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Friday, July 28, 2017

THE DEATH OF COMMON COURTESY

BRYCE ON LIFE

- A little sincerity can go a long way.

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

The other day we had a new FedEx driver make a delivery at our office in Palm Harbor. Since I happened to be by the front door, I opened it and watched him approach. He wore a scowl on his face as if he had been having a bad day. I opened the door, greeted him warmly, shook his hand and asked how his day was going. As I signed for the delivery, the driver looked at me strangely. I asked him if there was a problem. He said, No, it was just that I was the first person that day to be friendly to him and actually ask how he was doing. He said in most companies he visits he's pretty much taken for granted and treated rudely.

I asked if he thought this was something unique to him as an individual. He said, No, the other drivers often speak of the callousness of their clientele. Come to think of it, I have seen evidence of this elsewhere. For example, when I go to a restaurant, the waiters and waitresses are often taken aback when I kid with them and ask them about their day. Often they look at me like I might have some ulterior motive. But once they get past this, they warm up to me and we have a good working relationship.

This made me stop and think about today's corporate work place. Have we become so jaded and insensitive as to disregard the interpersonal relationships of our employees, our customers, and our vendors? Have we become so self-centered and aloof that we no longer care how we treat other people?

You know, I learned a long time ago that you can catch a heckova lot more flies with honey than you can with vinegar. A little courtesy and hospitality can go a long way with people. For example, I learned the virtues of a firm handshake some time ago. I don't just give them some wishy-washy handshake and look through the person. I look them squarely in the eyes, shake their hand and tell them how glad I am to see them. Something as simple as a sincere handshake can work miracles.

We must remember that we don't conduct our business with inanimate objects, but rather with human beings. Sharpening our people skills is incredibly important to accomplish anything worthwhile in life. Simple common courtesy is a big part of this. Try it. Next time that FedEx or UPS driver comes to your door or a waitress to your table, look up at them, greet them with a smile and ask them how they're doing; heck, even often them a handshake. You will be pleasantly surprised with the service you'll get in return. I'll tell you this; we have no problems with shipments or deliveries at our office. How about yours?

First published: September 12, 2005

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 BENEFITS OF NETWORKING - Instead of watching TV, attend a meeting.

LAST TIME:  PARENTING MANAGEMENT - Like it or not, businesses must teach the young how to act.

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, July 26, 2017

PARENTING MANAGEMENT

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

- Like it or not, businesses must teach the young how to act.

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

"Most children are raised by amateurs, not professionals."
- Bryce's Law
Want to know what to expect of the work force in the years ahead? Look no farther than our schools or homes. Let me preface my remarks by saying that in addition to all of my other responsibilities, I was very active in my local Little League for a number of years where I served as coach, umpire, and on the local board of directors. Further, I have been very active locally in offering Masonic scholarships to High School students. In addition, my wife has been active in the local school system for the last ten years at the elementary, middle, and high school levels (this also included PTA and SAC). Although we probably won't win an award as the world's best parents, we made a point of becoming an important and influential part of our children's lives. We didn't take any special courses in parenting, we just got involved. But we are the exceptions as opposed to the rule.

Prior to World War II, the country was immersed in an economic depression which put a strain on families and disrupted our society. Everyone in a family was expected to pitch in and do their part in order to survive, this included going to school and their place of worship. Some families suffered severe hardships during this period causing children to drop out of school and go to work. They didn't drop out as some form of rebellion or protest, but to simply earn money to help support the family. Consequently, many earned nothing higher than a Junior High diploma which was prized by many families. The point is, there was a sense of family back then and the people's hunger built character. They understood the value of a dollar, worked hard and squandered nothing. It was this generation that got us through the war and propelled the country towards economic success in the latter part of the 20th century.

In the 1950's and 1960's, as the country was experiencing an economic boom, a parent normally stayed at home to manage the family, usually the wife. If a child had a problem, a parent was always home to tend to their needs. Children no longer had to drop out of school to support the family and our High Schools and Colleges swelled with students. The "baby boomers" were considered well adjusted and readily adapted to the work force. This generation saw us through the space race and the technology revolution which changed the face of corporate America.

