Monday, October 01, 2007

October 8, 2007


The following is an excerpt from my new book, "MORPHING INTO THE REAL WORLD - A Handbook for Entering the Work Force" which is a survival guide for young people as they transition into adult life. The book offers considerable advice regarding how to manage our personal and professional lives. As a part of this, I found it necessary to discuss the political ramifications of being the new kid on the block.

Tact and Diplomacy

Unlike school where there are few rules in terms of decorum, you will find it necessary to practice tact and diplomacy in the workplace. As the "Newbie" to the company, you are considered to be at the bottom of the totem pole and have to prove yourself. This means initially, you will have to practice a little humility until you've proven yourself.

Many young people initially have trouble adapting to the pressures of corporate life. Stay calm and collected. Getting uptight is not going to help anyone, particularly yourself. If you get in trouble, the worst thing you can do is not ask for help. Remember, you will be judged by how well you react to pressure.

There will be situations where it will be necessary for you to be passive, and others where you will need to demonstrate some aggressiveness. It all depends on the responsibilities and assignments given you. Bottom-line, you have to get the job done. To do so, you will either have to do it yourself or require the cooperation of others. You do not want to appear to be a pushover, nor do you want to be overbearing. Instead, you have to find a balance between the two, particularly as the new hire. If you are not sure, consult your manager for advice.

Most people want to simply be treated fairly, courteously and respectfully. The problem arises when having to deal with people who do not have the same moral values or interests as you do, thereby causing conflicts. If you run into a problem with another worker, try to talk it out initially. Try to put yourself in the other person's shoes and understand their point of view. In most instances, problems arise simply by having different perceptions of a situation. Endeavor to find out the cause of the problem and, if necessary, seek a mutually agreeable compromise. Avoid butting heads if at all possible. But if the problem persists, consult your manager.

Above all else, watch your temper. As the old adage admonishes us, "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar." A little courtesy can go a long way towards building fruitful relationships.

If you make a mistake affecting someone else, learn how to make a sincere apology. Nobody likes to "eat crow," but there will be times when you have to put your dignity aside and mend a fence. If you have to make an apology, try to do so in person as opposed to by telephone or in writing. Your personal sincerity is better expressed in person, and you do not necessarily want to admit a mistake in writing which may be used against you later on.

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... "As the "Newbie" to the company, you are considered to be at the bottom of the totem pole and have to prove yourself."


Friends, as mentioned, we have just published a new book entitled, "MORPHING INTO THE REAL WORLD - A Handbook for Entering the Work Force" which is a survival guide for young people as they transition into adult life. Reviewer Bill Petrey praised it by saying, "Every young person entering the workplace for the first time should be given a copy of this book." The book includes chapters to describe how a young person should organize themselves, how to adapt to the corporate culture, develop their career, and improve themselves professionally and socially. Basically, its 208 pages of good sound advice to jump start the young person into the work force. Corporate Human Resource departments will also find this book useful for setting new hires on the right track in their career. It not only reinforces the many formal rules as contained in corporate policy manuals, but also includes the subtle unwritten rules we must all observe while working with others. The book lists for $25 and can be ordered online through MBA or your local book store. Complementing the book is a one day seminar of the same name which can be purchased separately for $4,000.00 (U.S.) plus instructor travel expenses. For more information on both the book and the seminar, visit our corporate web site at:
ISBN: 978-0-9786182-5-4

LIKE TO WIN AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF MY NEW BOOK? Be the first one to e-mail me a message with your name and shipping address. In the SUBJECT or BODY of the e-mail, be sure to write "Morphing Book 100807". E-mail it to me at Only one free book per person. I'll announce the winner on next week's broadcast.


I think I finally figured out the secret to success. It came to me as an epiphany one night as I was driving home from work. Frankly, it was so simple and obvious, I can't believe it took me years to figure it out. It came to me as I was thinking about some of the key people I've met over the years in the Information Technology field, and I found their attributes were essentially no different than other successful businessmen I've met. I guess we should begin by asking ourselves what we consider to be a "success." To me, this is not just making a comfortable living. Instead, I'm talking about those people who dominate an industry or company, primarily through their personalities. I do not wish to portray this concept of success in a cynical light, but rather as a realistic perspective of the captains of industry.

In order to become a success in any industry or business, I have discovered it is not necessary to produce a good work product, nor do you have to be conscientious about your craft. No, it's much simpler than that; you just have to be an asshole. And I say this with the utmost sincerity. All of the "movers and shakers" I have met over the years, particularly in the I.T. industry, fall into this category and you would be hard pressed to find anyone that doesn't possess these simple attributes as described herein.

First, you have to find a cause for you to pitch. It really doesn't matter what it is, just something you are comfortable with, and something that appeals to the masses, particularly if it relates to a human weakness such as greed, violence or sex. Or it might be that you have invented a new mousetrap. In this event, you need to portray it as "state of the art." Either way, you want to go well beyond simply peddling your offering, you want it to dominate market share.

Next, you have to cultivate a certain physical image, something that distinguishes you, usually by not conforming to current standards. This could be something as simple as a new hair style, facial hair, clothes, hats, jewelry, etc. The more outlandish, the better as you will inevitably be falsely mistaken for a genius and it becomes your unique logo which people remember. For example, I remember one guy who loved to wear a cape. You may not remember exactly what he said, but you remembered him because of that stupid cape.

