Search This Blog

Loading...

Friday, October 31, 2014

LAWN MOWING

BRYCE ON LIFE

- The joys of mowing your lawn yourself.

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

I have now been mowing lawns for half of a century. When I was a kid in Connecticut, my family had a reel mower; you know, one of those plain push mowers where the blades twirl faster as you push the mower. When we moved to Chicago in the mid-60's my father bought our first power mower at Montgomery Ward. The engine only turned the blade; you still had to push it as there was no self-propulsion. Over the years I've had a variety of lawn mowers, both push and riders. The fact remains though, year after year I've been mowing my lawn.

In my neighborhood, I'm one of the few guys remaining who mows his own lawn, if not the only one. People stare at me as they drive by my house while I'm mowing. I guess they think I'm either eccentric, too poor to hire a lawn service, or maybe I'm a lawn service worker myself. Actually, I don't mind doing the lawn as it is an excellent way for me to get some exercise, and I take great pride in my work if I can get the lawn to look the way I want it to.

Most of the people in my neighborhood use a lawn service. I don't think I have ever seen a youth in our subdivision push a lawnmower either. As for my family, both my son and daughter have taken their turn with the lawn mower over the years, but mostly the burden fell to the boy. I've always looked upon such work as a great way to teach responsibility and pride in workmanship. Over the years, my son has learned to use all of my power tools and is now pretty handy with them. He also understands safety issues as well. I've asked some of my friends why they don't have their children mow their lawn and they look at me incredulously like I've taken leave of my senses. I guess they're afraid their kids might learn Spanish and become professional landscapers. As for me, I've always seen it as a way to teach children how to carry their weight in the household. Then again, I guess I'm old fashioned.

Down here in Florida, the main type of grass we have is Floratam St. Augustine, or just plain "Floratam," which was developed to resist all the little bugs and critters we have in our soil down here. It's not quite the same type of grass as you find up north which looks thin and puny by comparison. Actually, I think down here they've got us all conned into believing that Floratam is something special when, in reality, it is nothing but an expensive form of crab grass.

It's interesting the ensemble of lawn tools you collect and use over the years. In addition to the lawn mower, I have a fertilizer spreader, an edger, a weed whacker, a hedger, a chain saw, different pruning clippers, saws, rakes, etc. It can become quite an investment in equipment if you want to do the lawn yourself. No wonder I get Christmas cards from Home Depot and Lowes.

The only thing I dislike about mowing is when the mower breaks down, which happened to me recently. I have a riding mower and a bolt popped out causing the undercarriage to fall off and snapped a belt. It wouldn't be a big deal if was a push mower, but because it is a rider, I had to schedule an appointment for it to be fixed and call on a friend with a truck to help me move it which, frankly, is a pain in the neck. Otherwise, when the mower is working properly I can get the lawn done in a couple of hours.

While the lawn mower was in the shop for repair, which was for a few weeks, I arranged to have a service come in to take care of the lawn, and I admit they did a remarkable job. However, it seemed very strange to me not to mow the lawn and I started to go through withdrawal symptoms. I know I won't be able to take care of the lawn forever and at some point I'll have to acquiesce the responsibility to someone else. I suppose it's been a matter of pride and determination for me (or just plain stubbornness). I guess I fear someone saying, "What? You're getting too old to do the lawn?" Maybe I'm just confused; that mowing lawns for over 50 years is not so much considered a feat of strength, but an act of stupidity. I'm not sure which.

Originally Published: October 15, 2009 (updated)

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 30 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 © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THEORIES X, Y, AND Z - The three basic theories of management.

LAST TIME:  GET READY FOR THE 2014 MID-TERM ELECTIONS - Next week, there are many decisions to be made. Will you participate?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) "The Town Square" with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and 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.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

GET READY FOR THE 2014 MID-TERM ELECTIONS

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- Next week, there are many decisions to be made. Will you participate?

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

Here it finally comes, with less than a week to go. I am, of course, talking about the American Mid-Term elections on November 4th. The question is; will you be an active voter or sit on the sidelines? The Mid-Terms usually draw fewer voters than presidential election years. Republicans normally rally during these elections, which is why Democrats are nervous about the 2014 election outcome.

