jump to navigation

You should know the Rule of 3 June 28, 2011

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", business intelligence, career planning, career success, coaches, Coaching, executive coach, leadership coach, business consultant, career advice, Personal Success, The Plan, Veracity.
add a comment

Today, more than ever, it’s important to face up to the idea that your employment or professional success may be impacted by factors beyond your control.  In this blog executive coach John M McKee discusses how to apply a planning approach that’s used successfully by organizations to your own career.

——————————————————————————————————–

Headhunters are receiving a lot of resumes these days. 

One I spoke with yesterday told me that her office is being flooded with them while there’s still no dramatic increase in hiring.

2011 is, and will remain, a difficult year.  Depending on which stats you believe, it’s likely that we’ll close the year in the US with about 8.9% reported unemployment, growth for the economy will be about 2.2% in real terms.  For most businesses, the prospects are no more positive.  Clients are developing an attitude of playing it safe and spending – in many cases – the minimum possible.

More than ever before, I’m hearing requests for information and guidance. To boil them down, they are, more or less in one of these areas:

  • How can I guard against ending up as another one of the statistics we’re seeing on the news every day?
  • Are there tools or approaches that one can use to help ensure that (s)he is proactively managing his/her career more assertively?

Here’s one I’ve found to be very successful.  It’s called The Rule of 3. It’s predicated on the premise that nobody should be managing-by-crossed-fingers.

 The Rule of 3 is the opposite of hoping.  You know:  Hoping to not get fired, or Hoping that one’s clients will start buying more, and then Hoping they’ll pay their bills more promptly.  Crossed fingers as a strategy isn’t going to do it.  Much better to buy some lotto tickets.

The Rule works for an individual who’s employed, self-employed, or contracting.  It works for small business and large organizations.

It assumes that none of us is smart enough to ever see everything ahead.

It’s about keeping options open, being thoughtful, and rolling with the natural shifts in cycles.  I suggest you give it some consideration, and noodle about how to apply it to your situation.

So, my advice is – starting today – determine 3 options for your professional life. I’ll use an example of someone who works for an organization to show where these options could be:

1. I have a job and will do whatever it takes to keep it.  For most people, this means stepping-up.  Doing, and being seen and recognized for doing, things beyond which others in similar roles would ever do.  Showing – more than ever – that you’re the one who the company simply must keep even if others have to be laid off.  It could involve more work, more hours, helping out in different areas beyond your role, taking courses to show that you are capable of doing other projects or activities.  You want everyone to know that you, more than anyone else, are a keeper.

2. Accept the reality that you still may lose your job. Despite your best efforts personally, other factors can come into play. The company may go down, or the offices where you work may be shuttered, or your department could be outsourced.

With that as a possibility, now is the time to start planning what the ideal alternative would be.  What I mean is:

  • “If I became victim of this environment, what would my preferred outcome be?
  • If I could choose my next job, what would it be and where would it be?”

Get clear on this and start investigating, while you’re still in your current role, what it would take to get that other job.  It could be internal or with another company or another industry.

Now you’ve got the beginnings of a back-up plan that you could use in the event of the worst case in the current job.  With some groundwork now, you would be in a strong place to move from a sacking to a job you could be happy with.  Start taking actions that will help ensure you will not be immobilized by actions taken by the current employer

3. Recognize that your preferred outcome may not materialize as expected and hoped.  So, you lost your current job and then went after the preferred alternative but your plan didn’t come together as intended.  Now what?  Here’s where the Rule of 3 is even more important because, as ugly as it is, you’ve already contemplated this scenario.  You’ve noodled about other jobs, or sources of income, that you could do and that would keep some cash flowing into your life.  Not necessarily the kind of activity you’d prefer; but it can keep the rent paid and buy you some meatloaf.  Creating this fallback plan while you’re still employed is important because you’re doing it more dispassionately.  Your ego is intact, your common sense more in play.  I once had a company executive tell me his #3 was working at a call center providing service to others.(!)

Hopefully, neither he or you  will never have to use your #3; but creating a plan now that is more likely to help you through the possible worst case scenario will reduce the chances of having to find out.  You are becoming more active in managing your future and increasing the chances of effectively dealing with any problems that may arise.

For more ideas about creating a plan. Check out my new book The Plan.  Right now it’s available as a download at no charge.

Here’s to your future.

John

“Everything’s excellent”. Really? January 28, 2011

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Action Plans, business and career coaching, business intelligence, Business Success Coach, career success, Coaching, executive coach, leadership coach, business consultant, career advice, Veracity.
1 comment so far

“John, You impress me. You’ve got great experience in the real world, unlike most coaches.  And your reputation is excellent.  I want to tell you that when we need a leadership coach in this organization; your office is the first one we’ll contact.  But right now – I can’t think of anyone who could use a coach.”

I was talking to the CEO & Chairman of a very large media company.

A smart guy, I like him a lot.  But he’s clearly out of touch with what’s really going on.

In effect, here’s what he was saying:

1. All of my managers are performing at, or above, expectations.

2. I don’t have anyone who is roadblocked; they’re all moving forward successfully.

3. Everybody here is fully aware of their own strengths and weaknesses.

4. Business is great, profits are great, the outlook is great.

5. Nobody on my team is a flight risk (meaning, none of the really good performers will ever leave here – they love their jobs and this company).

Can any thoughtful boss – in any organization – say all of these things?

