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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

WELCOME TO BIZARRO WORLD

BRYCE ON LIFE

- Where everything is the opposite of what you are used to.

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

As a kid, I had an impressive collection of comic books, but as you grow older mothers have a tendency to clean out closets and dispose of such debris. Although I was able to save my baseball cards, my comic book collection was sacrificed to the garbage man. It was a pity too as my collection would probably be worth a small fortune today, but such is life. As a youngster, I was more of a fan of DC Comics as opposed to Marvel, but they were all enjoyable in their own way. I tended to gravitate to Superman along with the various manifestations, e.g., Action Comics, Superboy, Jimmy Olsen, Justice League of America, etc.

I was a big fan probably because I knew "The Man of Steel" was the toughest hombre on the block to defeat, plus I was addicted to the "Adventures of Superman" TV show starring George Reeves. The one story line I found amusing was the "Bizarro" character which represented a grotesque mirror-image opposite of Superman, thereby becoming his antagonist. Everything "Bizarro" did was the opposite of what we had come to expect from our hero. For example, "bad" meant "good" and the value system was predictably the opposite of Superman's.

More and more frequently, I suspect we have all entered the Bizarro World where everything is the opposite of what we were taught. For example, we glorify celebrities and pay them an obnoxious amount of money for frivolous entertainment as opposed to doing anything of substance. Somehow this seems backwards to me, where a fool earns more money and adulation as opposed to a king. There are plenty of other examples:

* People are more concerned with being politically correct as opposed to getting a job done. Heck, we can even be reprimanded and sued for an improper word, look, or our general deportment.

* Workers no longer feel they are leading worthy and meaningful lives. Consequently they do not maintain loyalties and drift from one meaningless job to another. Loyalty is no longer earned, it is purchased.

* People are applauded and congratulated for cheating the system, not adhering to it. We no longer consider such things as unemployment as a safety net, but as an addictive entitlement instead.

* People seem to prefer dependence on entitlements as opposed to independence by earning their way through life. Under this scenario, those who work hard are chided as chumps, while others wallow in self-pity providing no value to society other than being a burden.

* Instead of government being a servant of the people, people are willfully enslaved to their government.

* Instead of thinking for ourselves and challenging facts, people prefer to act like sheep and let others do the thinking for them, particularly the government and media.

* Duty, honor, patriotism, citizenship, compassion, respect, and dignity are considered antiquated concepts from a bygone era.

* Common sense is no longer common. People are no longer interested in doing what is right, only that which is expeditious.

Some people will undoubtedly thrive in Bizarro World, but the other half will certainly perish. I'm not sure when we entered the Bizarro World, nor do I remember how Superman handled the situation. Maybe the only way to substantiate it is to view Earth from space; if it has cubed as opposed to remaining round, then you know we're in trouble.

First published: August 1, 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:  PERSONALITY TYPES - Of the four types, which one best describes you?

LAST TIME:  AN ODE FOR A HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALLER - What I learned from the game.

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.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

AN ODE FOR A HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALLER

BRYCE ON SPORTS

- What I learned from the game.

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

I played High School football from 1968-1971 in a little town in the northern suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio. Our team, the Wyoming Cowboys, had a winning tradition for as long as I can remember. We won numerous championships over the years and were always considered a contender even against much larger schools. In 1962, we had a team who not only went undefeated, but didn't allow a single point to be scored by their opponents, racking up a record of 446-0 points. Baseball, basketball, and track were all well represented, but football was king, not just then but now as well. This year, the team went 10-0 to win the league championship and play in the Ohio state playoffs.

Wyoming is the type of small closeknit community where everyone attends the Friday night game. Beyond that, they have a loyal set of alumni who follows the games over the Internet. In preparation for the league championship this year, alumni sent best wishes from around the USA, two from Africa, and one from Europe. Yes, they take it rather seriously.

As the team prepared to enter the state tournament, I drew upon my past and penned the following piece. I sent it to the Wyoming coach who read it to the team before the tournament game. I tried to capture the feeling we had back in 1971 when we won our championship. Hopefully, some of you who played high school football will appreciate what I'm describing. Hope you enjoy it.