Back in June, I wrote a column entitled, "How Obama is undermining Democrats," whereby I discussed how the president's decisions regarding his bungling of foreign affairs ("leading from behind"), the terrorist exchange, and his War on Energy, was making it difficult for his party to maintain control of the Senate. Now, four months later, with his shaky policies regarding ISIS, Ebola, and immigration, President Obama continues to lose the trust not only of the American people but his own party as well. Polls show his approval ratings continue to decline.

Just about every poll gives an edge to the Republicans to reclaim the Senate, but it certainly is not a slam dunk. According to RealClearPolitics (RCP), an independent news organization which maintains an up-to-date pulse of elections, projections show 46 Senate seats controlled by Democrats, and 45 for the GOP, leaving 9 seats as toss-ups. These nine seats represent the shift of power. Of these, the GOP will likely win in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, and Louisiana (5 seats). The others are too close to call, but the Republicans currently have an edge in Iowa, Kansas, and North Carolina (3 seats). As long as the GOP candidates do not make a misstep, and the president continues to lose the trust of the people, there should be no reason why the Republicans cannot take the Senate.
The Republicans will also maintain control over the House of Representatives. Currently there are 188 seats controlled by the Democrats and 230 by the GOP, leaving 17 toss-up seats. Even if the Democrats were to win all 17 seats, which is unlikely, they still wouldn't have enough seats to reclaim the House.

What does all of this mean to our federal government? A transition in the Senate to the Republicans would obviously mean a change in power. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid would no longer be controlling the agenda. Over the last two years, the Republican controlled House produced over 300 pieces of legislation for review by the Senate, some partisan, some non-partisan. Nonetheless, Sen. Reid blocked the legislation from being read and acted on, thereby essentially killing it. By removing the Reid logjam, much more legislation will be acted upon in the Senate and go to the president for his signature.

In terms of gubernatorial races, the Democrats have 15 states, the Republicans have 21, leaving 14 toss-up states. Of these, Arizona, Georgia, and Michigan will likely go Republican, Rhode Island will go Democratic, and the rest are virtual dead heats. In the end, Republicans will likely have more states than the Democrats.

Some will say, "So, it sounds like the decisions have already been made for us; why should we bother to vote?" First, we have to remember the data expressed here is based on polls only. They may be accurate, then again the polls have been known to be wrong before. Second, it is your duty as an American citizen to vote. It is the one act we are allowed to influence the direction of our government. If you cannot put forth the effort to perform this simple act, you do not have the right to criticize the government.

Then again, there are people who are not qualified to vote; who have no idea how the government is organized or works, what the issues are, or know the people running. These are the people the media pounces on with their advertising and spin. So, let me amend my argument; If you are cognizant of how government works, and you know what the issues are and who the people are, then, Yes, there is no excuse for you not to vote. Everyone else should just stay home.

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 30 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 © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  LAWN MOWING - the joys of mowing your lawn yourself.

LAST TIME:  THE BLAME GAME - an acute case of projectionism.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) "The Town Square" with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and 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.

Monday, October 27, 2014

THE BLAME GAME

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

- An acute case of projectionism.

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

Some call it "finger pointing," others refer to it as "the blame game," but it is more rightfully defined as "projectionism" as derived from psychology. This is where a person defends himself from accusation by blaming others. President Obama is often accused of deflecting responsibility by blaming others, but it is not my intent to turn this into a political piece. Quite often in projectionism, the person honestly believes others have caused the problem, and does not believe he is lying; see "Pathological lying."
Projectionism suggests a character flaw as it has been related to narcissistic personality disorder. ("excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity" - Wiki). By casting blame elsewhere, the individual seeks to protect their ego, regardless of who is hurt in the process.

What is bothersome though is we find projectionism not just in politics, but in business, nonprofits, and among our youth. We see this occur when a project comes in late and over-budget, if we produce a fatal design flaw in a product, when we make a common mistake in processing data, when a software program causes a computer to crash, we do something to anger our customers, or whatever. Instead of accepting responsibility, we blame others as well as inanimate objects, such as technology. In school, students blame teachers for not explaining an assignment properly or notifying them of deadlines and test dates. In reality, the teacher did indeed notify the students accordingly. Maybe the dog ate it after all. And when the student's grades slip because of such excuses, the parents blame the teacher, not their offspring.

