing.” This is derived from Billy Crystal’s movie, “City Slickers,” whereby Curley (Jack Palance) tells Billy’s character the meaning of life involves “Just One Thing” which we must all figure out for ourselves. In terms of nonprofit organizations, I think I have an answer:

If all members did “Just One Thing” for their club, it would be a better place. I am not suggesting we do anything extremely labor intensive; perhaps it is something as simple as being a greeter at the door, preparing name tags, attending a meeting or social function, helping to write letters, or just helping out in some simple way. If we all did “Just One Thing,” the institution overall would be a better place.

Something that might help is the creation of a “Member of the Year” competition based on points for service, and award prizes or special recognition at the end of the year for their service. It sounds trivial, but people react to such competitions. Simply devise a list of activities with related points, and have people notify an officer of their activities.

Where is it written the club Officers must do all of the work? Sure, they have many responsibilities, but it is the job of the officers to formulate objectives and set the membership to work towards some goals. I am amazed by those members who come to such clubs and are not happy with this or that. For example, how often have you seen a member criticize the club, yet make no attempt to lift a finger to help out? We have developed into a generation of “takers” as opposed to “givers,” and this has to stop. Before you criticize next time, figure out how YOU are going to help solve the problem. Do not be part of the problem, be part of the solution.

I guess the following quote sums it up:

“People can be divided into three groups: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.” – John W. Newbern

It is up to the membership, not just the Board of Directors, to each share in the responsibility of making our clubs successful. If we all did “JUST ONE THING,” be it large or small, think how far ahead we will be.

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 © 2018 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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A NEW DIGITAL DIVIDE

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 7, 2018

BRYCE ON TECHNOLOGY

– What will be its effects?

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I have frequently discussed the addictive powers of technology on the human personality, but something new has come to my attention which I never considered before. Whereas everyone from the Greatest Generation to the Millennials are generally aware of computers in the traditional sense, e.g.; the processing unit, screen, keyboard, mouse, etc., we now have a new generation, “Z”, which is unfamiliar with such concepts. In a recent report from Japan, the members of Generation Z, who grew up with smart phones, have no concept of basic computing, nor how to use it.

What is emerging is a new “digital divide” among the generations whereby Generation Z is losing the sense of how to use a simple keyboard and mouse. Consequently, the use of such things as spreadsheets and other programs designed around the keyboard and mouse are becoming nebulous concepts. For example, they are at a loss as to entering data or formulas into a cell in a spreadsheet.

Beyond the effective use of classic computers, you have to wonder what other effects we can expect from the excessive use of smart phones. First, we must remember the smart phone may be fine for watching videos, listening to audios, and looking at graphics and photos, but as an input device it has definite limitations. This is a situation where ergonomics has been sacrificed for the sake of miniaturization. Consequently, most of us are now content sending small text messages using a sort of shorthand. This may be fine for basic communications, but not a professional way to write letters and agreements with customers, vendors and employees. In other words, it is having an adverse effect on our ability to communicate professionally.

In the Japanese report, they claim young people have learned to write reports for school on their smart phones. This is a bit mind-boggling when you consider the small screen size. You also cannot help but wonder how much text is cut/pasted from other sources, which implies an increase in plagiarism, thereby affecting our morality. It would be nice if voice-type dictation was more effective, but it has not made significant progress over the last few decades.

Without the aid of a keyboard, I am at a loss as to how programmers will write the precise and voluminous source code for software. This might signal a slowdown in technology improvements.

Also, because of the screen size, you have to wonder about the future of books and lengthy news articles as it is unlikely people would actually read such voluminous items on smart phones.

This digital divide may also have a significant impact on education. For example, whereas the personal computer made typing classes obsolete, the smart phone may very well do the same thing to Personal Computers.

What happens though when the smart phone has run its course and a new, even smaller device, is introduced, perhaps even a chip in the brain? Will we have to simply “think” to compose a letter? If so, will we know how to effectively write for people or will it just be gibberish?

No matter what happens in the future, the days of the lengthy novel and storytelling appears to be numbered. So much for the likes of Hemingway, Poe, Clavell, Dickens, Faulkner, Steinbeck, Tolstoy, Salinger, Rowling, Kipling, Lawrence, Hardy, Twain, et al. As Margaret Mitchell would have said, they represent “A civilization…Gone with the Wind.”

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 © 2018 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 Social Issues, Society, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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