"LOVE THE GAME" - by Tim Bryce

It's not the championship that matters or the record, it's how you play the game.

It's not the school that matters or the coaches and spectators, it's about your band of brothers.

You play football for the love of the game.

It's a game where people of all sizes, shapes, and talents each play an important role, not as a group of individuals, but as a cohesive unit, a team.

It's not the accolades or criticisms afterwards that matter either.

You play to watch a teammate dash to daylight, to perhaps punch a hole in the line allowing him to slip through.

You play to watch a ball spiral through the air to find its target.

You play to demonstrate some sleight of hand in a trick play, or to watch a punt returned for a touchdown.

You play to watch the steamy breaths of the linemen in the trenches on a cold wet night, to listen to their growl and pain as they try to move heaven and earth for a teammate.

You play to watch a defense-man penetrate the line and sack an opposing player behind the line of scrimmage, or to cause and recover a fumble when it was desperately needed, or to intercept and return a pass.

You play to make a goal line stand and stop the opposing team cold, or if you are on offense, to find a way to punch the ball through.

You appreciate the simple things of the game, such as a solid block, a straight kick, the crisp snap of the ball, a perfect throw, the smell of the field, a good tackle, and speed afoot.

You play to watch it all come together in unison, like a fine jeweled watch.

You find joy in picking up a teammate, both physically and spiritually; to stand at the end of a game mired in sweat and mud, proud of your team and the small role you played.

After all, this is a game of teamwork, not one for those seeking individual glory, an important lesson that will follow you through life.

So play the game hard, without regrets, so you can hold your head up at the end of the game knowing you gave it your best.

Play it with reckless abandon, for the day will come when it will be over, and you will miss it dearly.

Love it and it will teach you some important lessons of life, such as pride, self-esteem, the power of tradition in winning, empathy for others, and to put aside differences and find ways to cooperate.

Play it in such as way that when you finally hang up your cleats for the last time, you know you accomplished something meaningful.

And when it is over, you do not need accolades or a trophy or ring to remind you of the job you've done, just a pat on the back simply saying, "Well done."

Football is a great game. Love 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 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:  WELCOME TO BIZARRO WORLD - Where everything is the opposite of what you are used to.

LAST TIME:  I'M JUST NORMAL...REALLY - You can save a lot of paper if you just take my word for it.

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.

Monday, November 20, 2017

I'M JUST NORMAL...REALLY

BRYCE ON LIFE

- You can save a lot of paper if you just take my word for it.

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

Isn't it amazing the amount of paperwork required just to live on this planet? There are a variety of certificates you need, such as birth, wedding, and occupational. Even after you pass away, the paper mill continues to churn out death certificates on your behalf. Then there are bank statements, bills, membership information and notices from all of the institutions you belong to. Let's not forget deeds, mortgages, warranties, titles, contracts, agreements, and permits for everything from fishing and hunting to operating automobiles and machinery, not to mention firearms if you are so inclined. My insurance and medical paperwork alone probably represents a small Redwood. Then there are, of course, the countless applications you must complete for a variety of purposes.

If you go to a Doctor's office or apply for some form of insurance, you have to face a series of questions, such as:

* Have you ever had the following diseases?
* Does your family have a history of this or that?
* Are you currently on any medication for this or that?
* Have you ever had a social disease?

The list is actually more extensive than this, but you get the idea. I usually begin by telling the person, "Look this is really not necessary. I'm normal." Naturally, they do not take my word for it and proceed to grill me through the battery of questions, to which I reply, "No, No, No, No, No..."

"Oh, you really are JUST normal aren't you? We really don't get too many like you."

"Just normal?" I asked myself. What do they mean by that? Inevitably, I run into the same type of scenario when I talk with my accountant about my income tax, to which he barrages me with another line of questioning, such as:

* Do you own or rent your house?
* Do you own any real estate in Timbuktu?
* Do you have any major medical expenses?
* Do you do this or that?

Again, I reply, "No, No, No, No, No..."

"Oh, you really are JUST normal aren't you? I've never met one like you."

This can make you feel somewhat paranoid if you take it the wrong way.