Wishing to avoid trouble, it has become natural to feign innocence and suggest the blame belongs elsewhere. Few people own up to their responsibilities and I, for one, admire those who swallow their pride and accept responsibility for their actions. I have more respect for such a person as opposed to those who blame others for their mistakes. At least I can trust the person who admits his mistakes. If you watch the television show, "COPS," you'll notice law enforcement personnel are likely to treat the suspect better if he is truthful and admits his indiscretion. When such people "come clean" with the police, they are likely to get a break as the officers appreciate honesty and integrity as it makes their job easier.

Why is this happening? Perhaps it is due to political ideologies which contend it is okay to lie and cheat as long as the means justifies the ends. Or perhaps it is the media clouding our judgement about right and wrong, or that religion is in decline. Bottom-line, this is about eroding morality, denoting a decay in our culture.

What can be done? Simple, do not accept it. Law enforcement officers do not. They have heard all of the excuses before and realize when they are being lied to. The general public is more gullible. If we insist on honesty, that we do not accept blaming others, we can finally determine what the real cause of a problem is and solve it.

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 30 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 © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  GET READY FOR THE 2014 MID-TERM ELECTIONS - Next week, there are many decisions to be made. Will you participate?

LAST TIME:  100 WATTS GOES A LONG WAY - Something for young people; describing the types of checks an employer will perform.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) "The Town Square" with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and 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.

Friday, October 24, 2014

100 WATTS GOES A LONG WAY

BRYCE ON RADIO

- How tiny WZIG-FM in Palm Harbor is conquering the airwaves, and presenting our area to the world.

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

Tiny WZIG-FM (104.1) is a new commercial-free radio station in northern Pinellas County, Florida. How tiny is it? It operates at a meager 100 watts. To appreciate its size consider this, the legendary WLW radio tower from my old hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio was created by the inventor and entrepreneur Powell Crosley, Jr. who didn't just want to build just another radio station, but a big one, a VERY big station. In 1934 the WLW tower began broadcasting with 500,000 watts of power, an incredible number. It was so powerful, you could easily hear the AM station in Los Angeles. Midwest farmers could hear the programming on their barbed wire. Lights would turn on and flicker. You could hear it in the springs of your mattress or from the fillings in your teeth. It was extremely powerful.

In 1939, just prior to World War II, the FCC thought this was too much and put a maximum limit of 50,000 watts on commercial radio transmissions. Today, 50,000 watt stations are referred to as "Clear Channel," and there are a limited number of them in the United States. Even at 50,000 watts, such stations command a substantial geographical presence. As an aside, the mammoth WLW tower is located north of town in Mason, Ohio and, I believe, is still open for tours (click for a video TOUR).

Enter Paul Kempter of Palm Harbor, Florida (yes, my neck of the woods) with his station, WZIG-FM (104.1). Started in July of this year, it is a nonprofit radio station with some interesting programming. Even though it is miniscule in size compared to giant WLW, WZIG-FM has found a way to get around. For starters, the station ably serves the towns of Palm Harbor, Dunedin, East Lake, Tarpon Springs, Oldsmar, and quite a bit of Clearwater. However, because it is also streamed over the Internet, listeners from around the world can tune into it. For example, I often listen to the station in the background of my computer. (Click to TUNE IN).

As a nonprofit organization, WZIG-FM is commercial free which is particularly welcomed in this day and age. They do accept sponsorships, but they are simple acknowledgements of supporters of the station. Such support would be gratefully appreciated if you are so inclined. See their web page at WZIG.org to sponsor or make a donation.

In addition to being commercial free, I particularly like the eclectic mix of music they offer. You might hear something modern one moment, then perhaps some classic Rock, the 50's, Blues, Pop, country, the Beatles or Stones, or even Big Band. I was very much impressed by the station's "music shuffle." What really sold me was when I heard Sam and Dave singing, "Hold on, I'm coming," something you rarely hear anymore. Again, this is all commercial free.

In addition to this, the station features a jazz show on Mondays (from 8:00-9:00pm) and on Thursdays at noon. It is hosted by "Raindawg," a local teacher who really knows his stuff.