But in the last three decades, we began to lose faith in our economy and our standard of living. As a result, both parents began to work inordinate hours and a generation gap began to emerge. Exhausted by their work, the parents would return home where the last thing they wanted to hear was their child's problems. Consequently, children became social outcasts in their own homes and often had to fend for themselves; they simply couldn't relate with their parents. Sure, the parents would sign their kids up for Summer Camp, Little League and Soccer, but this was viewed more as baby-sitting services as opposed to taking a true interest in the child's development. They would also give their kids television sets and video games to occupy their time.

Today, school teachers have become surrogate parents by default, something they weren't trained for, nor inclined to accept. Talk to a teacher and you will hear stories of lack of respect for authority, poor manners, and dysfunctional social intercourse. Children today no longer learn their values from their parents but rather from Hollywood. As young adults entering the work force, their work ethic, values, and behavior are noticeably different than the prior generation. There is no longer a sense of quality, service, or craftsmanship; just put in your time and collect a paycheck. This is all having an adverse effect on how we conduct business and the corporate culture.

Now, let me give you a the scary figure: probably 20%, or less, of today's graduating High School seniors are socially well adjusted.

Knowing this, what should you do as a manager?

In the past, if you were a new employee, it was assumed you knew how to manage your personal life and you were expected to adapt to the corporate culture. This is no longer true and presents a problem for managers. Younger employees today have problems managing money, dressing appropriately, and interpersonal relations and communications, not to mention alcohol, drugs, and sex. They are raw and rough. But are they salvageable? They better be, for your company's sake, as they represent tomorrow's work force.

Perhaps we can take a lesson from the military services here. The military is well aware they are not getting the "cream of the crop" when they take on new recruits. Many are social misfits coming from broken homes. As such, the military's initial role is to break the individual of bad habits and impose a new system of discipline and work ethic. Individualism is replaced by teamwork and, in the process, a sense of belonging and family is imposed. This is either readily accepted by the new recruit or they are drummed out of the service. Discipline, organization, teamwork, and a strong work ethic can have a dramatic affect on a drifting soul. By doing so, it can bring order to lives and a sense of purpose, something that perhaps was neglected at home.

Today's Drill Instructors and junior officers also find themselves as surrogate parents and are now instructed in counseling young soldiers. The boot camps of today are a lot different than what the country experienced during World War II, Korea, and Viet Nam. Yet, we are producing a fine class of soldiers which makes our country proud. In other words, they must be doing something right.

If we have learned anything from the military in this regard, it is that the times have changed and our employees today have different needs requiring a new type of manager who can adequately tend to them. And like today's Drill Instructors and school teachers, managers are finding themselves in the role of surrogate parents, like it or not. Managers bristle at this notion. After all, they want to get on with their business and do not want to be regarded as a baby-sitter. But the fact remains, home parenting skills are at an all-time low and to overcome this problem, someone has to assume the duty to compensate for this inadequacy. Again, the military readily understands this and has adapted accordingly. But can business?

Understand this, corporate America's "recruits" come predominantly from the colleges and universities whose purpose is not to teach social skills, but rather, to teach people how to learn. A college diploma most definitely does not mean the graduate is socially well-adjusted, but that he/she has learned to study and accept new ideas. If anything, the student's extracurricular activities tell more about a person's personality than the degree itself. For example, participation in team sports, club activities, or Greek life speaks volumes about a person's personality and social skills.

In the past, new corporate recruits underwent special training programs to learn how the company conducts business. Sales people in particular had to undergo rigorous training to learn how to present products and care for the customers. Workmen underwent training to learn how to build quality products. However, such programs have been slashed in recent times as a means for cutting costs (and will be the subject of a future paper).

There was also a period where mentors were assigned to new employees to chaperone them on their journey through the corporate world. Mentors were basically a "Big Brother/Sister" program where senior employees would offer sage advice to neophytes on adapting to the corporate world. But like the training programs, mentoring is also being phased out.

Although mentoring and training programs were intended to develop the employee's skills and effectiveness from a corporate perspective, neither dwelled on the personal problems of the employee.

Now that new employees are left to fend for themselves, a generation gap is emerging in business. Managers from just about every job segment are frustrated with new employees, and, likewise, new employees are frustrated with management. Whereas managers lament how little is accomplished by new employees, new employees complain how much time they are putting in at work. This highlights a significant difference between the generations: whereas the new employees are watching the clock, the managers are watching what is produced. The two are not synonymous, but nobody has taught the young employees this yet. To the "newbies," their time is what is important, regardless if they produce anything worthwhile or not; to the manager, it is just the opposite. Also, young people believe calling in sick is an acceptable form of behavior. Where did they learn all this? On their own. It is a sad state of affairs when the media has more influence over the values of our children than parents do. But when adults abdicate parenting to the media, it is not entirely surprising.

