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Take a piece of the pie with this business approach April 2, 2012

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Action Plans, American Dreamers, Business, Business Success Coach, Canada, Career Wisdom, Coaching, executive coach, leadership coach, business consultant, career advice, Gen Y's, Job advice, Notes for Business, quality of life, The 3 Key Life Aspects, The Four Windows Process, Women.
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Today’s situation calls for some old ideas.

Consider:

  1. The economies of many countries are battered and bruised by recent events.
  2. Many individuals, formerly employed and making a good living, are having a tough time.
  3. Others, particularly millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) with energy and a good education, aren’t able to get a job.
  4. Organizations, strapped for cash, are unable to create the new, innovative products needed to compete.
  5. Communities in many areas are not able to maintain necessary services and upkeep. Staffing of must-have services like fire and police departments are seeing budgets slashed.
  6. Governmental bodies/elected officials don’t seem up to the needs of the job.
I speak to people around the world each week – most tell me that things are tough. Some report that markets are tougher than they’ve ever seen. Even in the so-called BRIC countries (originally Brazil, Russia, India, China – now expanded to South Africa) things seem to be going off the rails.
It’s time to revisit some old ways of doing business to get things moving again. I’m talking about ideas born in earlier tough times – back when it looked like the good times were gone forever.
Here’s one that I think has long legs, it’s an approach that can work now in different cultures and economies. It’s succeeded in environments as diverse as Winnipeg, Canada, a small town in California, and Mondragon, Spain.
The idea?  The Co-op.
For those of you not familiar with co-ops – Wikipedia defines them as,  “an autonomous association of persons who voluntary cooperate for their mutual social, economic, and cultural benefit. Cooperatives include non-profit community organizations and businesses that are owned/managed by the people who use its services (a consumer cooperative) and/or by the people who work there a worker cooperative.”
  • In Mondragon, a web of co-operatives manages that country’s 7th largest business.
  • In Manitoba, the provincial government has promoted the establishment of new co-ops to help build that economy into its most vibrant in decades.  When I was there recently I was impressed with lower gasoline prices and service people while filling up my rental car.
  • In California, the success of co-ops can be seen in programs initiated by the Mayor of Richmond who has promoted the idea to create new organizations and employment opportunities in a place that is facing little new income or growth otherwise.
The US has a history of cooperative movements, many economists contend that this idea saved the lives of individuals, towns and organizations during the 1930s.  The benefits include new employment opportunities, revitalization of communities and downtowns, greater self-respect for workers and management, and a highly engaged workforce who can compete toe to toe with any individual or any organization.
Could you use a break?  Ready to try something old? Check out co-ops.
Here’s to your future!
John
Executive leadership coach

Message to college grads – you have it all wrong! May 31, 2011

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Action Plans, American Dreamers, anxiety, career success, coaches, Coaching, emotional decisions, executive coach, leadership coach, business consultant, career advice, Gen Y's, life balance, new jobs, Personal Success, professional speakers, Satisfaction, succeeding during a recession, The 3 Key Life Aspects, The Plan, Veracity.
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Takeaway:  What’s the benefit of an education if you can’t find a job?  In this week’s blog, another perspective.

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It’s that season again.  Across North America young adults are joining with fellow students to get their diplomas at the Grad Ceremony.  I hope this will be a wonderful day or weekend for them all.  They’ve invested a lot of time and money to get an education, and, certainly they deserve to celebrate their success.

Unfortunately, the grad ceremony may their last celebration for a long time.

Here’s why:

These young people graduate expecting to be able to put their education to use in a job that they care about; but unfortunately, real life’s not like that. You would hope after making such a major financial investment in their futures, the grads would be better prepared to move forward into the next phase of their life.

But they’re not.

Even after, for some, 4 years spent in college, new grads rarely have the tools they need to create a satisfying life. In fact, college focuses on all the wrong things. Anyone wanting a life that’s both successful and satisfying needs to know how to take a long term view and picture their lives 10 years from now. This doesn’t have to be difficult, there’s a method that’s been used by both individuals and organizations to do just that. But, without a clear idea of what you want, and how you’re going to get there, it’s unlikely that your college degree by itself is going to get you where you want to go.

Many colleges know that they’re not giving students the tools they need to enter into the real world successfully – a few years ago I was invited to speak on the subject to an organization called The International Academy of Business Disciplines.  One of the key purposes of this group of academics is to assess current trends in the real world to ensure that the schools they represent are preparing their students adequately to succeed.

