Friday, December 21, 2007

December 24, 2007


I was recently at a gathering of independent consultants from around the Tampa Bay area and we got around to talking about the concerns of owners of small businesses. From this, we devised a list of pet peeves commanding the attention of small-to-medium sized business owners, to wit:

  • Employees/Human Resources - staffing and allocations, payroll, benefits, and management.

  • Work environment - facilities and equipment, corporate culture.

  • Systems - implementing business processes productively, and staying abreast of technological developments for competitive advantage.

  • Regulations - complying with rules as established by government and industrial concerns.

  • Time Management - scheduling and devoting time to the proper set of priorities.

  • Financial Resources - managing and planning cash flow and investments for optimal return on investment.

  • General Planning & Strategy - both short term and long term, including an analysis of the market and competition.

At the end of this session, we discovered that the concerns of small business owners are essentially no different than large corporations, except on a much smaller scale. The only difference was that the small business owner has to move faster than his corporate counterparts simply due to the size of his operation. For example, he doesn't have time to read voluminous business plans and financial statements. Instead, he requires summary reports which get to the point in a couple of pages. He needs good, sound supporting advice to make his life easier.

This got me thinking about the amount of time and money corporate executives invest in managing their company's affairs. True, some things require considerable time and effort to investigate, such as researching new products/services and checking market conditions, but most of what is done is what I refer to as "meatball" type analysis which should be easy and relatively inexpensive to prepare. Let me give you an example; a couple of years ago I was working with a Fortune 500 company who had contracted with another firm to produce a Business Systems Plan. This took several months to perform and resulted in a substantial document over three feet thick (I kid you not) costing the company $1.5 million. I was asked to flip through the document and give an opinion. It only took me a couple of minutes to discover the authors had reused narrative from other client projects in the document and that most of it was superfluous. But the fact that it was incredibly thick and printed on some pretty impressive looking paper, gave the company the feeling they had gotten their money's worth from the consultants. Interestingly, the company never acted on the information contained in the document simply because it was so voluminous and they couldn't find their way through it. In reality, a ten page report could have satisfied the company's needs, but I guess you cannot charge $1.5 million for a ten page document can you?

The point of all this is that the size of a company really has no bearing on the concerns of those charged with running it. They are all essentially the same. Nor does any business owner have the time or inclination to be devoured by detail. Although detail is important to substantiate claims, summary reports are more effective for supporting the needs of business owners. They simply want accurate and reliable information to act on regardless of the form it takes, but preferably not three feet thick.

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... "Regardless of company size, the concerns of executive management are all essentially the same."


Friends, 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.

Bonnie Wooding, the President-elect of the Toronto Chapter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) said, "Many of our members are just starting their careers and I will be recommending that they read this book, especially Chapter 3, Professional Development - a primer for business skills and filled with basic common sense advice that is simple, easy to follow and extraordinarily practical; and Chapter 5, Do’s and Don’ts of the Workplace, an excellent resource for those questions you are too embarrassed to ask for fear of looking foolish."

The Miami Hurricane recently reviewed it (10/22/2007) and said,

"the abundance of information the book provides is a good start for anyone about to take the first step into the real world. Though the concept of adulthood may seem intimidating, it's comforting to know that someone has at least written a guidebook for it."

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


I don't want to sound like Scrooge or the Grinch, but Christmas is not one of my favorite holidays. I see it more as something for the kids as opposed to adults. Before I get started though, I want to make something perfectly clear; I still refer to this season as "Christmas" as opposed to the "Holidays" which may sound more politically correct, but to me it's an admission that Christians are in retreat in this country. I am not super-religious person mind you, but it bothers me that we have turned the celebration of Christ's birth into a marketing bonanza. To illustrate my point, consider the following:

  • We spend millions on lights and decorations around the house as opposed to investing in our planet and conserving energy resources.

  • Instead of helping the less fortunate, we give opulent gifts to people who really do not need them. Last time I checked, there are still places in the world where people are sick and hungry, and need an education or a roof over their heads.

  • As opposed to trying to replenish our forests, we kill trees to do nothing more than decorate our homes for a few scant days.