When you apply for a loan, the mortgage people ask you enough questions to make "War and Peace" seem like "CliffsNotes":

* Are you married?
* Have you ever been divorced?
* Do you have any outstanding debt?
* Do you have any dependants?
* How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

Again, I reply, "No, No, No, No, No..., ah, 1557?"

"Oh, you really are JUST normal aren't you? Hmm, interesting."

It's easy to understand why I get annoyed with such interrogations. I don't think Casey Anthony or George Zimmerman had to answer such a battery of questions. We could save considerable time for all parties involved if they just took my word that I was "normal." Instead, it seems like a witch hunt to prove that I am somehow "abnormal" thereby justifying the reams of paper they expend to document me.

Even if you don't write a single letter or postcard in your lifetime, the amount of paperwork you incur is overwhelming, not to mention unnecessary. So, instead of wasting reams of paper let's begin by simply talking on the level. As for me, I'm "just normal," if that means anything to you.

First published: August 3, 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:  AN ODE FOR A HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALLER  - What I learned from the game.

LAST TIME:  LOSING IT  - and the private hell of finding it.

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.

Friday, November 17, 2017

LOSING IT

BRYCE ON LIFE

- And the private hell you go through "finding it."

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

I do not believe there are too many things more aggravating than misplacing something of value, be it keys, jewelry, a wallet or whatever. It's maddening. When you first become aware something is missing, you initially believe you know its location which, of course, you do not. Terror sets in when you realize it is not there. Your disposition goes from calm concern to desperate panic in a few scant seconds depending on the value of the object and where you believe you lost it, such as in a public venue like a restaurant. In addition to the object of your concern, you also lose your personality in the process.

Losing a wallet or a purse can unnerve the best of us as I believe we are all mindful of the dangers of identity theft. This inevitably results in frantic calls to credit card companies to stop and change accounts, and frankly, I am not too keen on talking to "Bob" in Bombay when havoc strikes. Wallets and money clips are one thing, keys are another as you become obsessed with the security of your home, office, or automobile. Believe me, changing credit card accounts is a lot easier than replacing keys which is why I rarely treat them with a carefree attitude, even in places where I feel safe and secure. Plain and simply, I do not want to go through the trouble of replacing them.

Women tend to get upset when they've misplaced an article of jewelry, even if it is relatively inexpensive, such as a matching earring or a bauble with sentimental value. This unnerves the best of them as they search frantically for it. Drawers are emptied, closets turned upside-down, rugs turned over, laundry hampers rummaged through. The last desperate act is to look in sink drains, washing machines and dryers where the person fears the worst. It can get rather ugly.

It is difficult to deal with people when they are in a state of panic. They tend to be irrational. Don't ask them to do anything else as they are obsessed with the object and will not stop until they find it, which could be a long time. One tip I can suggest for small items is to search the cracks of sofas and chairs. You will be surprised what you find down there, a veritable treasure trove. Also check jackets you haven't worn in awhile, or suit pockets.

Over the years, my family has lost keys, jewelry, lighters, sunglasses, garage door openers, wallets, and purses. And every time we do, we vow to turn over a new leaf and take better care of such possessions. Unfortunately, one never does. Something always slips through the cracks if you are not careful. To illustrate, I was leaving the office late one night and planned on going to a friend's house to relax. I turned on the office security, closed the door, and lit up a cigar on our front porch. I then got in my car and took a leisurely ride over to my friend's house. As I arrived, I parked in his driveway, exited the car, and headed towards the front door. It was then that an alarm went off in my head. Something was wrong. I stopped and started to go down a mental checklist...wallet (check), money (check), cell phone (check), car keys (check), office keys...Oh, oh! I then frantically scoured my car looking for the keys, but couldn't find them. The only thing to do was to retrace my steps. I got in my car and drove back to my office. As I went up the steps, there they were in the front door lock. In the process of lighting my cigar, I had somehow forgotten them in the keyhole. Although I was irritated to go back to my office, I was glad I remembered them as quickly as I did and felt fortunate that nobody had stopped by the front door of the office and taken them. I narrowly dodged the bullet on this one. Yes, misplacing an object is one thing, forgetting to lock a door or close a window is another. I found it interesting that some sort of mental warning system had flashed telling me something was wrong.

