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Posts Tagged ‘The Bryce is Right’

IS SOFTWARE HARD?

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 20, 2017

BRYCE ON TECHNOLOGY

– “Systems are logical, programming is physical” – Bryce’s Law

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

For something that is supposed to be “soft”, computer software exhibits some pretty “hard” characteristics. The original premise behind the COBOL programming language was to devise a language that could be easily ported to several computers. This never truly happened due to computer manufacturers who tweaked the language to suit their particular needs. What ran on an IBM machine, for example, didn’t necessarily run the same on Honeywell, UNIVAC, or the rest of the BUNCH. Consequently, software developers had to maintain different versions of source code to suit the particular needs of the various computer compilers. This plagued all third generation languages until Sun introduced JAVA in the 1990’s. The JAVA premise that a programmer should “write once, run everywhere” was the right idea and the language began to gain momentum, until it ran into Microsoft who didn’t want to turn the operating system into an inconsequential afterthought. JAVA lives on, but not to the extent it should have, and developers are back to managing separate versions of source code.

The point is, software does in fact exhibit some very “hard” characteristics as it is married to the host computer configuration which doesn’t make it very portable. As mentioned, this creates headaches for those of us, particularly commercial software vendors, in terms of maintaining consistency in the different versions of our products.

What to do?

Back in the 1970’s and 1980’s our company was faced with the dilemma of managing a single product on over a dozen different computer platforms. We quickly came to the realization we would go stark raving mad managing multiple versions of source code and came to the conclusion we had better come up with a solution pretty quick. Because of our experience in converting software, we became well versed in the nuances of the various compilers and devised a Repository (we called it a “filter program” at the time) which maintained the rules of the various compilers. We were also very disciplined in writing code to specific standards and embedded certain switches in the base source code. When we were ready to produce a new release of our product, we would feed the base code into our “filter program” which would then create the different versions of the source code ready for compilation. This saved us an incredible amount of time and brought consistency to all of the versions of the product. In other words, our programming staff worked with only one set of programming code (not multiple variations). The “filter program” then analyzed it and created the necessary permeation for a targeted platform. As compilers changed, we would update the “filter program” accordingly.

We also learned to maintain print maps, screen panels, messages and help text separate from the source code, which greatly enhanced our ability to create a new version of the product to suit a foreign language and culture; see “Creating Universal Systems.”

Let us take it a step further, for years we have touted there are logical and physical dimensions to Information Systems. We look upon Systems and Sub-Systems (business processes) as logical constructs, and Procedures and Programs as physical constructs. Further, data components such as inputs, outputs, files, records and data elements can be specified logically and implemented physically many different ways. Let me give you an example; back in the 1980’s one of our customers (a large Fortune 500 electronic conglomerate) bought into our logical/physical concept and decided to put it to the test. Working from their headquarters, they designed a complete Payroll System which they wanted to implement as the corporate standard across all of their divisions and subsidiaries. They completed the system with a recommended programming solution they wrote themselves (no packages were used) which I believe was an IBM MVS solution using COBOL. However, they recognized this implementation wouldn’t work across the board in the company. Consequently, they gave the system specifications to all of their divisions who would then program it themselves in-house. The project turned out to be a major success and the company ended up with multiple implementations of the same system under IBM MVS, VM, Honeywell GCOS, UNIVAC Exec, HP MPE, DEC VAX/VMS, and Prime; all working harmoniously together. Other customers experienced similar successes, particularly in Japan.

All of this drives home the point that systems are logical in nature, and that programming is physical. If systems are designed properly, there is no reason they shouldn’t behave identically on whatever computer platform you come up with. Better yet, it allows us to easily migrate our systems from one configuration to another. Uniformity and consistency in execution; and portability to boot. Imagine that.

First published: January 24, 2005

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  FUN WITH HAIR BLOWERS – How to kill a few birds with one stone.

LAST TIME:  LESSONS LEARNED FROM IRMA  – A lot of the problems were our own doing.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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LESSONS LEARNED FROM IRMA

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 19, 2017

BRYCE ON LIFE

– A lot of the problems were our own doing.

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

Well, we survived Irma… not just the hurricane, but a ratings hungry news media, power and gas outages, and lack of reliable news. Frankly, I’m surprised we still have a sense of humor. Contrary to what the media told us, Irma was not the most devastating hurricane to hit Florida “ever, ever.” Have we already forgotten Andrew of 1992 which wiped out Homestead and left thousands homeless? What about the legendary “No Name Storm” of 1993 which produced more debris, downed trees, boat damage, and power outages than Irma? Or 2004 where hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Ivan crisscrossed the state leaving a swath of destruction behind? Of the storms I have witnessed in Florida since 1985, I would place Irma a distant fourth.