  • Instead of promoting Christ's words of peace, we are still at war with ourselves, particularly at the checkout counter.

If this has all changed, I must have missed the memo on it.

In the workplace, we exchange superficial gifts more because we feel we have to rather than because we want to. I would much rather have a heartfelt handshake than most of the gifts I have received in the office. But then again, this probably isn't politically correct either. I have even seen people compete over who is going to give the most extravagant gift to someone for political purposes as opposed to the generosity of their heart.

It is also customary to hold office parties this time of year, much to the delight of caterers, restaurants, hotels, entertainers, etc. But I wonder if the substantial money expended here would be put to better use by rewarding the employees with a bonus instead.

Following Thanksgiving, the media immediately shifts its programming into the Yule tide swing with Christmas music on the radio, and specials on television. It seems a little like brainwashing to me to force you into the Christmas spirit weeks before the actual holiday. I'm sorry, but I don't like being coerced into anything.

I wonder what Jesus would say about all of these shenanigans. First, he would probably wonder who the jolly fat guy was in the red outfit. I imagine he would tell us that we all have our priorities wrong. I can even hear him say, "Hey guys, you even got the day wrong!"

If Jesus were to come back, I'd bet he would be kidnapped by the marketing people for at least the month of December, maybe longer.

With this said, I sincerely wish everyone, be you a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, or whatever, a very merry Christmas, not because I'm trying to force my religious beliefs down your throat, but because I genuinely wish you Peace on Earth, good will toward men. Maybe I do have the Christmas spirit after all.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.


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 "Personal Advertising":

A C.M. in Ohio wrote...

"Advertising is at the root of everything now. It's really made me sick to my stomach how much advertising is in sports. I used to like to watch sports to get away from everything. Now you watch a game and you see ad signs everywhere or this play was brought to you by X and X beer company. Even the stadiums lost their character because the majority of them are named after corporations now - like Heinz field in Pittsburgh for example. Three Rivers was a great stadium name. Now when I hear Heinz field all I think of is red ketchup, which reinforces what you said!"

A W.E. in Pennsylvania wrote...

"I applaud your pet peeve this week. You are right, personal advertising has become so invasive. I have spoken on this theme many, many times over the years (much to the chagrin of my wife and co-workers). It seems that we can't go anywhere without being told "eat here" or "buy this" and as for stadiums, again you are correct. In fact I know a man that has a Nike "swoosh" tattooed on his arm and of course Harley Davidson tattoos abound. I bought a car recently and I told the dealer that if I pick up the car and it has any dealer stickers on it, the deal was off. They did not like that but I got a "naked" car.

Thank you for acknowledging the difference between Madison Ave. and the plumber up the street."

I also received quite a few comments regarding my "Pet Peeve" on "Being Taken for Granted":

An E.S. in Dallas, Texas wrote...

"Excellent ideas Tim! I subscibe to about 8-10 monthly publications along with three different newspapers and I will DEFINATELY be doing as you suggested as soon as my subscriptions terminate."

An A.G. in Illinois wrote...

"We are taken for granted more times than we realize. It's quite frustrating. I've canceled a lot of things and when they've asked me why I tell them the service is bad and the prices are worse. They then seem to want to apologize to me but hey apology or not once I'm burned I have a hard time going back to those places. Great article."

A C.M. in Portugal wrote...

"You are so right. I am from Portugal, and here it is the same. But the problem is that nobody cares about someone else's problems. And in the matter of your friend, his action had the right effect, but in regards to the price of oil, it doesn´t matter because none of us has the power to damage the pocket books of the oil barons. And when you say, "government as our leaders all like to dance to the fiddle of lobbyists" you are saying it all.

Thanks for your comments. For these and other comments, please visit my "Bryce is Right!" web site.

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.

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.

If you have any questions or would like to be placed on our e-mailing list to receive notification of future broadcasts, please e-mail it to

For a copy of past broadcasts, please contact me directly.

We accept MP3 files with your voice for possible inclusion in the broadcast.

There is no charge for adding a link to "Management Visions" on your web page, for details and HTML code, see the "Management Visions" web site.

Management Visions accepts advertising. For rates, please contact yours truly directly.

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."




Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home