Tuesday, April 22, 2008

April 28, 2008


As I have written in the past, Americans are great reactionaries. There are numerous examples to illustrate the point including Pearl Harbor, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina just to mention a few. But in all three of these examples, warnings were issued well in advance which were disregarded and written off as nothing but the rantings of alarmists. The advice of respected futurists is rarely heeded in spite of the supporting facts they present. Instead, they are regarded as entertaining oddities who are not to be taken seriously. Nonetheless, when predictions come to fruition it is usually too late and Americans have to react and pay dearly for doing so. In other words, Americans tend to live for the moment and rarely try to anticipate future events. Nonetheless, these events, whether we anticipate them or react to them, represent the catalysts for change affecting all of us.

Recently, I was asked to give a talk on "Why we resist Change" which was based on a paper I wrote some time ago. In addition to commenting on how change affects us, I was asked what I foresaw as those events or elements to affect change in the years ahead. To my way of thinking, there are three agents of change to pay attention to:

* IMMIGRATION - We are all aware of the problems we have with illegal aliens, particularly along our border with Mexico, but I don't believe the overall American populace truly appreciates the impact this will have on the country either financially or culturally. If our immigration policies are left unchecked, we will have to pay a hefty fee for the overhaul of our infrastructure. California alone is already feeling the impact on its schools, highways, and medical facilities. And the Golden State is just the tip of the iceberg. Starting with the southern states, the entire country will eventually feel the pinch of an immigration system that is essentially out of control. Culturally, according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, by 2010, Hispanics will be the largest minority group, easily surpassing African-Americans. By 2050 it is projected Hispanics will represent approximately 25% of the population. Undoubtedly this will lead to an increase in Latino political influence, and a decline for other groups.

* TERRORISM - Most Americans think of terrorism as nothing more than the war in Iraq. But terrorism knows no boundaries and has been adopted as the military tactic du jour in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and South America. Think about it; in terms of conventional warfare, there is no power on Earth that can compete with the United States. Consequently, our enemies resort to terrorism, which we are still learning to combat and forcing us to change militarily. This also means terrorism isn't dependent on religious fanaticism, but rather anything opposed to the policies of the United States such as democracy, freedom, and economics.

Domestically, 9/11 was our wake-up call making us cognizant of our vulnerability on our own home soil. Sure, we have inaugurated some changes through Homeland Security, but we are still vulnerable internally, including New York and Washington, DC.

All of this will affect us for many years to come and will cost us economically and socially. To illustrate, we are all aware of the burden of terrorism in terms of travel restrictions, but we will also see it in revised building and zoning requirements, changes in office security, importing and exporting, etc. In other words, our carefree world is a thing of the past and we will become more guarded in our actions.

As a personal opinion, I believe we will continue to be plagued by terrorism as long as America maintains a posture of military defense, and not offense, to combat it. I guess this is the price we pay as a superpower and being the latest reincarnation of Rome.

* TECHNOLOGY - Americans love gadgetry but I do not believe they understand the social ramifications resulting from it, particularly amongst our young people. For example, text messaging is leading to some rather bad habits in grammar and speech. In the classroom, it is also the predominant vehicle for cheating on tests. There is also a strong argument arising that Social Networks and videos on the Internet are leading to changes in our social mores. To illustrate, such vehicles are being blamed in the well publicized incident involving the battery of a 16 year old girl in Florida by eight other teenagers.

It is my theory that as the use of technology accelerates, social skills diminish. If this is true, we will see significant changes in the years ahead in terms of attitudes, values, and how we communicate. In other words, we are looking at significant cultural changes resulting from the use of technology in the years ahead, some good, some not so good.


It could be argued that the Media, which is driven by economics, and the Weather are two other agents of change which should not be overlooked. True, but Immigration, Terrorism, and Technology are the three most obvious agents staring us in the face yet we are exerting relatively little effort to deal with them effectively. If history has taught us anything, it is that we will do too little, too late, to address these problems and we will again be faced with a crisis on a significant scale. But then again, this is how Americans prefer to operate.

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

Keep the faith!

OUR BRYCE'S LAW OF THE WEEK therefore is...

"If anything is constant, it is change."


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 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


We recently installed a new High Definition television in our office and the picture is truly remarkable. Most of the time we leave it tuned into a financial news network like CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox, etc. Now, instead of some soft background music in the office you hear the constant chatter of the financial talking heads trying to fill the air with innocuous dissertations about the stock markets, pork bellies or whatever. The banter of the reporters is such that it reminds me of the question, "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?"

I've also noticed that the speaking cadence of the anchors and reporters tends to be rather rapid and reminiscent of the voice over at the end of drug commercials where you are warned about potential side effects. This is so prevalent, it makes you wonder if these guys moonlight for the pharmaceutical companies. It takes a lot of patience and concentration to truly understand what the talking heads are trying to say, particularly early in the morning when they seem to talk their fastest. It is most definitely not casual listening. If you watch the shows, the discussion by the reporters is further muddied by a plethora of some very eye-catching statistics. Between the banter of the talking heads and the excessive statistics I wonder how much a viewer can truly absorb. Maybe the best way to digest all of this is to drink a gallon of espresso beforehand.

The reporters also tend to chew their cabbage more than once. Recently, I was listening to a report on the proposed takeover of Yahoo! by Microsoft. Not only was this story repeated several times during the day, but each talking head had to put his or her own unique spin on the story.

Some of the talking heads want to impress you with their glibness and wit as if they were the Howard Cosell of the financial world. Just remember, Cosell wasn't exactly loved by everyone. In fact, during Monday Night Football years ago, taverns would run special lotteries whereby the winner would get the honor of throwing a brick through the television set the moment Cosell's face appeared on the screen.

You also have to wonder about the advice the talking heads have to offer. After all, if they are so smart and successful, what the heck are they doing on television and not home counting their money?

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.

Also, if you happen to be in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, be sure to stop by and check out our new Palm Harbor Business OASIS, a new business venue offering local business people a place to meet, work, network, and relax. Why pay a lot for leasing office space when you can become a member of the OASIS for as little as $100/month? For more information, visit our web site at:


I received the following e-mail from my "Pet Peeve" on "Job Titles":

An M.B. in Clearwater, Florida wrote...

"Another one that hits all my buttons. I think inflated job titles started when women suddenly had to have careers, not just jobs. (To me the biggest difference there is that when you have a career you are expected to work tons of free overtime to prove you're serious about the career). Secretary sounded too much like just a job, so they were upgraded to Administrative Assistants. As a REAL administrative assistant, with my own office and two secretaries of my own, this pissed me off. Now, I think they are calling what I used to do a Personal Assistant, or some such thing, so the title inflation just keeps spiraling. I think it is too bad that the most important job in the world has been downgraded to worthless, because it does not provide a paycheck, and as a result many women go out and move papers from stack A into stack B all day, and call that more important than raising the next generation. Kids are not potted plants."

An L.D. in Mansfield, United Kingdom wrote...

"Over in the UK we have: Vision technicians (window cleaners), Superficially cosmetic interior exterior design technicians (Decorators) and lineal mapological transfer agents (taxi drivers) lol! It's a shame people need such things to validate themselves."

I received the following e-mails from my "Pet Peeve" entitled, "Repairing Barbecue Grills":

A J.F. in Pennsylvania wrote...

"We repaired our propane grill last year. We also have a charcoal grill/smoker. We like it best and use it all the time."

A C.S. in Florida wrote...


Again, 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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Copyright © 2008 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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