So why all the hubbub? Hurricane Katrina in 2005 showed what a real hurricane could do to a grossly under prepared area. The public was also keenly aware of the destructive images recently coming out of Texas from Hurricane Harvey. Destruction and the possibility of death seems to have a way of unnerving the strongest of us.

What was different though between the Florida storms of the past and Irma? Irma shut down the state and created panic conditions, the others did not. Three important lessons emerged in its wake:

First, the news media used fear to prod the populace. Fear is a powerful motivating factor. Have you ever noticed how animals in the wild react when they smell the smoke of a wild fire? They all retreat from it in their own way, but can be coerced to stampede under the right conditions. The human animal does likewise. Most of us calmly and methodically prepared for the coming storm, but many panicked and stampeded out of the state. We see this same use of fear used by the media in political campaigns.

Pandemonium reigned on the Saturday before the arrival of Irma. You didn’t dare go out on the roads unless you absolutely had to. Tempers flared on the roadways and in long lines. People began to hoard more supplies than they really needed, booked hotel reservations up north which they never used, and there were accusations of price gouging.

All of this in the name of ratings.

The second lesson was the anger created from ghost town conditions. When the power went out, and the gas stations closed, a domino effect occurred. One-by-one, all of the stores, restaurants, car dealerships, and public service institutions closed their doors. Even the post office closed and refused to accept mail. The old adage of, “through snow, wind and hail…”, is now an obsolete notion. Basically, the area came to a standstill, something I have never seen in Tampa Bay in the 32 years I have lived here. There is something eerie about standing in an empty Home Depot parking lot with tumble weeds around you. Virtually all stores and malls were closed, with no gas or water to be found anywhere. Super markets looked like the food shortages of Venezuela. Frustration grew.

The power grid of Florida is obviously inadequate to serve the state. It is frail and barbaric, and led by people who prefer to react to situations as opposed to planning. Let me give you a small yet typical example; in my neighborhood alone, my house is on a circuit that always seems to be the first to lose power and the last to regain it. Due to the many pine trees in the area, they fall and snap the lines hanging from above. Obviously, they should have buried the lines long ago but refuse to do so, claiming the cost would be exorbitant. In reality, it would be cheaper in the long run to bury the lines and keep their paying customers on line. The point is, they are content putting their fingers in the dyke as opposed to permanently fixing the dyke. This is a classic example of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Immediately following the storm, there was a noticeable absence of power company trucks, cable operators, and county utilities helping to clear debris from the roadways and neighborhoods. The only group that appeared to know what they were doing was law enforcement who safeguarded our streets and maintained order. Everyone else was “evaluating and assessing damage” as opposed to getting the job done. Even now, days after the storm, many people are still without power and access to the outside world. Even if the service providers are working, their low visibility creates the impression they simply do not care about the public.

The loss of power and utilities caused many people, including yours truly, to become nomadic in search for a place to relax and breath air conditioning. Several thousand people sought refuge in public shelters, mostly under crowded conditions. All of this required patience to maintain sanity.

The third lesson of Irma was when the power went out, cable and the Internet died along with it. Cell phone tower coverage was spotty at best. All of this meant reliable information was limited. Even our local newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times, stopped deliveries. It was rather amusing to receive the Sunday paper on the following Tuesday. Why bother?

The one medium that got us through this period was AM/FM radio which provided news during the day, and entertainment at night. While it is being claimed AM/FM radio is obsolete technology and on its deathbed, they were the only ones there for the public 24/7. Thank God for AM/FM.

So Irma has passed Florida and gone into the history books. What was left in its wake was an incredible amount of angst caused by fear, anger, and the unknown. It was difficult even for the best of families, thereby creating high levels of stress. Aside from the laborious task of cleaning up their homes and restocking food supplies, Floridians need to regain their composure. This was a highly charged emotional roller-coaster we have been on for several days that left the populace burned out. All of this would be funny if it wasn’t so exhaustive. And we must remember hurricane season will not be over until November 30th.

Throughout this ordeal, we had several friends and family from the north pray for our safety, for which we give thanks. Next time though, I would ask them not to pray for us, but for some sort of sanity to deliver us from the madness of the media, power companies, and information blackouts.

The next time a storm like this occurs, I believe I will take a vacation to Las Vegas until it has blown over. I am confident my home will survive, but my personality will not.

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  IS SOFTWARE HARD? – WEDNESDAY (SEPTEMBER 20, 2017) – “Systems are logical, programming is physical” – Bryce’s Law

LAST TIME:  THE OFFICE SHRINK  – Who fulfills the role in your organization?

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

THE OFFICE SHRINK

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 18, 2017

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– Who fulfills the role in your organization?