So, what is needed? More training? Mentoring? Nope. Just some parenting. The sooner corporations realize this, the sooner they can begin to develop mature and responsible employees. Again, this is why the military now teaches its Drill Instructors basic counseling techniques, so they can help new recruits find their way through life and become a good soldier. It is most definitely not "baby-sitting" but, rather, a recognition that parents have dropped the ball in their child's development and someone has to pick up the pieces in order for the newbie to realize their potential.

I do not claim to have a Ph.D. in parenting, but as I see it there are three primary duties a parent needs to inculcate:

* Role Model - first, a parent has to be a good role model with attributes their subordinates want to aspire to attain. Role models are respected for their authority and become a highly credible source of information and inspiration.

* Teacher - second, a parent has to be able to teach, not just academic lessons but those of life; e.g., morality, socialization, even finances (e.g., balancing a checkbook, life insurance, etc.). It is the teacher who establishes the rules and regulations of the classroom and, as such, is also the disciplinarian.

* Guidance Counselor - third, parenting includes guiding others on their path through life, explaining options and making recommendations.

Very important, a parent has to recognize they won't have all of the answers, but should know how to point someone in the right direction to get the answers they need.

Above all else, a parent has to care about the welfare of their offspring. I am not suggesting corporate parents love their children like biological parents, but they need to invest time in the person, believe in the person, and motivate them accordingly, whether through kindness or a good swift kick in the rear. The corporate parent has to also know when their work is complete and allow the offspring to move on to the next stage of their corporate life.

The military has the advantage of written contracts and boot camps to indoctrinate new recruits. Perhaps a corporate boot camp could be devised and teach the same lessons as found in the military, such as:

* Cause and effect, e.g., if you make a mistake, you know you will be penalized accordingly.

* The value of good workmanship and its impact on others.

* How to give and take an order.

* Discipline and code of conduct.

* Teamwork.

CONCLUSION

Companies today are at a loss coping with the newest generation of workers. What they don't realize is, it will get worse before it gets better. Since most biological parents are content with allowing others to teach their children the necessary values in life, teachers, the military and corporations are forced to pick up the slack, like it or not. The sooner we admit this, the sooner we can address how to remedy the situation. Whether this involves one-on-one counseling or a boot camp type of environment, something has to be done to teach our newest wave of workers the proper values to succeed in business and in life.

Let me leave you with a real-life story on parenting in the workplace. Some time ago I was visiting with a CIO in Columbus, Ohio who took me on a tour of his facility. Along the way, we happened upon a young programmer who was new to the company. Frankly, he looked a little wet behind the ears and had long hair over his collar. After the CIO introduced me to the young man, he instructed him to go get a haircut. The young programmer, shot back indignantly, "You can't say that to me!"

The CIO turned calmly but deliberately to the programmer, and said, "Yes I can. Watch," then pointing to his mouth, "Get a haircut. Now!"

The programmer backed down and, to his credit, dutifully got a haircut.

I had just witnessed a little "Parenting Management" in action. The CIO exercised his authority and had quickly instructed the newbie on one of the rules to be observed in the workplace. The programmer's biological parents hadn't instructed him properly, now it defaulted to his corporate parent.

"Parenting Management" - Just remember, you heard it here first.

First published: October 17, 2005

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 DEATH OF COMMON COURTESY - A little sincerity can go a long way.

LAST TIME:  FIGHTING FIRE WITH FIRE - What we can learn from Lincoln's bid for election.

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, July 24, 2017

FIGHTING FIRE WITH FIRE

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- What we can learn from Lincoln's bid for election.

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

"The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise -- with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew."
- Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln can offer some valuable lessons of importance regarding politics from well beyond the grave. Doris Kearns Goodwin's book, "Team of Rivals - The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln" published by Simon & Schuster (October 2005), provides some rare insight into his thinking. It is an excellent book which I heartily recommend to those interested in history and politics. There have been numerous books written on Lincoln and the Civil War, but what makes this book interesting is the political maneuvering to make Lincoln president.