Ray Kramer is the Sports Director who airs on Saturdays at 10:00am, and covers the main Tampa Bay teams plus North Pinellas High School Football and more.

More programming is in the offing to support the local area. For example, they are looking for North Pinellas churches who wish to broadcast their services.

Local musicians are also welcome to submit quality, upbeat material for consideration (a release is needed).

The Snappers restaurant in Palm Harbor has been kind enough to afford space for WZIG-FM. As a small operation though, they do not require much.

Even though WZIG-FM transmits at only 100 watts, they are getting the message out. I admire them for their support for the community, along with assembling some professional programming. Even better, Kempter's group is having fun putting this all together.

Whether you live in my neck of the woods or not, I encourage you to tune into WZIG-FM (104.1) and listen to the shuffle. I do not believe you will be disappointed, even at just 100 watts.

By the way, the station's call letters, WZIG, is named after Kempter's dog, Ziggy. Yes, there really is a Ziggy, I've met him. He is also known as "Woofmaster Z."

You can also find WZIG-FM on Facebook at:
https://www.facebook.com/wzigradio

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 30 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 © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE BLAME GAME - an acute case of projectionism.

LAST TIME:  JOB CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK...   - Something for young people; describing the types of checks an employer will perform.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) "The Town Square" with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and 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.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

JOB CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK...

BRYCE ON BUSINESS

- Something for young people; describing the types of checks an employer will perform.

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

It used to be, if you wanted a job you would simply complete an application form, attach your resume, come in for an interview, and you would either be selected or dropped from consideration. Case closed. However, due to our litigious society and hyperactive Human Resource (HR) Departments, it is no longer that simple. In fact, it can be a downright painful process. Aside from the application and interview, there are typically seven types of background checks to verify your credentials:

EMPLOYMENT CHECK - to verify the past jobs you have held. HR will ask for references, but this is something typically not offered anymore as it might lead to a lawsuit. For example, if the job candidate is said to be a good worker by his previous employer, but turns out to be a dud, the former employer could be sued for false representation. Conversely, if they say the candidate is bad, they could be sued for character assassination. Consequentially, companies rarely offer references anymore, just verification of employment, including the dates they worked and the job titles they held.

ACADEMIC CHECK - falsifying academic records for the purpose of employment is a crime, and companies take this very seriously. I knew a classmate who falsified his college records and was caught. This cost his dearly, not only in terms of crime and punishment, but in prestige among the members of our class. It it embarrassing, and it is just plain wrong.

CRAFT CHECK - sometimes it is necessary to demonstrate the knowledge of your craft. For example, if you are a programmer, you may be asked to take a technical test to verify your knowledge and demonstrate your skills. If you are a technical writer, you might be asked to solve a test case. Even if you have certification or a degree in a particular subject, be prepared to demonstrate your knowledge.

CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK - Now it gets interesting. Most medium to large companies today perform a criminal background check. When interviewing, do not lie about your checkered past as it will surely come to light. Discuss your problems of the past frankly and openly. The doors will not always close in your face for a past indiscretion, but the company definitely wants to know about it.

DRUG CHECK - Many companies today insist on a drug free work environment, not to mention alcohol as well. Consequently, you will likely be asked to pass a drug test, not just before being hired, but as an on-going program within the company. Look, it's simple; do not come to work stoned or drunk.

CREDIT CHECK - Companies often run a credit check on new employees, just to see how well they manage finances. A low credit rating could detect a potential problem and risk to the company, hence another reason to manage your finances.

SOCIAL MEDIA CHECK - This is the one check most young people overlook. What you post on social media (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) will be reviewed by your employer. If there are some risqué photos or comments on your site, remove them now. If you have photos or videos showing tattoos that might offend people, eliminate them. This category alone is the most overlooked by young people and probably the greatest threat to a candidate being hired. Even after you have been hired, if you post pictures of a drunken party you were at over the weekend, you can expect a phone call on Monday. If you cannot project a dignified image on social media, do not do it. Also, do not try to use an alias as someone will eventually find out.

Regardless if today's application process seems like overkill, this is the world we now live in. It's true, HR has become an obnoxious bureaucracy, but these checks are designed to minimize the chances for a company to be sued. So you can thank the lawyers as well.