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

Are there any Industrial-Organizational Psychologists out there anymore? After looking over the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the numbers don’t look very promising. Pity; It’s a useful profession aimed at studying human behavior in relation to the work environment and making recommendations for improving productivity. I’m afraid the position has diminished and defaulted to individual managers who are not properly trained to be office shrinks.

I am not such a psychologist by training but I have an appreciation of the work involved and understand the fundamentals. Bottom-line, the Office Shrink considers such things as worker intelligence level, motivation and attitude towards their job. From these observations, the office shrink will formulate a style of management, either autocratic or allow more worker freedom and participation in the decision making process. See “The Three Theories of Management” (X, Y and Z) in my PAPER.

Whether you are looking at your workers collectively or individually, these analysis tips will help. Perhaps the best place to start is to analyze in-house Employee Evaluation Forms which, in theory, should be performed on a regular basis. Here is a SAMPLE. Where such forms do not exist, the Office Shrink will be forced to evaluate workers based on nothing more than interviews and personal observations.

For each individual, the Office Shrink needs to consider:

Intelligence:
– What formal education does the worker have and what were his/her grades?
– What training certificates does the worker possess?
– What is the skill set of the worker?
– What is the IQ of the worker?
– What is the level of the worker’s intellectual curiosity? Is he/she apathetic or do they ask questions, read trade related publications, participate in groups, volunteer to help, etc.?

What motivates the worker?
– Job security?
– Money?
– Recognition/praise?
– Special attention?
– Personal/professional integrity?
– Other

How does worker respond to:
– Criticism (Good/Bad)
– Praise (Good/Bad)
– What are the “likes” of the worker, incl. hobbies (develop a listing)
– What are the “dislikes” of the worker (develop a listing)

Senses; How acute are the senses of the worker (sharp/dull)? Such analysis may provide some insight in adjusting the physical environment.
– Sight
– Sound
– Smell
– Touch (incl. sense of temperature)
– Taste
– 6th senses – intuitiveness, reaction to clutter, etc.

Attitude about job:
– Professional vs. ambivalent vs. wishes he/she were elsewhere.
– Output – Very industrious vs. minimum effort vs. sub-par performance
– Discipline – Consider work space, personal appearance, and approach to work; Clean, organized, methodical, punctual versus sloppy, tardy, many errors in workmanship.

Socialization skills:
– Communications skills – communicates well? (oral and written)
– Interpersonal relationships – Extroverted versus introverted.
– Courtesy – refined versus crude

From this analysis, the Office Shrink will understand a few things; first, the personality types in his work force (A, B, C, and D); (see “Personality Types”). More importantly, the shrink will form an opinion on the workers collectively in terms of their capabilities and note patterns of personality traits. From this, the shrink will determine two things: a suitable approach to management and how to manipulate the Corporate Culture to suit his needs.

If the Office Shrink perceives the workers as people possessing low intelligence and motivation, most likely the shrink will recommend more supervision until the problem is rectified (aka, “micromanagement”). However, if the workers are perceived as intelligent, take initiative, and produce superior results, he will be more inclined to recommend worker freedom and empowerment.

The Office Shrink may also recommend modifications to the corporate culture, such as dress, protocol, ethics, office layout, ergonomics, paint and lighting, possibly even adjustments to sound and smell which may affect the focus of workers.

As I said, I have considerable respect for Industrial-Organizational Psychologists. In the absence of such a person, the manager must assume the role. Unfortunately, without proper training the manager makes decisions based on his rudimentary perceptions of the situation. The smart manager though has no problem playing the role of Office Shrink. With a little education and/or consulting assistance he can take charge of his area of responsibility and run it like a fine watch.

For more information on these management concepts, see my e-book entitled, “THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! – Empowering Managers in today’s Corporate Culture.” If you also need consulting assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

First published: January 30, 2012

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  LESSONS LEARNED FROM IRM – A lot of the problems were our own doing.

LAST TIME:  THE SWEETENING OF AMERICA  – Whether we are aware of it or not, our tastes are changing.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

THE SWEETENING OF AMERICA

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 15, 2017

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Whether we are aware of it or not, our tastes are changing.

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

I find as I grow older I tend to gravitate towards simpler things. Take coffee for instance, I’ve always found pleasure in a simple cup of black coffee. I honestly believe I can distinguish a good cup of coffee from a bad one simply by drinking it black. Adding sugar, cream, and any other additive only masks the flavor. Then again, the bitter taste of the coffee bean is what a lot of people try to avoid, preferring instead a variety of sweeteners transforming it into more of a ice cream sundae as opposed to a hot cup of coffee in the traditional sense. Now coffee comes in a myriad of flavors including vanilla, caramel, cinnamon, and peppermint. Its whipped with cream, sprinkled with chocolate, and chilled with ice. Perhaps the best way to describe coffee’s transformation is from the “the rocket fuel of business” to Bosco.