Next, you have to master the art of communications as well as miscommunications. Very important: you do not have to be right in your message, just entertaining. This means you can be loud, obnoxious, even insulting in order to get noticed. And the more verbose Your vocabulary is, the better, as people will misunderstand what you say yet regard you as a genius. This means you always try to speak above your audience, and most definitely not at their level. By doing so, you are endeavoring to dominate your audience through intimidation. You must also be a master politician as you have to be acutely aware of the hot buttons needed to motivate or coerce people to do what you want them to do.

This fixation on physical image and communications obviously means you realize the importance of facade as opposed to substance. It also means you understand the need to keep moving along before somebody understands what you are truly about. This requires you to be able to move politically faster than your opponents and undermine them as required. I am reminded of one CEO in the I.T. field who during the work week would make the life of everybody in the office miserable, but always made it a point to attend his church each week to be absolved of any wrong doing.

All of this highlights two points: first, morality and ethics have nothing whatsoever to do with becoming a success, and second; you must be self-centered with a huge ego. You see workers more as servants as opposed to employees. It also means your word is not your bond. In fact, honesty and integrity have absolutely nothing do with becoming a success. TO illustrate, I remember when Hitler wrote that preposterous Munich Agreement for Neville Chamberlain promising he would never invade the Sudetenland: what a classic!

To be a success your behavior is perhaps best characterized as "pompous" and you enjoy a highly visible profile. I am reminded of a customer of ours in the Midwest who was developing new information systems for the business. Whereas most of the project teams quietly went about their business and delivered quality systems on-time and within budget, there was one Project Manager who never delivered anything of substance on time or within budget. But because of the nature of the projects he was working on, whereby he was applauded for his skills for putting out fires, he enjoyed much higher visibility than everyone else and was promoted more rapidly than others. In other words, he capitalized on "the squeaky wheel gets the oil" phenomenon. As an aside, we advised our client that their chief firefighter was also their chief arsonist (which never quite set well with management or the subject in question).

Successful people are certainly not afraid of stepping on toes and making enemies as they already know how to combat them. Show me someone who is successful without making any enemies and I'll show you a fraud. If they're not pissing someone off, they're not doing their job. In fact, they've discovered employees generally work better when they're pissed off. This sense of ruthlessness may make his confidants squirm a bit, but not to the point of creating a mutiny.

To offset their unscrupulous tactics, successful people will support high profile causes, such as charity, which is designed more to improve the person's image as opposed to helping a worthy cause (besides, it's a handy tax write-off). Another earmark of the successful person is his/her infatuation with toys. They have to have the most expensive car, the largest boat, or their house has to be wired with the latest technological gizmos. All of this is aimed at projecting a certain "winning" image to impress others. It's one thing not to be apologetic for your success, quite another to flaunt it like P.T. Barnum.

Now for the big question: Do you have the strength and temerity to be a success? Just remember, you have to look at yourself in the mirror every day. Frankly, most of us do not have the intestinal fortitude for it, and quite often our moral convictions prohibit us from acting accordingly.

Please understand, I do not present this thesis to be insulting, cynical or even humorous, but to consider the subject very objectively. We certainly do not like to believe these attributes for success are valid, but are they? The idea of someone working their way from the mailroom to the boardroom in this day and age is simply a ludicrous fantasy. It requires taking some rather unscrupulous tactics in order to succeed.

But interestingly, the masses are enamored with successful people, even in the face of some of their practices. For example, on one hand we are appalled by executives who are generously rewarded with hefty bonuses even if the company is floundering, but on the other hand we envy their success.

There is only one drawback to being a success, it is very lonely as you have no true friends to confide in. In fact, you are closer to your attorneys and accountants than you are to your friends and neighbors. Nonetheless, you trust nobody but yourself. But if you have supreme confidence in yourself this may be a small price to pay.

I guess the point of all of this is that there is nothing fair in business, a message I often convey to young people entering the work force. If you want something, you are going to have to earn it, which will inevitably require you to compromise your principles.

A lot of people confuse the quirky mannerisms described herein as "entrepreneurial" or mistake them as signs of brilliance. In reality, it is nothing more than a charade. To paraphrase an old expression, "You don't have to be a brain to be a success, just an asshole."

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 few comments regarding my "Pet Peeve" on "Labor Fakers":

A D.B. of Tampa, Florida wrote:

"I would tend to agree considering most office boys have never put in a hard days work in their lives (mowing the grass does not count)."

An N.K. also in Tampa wrote:

"Just because someone isn’t doing hard physical labor doesn’t mean they aren’t working hard, the stresses and responsibilites of office work can sometimes take more out of you than digging a ditch all day. I’ve done both."

And an I.V. in Florida wrote:

"Great article, you hit it right on the head. Now you've got me thinking, maybe I am a faker too. Often I tell my employees if you don't know what you're doing, try to pretend that you know especially when customers are watching. And you thought there were only fake employees out there, how about fake employers like me? Fake, faking, fakers... very powerful words. Now you got me compiling all the different types of faking that is going on. For example, fake orgasms, fakes smiles, fake finger nails, fake breasts, fake, fake, fake... everything is fake, even imitation crab meat is fake. Anyway, I enjoyed your article; there is too much faking going on. "

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.

Our corporate web page is at:

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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