Tuesday, February 12, 2008

February 18, 2008


My friends and colleagues often ask me how I am able to produce so much in so little time. Although I am flattered by such compliments, it's really not much of a secret which I attribute to the following areas (in no particular order):

  • A strong sense of organization and prioritization which has been ingrained in me over the years during my professional development. Basically, I had good mentors who taught me what was right and what was wrong, what was important and what was not, and how to best spend my time and how to avoid wasting it. This includes being sensitive to schedules and commitments, particularly those of customers. Call me old-fashioned, but I still believe that a person's word should be his bond. My company has now been in business for 37 years and in all of that time we have never failed to meet a customer commitment. This is something I am particularly proud of.

  • Training and experience. Although I have a college degree, I recognize I am far from being perfect, and smart enough to learn from my mistakes as well as others. I network, I listen, I learn. And I believe we're never too old to learn a new trick. As such, I am a firm believer in continuous improvement and set aside time to stay abreast of industry developments. I guess what I'm saying is that you have to exert yourself and exercise some intellectual curiosity as opposed to sitting like a vegetable and hoping someone will spoonfeed you. They won't.

  • Use of standard and reusable methodologies. I recognize the value of uniformity and standardization in work effort and understand its impact on productivity. I am also not a big believer in reinventing the wheel with each project. If something has been tried and proven, I will use it unabashedly, regardless if it is old or out of fashion. I am more interested in results. This also means I am a student of history in my field and have noted successes as well as failures.

  • Competency in the use of technology. I am sure my early indoctrination in computing has materially assisted me in my work effort over the years. One thing technology taught me in particular was the concept of multitasking; not just what I do on the computer, but also how I work in general. More importantly, I do not fear technology and am always looking for new ways for it to assist me. Make no mistake though, I have been burned on more than one occasion by new technology, particularly in the use of beta-releases. Consequently, I am less likely to migrate to something new until it has proven itself as a viable alternative. In other words, I have to trust the technology before I make it a normal part of my operations.

  • Avoiding complicated solutions. I tend to believe the best solutions are simple ones. Some people have the curious habit of making life more complicated than what is really necessary. As for me, I have always sought pragmatic solutions as opposed to wallowing in technical detail. True, there may be situations where there are many elements to be addressed by a single problem. In this event, controls have to be enacted to manage complexity. But in all my years in this industry, I have never encountered a technical problem that couldn't be conquered with a little imagination, some concentrated effort, and a lot of good old-fashioned management.

  • Caring about what you produce; which I consider to be of paramount importance. If you do not have the determination or dedication to see something through to its successful completion, no amount of technology will expedite the assignment. To me, your work is a reflection of your character and how you will be judged by others. Interestingly, some people do not make this connection and put forth little effort. Caring about your work makes you more resourceful than others as you are concerned with doing whatever is necessary to get the job done. Ultimately, your work is a reflection of your value system which will become obvious to your coworkers and your boss.

Bottom-line, my productivity is based on my sense of organization and discipline I learned at home, in school and in the workplace. Fortunately, I believe I had some very good teachers along the way. The one thing I have learned is that you make money when you are organized and waste money when you aren't.

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...
This week, instead of my usual Bryce's Law, I have a quote from the legendary baseball great Satchel Paige who said, "Don't look back - something might be gaining on you."


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'm hearing a lot about the generation gap in business; that young people are not working well with their elders, and there may very well be a lot of truth in this. Following World War II, the "Greatest Generation" took over and dominated business like never before. The 50's and 60's were the go-go years that propelled the American economy. During the 1960s' the "Baby Boomers" started to rebel and attacked the taboos of the day. Nonetheless, they eventually acclimated into the corporate cultures and learned from their elders. But a generational split occurred during the 1980's and 90's, and I attribute it to two reasons:

First, when the PC was introduced in the 1980's a new generation of younger workers were introduced to program and maintain them, A split then occurred in the Information Technology field whereby the "old guys" took care of the mainframes and the "young guys" stood in the opposing camp. Both thought they were right and wouldn't cooperate, hence the split. Ironically, both groups were right as we needed both technologies. But management didn't see this and allowed the division to grow and fester. This carried over into other parts of the work force where new attitudes challenged older and more established ones. In other words, technology played a significant role in the split.

Second, during the cost-cutting and downsizing years of the 1980's and 1990's companies abandoned the mentoring system, whereby older employees worked with younger people to teach them the business. Without such mentoring, the younger generation pushed the envelope over how business was conducted. Hence, the rise of individualism and changes in the workplace such as dress and social attitudes.

Interestingly, mentoring is starting to experience a resurgence as companies find it to be an effective approach for developing employees and promoting teamwork. Mentoring is a good approach for helping the younger people make the transition into the corporate culture and ultimately take over the business. It's natural and should be encouraged. Actually, we have had progressive classes of workers for literally thousands of years, e.g.; apprentices, intermediaries, and master craftsmen.

The one good thing resulting from the latest talk of generation gaps in business is that it is forcing companies to rethink social attitudes in the workplace. Such discussion is inevitable as companies have to learn to work as a team as opposed to a group of individuals.

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 the following comment from last week's essay entitled, "Has IBM Become Irrelevant?":

An L.M. in Chapel Hill, North Carolina wrote...

"No company is in charge of its own destiny. You wouldn't like it if they were. We would have even less freedom in the market than we do now."

I received the following e-mails regarding my "Pet Peeve" on "Finding a Good Mechanic":

An M.B. in Clearwater, Florida wrote:

"You're so right, and unscrupulous ones are especially likely to screw over women."

A J.H. in Pensacola, Florida wrote...

"I had this conversation with a colleague just the other day. My beloved mechanic had to shut down his mom and pop garage because he couldn't afford to keep up with all the diagnostic equipment. Now I'm stuck with the dealerships who charge at least $100 to hook up the diagnostic to the car to find that the engine light is on because the guy at the gas station didn't turn the cap three times to keep the air out." :(

An I.L. in Chicago wrote...

"I have a brother thats a mechanic. I get to trade computer work for mechanic work. My extended family is blessed with an abundance of skills."

And I received the following e-mail regarding my "Pet Peeve" on "Recording Your Time":

A J.K. in the United Kingdom wrote...

"Recording time, like you suggest, is a chore. For a creative person it is a chain around the neck and, if you can accept it, we are all creative; some just don't recognize that in themselves. Work should at least be pleasant.

People are not machines, we have need for motivation; the effect of being rewarded for our efforts by getting paid every week gets a bit monotonous. Oh, yes, we can go out and buy the odd car or two, but that sort of materialistic motivator soon wears a bit thin. There has to be an internal motivation, praise, a bonus, an 'employee of the week' reward.

If you are the 'manager' you have to 'manage' the situation, treat this as an opportunity to set new goals, to embrace the problem. To someone like yourself, perhaps the time sheet is a piece of written work which you welcome. For others, it's form filling, bureaucracy, trying to remember where you were, trying to convince yourself you are worth your wages. Yeah, time is money! But trying to remember every time you went to the loo, blew your nose, chatted to that nice lady in sales, grabbed a second coffee, asked Niel in accounts about your b o r i n g.

I understand your viewpoint. Try to deal with it another way."

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.

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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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This is Tim Bryce reporting.

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




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