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 30 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 © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  100 WATTS GOES A LONG WAY - How tiny WZIG-FM in Palm Harbor is conquering the airwaves, and presenting our area to the world.

LAST TIME:  WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO UNIVAC? - Why it is necessary to learn industrial history.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) "The Town Square" with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and 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.

Monday, October 20, 2014

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO UNIVAC?

BRYCE ON HISTORY

- Why it is necessary to learn industrial history.

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

Through my columns I occasionally write something related to American history. I do this because I believe young people are losing their sense of history and are doomed to repeat mistakes we've made in the past. The same is true in industrial history, in my case the computer field. To illustrate, a few years ago I inherited my father's UNIVAC Zippo lighter. I always admired it; it was small, sleek, and had an impressive UNIVAC logo engraved on it. I believe he got it back in the early 1960's. As an aside, my father was one of the first fifty computer programmers in the United States, starting back in 1954 when he worked on the UNIVAC I at the US Bureau of Census. I also have his original programming book from 1954 and template (and photos), along with some print wheels from the first high speed printer, a UNIVAC I magnetic tape (made of metal), and some plugboards. However, it was the small lighter he carried which I fancied.

Nonetheless, I was recently at a meeting where I met a gentleman, approximately 40 years of age, who is also actively engaged in the computer business. I pulled him aside and proudly showed him the lighter. He looked at it with a blank stare and said, "What is a UNIVAC?" I was thunderstruck by the comment. Even though it represented the first commercial computer, he had no idea of what it was, nor seemed to care.

It occurred to me there is no sense of industrial history anymore. Through my father and my own personal experiences, I have a deep sense of history for my craft, but I must be an anomaly. Some time ago I wrote a paper entitled, "A Short History of Systems Development," in the hopes of recording some of these historical milestones. It was well received, but I fear students are not learning such lessons from the college professors, or simply do not care.

I also recently met with some high school students interested in a career in computing. Their sense of history only goes as far back as Microsoft, Apple, and the Internet. Most were knowledgeable with the C and C++ programming languages, but little else. I then asked them if they knew what a 4GL was; a handful knew. I next asked what a 1GL, 2GL, or 3GL was. None knew. I explained it as:

1GL - First Generation Language - programming in machine language.
2GL - Second Generation Language - Assembly language.
3GL - Third Generation Language - procedural languages such as COBOL, Fortran, PL/1, C and C++.
4GL - Fourth Generation Language - interpreters/specification driven tools to produce code.

I then went into a dissertation of how and why these languages were invented. As an aside, the 3GL, was based on a manual procedural language derived from Broadway scripts (invented by Les Matthies, "The Dean of Systems"). When the Navy's Admiral Grace Hopper developed COBOL (COmmon Business Oriented Language), she used Les Matthies' "playscript" technique and automated it. COBOL was then emulated and simplified by ensuing programming languages. We also discussed the premise behind the JAVA language ("Write once, run everywhere").

I next asked if they were familiar with the various DBMS models (Data Base Management Systems). Again, none knew anything about them. I then went on to explain the differences between the Hierarchical Model (e.g., IBM's IMS and D-BOMP), the CODASYL Network Model (e.g., IDS, TOTAL, IDMS, and ADABAS), the Relational model (used by most computers today, e.g., DB2 and ORACLE), and the Object Oriented Model which is slowly gaining in acceptance. More importantly, I explained why the DBMS was invented. A large amount of the credit goes to Charles Bachman of GE/Honeywell where he invented IDS to implement Bill of Materials processing (BOMP) in manufacturing.

My point to the young students, and to you, is that it is important to study the past so we do not replicate the same mistakes. This is what craftsmen do regardless of the industry. Regretfully, I see little of this in business anymore, particularly in the computer field. It is difficult to innovate and invent without a sense of such history. Considerable time and effort is wasted as a result.

As to UNIVAC itself (UNIVersal Automatic Computer), the computer was invented by the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation which became a division of the Remington Rand corporation. Remington was acquired by the Sperry Rand corporation and dubbed the computer division, Sperry Univac, then just UNIVAC. In 1986, the company merged with Burroughs Corporation, another maker of mainframe computers, to become UNISYS.