As maddening as it is to believe you have lost or forgotten something, there is nothing quite as comforting as finding it. It is like a fog suddenly lifting and the sun shining through again. Rather euphoric I think, but I can certainly do without the histrionics leading up to it.

First published: July 6, 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:  I'M JUST NORMAL...REALLY - You can save a lot of paper if you just take my word for it.

LAST TIME:  REBUILDING LOYALTY - The best thing to do is not to lose it in the first place.

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.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

REBUILDING LOYALTY

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

- The best thing to do is not to lose it in the first place.

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

There is a general consensus today that there is a complete breakdown in corporate loyalty, that employees no longer maintain allegiances to their companies or their bosses. Years ago people joined companies usually for life. Workers figured if they worked hard enough and kept their noses clean, the company would take care of them. This is no longer the case. Due to the corporate changes implemented over the last thirty years to remain competitive in a world economy, workers now typically live in a state of paranoia and think short-term employment as opposed to long-term, thus affecting their perspective on loyalty.

As some very visible examples of this, consider the dismantling of the studio system in Hollywood and the farm system in Major League Baseball. Instead of being groomed and nurtured from within the system, employees have been forced to become free-agents. Obviously, this encourages individualism as opposed to teamwork. I chuckle when I hear an executive become exasperated that there isn't any loyalty in his company anymore. Why should there be if he promotes a corporate culture that doesn't encourage loyalty?

Let's understand this from the outset, loyalty represents trust. It means a person is confident that something will behave predictably, positively, and to their benefit. As a result, they will willingly pledge their allegiance to it. If it doesn't behave in this manner, loyalty will be shattered.

There are three types of loyalty we commonly come in contact with: Product, Institutional, and Person:

Product Loyalty

I'm sure we all know someone who has allegiances to products. For example, I have a friend whose family has been buying Buick automobiles literally for generations. Even though the body styles have changed over the years, they have found it to be a trustworthy product and have remained loyal customers for decades. I also have a business contact who refuses to fly on anything but Boeing aircraft. Back in 1985 there was a consumer uproar when Coca-Cola changed their formula and introduced "New Coke." Loyal customers finally forced the company to reintroduce the original formula under the name, "Coca-Cola Classic" (as we know it today).

People form attachments to products because they like it, have become familiar with it, and are confident it will perform routinely and to their benefit. They will even go so far as to adapt their lifestyle to the product and become dependent on it, just like a drug, even tolerating modest changes in price and attributes. However, if the product changes radically, becomes unreliable, or skyrockets in price, then loyalty is shattered and the consumer looks for other alternatives. To illustrate, consider the American automotive industry; for years, people loyally purchased American automobiles because they believed them to be well built and tailored to the needs of the American public. Foreign automobiles were originally considered as nothing more than a curiosity that was out of step with the public. Because of some serious missteps by Detroit though, consumer loyalty was shattered and transferred to foreign car manufacturers, particularly the Japanese and Germans who worked overtime to cultivate consumer loyalty.

Loyalty in this regards does not require a product to be best in its class. In fact, a lot of mediocre products command consumer loyalty simply because consumers perceive them as quality goods. For example, I do not consider Microsoft products to be the best of their kind, yet they command incredible consumer loyalty as people perceive them as "state of the art."

Institutional Loyalty

We see instances of institutional loyalty in such things as political parties (Democrats, Republicans), branches of the military (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy), countries and communities, charities, sports teams, fraternal organizations, and companies. Here, people fervently believe in the institution they belong to and proudly display their loyalty through such things as lapel pins, bumper stickers, tattoos, web sites or whatever. Most people realize such institutions are not perfect. Nevertheless, they support it through thick and thin simply because they believe it to be a good and noble institution. The only time they will break with it is if the institution radically changes course and is no longer in line with their personal interests and values. For example, we have seen examples of people switching from one political party to another due to a change in policies and interests.