Coffee is not alone in this regard. I recently visited a local liquor store to buy libations for the holidays. I don’t normally drink vodka but I was surprised by the variety of flavors now available including lemon, lime, apple, marmalade, raspberry, apple strudel, and dozens of other flavors (What, no kumquat?). I also noticed various liqueurs now come in an assortment of flavors as opposed to just one, especially the coffee flavored ones. I took most of this in stride as I typically don’t imbibe such drinks. However, as a whiskey aficionado, I was stunned to see apple and cinnamon flavored whiskeys creeping onto the shelves. Only then did I realize whiskey was also beginning to undergo a sweetness transformation.

I suppose this movement to sweeter alcoholic beverages was to be expected as the kids who savored sweetened fruit drinks and power ades years ago have grown up and cannot tolerate some of the bitter flavors of adult beverages. Nor will this be a passing fancy as young Americans have been conditioned to crave soft and sweetened drinks. Take iced tea for instance, whereas older people tend to enjoy unsweetened tea, younger people cannot palate it without some sort of sugary substance. Also consider Americans fascination with sweetened coffee drinks is directly rooted in chocolate. It kind of makes you wonder if we are really enjoying the flavor of such drinks or are we simply hooked on chocolate and sugar. I suspect the latter.

As for me, I’m a single malt scotch man who appreciates the simplicity of a good glass of whiskey, particularly when coupled with a fine cigar. I do not need to sweeten it up, just quietly sip and enjoy it at the end of a busy day. I enjoy its full bodied flavor with a touch of smokiness from its casks. Like I’ve always said, it’s the little things in life that make it enjoyable, such as a black cup of coffee, unsweetened iced tea, and a glass of single malt scotch. The day I am given a glass of tutti frutti whiskey is probably the same day I’ll stop drinking it.

I do not need to put in additives to enjoy such beverages, just simply to appreciate them for what they are and how our forefathers designed them. Like I said, keep it simple and enjoy the ride.

First published: January 13, 2012

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  THE OFFICE SHRINK – Who fulfills the role in your organization?

LAST TIME:  EXPANDING GOVERNMENT  – Why it has gotten so.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

EXPANDING GOVERNMENT

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 13, 2017

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Why it has gotten so.

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

Over the last 100 years the federal government has grown by leaps and bounds. The impetus for this is probably economic related (e.g., “The Great Depression,” and today’s world economy), and military related (including two world wars, Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq, numerous minor engagements, and the War on Terror). We also have several years of presidential campaigns heaped in where we were promised a lot more than two chickens in every pot or two cars in every garage. This has all changed the face of our government where we now have several more agencies and departments to deliver on presidential promises. For example, during my lifetime alone we have seen the introduction of several cabinet posts, such as HUD, Transportation, Energy, Education, Veterans Affairs, EPA, and Homeland Security.

There are essentially two theories as to why government expands: that it is driven by citizen demand, or it is self-generating, that it grows naturally by itself. I tend to believe in the latter as I see it as an excellent example of Parkinson’s Law in action. The law, which was devised by C. Northcote Parkinson, a noted British historian and author was based on his experience with the British Civil Service. Among his key observation’s was that “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Basically, he suggests people make work in order to rationalize their employment. Consequently, managers create bureaucracies and superfluous work to justify their existence, not because it is really needed (aka, the “making mountains our of mole hills” phenomenon).

We see examples of Parkinson’s Law in just about every government body, from federal to state, to municipal, to the smallest bodies of government, including Homeowner Associations. A few years ago I was President of my Homeowners Association where I was able to balance the budget, update their governing docs, and streamline their administrative affairs. It wasn’t hard, it just required a little common sense, nothing more, nothing less. Since I left the board of directors though, spending has gone through the roof, and we are now paying more for dues and getting a lot less in return. As I see it, my Homeowners Association is a microcosm of the problems with government; paying more and getting less. To illustrate, the only visible government services that impacts me directly are roads, water and sewage, the police, and education. Everything else is transparent to me. Others might include welfare, housing, and the environment, but I think this is the exception as opposed to the rule for most people. In other words, the average person sees little in return for the taxes they pay.

Then we come to the old argument as to whether government should be more or less intrusive in our lives which is actually a political argument. There are those who say we need more government since the average citizen is not smart enough to control his/her own destiny, and there are others who want less government control and more freedom. Understand this, the government grew over the last 100 years under both Democratic and Republican administrations. So political ideologue has no real bearing in this regard. It is simply a matter of management (or the lack thereof).

