Tuesday, July 10, 2007

July 16, 2007


We've got some very bright and ambitious young people joining the work force now but they are coming at a very different time in the business world. Thanks to technology, we now live and work in a much faster paced society than what I joined just three short decades ago. It is also a much more competitive environment due to changing economic conditions. True, the Greatest Generation has basically moved along, but the Baby Boomers are still firmly in place and are not inclined to retire any time soon. This means the class of 2007 will be competing not only with people in their 20's, 30's and 40's, but also with people in their 50's and 60's who cannot afford to retire.

This got me thinking about how well we are preparing the next generation of workers. Are we really training them to succeed or are we setting them up to fail? Sure, they might be well educated in their professional area of expertise, but I am finding a remarkable number who lack basic street smarts. Somewhere between the safety of home and school, and the bitter realities of the real world, a void exists in preparing our youth for adulthood. In a way its like being a parachutist for the first time, except you are being pushed out the door with no instruction on what to do. This can be very traumatizing to young people who tend to be overwhelmed by the responsibilities of adult life.

In school, students were only concerned with attending class, absorbing the material, eating and their social life. But now in adulthood, they suddenly have to face such things as insurance, taxes, housing, transportation, banking, investments, retirement accounts, health care, nutrition, paying bills, corporate cultures, etiquette, dress, career development, business ethics, office politics, networking, employment, management, etc. Oh yea, and Work. They may have been adequately trained for their profession, but nobody is preparing them to make the transition into adulthood.

The parents haven't prepared them. If anything, they have sheltered their youth from reality for far too long. For example, many kids today have not had to mow a lawn, clean a dish, push a broom, or hold a part-time job. Instead, they were free to concentrate on their homework and video games. In other words, parents have failed to instill the concept of simple responsibility and the value of a dollar. A lot of parents today are "hands-off" meaning they are content to let others raise their children for them, be it a relative, a nanny, a coach, or a teacher, thereby providing them with some free time to rest and relax.

The teachers haven't prepared them either, but in their defense this shouldn't be in their job description. Instead, they should be concerned with teaching academic subjects, such as math, literature, languages, science, etc. However, since a lot of parents have dropped the ball, teachers have been forced to become surrogate parents, something they are not necessarily trained in or suited for.

Ultimately, this means today's corporate managers are inheriting a generation of naive young people with unbridled enthusiasm who are having difficulty adapting to the corporate world. Many of this generation seem to believe they are uniquely different, that the old established rules of today's corporate culture no longer applies to them; that corporations must adapt to them, not the other way around. Such naivety can be dangerous and lead to their demise as reality sets in.

To overcome this problem, perhaps we can help our youth by devising a new type of curriculum that would teach such things as:

  • Personal Organization - e.g., managing finances, insurance, housing, transportation, etc.

  • Adapting to the Corporate Culture - how to understand the culture and adapt to it. This would include discussions on business ethics, and studying change.

  • Professional Development - teaching concepts of craftsmanship, continuous improvement, and basic business skills.

  • Social Skills - how to effectively communicate and socialize in an office environment.

  • Do's and Don'ts in the Workplace - discussing the realities of employment, company policy manuals, and other legal issues.

  • Management 101 - teaching basic management concepts and rules to help "newbies" fit into the corporate culture.

Actually, none of this is new. We have all had to learn it through the School of Hard Knocks. However, if the next generation is to ever have a chance in today's fast paced world, we have to jump-start this process for them. Otherwise they will have difficulty surviving. Basically, what is needed is just some simple parental advice.

If you would like to discuss this with me in more depth, please do not hesitate to send me an e-mail.

OUR BRYCE'S LAW OF THE WEEK therefore is... "There is only one problem with common sense; it's not very common."


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One of the most uninviting places to visit has to be a Doctor's office. First, we normally go there because we have a pain or suffer from some ailment which doesn't put us in the best of moods to begin with. But to add insult to injury, you have to contend with the peculiarities of the doctor's office staff, a very cold group of workers who are more concerned with processing you like an order as opposed to treating you like a human-being. On your first visit to a doctor's office, you are bombarded with a substantial amount of paperwork in triplicate, which I guess we have to thank our lawyer friends for. I visited a new doctor recently and was overwhelmed by the paperwork. There were more waivers of rights than there was anything pertaining to my medical history. I felt like I was more in an attorney's office than a doctor's.