Quite often, the loyalty for an institution or office within it supersedes the loyalty to the person holding the office. We see numerous examples of this in the military and government alone. True, soldiers are more apt to follow certain leaders into battle they believe in, but they will also perform their duty out of a greater sense of loyalty to the institution.

Corporations tend to be a bit different though since the integrity of such institutions are being questioned today. This is probably due to corporate cultures that are failing to maintain the interests of the workers. Whereas I still have friends employed by big businesses who have long tenure with their companies, younger workers tend to lack faith in the institutions and find the company's interests are not compatible with their own. Their only motivation is to pick up a paycheck, nothing more, nothing less. This is somewhat sad as it means their work is not aligned with their interests which does not promote a sense of craftsmanship.

Personal Loyalty

Loyalty to a particular individual is perhaps more common than the other two. This is because people are social animals and tend to identify with the interests of others (the "birds of a feather" phenomenon). In terms of superior/subordinate relationships, with rare exception, we want to believe in our leaders. We want them to worry about charting the right course of action while we worry about tending to our own particular work effort. People are more inclined to follow a leader, even through the most difficult of times, whom they are loyal to than someone they do not trust. Understand this though, loyalty at this level is a two-way street; not only does a manager require the loyalty of his workers, the workers require the loyalty of the manager. This requires effective social and communications skills (people skills). The manager must demonstrate he knows what he is doing, knows the right path to take, and maintains the interests of his subordinates. Conversely, the workers must demonstrate to the manager they are willing to put forth the necessary effort to see a job through to completion. In other words, both parties depend on each other, which brings us back to trust. And if the trust is ever broken, harmony is disrupted, and the manager and workers begin to work at odds against each other, which, of course, is counterproductive and a very unhealthy working environment.

Rebuilding Loyalty

If our trust in someone or something is broken, it is difficult to repair, but not impossible. If Product Loyalty is broken, consumer confidence has to be rebuilt; If Institutional Loyalty is broken, the corporate culture has to be overhauled, and; If Personal Loyalty is broken, it will be the most difficult to correct due to the human dynamics involved. In any event, rebuilding loyalty will be a long and costly process. The best thing to do is not to lose it in the first place.

Loyalty is broken when expectations radically diverge from what happens in practice. People are willing to forgive errors or indiscretions to a point, primarily because as creatures of habit we are comfortable with the status quo and do not necessarily want to change, but if problems become significant without any sign of being remedied, people will lose patience and faith in the object of attention. Let's take the 1985 Coca-Cola incident as an example; had the company made a minor change in the Coke formula, it probably would have been accepted. They didn't. The "New Coke" formula was a radical departure from the old formula. Regardless of the considerable marketing hype of the new product, customers lost confidence in it and started a rebellion to reintroduce the old formula.

Worker loyalty is lost when they become convinced their interests are not being maintained by management, and lack confidence in the direction of the company. This typically occurs when:

* Promises are not kept by management.
* Worker jobs are in peril of being outsourced.
* The company is losing market share.
* The workers do not understand the deployment or withdrawal of certain products or services.

Whether such scenarios are real or not, worker loyalty will be lost if management's judgment is perceived as questionable. A lot of this can be corrected simply by effective communications to clear up misunderstandings and to explain the rationale for a course of action. Even if the chips are down, workers are more likely to remain loyal if they understand and believe in the course management has plotted.

Worker loyalty in management is also based on ethics and quality. If the actions of management are perceived as unscrupulous or unsavory, workers will quickly lose faith in them. Further, if workers do not have confidence in the quality of the products or services they are producing and selling (that they know them to be based on inferior workmanship), this too will be a bad reflection of management's integrity.

Look, its really quite simple, workers want to be treated fairly, lead a worthy and meaningful life, and have confidence in the direction of their company. This requires management to improve their people skills, refine the corporate culture, and enact effective communications. In return, management should rightfully expect loyalty from the work force.