Recognizing companies were becoming bloated and inefficient, executives began to flatten corporate hierarchies in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The poster child for this was Jack Welsh of General Electric who earned the nickname “Neutron Jack” for his ability to flatten G.E. units. Welsh’s approach was reminiscent of Joseph Stalin’s purges which came in waves of three: the first was to eliminate the deadwood from around the office, representing the people who were the most expendable; the second wave of purges represented a major belt tightening effort intended to find out who the company could live without, and finally; the third wave was the hardest as it required considerable soul-searching but uncovered the bedrock of the corporation. What was left was a more efficient organization that was more focused on the right priorities.

Now imagine if we did something like this to our government; it would force a lot of bureaucrats out of office, it would create a leaner and more streamlined government, and it would force them to concentrate on the services that truly matter.

But for some reason I think most people like a fat government. They like having someone looking over their shoulder, kind of like a security blanket. As I found in my homeowner association though, the price of a bloated government is more expensive, more bureaucratic, and provides less service. I guess it comes down to how dependent we want to be on government and whether we trust their judgment to maintain our interests. As for me, I vote for less government, not more. Here’s another way of looking at it: should the government serve its constituents, or should the constituents serve the government? You tell me.

First published: December 1, 2008

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  THE SWEETENING OF AMERICA – Whether we are aware of it or not, our tastes are changing.

LAST TIME:  THE PROBLEMS RESULTING FROM MORAL DECAY  – How it impacts business.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Government, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

THE PROBLEMS RESULTING FROM MORAL DECAY

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 11, 2017

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– How it impacts business.

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

I recently went out to dinner with a business friend who owns a medium sized manufacturing company with just over 50 employees. Over a couple of cocktails he started to express to me his frustration with his people. He claimed to pay them well, provides a comfortable work environment, and offers a respectable benefits package. Regardless, he wished his people were more dedicated and professional in their attitude. He yearned for the old days when there was more pride in workmanship (and you thought I was the last of the whiners). I’ve known my friend for a long time and know his management style; he works well with people and although he insists on organization and structure, he tends to empower his workers to assume responsibility as opposed to micromanaging them to death. Frankly, I know a lot of people who would love to work in his environment, yet he still had this problem of employee attitudes and asked me for my thoughts on it.

I told him what he was experiencing was a simple matter of moral decay. Regardless of the work environment he provided and his interpersonal relations with his employees, there are other forces at work, namely our eroding system of values. I explained the following to illustrate the point:

* It used to be a person’s word was his bond. If he made a verbal commitment, you could count on it. Today, lying and deceit are commonplace in just about every corner of our society. Consequently, our expectations to honor a commitment have been lowered and, even worse, we have lost faith and trust in our fellow man.

* We used to have dedicated workers who cared about their work and doggedly saw a task through to completion. Now, we no longer associate our reputations with our work products. This may be because we have laws today making it difficult to reprimand or fire anyone regardless of their performance. Further, we now suffer from the “99% complete” syndrome whereby we never seem to finish anything with the excuse that, “We’ll get around to it.” In other words, determination and pride have been replaced by indifference which erodes production and opens the door for competition.

* We used to respect our bosses and were loyal to our companies. As long as you were employed by someone, you bit your tongue and endeavored to help the company succeed. For example, I knew a loyal Boeing employee who steadfastly refused to fly on anything but Boeing aircraft. Today, concepts such as corporate loyalty and respect are a thing of the past as employees no longer trust management, and management doesn’t trust its workers, all of which leads to an inordinate amount of back stabbing and political maneuvering. It’s no small wonder that today’s employees are regarded more as free agents as opposed to team players.

To me, morality means giving of one’s self, putting aside our self interests for the common good of all. However, if in fact such things as honor, courtesy, pride, respect, sacrifice, courage, dedication, commitment, loyalty, honesty, perseverance, integrity, and professionalism, are adjectives of the past, then we are indeed witnessing the moral decay of our society. Actually, it’s rather remarkable we have progressed as far as we have as a species, but it makes you wonder how much farther we would be if we had the moral fortitude to overcome greed, corruption, and other vices. As Samuel Clemens correctly observed, “Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.”

Interestingly, American morality seems to change whenever we change presidents from one political party to another. I can think of no other single event which benchmarks a change in our culture than the passing of the presidential torch. Consider for example, the social changes incurred in the transition from Eisenhower to Kennedy, from Carter to Reagan, Bush to Clinton, and now Obama to Trump. A change in Presidential party signals a change in social norms and moral priorities.

So what can be done about deteriorating moral values? You would think that our religious institutions would have a significant role to play here. Not necessarily. There are those who go to church simply to absolve themselves of their sins from the preceding week, not to correct any character flaw. After being “cleansed” they revert back to their indiscretions. No, we need to lead by example, reward accomplishments and truly penalize violations as opposed to looking the other way. There will always be those who are morally handicapped and persist in attempting to undermine our system of values, but we owe it to ourselves and our posterity to persevere. Our ability to surmount moral corruption defines who we are as a civilization.