It would be incorrect to assume Lincoln was highly successful in his early political career. In reality, he suffered several setbacks; he lost an incumbent election for Congress and two runs for the Senate. Each stung Lincoln sorely, but to his credit, he learned from his mistakes. As the election of 1860 approached, he got his political house in order and devised a successful campaign.

Going into the 1860 Republican convention in Chicago, Lincoln knew he would have to contend with others that were better known and respected than himself; including:

William Edward Seward - former Governor and Senator from New York.
Salmon Chase - former Governor of Ohio.
Edward Bates - former judge from Missouri.

The front-runner going into the campaign was Seward who was well known, had impeccable credentials (as did the others) and a successful track record in politics. Although Lincoln's intellect and integrity were beyond question, he was considered a political loser. Knowing this, Lincoln carefully crafted a "Dark Horse" campaign. He knew he wouldn't garner the votes to receive the nomination on the first ballot, but felt he could position himself ahead of the others and capture the nomination should Seward stumble. To do so, Lincoln carefully assembled his own political machine. Not only were all of the Illinois delegates behind Lincoln, but he recruited political handlers who had run against him in past campaigns (and won). This is perhaps the key reason why Chicago was selected as the convention site over eastern venues as well as St. Louis (home for Bates). It is this political machine that ultimately won Lincoln the nomination and, of course, the election.

To assemble his machine, Lincoln networked and cultivated relationships. He was well known for his storytelling abilities which endeared him to the public. Beyond this, he was gracious in defeat and magnanimous in victory. After losing his first Senate race, he shocked everyone by appearing at the victory party of his opponent and offered a genuine hand of friendship and support. This did not go unnoticed and was well remembered by his opponent who fought for his candidacy years later.

Lincoln's ability to turn opponents into proponents is at the heart of the book. During the campaign and knowing he would be a "Dark Horse" candidate, Lincoln did not find it necessary to speak ill of his opponents in his party's race. Instead, he talked in terms of shaping the ideologue of his young party. Although he was a respected attorney, he orchestrated a speaking campaign to add legitimacy to his candidacy. This took him on a journey through the northern states where he had been a relative unknown. By speaking from the heart, he weaved together some eloquent oratories that captivated his audiences. His arguments were well formed and rehearsed. This, coupled, with his down-home humor, endeared him as a man of the people. More importantly, Lincoln spoke not just about antislavery, but a broader platform that included how to develop the country's infrastructure and the need for a national bank. In other words, he didn't focus on a single issue, but presented a broader platform, thus adding to his credibility.

Lincoln's political machine worked wonders in Chicago and the nomination became his. Although the machine made some clever maneuvers, Lincoln did not have to beg, borrow or steal to win the necessary votes. In fact, he carried into the convention hall a slip of paper reminding him, "Make no contracts that will bind me."

Following his win at the convention, Lincoln's attention turned to cultivating his image ("Honest Abe") and targeting battleground states. He also found it necessary to perform rumor control in order to squelch any misconceptions or misinformation being presented to the public. It was important to him that his policies be carefully articulated and accurately reported to the public.

Lincoln went on to win the election and, knowing the country was approaching a flash point in the country's unity, went about the process of selecting key people for his cabinet. Here, Lincoln reached out to his recently defeated opponents in the Republican race and appointed Seward as Secretary of State, Chase as Secretary of the Treasury, and Bates as Attorney General. These people, particularly Seward, became his close confidants and trusted advisers. All were somewhat surprised to be asked to serve, but Lincoln's magnanimity encouraged them to put the interests of the country's ahead of their own.

During his term in office, on more than one occasion Lincoln accepted responsibility for errors committed by his subordinates, thereby deflecting criticism of his people and allowing them to save face. This endeared him to his former opponents and earned their respect.

CONCLUSION

Lincoln's rise in presidential politics could not have been accomplished without the support of the political machine he created. He may have viewed such machines as ugly and unsavory, but he recognized them as a fact of life. The same is true in politics today. Too often political machines subjugate the election of leaders. As Lincoln has shown us, the only way to fight fire is with fire.

As a footnote, "Team of Rivals" was the book used as the basis for Steven Spielberg's 2012 movie, "Lincoln," starring Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role. Interestingly, the movie concentrated on the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment used to abolish slavery. This represented a paltry twelve pages from the 944 page book. The real story was about how Lincoln's ability to forge relationships. Unfortunately, Hollywood decided to overlook it. Sad. Very sad.