Deeds speak louder than words. In order for management to be credible with workers, they must demonstrate they have the best interests of their employees in mind. Let me give you an example, every once and awhile in Major League Baseball you see a manager charge out to an umpire during a game to challenge a call and becomes quite vocal and animated (Earl Weaver and Billy Martin were legendary in this regards). Quite often, such challenges are done more for demonstrative purposes as opposed to actually refuting a call by the umpire. Basically, the histrionics are used by the managers to tell their own team that he believes in his players and is willing to fight to protect their interests. Now I'm not suggesting that a corporate officer or manager needs to pick a fight with someone, but some public demonstration of his sincerity is needed to express his commitment to his workers, be it a reward, a testimony, a recognition or whatever; something to demonstrate he has the best interests of his employees in mind. This includes affecting the corporate culture and establishing the proper work environment. Some managers have little sensitivity for the type of work their people have to perform. In fact, they prefer a master/slave relationship thereby elevating their ego, but if they create an environment that empowers employees and treats them like professionals, thereby giving them a sense of purpose, they tend to become more dedicated and loyal to the company.

Some people contend you can buy loyalty. I do not subscribe to this notion. In this situation, people will only be loyal as long as the cash continues to roll in. When it stops (or if someone outbids another), people move on. Do not confuse loyalty with bribery. Loyalty means you believe in something and are willing to stand by it through good times as well as bad.

Conclusion

Years ago, Les Matthies, the legendary "Dean of Systems" admonished me, "As long as someone provides you with a job, be loyal to that person; don't gossip and ridicule him; do your job, and do it right. If you don't like the person, then get out and do something else." What worries me is that Les' sentiments are lost in today's world. Loyalty is rapidly becoming a lost virtue. Interestingly, I have met a lot of people in recent years complaining how loyalty is lost in corporate America, as well as other institutions such as nonprofit organizations. These same people all want to see loyalty become part of our core values again, but they are all waiting for someone else to take the first step in making this happen. If you believe in the necessity of loyalty, that it adds value to our lives, then it behooves all of us to take the first step.

Always remember: Loyalty = Trust

First published: October 16, 2006

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:  LOSING IT - And the private hell you go through "finding it."

LAST TIME:  HOW SHOULD WE INTERPRET HISTORY? - And what will they think of us in the 23rd century?

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.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

HOW SHOULD WE INTERPRET HISTORY?

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- And what will they think of us in the 23rd century?

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

To most Americans, it is unsettling to watch historical statues toppled and the names of our forefathers besmirched. We used to hold these people in reverential awe, such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Andrew Jackson. We certainly knew they weren't perfect, but their accomplishments in the birth of our nation greatly overshadowed their flaws. Even the southern soldiers during the Civil War were held in high regard afterwards by both sides for the bloody lesson the country had to learn the hard way. Time eventually healed the nation.

Those leading the drive to denigrate our history claim we should be ashamed of our past, that it should have all been handled differently in order to be politically correct by today's standards. Unfortunately, history doesn't work this way. Decisions were considered carefully at the time, often debated, but had to be made in a timely manner without consideration for the social mores of the 21st century.

In 1835, Andrew Jackson ordered the removal of the Cherokee Tribe to west of the Mississippi River. At the time, America was still in its infancy but beginning to grow. Settlers were often attacked and harassed by the Cherokee. So much so, Jackson ordered the removal of the tribes so peace and prosperity could take hold. Jackson was criticized for the decision, both then and now, but he did so with the intent of protecting the young country. Could it have been handled differently? Maybe, but this was the course taken by Jackson at the time.

American history has many other examples, such as President James K. Polk's handling of the Mexican–American War in the 1840's, or President Harry S. Truman's decision in 1945 to drop the Atomic Bomb. Whether or not you agreed with their decisions, they had to make them and they considered each problem from many angles, not necessarily what future generations would think.
Those advocating condemnation of our history suggest the formulation of a consensus by the people BEFORE making a decision. This is decision making by democracy, which is fine if you have got the time, but ineffective if you do not. Many times we do not have the luxury to go to the people; a decision has to be made quickly.

In 1980, Boston University professor Howard Zinn published his book, "A People’s History of the United States," which offered an opposing view of American history. In it, Zinn portrayed American history through the eyes of common people, such as the native American tribes, African slaves, and the Mexicans of the Southwest. Zinn was an admitted socialist and believed such depictions would paint a sympathetic picture of minorities, and a condemnation of American history. Zinn's book contends America’s riches are due to theft, and as such, America is obligated to redistribute its wealth to the Third World nations. He also contends America needs to redistribute the wealth among its citizens to end income inequality. Since its publication, the book has been used in other university and high school history programs, thereby influencing young people, which leads us to today's defamation of American history.