I think I will continue to carry my father's UNIVAC lighter in case I run into more people involved with the computer business. It's quite a conversational piece.

One last bit of trivia, who were the "BUNCH" competing with IBM in the mainframe wars of yesteryear? Answer: Burroughs, UNIVAC, NCR, CDC, and Honeywell. Where are they now?

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 30 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 © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  JOB CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK... - Something for young people; describing the types of checks an employer will perform.

LAST TIME:  WORKING FOR GOONS - Making the work environment unbearable.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) "The Town Square" with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and 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.

Friday, October 17, 2014

WORKING FOR GOONS

BRYCE ON SOCIETY

- Making the work environment unbearable.

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

One of the reasons Scott Adams' cartoon, "Dilbert," is so successful is because it hits close to home in depicting office life. Corporate management is one of Adams' favorite targets in which they are shown as bumbling idiots. They are very determined in controlling all activities of the business. Their approach is predictably wrong, and they embrace every management fad that comes along. Because of their strong sense of authority and control, perhaps "goons" is a more appropriate label. This is essentially no different than Hitler's goon squads during World War II where they harassed people, and practiced thuggery to implement the Führer's policies. Under this approach, management's policies are implemented top-down with no bottom-up input being tolerated.

Earlier this year, I wrote a column entitled, "Beware of the MBA's," whereby I made the observation today's management tends to manage people more from a numbers point of view as opposed to a results perspective and their ability to work with others. I recently saw this first hand in a company with a national chain of outlets for manufacturing products. After several years at the helm, the founder and president stepped aside and retired. Shortly thereafter, the board of directors appointed a new CEO, someone with experience in the company but who was much younger and ambitious. The first thing he did was replace all of the regional sales managers with younger people (late twenties), and office managers in their early twenties. The more experienced sales and office managers were demoted and pushed aside. Instead of sales volume, the sales force was managed by a series of spreadsheets which considered the number of sales calls made, both in person and on the telephone. Instead of worrying about customer care and satisfaction, the numbers were of paramount importance. To make matters worse, whereas salesmen had previously been managed by the local sales manager, who was there to review their progress and solve their problems, the sales force now reported to a goon squad of regional sales managers, who were located out of state, and local office managers who acted as the eyes and ears of the regional managers.

This resulted in a serious morale problem. Since people were managed primarily by numbers, they became apathetic in the company's business. They quickly realized concepts such as customer service and quality assurance were considered passé. They also knew they could easily outfox the young office managers who lacked experience. Over time, the office units started to experience delays in shipments to customers, lost revenue, sloppy inventory, and a general disregard for the company overall. Since they realized fighting the goon squad was futile, they undermined the company instead. Conditions became so bad, the employees began to resign, the key ones first (sales and customer service), then the clerical workers. Today, approximately 40% of the people in the local office have resigned and moved on. At first, the goon squad believed it would be easy to find replacements, but after realizing what the corporate culture entailed, the company can only afford mediocre workers. Maybe that is how management wants it.

Businesses certainly do not have a monopoly on goon squads. Nonprofit organizations typically have more than commercial enterprises. When the goons have captured the leadership of such groups, they recruit assistants and deputies not because they are intelligent or hard workers, but because they know how to follow orders with gusto, regardless if they know them to be harmful.

To the goons, it is not about offering inspired leadership, it is all about maintaining control over the organization and stifling resistance. It is no small wonder we live in an age of autocratic rule (Theory X). Goon squads are not interested in listening to the input of the workers. You either play ball or be prepared to be turned out. Such a management philosophy is dangerous in my opinion. It means spreadsheets take precedence over customer service, sales calls over sales volume, and in the case of nonprofits, suffocating rules over flourishing membership.

I am certainly not suggesting all companies operate in this fashion, but the reality is Scott Adams has a lot of material to work with for a long time. If we cannot relate to it, it wouldn't exist. Unfortunately, goon squads are very much alive and well in this country.

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 30 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 © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO UNIVAC? - Why it is necessary to learn industrial history.

LAST TIME:  GANG MARKINGS - Gangs exist because parents fail.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) "The Town Square" with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and 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.