First published: August 25, 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:  PARENTING MANAGEMENT - Like it or not, businesses must teach the young how to act.

  - If it behaves like a drug, and possesses the same characteristics of a drug, then it may very well be a...

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, July 21, 2017

IS PERSONAL TECHNOLOGY A DRUG?

BRYCE ON TECHNOLOGY

- If it behaves like a drug, and possesses the same characteristics of a drug, then it may very well be a...

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

As many of you know, I have discussed the adverse effects of technology on numerous occasions. Specifically, I am talking about such things as mobile phones, video games, tablets and personal computers, those devices we embrace in the daily affairs of our lives. I have argued there is no documented proof it improves productivity (at least not with the U.S. Department of Labor), and that it affects our socialization skills particularly in the area on interpersonal relations. Such technology may allow us to express our creativity faster, to quickly access information, to communicate with anyone on the planet and share such things as notes and photos, but there is nothing to substantiate it enhances our ability to think. If anything, it diminishes the use of the brain. For example, many people can no longer perform basic math without the assistance of an automated calculator; We cannot communicate except by constant text messaging; We no longer believe we can compose letters or essays without a word processor, etc. It should come as no small wonder to watch an average office come to a complete standstill when the power is cutoff. Studies have also shown that extensive use of such devices actually lowers IQ. As Hicks points out in his book, "The Digital Pandemic," technology has the ability to alter our minds; that it can assume the same robotic mannerisms as the technology we use. This means we are subliminally adjusting our lifestyles to adapt to technology.

We tend to think of drugs as chemicals or substances that are either used for medication or as a stimulant or depressant affecting the central nervous system, thereby causing changes in behavior. Under this paradigm, drugs are absorbed into the bloodstream orally, injected or smoked. In contrast, personal technology is absorbed through our senses particularly sight, sound and touch which, in turn, stimulates and arouses the brain, and provides a convenient venue for escapism. If used in moderation, there is little problem, but when used on a prolonged basis it leads to addiction and can alter moods, perceptions, and thinking patterns which leads to both positive and negative side affects. One obvious positive side effect would be a sense of accomplishment as in winning a game or successfully completing a task. The negative effect though comes from extended use whereby people become dependent on their technology to perform a variety of mental functions, such as math and writing. Further, we become impatient for results; as we grow accustomed to instant information, instant cash, instant photos, instant food, instant everything, and as a result, we become less tolerant of any form of delay which increases stress levels and leads to anger.

I contend our extended use of technology leads to an increase in violent behavior. This is a proposition that is hard to prove as it is difficult to locate reliable data tying technology to violent behavior. Also, such things as road rage, sports rage, work rage, bullying, anger management, animal cruelty are relatively new phenomenons and weren't very prevalent just a few short decades ago. Consequently, finding reliable data over an extended period of time is very limited. The closest thing I could find was data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (its "Arrest Data Analysis Tool") which revealed an increase in assault, sexual abuse, and threatening communications over the last ten years (the period when the use of personal technology soared). However, there is no direct connection to technology being the cause. Because there is no hard data, my premise will remain a theory until sufficient data can be assembled tying the two together.

In terms of addiction, technology exhibits the same type of powers as chemical dependency or, at the very least, gambling which also does not require drugs in the usual sense. Actually, the parallel between technology and gambling addiction is quite remarkable, and can be just as devastating. One interesting report that attests to the power of technology addiction is "The World Unplugged," a global media study led by the International Center for Media and the Public Agenda (ICMPA), University of Maryland. As part of their conclusions, the report comments on how students in the study handled the lack of media (meaning electronic devices):

"Going without media during 'The World Unplugged' study made students more cognizant of the presence of media – both media’s benefits and their limitations. And perhaps what students became most cognizant of was their absolute inability to direct their lives without media.

The depths of the 'addiction' that students reported prompted some to confess that they had learned that they needed to curb their media habits. Most students doubted they would have much success, but they acknowledged that their reliance on media was to some degree self-imposed AND actually inhibited their ability to manage their lives as fully as they hoped – to make proactive rather than reactive choices about work and play."

Like anything, if used in moderation, technology holds no ill-effects. However, we have turned it into an 24/7 extension of our lives and can no longer imagine living without these devices. Because it offers instant gratification, it has become a new form of pacifier which we scream for when it is taken away from us.