Years ago, Arnold Toynbee said succinctly, “Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder,” meaning our social problems are actually self inflicted. If we can cause the problems, I would like to believe we are strong enough to solve them, regardless of the price to be paid. Going back to my friend’s problem, what is needed is a little inspiration, hope, belief in ourselves, a little brother/sisterhood, and a legal system that doesn’t stifle morality, but rather promotes it. Regardless of the magnitude of the job, from major to menial, workers must believe they are leading an honorable and worthwhile life. There is nothing wrong with ambition, as long as it doesn’t lead to incessant politics. There is nothing wrong with personal achievement/recognition, as long as teamwork doesn’t suffer. There is nothing wrong with criticism, as long as it’s constructive, not destructive. Basically, we just need some common sense and respect for the human spirit.

So, the question comes down to this; Do we still possess the fortitude to do what is morally right? That is a question for each of us to answer and for our heirs to judge.

First published: October 20, 2008

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  THE PROBLEMS RESULTING FROM MORAL DECAY – How it impacts business.

LAST TIME:  EXPANDING GOVERNMENT  – Why it has gotten so.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Business, Management, Morality | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

GOING IT ALONE?

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 8, 2017

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Which is better for you, big business or small?

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

As we enter the workforce we inevitably have to make a difficult decision; do we go to work for big business or do we take a chance on a smaller company, perhaps even start our own? Whereas one seems to offer safety and security, the other appears to be more risky.

When you compare the two, the big business seems to be the better choice; e.g., better salary, benefits, the stability of more financial resources, etc. The smaller company appears to be a much more riskier proposition by comparison, and it is to a certain extent. Going into a small business, or even starting one, is definitely not for the feint of heart, and requires an entrepreneurial spirit. Although the risk is high, so are the rewards, assuming the company is successful. In contrast, the big business company cannot compete against the small company in this regards, unless of course you make it to the upper echelons of management.

Because of its size with lots of people kicking and scratching their way to the top, the big business tends to be more political than the smaller company. Although the latter is certainly not devoid of gamesmanship, there is more of an inclination to cooperate on a team basis due to the risks involved. There also tends to be more freedom for employees to express their creativity and take part in corporate decisions.

Although the sense of risk is more apparent in a small company, the big business company is certainly not devoid of risk, particularly in these times of outsourcing, downsizing, and tightening of belts. Whereas the risk in a small business is upfront in the early stages, the risk in big business tends to be more long term in nature, particularly as it applies to job security and retirement. Even if you make it to retirement, there is still the danger of benefits being curtailed. In contrast, the person in the smaller business tends to be more in control of retirement benefits.

Bottom-line, the decision to go big business or small is a matter of risk. Those who believe they are safe in the comfort of the arms of big business are kidding themselves. Yes, the risk in small business is more apparent, but there is equally as much risk in big business, it’s just a little more transparent. Because the small company is more cognizant of risk, there is more of an inclination to be more disciplined and cooperative in your work habits, but as any small business owner can tell you, plan on starving when you first get started as the benefits tend to be long term in nature.

So, which is the right path for you to follow, big or small? It ultimately depends on your personality; whereas you see more Type A and B personalities in small businesses (who exhibit entrepreneurial spirit), there are typically more Type C and D personalities found in Big Business (those that are less likely to take a risk). Because of this, I find it amusing when small businesses want to emulate big businesses, and big businesses yearn for the spirit and mobility of the small company. But you know what? You cannot have it both ways.

First published: September 29, 2008

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  THE PROBLEMS RESULTING FROM MORAL DECAY – How it impacts business.

LAST TIME:  THE SFB QUOTIENT  – A test to measure yourself.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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THE SFB QUOTIENT

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 6, 2017

BRYCE ON LIFE

– A test to measure yourself.

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

Anyone who has ever taken an IQ test knows you have to endure a battery of multiple choice questions aimed at measuring your intelligence. Some are simple and common sense, others are a little tricky. This got me thinking whether we could devise a similar program aimed at determining if a person suffers from SFB (Shit for Brains) which you may recall me commenting on not long ago. As a result, I have devised the following set of questions:

1. During a business meeting you disagree with a coworker, and your boss sides with the coworker; What do you do?

A. Send a blind text message to everyone else in the department that your boss and the coworker are lovers (regardless what sex they are).
B. Change the coworker’s time sheet to show he/she is goofing off more than yourself.
C. Using Adobe Photoshop, you manufacture compromising photos of your boss and e-mail it anonymously throughout the company.

2. Your boss asks you to work overtime in order to complete a key project; What do you do?

A. File a grievance with HR.
B. Change the office clocks (including those on the server) so everyone else has to stay late with you.
C. Manufacture an excuse, preferably the death of a loved one.