The decor of doctors' offices are basically the same which is pretty plain, with outdated or irrelevant magazines to read, and a whiff of isopropyl alcohol in the air. I find patients in the waiting room tend to keep to themselves and do not like to engage in conversation, maybe because they're embarrassed by their ailment or maybe because they only speak a foreign language. When you try to strike up a conversation with someone, they look at you like they are being interrogated by the FBI or border patrol. On the walls of the office are the doctor's degrees and certificates which are intended to impress you. Some doctors tend to overdue it though as they frame everything from their college degree to their safety patrol or bar mitzvah certificates.

I guess what irritates me the most though is making an appointment with a doctor which he or she rarely keeps. If I've got an appointment, medical or otherwise, I tend to arrive a few minutes early as I do not like to be late. But doctors' really do not care about your time, even when you take time off from work to visit them. I've got a real problem with this as I wouldn't treat my customers this way. If the doctor is late, my impatience slowly brews until I can't take it anymore and storm out of the office (I've done this on more than one occasion), and frankly, I wish more people would do this. The office staff then tries to threaten you that they will still bill you for the appointment, which is actually a veiled threat. I just point out the time to them, and threaten to bill them for my lost time. I just can't figure out why after practicing medicine for so long, they can't make a simple schedule and keep it. Everybody else does. To me, its a sign of disrespect.

Doctors are not alone in terms of having poorly run offices; Dentists are just as guilty. But the only thing worse than a doctor's office has to a hospital, which even the doctors describe as, "One of the unhealthiest places on Earth."

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.


Folks, a couple of years ago I started to include my "Pet Peeve of the Week" in these "Management Visions" podcasts. They have become so popular that I now syndicate them through the Internet and they are available for republication in other media. To this end, I have created a separate web page for my writings which you can find at Look for the section, "The Bryce is Right!" Hope you enjoy them.


I received a response from an MJ in the UK regarding my recent "Pet Peeve" on "The Adverse Effects of Technology."

M.J. writes:

"What you say is scarily true!

Its one reason why I got into Bushcraft Instructing, or 'back woods camping' as it used to be called.

Too many people think 'Wow - new flashy toy', but get them out of the office and they are clueless! Unless it comes with a remote control or GUI, most of the guys here are flumoxed.

One nice reversal of this was told to me by a friend a few years ago. His wife was an IT manager and OBSESSED with gadgets. One day he bought a new stove and lamp and put the old ones in a cupboard. She got home and screamed at him for 'putting that junk' in her cupboard. At 9:30pm that night the lighst went out, and the TV died. Like a good bushcrafter, he gets his Keyrign torch out, gets out the lamp from the cupboard, lights it and then the stove to make a cup of tea. She now likes his 'non-techno' gear."

I also head from an A.N. in Tampa regarding the same article.
He writes:

"You hit the nail right on the head! However very few CEO`S will admit to the harsh reality of what is really happening in America today. Great Issue!!"

Thanks for your comments.

Keep those cards and letters coming.

MBA is an international management consulting firm specializing in Information Resource Management. We offer training, consulting, and writing services in the areas of Enterprise Engineering, Systems Engineering, Data Base Engineering, Project Management, Methodologies and Repositories. For information, call us at 727/786-4567. For a complete listing of my essays, see the "PRIDE" Special Subject Bulletins section of our corporate web site.

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Management Visions is a presentation of M. Bryce & Associates, a division of M&JB Investment Company of Palm Harbor, Florida, USA. The program is produced on a weekly basis and updated on Sundays. It is available in versions for RealPlayer, Microsoft Media Player, and MP3 suitable for Podcasting. See our web site for details. You'll find our broadcast listed in several Podcast and Internet Search engines, as well as Apples' iTunes.

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Copyright © 2007 by M&JB Investment Company of Palm Harbor, Florida, USA. All rights reserved. "PRIDE" is the registered trademark of M&JB Investment Company.

This is Tim Bryce reporting.

Since 1971: "Software for the finest computer - the Mind."


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