The "pushers" of this new drug, of course, are the entertainment and electronic industries who keep refining their technology and content, making it even more enticing with each new release. They truly understand the addictiveness of this drug and how to use it for their benefit, as do politicians.

Let me leave you with one last thought; Life doesn't emulate art, it emulates technology. Think about it, are we becoming more robotic in our thinking? Is our imagination and creativity limited by our technology? Can we live 24 hours without such products? The subjects in "The World Unplugged" study had trouble living without them and exhibited genuine signs of withdrawal, and if you are honest with yourself, you're hooked too. So, is technology an extension of us, or have we become an extension of our own technology? Either answer is unsettling.

It may not be a chemical or powder, but make no mistake, personal technology is just as addictive and can alter the human spirit like any other drug.

First published: December 19, 2011

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:  FIGHTING FIRE WITH FIRE - What we can learn from Lincoln's bid for election.

LAST TIME:  TAKE HIM AWAY FOR REGROOVING - What happens when you find yourself out of step with the times.

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, July 19, 2017

TAKE HIM AWAY FOR REGROOVING

BRYCE ON LIFE

- What happens when you find yourself out of step with the times.

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

I am an avid fan of the Firesign Theatre, a comedy troop which came to light in the late 1960's. Their humor was considered rather avant-garde even for this turbulent period in our history. You couldn't find them on television or in the movies, and rarely would their comedy be broadcast over the radio waves. Instead, it was primarily distributed in vinyl form (good old 33rpm records) and appealed primarily to college students who treated it like an underground movement. Today, their comedy has attained cult status, not just for its humor but as a great parody of the times and their prophetic vision of the future. Their first album, "Waiting for the Electrician or Someone like Him" (1968) includes a satirical tale of the future based on the values of the psychedelic sixties. In particular, there is one track involving two police officers of the future traveling together in their patrol car. As part of their duties, they have to check to see if all of the citizens are "groovy." If a citizen looks suspicious, the police would stop them, ask them some pointed questions to determine their grooviness, what drugs they were carrying, as well as to check their clothing and body paint. If the citizen wasn't compliant, he/she would be "taken away for regrooving" which meant a massive reorientation to bring them up to date with the times. In the story, the people become so overtly groovy that underground study cells begin to emerge whereby students began to read books and discuss major issues of the day, all to the horror of their parents and teachers.

Lately I have begun to feel like one of the older pedestrians in the story, as I am sure I no longer appear to be "groovy" and in need of a major update. For example, I no longer know all of the names of today's musical artists and motion picture stars. I still say "actors" and "actresses" as opposed to just "actors"; "pictures" as opposed to "movies"; and "Ethyl" and "Hi-Test" as opposed to "Premium" gasoline. Although I grew up in the digital age, I still appreciate analog technology which makes me think I'm in desperate need of some "regrooving."

Not long ago I gave a couple of talks at the local High School. I deliberately chose to wear a suit and tie that day as opposed to a casual look. With rare exception, the students looked shabby and grungy, not to mention undisciplined. Please keep in mind the students come from some rather affluent families in the area. While I was speaking, I got the uneasy feeling the students were there more for me to teach them as opposed to them being there to learn. In other words, the teaching experience was unidirectional in nature, from me to them. I don't consider this a healthy educational environment as the student has to at least be willing to put forth effort to learn.

Although I think I made some progress with several students and the teachers present, I got the uneasy feeling the students considered me to be a dinosaur and definitely not "groovy." Normally when someone feels like time is passing them by, you make an effort to bring your skills and perspectives up-to-date, an attitude readjustment if you will. I'm not sure I can do this anymore and let me explain why. I don't have a problem with technology and fashion passing me by, but to properly "regroove" myself, it will be necessary to reappraise and adjust my moral values, and herein lies the problem. I still believe in such things as common courtesy, such as holding a door open for people, to say "please" and "thank you," and to volunteer my time to help others. I like to tuck my shirt into my pants and would be mortified if my underwear was exposed. I still appreciate the genius of classical music, the taste of a good glass of scotch and a fine cigar, and I still believe in such antiquated concepts as honor and respect, discipline, citizenship, patriotism, and doing unto others as I would have others do unto me, etc.