3. You have been asked to return your neighbor’s chain saw after having it for six months; What do you do?

A. Before you return it, you hack away on a tree bordering your properties, particularly your neighbor’s side.
B. Anonymously report him to the homeowners association that his lawn is a mess.
C. Pretend you didn’t get the message and keep it for six more months.

4. It’s 4:55pm on Friday, a customer calls desperately in need of one of your products; What do you do?

A. Send his message to voice mail and answer him on Monday.
B. Send him the wrong product (or an insufficient quantity of the right product).
C. Send a text message to him that you are on the golf course and wish him a good weekend.

5. The office temperature satisfies everyone in the office but you; What do you do?

A. Adjust the thermostat to suit your needs.
B. Open the windows.
C. While the boss is away, issue an e-mail memo that only you can adjust the thermostat.

6. While in the midst of a critical project assignment, your boss calls for another boring meeting; What do you do?

A. Briefly attend the meeting, but then excuse yourself leaving behind a notepad, pen and coffee cup indicating you will return (you don’t).
B. You record the meeting with your cell phone, and e-mail it anonymously to your boss’ boss.
C. You have someone call your cell phone every few minutes so that it disrupts the meeting and the boss asks you to leave.

7. You’re traveling on company business and spend a tidy sum at a local Exotic Dance club; what do you do?

A. Report it on your expense account as “entertainment” of a client.
B. Doctor your receipts with a graphics package to make them look legitimate.
C. Tell your boss you were conducting some market research.

8. A shipping company is trying to make an urgent delivery to one of your rivals at work who is currently off-site; What do you do?

A. Refuse to sign and accept the package.
B. Forward the shipment to your Scranton office.
C. Forge his name on the delivery and hide the package in the building.

9. It is rush-hour and you want to get home in the most expeditious means possible; What do you do?

A. While driving, call a loved one on your cell phone and ask what’s for dinner.
B. At a stop light, you roll down your window and ask your neighbor for directions, but since he can’t speak English you flip him the bird.
C. Using your GPS, you plot a course that takes you through Las Vegas.

10. The new technology you’ve installed in the company is not living up to your promise of improving productivity and is actually a financial drain instead; What do you do?

A. Blame the end-users for incompetence in the use of the technology.
B. Blame the vendors for inferior products.
C. Blame the programmers for lousy software.

Now, for your score. Actually, it’s rather simple. If you answered any one of these questions, give yourself a score of 100 as you are a bona fide SFB.

First published: September 8, 2008

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  GOING IT ALONE? – Which is better, big business or small?

LAST TIME:  AUTO DEALERSHIP ADS  – Do they really have to be so bad?

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

AUTO DEALERSHIP ADS

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 1, 2017

BRYCE ON ADVERTISING

– Do they really have to be so bad?

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

I’ve seen a lot of bad advertisements in my day, everything from ads on television, to radio, to billboards, to print media and the Internet, but I would have to say that local automotive dealers have been consistently the worst I’ve seen. I think “obnoxious” is perhaps the best adjective to describe local car ads and maybe they have to be as it is a highly competitive market. I think they try to put their best foot forward but inevitably they end up becoming overbearing and look like classless bumpkins.

I used to think California had the most obnoxious car dealers in the country, but I believe just about every one else has caught up with them. On television you commonly see loudmouthed sales managers, or you have the dealership owner who is usually a “Jolly Wally” type who means well but has no business being in front of a camera. Local sports figures are commonly used by dealerships, but I think it’s only so the dealer can get his autograph.

Most dealers use some sort of gimmick and catch phrase for the public to associate with their dealership. This is probably not a bad idea, but most are pretty cheesy expressions which makes most people groan. These catch phrases are then splattered everywhere on television, radio, newspapers, the dealer’s web page, and on auto decals and license plates. This last item particularly bugs me; You buy a new car from the dealer and after it is prepped to take home you find it has become a rolling billboard for the dealer with his name and slogan neatly labeled on your car and with his license tag frame. I always admired the audacity of the dealers for putting their crap on our cars. Remarkably, few people ask for it to be removed or to be paid for advertising the dealer’s company.

Flags are often used to draw attention to car dealerships, particularly down here in the South. Quite often you’ll find huge American flags waving overhead to appeal to your sense of patriotism when you buy a car. I find this particularly amusing for dealerships featuring foreign cars, like Japanese, German, or Korean. Come on, who is kidding who here?

Then of course there are the key chains, shirts, and other trinkets that bear the dealer’s name and slogan. I find it interesting when they want us to pay for such items as opposed to paying us to advertise their firm.