So, who are we to judge the past? The ethics of today are certainly not those of yesteryear. Back then, decisions were based on the current rules of morality and political expediency. For slave owners like Washington, Jefferson, and Jackson, the Civil War was yet to be fought and owning slaves was considered acceptable, including Virginia and Tennessee at the time. Were these men evil? Not by the standards of their day. This may not make it right for the 21st century, but it was a reality of the 18th and 19th centuries. Do we sweep it under the carpet or do we recognize our forefathers were less than perfect by today's standards and applaud their other decisions, like launching a republic where freedom flourishes?

History is written to describe our checkered past, not its purity. This enables us to learn from it. Historians and the public have the luxury of second guessing the figures from the past, but often have trouble understanding the morality and political mood of the time. It is easier to say something was good or bad years after it occurred when the ramifications are fully known, but people at the time didn't always have such a luxury. This is not to provide a rationale for evil, a la Hitler or Stalin, but to note the people of the past did the best they could based on the information of the time and political climate. Despite their character flaws, as we all possess, we tend to overlook the achievements our forefathers made, such as creating a country that is the inspiration and leader of the free world.

If you are waiting for an official apology from a descendant for some character flaw of our founding fathers, do not expect it anytime soon. After all, they were not responsible for the actions or decisions of their predecessors.

Actually, the problem is more insidious in intent than most people realize. The defamation of the past is designed to make us feel ashamed of our heritage, that it should be torn down and started over. I disagree. As far as I'm concerned, what's done is done. Learn from it. Adapt, overcome, and evolve. Hopefully we'll make better decisions than our predecessors. Regardless of how politically correct we try to be, people in the 23rd century will likely call us "boneheads."

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

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Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim's columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  REBUILDING LOYALTY - The best thing to do is not to lose it in the first place.

LAST TIME:  PRODUCING NEWSLETTERS: BEWARE OF THE BIRDCAGE - Writing newsletters that will be read as opposed to discarded.

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.

Monday, November 13, 2017

PRODUCING NEWSLETTERS: BEWARE OF THE BIRDCAGE

BRYCE ON NONPROFITS

- Writing newsletters that will be read as opposed to discarded.

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As I have been involved with a variety of nonprofit organizations over the years, I am often saddled with the task of producing the group's newsletter. Maybe it's because I know how to string a few words together and have worked with computers for more years than I care to remember. Nonetheless, I have probably produced over a thousand newsletters over the years for management groups, technology associations, homeowner groups, and fraternal organizations. Because of this, I like to believe I have learned a thing or two over the years about these publications, the first being they should never be taken for granted. Too often I see newsletters prepared frivolously where the same verbiage is spewed out month after month thereby become very predictable and quite boring. I know of newsletters where the same copy is used year after year and nothing changes except the names of the club's officers. Surprisingly nobody notices. There is nothing wrong with devising a standard format, which readers tend to adapt to, but if there is no "news" in the newsletter, in all likelihood it will only be used to line the bottom of a birdcage. However, if they are meaningful, not only will they be read, they'll also be kept for future reference.

When writing copy for the newsletter, keep it simple and to the point. Do not ramble as most readers of newsletters have the attention span of a gnat and become easily bored. You have less than thirty seconds to grab a person's attention with a newsletter, after which they will decide to either read it or discard it. I tend to see the newsletter as a working tool which is why people should discuss more about what is on the horizon and less about what happened in the past. Your column should be positive and upbeat, not negative and depressing. In other words, keep the glass half full as opposed to half empty. We write to communicate, not to put people to sleep. People will likely follow you if you are more optimistic. If you've got bad news though, do not try to sugarcoat it, give it to your members straight so you get their attention and encourage participation if necessary.