To properly upgrade I must alter my sense of right and wrong and, frankly, this is something I cannot bring myself to do. Maybe as creatures of habit we get too comfortable with our daily routine, but I do not think this is the case as I can (and have) changed habits many times over the years. No, this is more about my perception of right and wrong as ingrained in me, and something quite difficult to change, if not impossible. To change a person in this manner means to change his very essence as a human being. It would be like asking an honest person to wrong, cheat and defraud others, which is something he cannot do with a clear conscious.

In order to change my values requires me to admit everything I had done previously was incorrect, that I had lived a big lie, and a disservice to everyone I had come in contact with over the years. That is a bitter pill to swallow no matter who you are. No, instead I do not believe I'll allow myself to be "taken away for regrooving" and suffer the consequences, if there be any. Instead I'll have to start one of those underground study cells and hope for the best.

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:  IS PERSONAL TECHNOLOGY A DRUG? - If it behaves like a drug, and possesses the same characteristics of a drug, then it may very well be a...

LAST TIME:  REMEMBERING NAMES - "Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle."

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, July 17, 2017

REMEMBERING NAMES

BRYCE ON LIFE

- "Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle."

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I hate to forget a person's name. There is probably nothing more rude in business than to forget someone's name, particularly if you have had to deal with them one-on-one. Years ago, when I was just starting out in business, I met a gentleman from Worcester, Massachusetts who attended one of our training courses in Cincinnati. He was a nice guy and I actively worked with him during the class. Two weeks later, we held a customer conference in French Lick, Indiana where I happened to run into him again, this time on the golf course. My mind went totally blank as to what his name was, thus creating an awkward moment as we greeted each other (he, of course, remembered my name, but I was blocked). After some clever maneuvering, I finally got him to say his name which I instantly recognized. However, to make matters worse, I mispronounced the name of the town he is from which, if you are not from Massachusetts, is easy to butcher (look up "Worcester" in the dictionary and you'll see what I mean). All in all, I didn't score well in front of my customer that day. Consequently, I was determined not to let this happen again.

Following this episode, I started to take introductions more seriously and made a concerted effort to learn a person's name, how they liked to be addressed, where he or she was from, and their interests. At the time, I developed a Rolodex file with this information printed on it. If I had to leave my office and visit customers on their premises, I would be sure to take pertinent cards from the file with me. Today, of course, I keep everything in a Personal Information Manager (PIM) which I can take with me anywhere on a flash drive, but the principle is still the same. This little intelligence has served me well over the years and I have impressed many customers with what I remembered about them, even years later. It's not that I have developed a great memory, I haven't, it's just that I recognized the usefulness for remembering little details about people, cataloged them, either in my head or written down somewhere, and used it as needed to develop a good rapport with my clients.

Customers find it very comforting when such detail is remembered by their vendor. It gives them a sense of security that their interests are being maintained, which helps to develop trust and a bond between customer and vendor.

These days though, few people take the time to remember your name. As a small example, when you go to the drive-up window of a local bank, tellers are typically hospitable, but rarely do they take the time to remember your name. I hate it when they try to be pseudo-flirtatious with you when they don't know who you really are. No, it doesn't endear me to the bank.

It is these little observations that go a long way. As an example, perhaps the best secretary I ever saw was a lady named Myrna who worked for an I.T. Director in Chicago. The first time I visited the office, Myrna warmly greeted me and asked if I wanted a cup of coffee. Saying Yes, she then asked me what I wanted in it. I said cream and sugar, which she then made for me. Months later when I returned to visit the I.T. Director, Myrna greeted me by name and presented me with a cup of coffee with cream and sugar. Frankly, I was startled that she not only remembered my name but how I also liked my coffee. Later I found out that Myrna also maintained a simple card file; whenever someone visited the office, Myrna would record their name and the type of coffee they liked. Sharp. Very sharp.

It's these little details that make a difference in customer relations. As Michelangelo said, "Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle."

As an aside, it has been many years since the incident with the customer from Worcester, MA, but to this day I can still vividly recall his name. It's...ah...ah...

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:  REMEMBERING NAMES - "Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle."

LAST TIME:  TAKE HIM AWAY FOR REGROOVING - What happens when you find yourself out of step with the times.

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, July 14, 2017

A NEW MASON-DIXON LINE

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- Introducing the C-USA and L-USA.