Auto dealerships rarely offer first class advertisements. Most simply can’t afford it and slap together some loud ad which would make just about any Madison Avenue ad exec cringe. The one exception seems to be Oregon’s Suburban Auto Group with their legendary “Trunk Monkey” series of commercials. Whereas other dealerships aren’t taken seriously because of their ads, Suburban tries to lighten things up and in the process has garnered nationwide recognition. The point is, auto dealership ads really don’t have to be as bad as they are.

First published: August 11, 2008

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  THE SFB QUOTIENT – A test to measure yourself.

LAST TIME:  TWO TYPES OF LEADERS  – Which one do you work for?

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

WHERE DID ANTIFA COME FROM?

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 31, 2017

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– The evolution of Occupy Wall Street.

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

Unless you have been living under a rock lately, you are probably now familiar with the term, “Antifa,” but are not too sure what it represents. In a nutshell, it is an abbreviated form of “Anti Faschists,” and is at the heart of the violent protests plaguing America. Antifa was there at Charlottesville, VA, in Phoenix, AZ for the Trump rally, at the desecration of several Civil War monuments, and more recently at the heart of the violent Berkeley, CA protests. These were ugly hostile environments the police had difficulty controlling.

Make no mistake, Antifa promotes anarchy, and proudly proclaims itself as such in their literature and web pages. They are also communists with a deep aversion to capitalism. They claim their group descends from a like-titled European group of the early 20th century. However, I could find no evidence today’s Antifa knows what Fascism truly means. They claim to want to destroy what they call the “American Plantation.” From their perspective, they see slavery in every minority group and abhor their white Christian “masters.” Yet, many of their members are middle class whites. They want liberation and freedom ON THEIR TERMS, not as defined by the Constitution. As such, they advocate the overthrow of the United States government and are committed to combating any sign of support for the government or any other opinion conflicting with their own. And, No, they are most definitely not advocates of free speech as prescribed by the First Amendment.

In reality, Antifa’s roots are planted in the Occupy Wall Street Movement of 2011, a group of people seeking social and economic reform. Interestingly, the Occupy movement quickly faded from view following the re-election of President Barack Obama in 2012. However, after Donald Trump was elected in 2016, a period of social unrest grew, all aimed at resisting the new president at every turn. The tactics, unfortunately, were less peaceful and more militaristic. Consequently, Antifa began to flourish.

Antifa’s numbers are relatively small, but they are getting organized and beginning to recruit impressionable millennials either in school or fresh out of college. Many professors preach Socialist dogma to their students thereby influencing their motivation and perspective. As a result, they foster Antifa recruits.

Currently, the tactics of Antifa appear to be based on a “Minute Man” approach whereby whenever a major demonstration is led by Republicans, such as a pro-Trump rally, they rush to the scene and engage in vocal and violent confrontation. The theory is that if they do this enough times, they hope to suppress any outward signs of support for the president. It’s called “intimidation.” They also hope to spin the media to promote their values.

Antifa is now in the process of creating a network of chapters throughout the United States, the latest being in Philadelphia. Such meeting places are used to recruit and train new members in various organizational and communications tactics. The concern though is the teaching of terrorism, complete with military training.

The mouthpiece for Antifa is the web page “It’s Going Down,” which spreads information and encourages support for the group. The main web page for the group is titled, “Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement,” which articulates their purpose and activities. They also claim to rely on donations and have established an Internet Fund drive. The irony here is that Antifa are devout anti-capitalists, yet when asked “Why do we ask for money?”, they claimed, “Sadly we have not freed ourselves from capitalism. We too need to eat and pay the bills.”

Antifa makes no pretense they are unwilling to use violence to serve their needs and have demonstrated their willingness to do so. Photos on their web site and elsewhere proudly display a variety of weapons and recruits learning how to use them. However, these are predominantly young people who want to graduate from playing “Call of Duty” on a computer to actually facing violent confrontation. I suspect many are naive about what they are doing and do not realize the consequences of their actions. This becomes a dangerous scenario that could lead to the deaths of either themselves or their opposition. Should they develop a well equipped arsenal, someone is bound to eventually pull a trigger and all Hell will break loose.

As real as the prospect of violence is, Democrats have been slow in condemning Antifa; only recently has Nancy Pelosi spoken against them, but we have yet to hear from Chuck Schumer, the Clintons, and former President Barack Obama. Their silence only serves to encourage the Antifa movement, not to suppress it. Even the Main Stream Media appears reluctant to take them to task.

Make no mistake, Antifa is worse than all of the left-wing nut jobs combined, including the Black Panthers and Black Lives Matter. They are misguided, armed, and view themselves as international terrorists. This is not about “American Plantations”; it’s about the overthrow of the United States government. If you hear someone sympathize with Antifa, be sure to straighten them out.

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  THE SFB QUOTIENT – A test to measure yourself.

LAST TIME:  TWO TYPES OF LEADERS  – Which one do you work for?

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

 
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