Other than news, a schedule of upcoming events should be included, along with a listing of club officers and their contact information (e.g., telephone, e-mail). These two items are what most people are looking for, everything else is secondary. In terms of "filler," there is a lot you can add, but do not overdo it as you should be mindful of the birdcage liner phenomenon. I have seen a variety of things used, such as a welcome of new members, a listing of past presidents, this day in history, cartoons, some useful tips and techniques, educational trivia, and a listing of sponsors.

As I begin editing the newsletter, I collect all of the notes and columns from contributors and place them into a plain text file (ASCII) suitable for use with any text processor, e.g., MS Notepad. People always wonder why I do this. The answer is simple, in this format I can migrate it to any other computer file format, be it a word processor, desktop publishing, HTML (web page), E-Mail, PDF, etc. Whereas these other formats are limited in terms of migrating to other file formats, plain ASCII text can go anywhere. In one association I am involved with, I produce multiple versions of the same newsletter: using desktop publishing, I produce a paper copy to be printed and mailed and a PDF version to be e-mailed; I also produce an HTML version for our web page. This is all simple to do, but not possible without first preparing the plain ASCII text version. As an aside, I am a big proponent of Adobe's PDF file format as it is more universally applicable than word processors like MS Word.

Since your files are now on the computer, be sure to run spell checkers and grammar checkers on the text. In this day and age, there is no excuse for not doing so.

I tend to name computer files in a specific manner so I can easily sort through them and find what I want, as well as to easily backup files. For example, I put the publication date into the name; to illustrate:

NEWS0612.TXT - Representing the June 2012 edition (MMYY) - my personal preference
NEWS1206.TXT - the same thing backwards (YYMM)
NEWS200612.TXT - Representing the June 20th, 2012 edition (DDMMYY) if so inclined

I have seen other people name them based on Volume and Edition number; for example:
Vol06Ed10.TXT - Volume 06, Edition 10

How you name your files is your business but I encourage you to devise a standard format thereby simplifying the storage and maintenance of the files. This is also useful for setting up a new edition of the newsletter. Instead of inventing an entirely new edition of each newsletter, I copy and rename a past issue and use it as a template to build the next edition, thereby saving considerable time.

In terms of layout, devise a clean and simple approach that you can standardize on, thereby inviting readership as opposed to discouraging people. Most desktop publishing tools have standard templates for such purposes. Always be cognizant of your readership and try to accommodate people. For example, do not use a tiny font or strange type style that nobody can read. Break your text into multiple columns on a page, two or three, and leave a sufficient amount of white space between columns, thereby making it easy to read. Underline or highlight key words you want to draw attention to but do not do so excessively as people will start to ignore it.

Again, I warn publishers of newsletters, regardless of how graphically appealing your publication looks, it it doesn't say anything of substance it will inevitably end up in the birdcage. Before you release it though, try to get a second set of eyes to review the publication. Another person might be able to spot something you have overlooked.

Although most publications today are distributed via e-mail and web pages, there are still people who do not have access to a computer, particularly elderly members who prefer printed copies instead. This means you need an address book that can produce both mailing labels as well as a listing of e-mail addresses. Electronic versions of the newsletter have no restrictions in terms of number of pages. However, printed versions do, as dictated by postage costs. I have seen many organizations struggle with the issue of discontinuing the printed version of the newsletter. Electronic versions are cheaper to produce, and you can do more with them, but if a sizable portion of your membership cannot access it, you will inevitably alienate them. Then again, this may become a moot point if the economics of the group cannot justify the continuation of a printed version.

The question remains though, can a simple newsletter truly impact a nonprofit organization? You betcha. First, it reflects the personality of the group (tired versus stimulating; lethargic versus ambitious). Second, it gets the word out as to the plans and activities of the group. I would wager you this: those groups without a newsletter or offer nothing more than a "birdcage liner" are probably the same groups suffering from apathy, lack of attendance, and a decline in membership.

All that is needed is someone who can string a few words together and feels comfortable around computers. Oh oh, now I know how I get trapped into doing this.

First published: July 9, 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:  HOW SHOULD WE INTERPRET HISTORY? - And what will they think of us in the 23rd century?

LAST TIME:  GETTING NASTY  - Do nice guys always finish last? Well, ah...

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.