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Although originally plotted in the 1760's to settle a border dispute, the Mason-Dixon Line was better known as the boundary between the slave states of the South and the anti-slave states in the North. As such, it became symbolic of the cultural differences which led to the American Civil War (or as we prefer to call it in the South as "The War between the Confederate States of America and the United States of America"). Nonetheless, our current political differences are so pronounced, I wonder if it's time to plot a new type of Mason-Dixon Line to divide the country over ideological lines, Liberal versus Conservative. After all, the division in this country is only going to get worse, not better, regardless of what happens in the 2018 election.

I pulled out a map of the United States and pondered a way to divvy up the country equitably. The challenge was to fairly share the natural resources, particularly energy, access to shipping, and minimize the disruption of people moving to a new state. To do so, I considered the general political inclination of the people in the states. I began with a separation of Northern and Southern states by drawing a line from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River using the old Missouri Compromise Line (parallel 36'30" north). I then went beyond Missouri before turning north to include Iowa and Minnesota. It would be too easy to say the remainder of the country was Conservative, not to mention unfair, as the states along the Pacific coast are all rather Liberal. Plus let's throw in Hawaii, but certainly not Alaska.

Here, the Red color denotes the new Liberal-USA (L-USA) and the Blue denotes the Conservative-USA (C-USA). With the exception of Iowa and Virginia, all of the Red states using this demarcation are generally considered liberal in nature (sorry Iowa and Virginia, but fair is fair). Fittingly, Washington, DC will remain in the L-USA while the C-USA creates a new capitol, probably somewhere in Colorado to be centrally located. Both countries would have abundant energy resources, agriculture, technology, transportation, shipping, not to mention their own military. Hopefully, the two separate countries will find ways to work together, particularly in the area of commerce. Nonetheless, they will both begin on an even footing.

This would be an interesting experiment. Obviously, the big difference would be how the two countries would operate. The C-USA would undoubtedly embrace capitalism and a smaller federal government. Citizens would be emboldened to be more entrepreneurial in nature, thereby encouraging innovation, invention, and freedom of expression. The GDP would naturally grow substantially as a result. In contrast, the L-USA would become a socialist state with a massive government enforcing a long litany of laws, rules and regulations dictating what citizens are permitted to do, thereby creating a Nanny State. The tax structure will be such that the citizens will be working more for the government than themselves. While the L-USA will specialize in the entertainment industry, the C-USA will enjoy a press that doesn't try to manipulate the masses. Whereas the C-USA will dine on red meat, fruits and vegetables, the L-USA will ration generous portions of tofu and bean sprouts to its citizens. Patriotism, morality, and citizenship will doubtless flourish in the C-USA, while organized religion and the pledge to the flag will be outlawed in the L-USA where criminals will be asked to perform community service as opposed to time in prison.

The two countries will respect each other's sovereign borders, but as the C-USA grows in financial strength and world influence, the L-USA will become concerned with their citizens escaping to seek political asylum in the C-USA. Inevitably, a massive wall will be constructed by the L-USA to prohibit such escapes much like what divided Berlin years ago. In the event the two countries regrettably go to war, the C-USA would undoubtedly triumph as they would have more financial resources at their disposal, the will to win, and their citizens would be better armed (the L-USA would have abolished guns from the outset).

The symbology of the two countries will have to change. Although both countries will be reluctant to depart from the stars and stripes as their flag, the L-USA will show their field of stars on the left, and the C-USA will display theirs on the right. As to the national bird, the C-USA will follow tradition and adopt the Bald Eagle, while the L-USA will adopt Benjamin Franklin's suggestion, the Turkey.

Devising such a scenario is not as far fetched as you might think. The country is currently gridlocked awaiting the outcome of the 2018 election. Something needs to change. Only two things can possibly happen: either the country will remain gridlocked in its current form, or one party will take control forcing the other underground. Neither option is acceptable to our future. Only a physical geographical split along ideological lines will satisfy the citizenship. We may not like it, but at some point we're going to be forced to admit we cannot live together anymore. Am I advocating the overthrow of the country? Absolutely not. I'm just looking into the future and I don't like what I see.

One last thing, don't be surprised if the Pacific coast spins off to form a separate country of its own which we would color white to maintain our red, white and blue patriotic theme. The only exception might be California who may want to abandon the United States altogether and represent their native Mars.

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:  REMEMBERING NAMES - "Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle."

LAST TIME:  UNDERSTANDING CREDIT SCORES - You would be wise to keep track of yours.

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.