Unfortunately, far too few colleges and course providers are doing that as proactively.

Consequently, in college, many students focus on the current term and not on what happens after graduation. Unfortunately, many carry that same approach into the real world. And that can lead to disaster and disappointment. The key is to know what you want, and how you’re going to get it.

We talk about that a lot in our new book, The Plan, which was co-written with Helen Latimer.  In it we outline essential techniques to realize true life-balance, career success and financial independence. We use an approach to creating a plan for their lives based on a method of planning used by successful businesses and organizations around the world.

The good news is that it’s not too late for grads to get on the right track. There are clear steps to achieving a full and satisfying life.  Hopefully, they recognize this themselves, or someone will point them to the benefits of making a clear plan.

Here’s to the future.

John

Audience targeting to survive May 11, 2011

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", 21 Ways Women in Management Shoot Themselves in the Foot, Action Plans, business success, Business Success Coach, Coaching, DIRECTV, executive coach, leadership coach, business consultant, career advice, Personal action plans, SWOT analysis, Tech Republic, Tempur-Pedic, The 3 Key Life Aspects, The Four Windows Process, The Plan, Veracity, women in management.
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In my coaching practice, the clients are mostly in either media (video, newspaper, movies) or technology (including gaming).  But what we talk about is far more universal.  Most of our time is about addressing perhaps 4 to 6 issues like

  • leadership and effectiveness
  • balance between career and personal “lives”
  • planning (and execution) of a solid plan
Of course we get into a lot of technical conversations related to their jobs because it can be the detail stuff (“how do I actually do that?”) that derails us even when we get the theory.
A lot of what we discuss and work on can be found in our new book, The Plan.  Additionally I’m impressed by a few new ideas we’ve discussed that I now see floating to the surface in these sectors. These will impact all of us in our daily lives.  Some of them:
1. Groupon – is moving into concert sales.  This can save a bad tour, help fill an otherwise unsuccessful venue, and democratize the event by making it less expensive for most people.
When that succeeds I think it will spread to movie theaters.  There are too many chairs empty in nearly every showing.  People will go if the show is less expensive.
2. Newspapers and magazines are moving into the digital world but aren’t sure how to monetize (eg: make money) now when they get there.
I’ve seen a few ideas that showcase the future and thought these 2 quick videos seem to be the most likely outcomes:
Any entrepreneur or small business faces the same needs to understand audience targeting.  I believe that algorhythims are going to lead us there.   Anyone know some great geek?  Grab ’em while they’re available.

– John

150,000 showed up this weekend May 2, 2011

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Action Plans, American Dreamers, Business Success Coach, Career Wisdom, Coaching, DIRECTV, Manswers, Personal action plans, Personal Success, professional speakers, quality of life, SWOT analysis, The 3 Key Life Aspects, The Four Windows Process, unemployment action, Women, women in management, working after quitting.
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This past weekend I was on a panel discussion at the LA Times Festival of Books.  

It was very encouraging to see that a “book fair” could bring about 150,000 people into downtown Los Angeles on one of the hottest days of the year.   Who’d have thought, in this day of ebooks and free online information about everything, (not to mention expensive gasoline @ $4.50 a gallon) that they’re would be this many folks prepared to make a trip to the campus of the University of Southern California, or USC, as it’s know around here.

Amazing and wonderful turnout.  The Times are to be congratulated for promoting this event, now in it’s 16 year I believe, and helping authors and readers come together in a well managed and very pretty environment.  The woman who headed it up for the newspaper, Maret Orliss, did an awesome job looking after everyone’s needs at once.

I was there, (supported, again, by beautiful wife Susan,) to participate in a panel discussion and book signing event for my new book, The Plan.  It came out in February and has been getting some good reviews across North America for being an easy to use and interesting book for anyone wanting to take control of their destiny.  I’m real pleased with how the momentum is growing.  My co-author, Canadian consultant and mentor Helen Latimer, put a lot of time into creating a “tool” as well as an interesting read.

The panel was called, Finding Life in Work.

Our moderator, Dennis Nishi, a writer himself, with articles in papers including The Wall Street Journal, had done his homework.  It was a treat to speak to someone who actually had read the book beforehand!  I was pleased that my belief that everyone should take advantage – and get  the benefits – from creating their own SWOT analysis, was widely embraced by the other panelists.

I know that many cities have book festivals.  Most people do not attend them and I’d guess it’s because they don’t think there will be much to interest them.  But having seen so many people of all ages actively engaged this past weekend, I’d encourage you to try it out.  You may learn something but even if you don’t, it’s a great way to connect with those in your city

Have a great week!

John

Why get a degree? April 4, 2011

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Action Plans, American Dreamers, career planning, career success, Career Wisdom, CBS Interactive, Coaching, DIRECTV, Gen Y's, Job advice, new jobs, Personal action plans, The Secret, Veracity.
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For most people, getting a degree today has become a bad investment.

I believe that most of these individuals would be better off simply getting into the workplace sooner.  It’s not that I’m against education – I’m actually a strong advocate of lifelong learning.  It’s just that – for most college kids – the job market is no longer likely to provide any kind of ROI.

Consider these stats which I picked up in Forbes Magazine:

During the past 30 years, overall inflation in the US was 106%

Health care costs went up 251%

College tuitions and fees?  Up 439%!

Translation: the cost of tuition / room / board are increasing at a rate 6 times faster than the average earnings of a college grad.  Combine that with the fact that there are fewer hi pay jobs today as a result of global hiring, and the math simply no longer is right.

Many very successful people are college dropouts.  They include Steve Jobs (Apple) , Bill Gates (Microsoft), Clare Danes (actor), Richard Branson (Virgin), Dave Thomas (Wendys), Albert Enstein.  I’m in the same boat (– although clearly not in the same league..)

I discussed this trend more deeply in my 2nd book Career Wisdom.   At this point I now use a ‘rule of thumb’ when giving students ideas to noodle about their career:  Don’t go into any type of work that can be done faster or cheaper:

– by a computer (eg: accountants hate Turbo Tax)

– by someone overseas ( this now includes doctors by the way)

– online (eg: lawyers hate sites that do divorces or estate plans for 1/4 their cost)

We are truly moving into an era of the creative class where people are valued for their new ideas and approaches.  And we’re also moving into an era of  hands-on work, where a job cannot be automated or done elsewhere – these include mechanics which pay pretty well and flipping hamburgers.

Just don’t get stuck with an education bill for a hundred thousand dollars with a false expectation that you will be able to pay it off and then find out that the “job” you’d expected is now done in a different way and you’re too expensive to hire.

Here’s to your future!

John

More insight here.

New book,The Plan, launches tomorrow! February 14, 2011

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", 21 Ways Women in Management Shoot Themselves in the Foot, Action Plans, business and career coaching, career success, Career Wisdom, Coaching, life balance, quality of life, Veracity.
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“Is this it?  Is this as good as it gets?”

Ever ask yourself questions like that?  If so, you’re certainly not alone.

As a business life coach, over the period of many years, I’ve asked many hundreds of people to rate how they’re doing.  My questions were usually like these:

  • How successful are you?
  • Has life turned out like you expected when you were in school?
  • Are you satisfied with your personal (or financial, or career) life?

What I found was that most people are not happy or satisfied with how things are going.  Only a very-small percentage rate themselves well, while most rated themselves not-very-good at all.

So, in my coaching practice, I started digging into the lives of those in that small group who had rated themselves as “satisfied” or “very satisfied”.  I wanted to see if there was anything that they all shared.  Was there some thing, or certain actions they all did that helped them have a great life, one they enjoyed – while the bulk of the people lived lifes that they weren’t happy with?

And – as I uncovered – there was.

I started testing these ideas with my clients.  Together we found that they could turn their lives around.  And it didn’t take a long time to change how things were going for them.  My clients repeatedly told me that they’d moved forward – into new successes, and were enjoying life more fully.

Breakthrough!

After seeing how effective this approach was, I got together with a trusted colleague, the Canadian consultant and mentor Helen Latimer,  to co-author a new book.

Our goal for this book was singular: To help as many people as possible to have a better life.

In it, we’d share insights from real people.  We detail the experiences of clients and others who’d found out how to live satisfying and successful lives.  We wanted to provide solid information and tools that anybody could easily use in her or his life.  It worked.

Our new book is called The Plan.

In The Plan, we share everything you might need to dramatically change your life.  We provide insight, tools, and worksheets that are easy to use.

We know this book will make a massive change to your life because we’ve seen the results first hand.  Check it out.  I know you’ll be glad you did.

John