I recognize it’s very possible that this CEO was really just trying to avoid the conversation with me.  Perhaps he doesn’t feel he has the “expense money” to engage me.

But no boss or organization, can “Save their way to success.” Especially in a dynamic industry.

  • Any good business opportunity comes with an investment cost.  But there’s a key  difference between prudent business people and the rest of the pack:  the smart  ones look for assurance that they’ll see a solid Return on that Investment (ROI).
  • I learned this myself years ago when I was asked to turn around a failing business. Only after discussing ROI was I prepared to make any decision about spending the little money we had.  I’d expect nothing less from our clients.

But the CEO above, with his hasty response, may never know that he could have engaged us with no risk. Consequently, he missed an solid opportunity to improve his organization’s results.

All in the name of “expense savings”.

At Business Success Coach.net, I believe in the importance of a Guarantee. And, because I’ve led $B organizations myself, I fully recognize that there is a critical need for achieving a ROI. In my practice, we provide both.

Like any astute business person, the CEO above should have asked before responding.  But he didn’t.  And that’s just unfortunate.  For everyone there.

John

Here’s to Your Future!

Better than sex? August 24, 2010

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Action Plans, business intelligence, Business Success Coach, Career Wisdom, Coaching, DIRECTV, emotional decisions, Job advice, life balance, Personal action plans, quality of life, The Four Windows Process, women in management.
Tags:
add a comment

Some people actually say that their job can be better than sex. In this blog, business life coach John McKee discusses what may be behind that thinking.  And why it’s dangerous.

—————————————————————————————-

Can work be better than sex?

Some time ago I was working with a guy who was the business development lead for new ventures and strategic partnerships at his company.   It was clear he really enjoyed his job.  He was good at it, helping his employer to successfully move into new areas never considered before his arrival.

I remarked that it was clear he loved what he was doing.  His response was particularly telling:

“John, when things come together, this job is better than sex!”

Ever considered just how seductive the job you do, or the company you work with, can be?

– You can have huge praise lauded onto you; raises, bonuses, and promotions.

-And each action comes with a nice message – “You!  You’re GREAT! We love what you do around here!  We’re SO LUCKY to have you!  We don’t know what we’d do if you ever leave us!”

Pretty heady stuff.  It doesn’t take long until it starts to feel very nice.

On the other side, the home front; not many folks get those kinds of compliments or that type of praise heaped on them regularly.

So, in ways like above, and others, companies can romance you. As a result, you can become very emotionally attached to them. And like any affair, this feeling can cause you to lose perspective when considering options – like leaving them.

Recently I was working with a woman employed at a large soft drink company.  She’d just been offered a job by a competitor. That job was a significant jump in responsibility – a level that would probably take her a couple of years to reach with her current employer.  In addition to a bigger title, the other company was offering a company car (which she didn’t have now,) a much bigger bonus, and she could telecommute a couple of days a week if she chose.

The last was important because she was a new mom.

Yet she didn’t think she should take the offer. When we huddled together to consider the pros and cons; she realized that she wasn’t making a lot of sense. Then she justified her thinking by saying that she felt “obliged” to stay at the current place.  “They’ve been good to me in the past, and it’s really not that bad.”

Not THAT bad!

She sounded like a lot of folks when they’re contemplating leaving a lover, husband, or girlfriend because the relationship has gone downhill.   They usually recall the good things from the past and forget about the other opportunities which may exist to have a happier, more satisfying life with another person.  “It’s not really that bad…”

In the end, she made the right decision and is very happy.  But it wasn’t easy for her.

And – by the way –  that’s exactly what companies want you to feel: obliged to them.

They want their best talent feeling loyal and dedicated to them.  So they design their compensation plans to act like golden handcuffs. They may even offer two or more incentive programs so it’s even harder to walk away.

But in the end, any relationship based on stuff which cause us to temporarily feel good but does not provide any authentic joy and long-term satisfaction will crater.

And if a relationship is going to collapse, it’s better that you’re the one who walks away first.

John

Noodling about success August 6, 2010

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", 21 Ways Women in Management Shoot Themselves in the Foot, Action Plans, business intelligence, Business Success Coach, Canada, Career Wisdom, CBS Interactive, Coaching, executive coach, leadership coach, business consultant, career advice, Personal action plans, Personal Success, Satisfaction, small business coach, Veracity, wellness, women in management.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

Do you have a plan for your life?  A written plan?  In this article, business life coach John M McKee makes the point that individuals – just like successful organizations – should have a plan for their life.

—————————————————————————————–

“Are you satisfied with life?”

I ask my new clients this question before we get started.

Thinking about your life as being made up of a career, a personal life and your financial situation – would you describe yourself as satisfied?

Most individuals tell me that they’re successful in one those, but not many tell me they’re satisfied overall.  (Which is kind of sad.)

I believe most answer that way because life really hasn’t turned out like they thought it would back when they were still in school.   At that point, they were certain that they had it all figured out.  They “knew” they’d do well.

But now they don’t feel as satisfied as they’d expected.

The reason, I’m convinced, is that most people don’t have a plan for their life.

“A plan?” many people say.

“I don’t need a plan to tell me if I’m as successful as I could be. I can see how things are.  And anyway, I’m doing everything I can already. Having a plan won’t make me more successful.”

I disagree. Studies show that when we set a clear goal or objective – for any aspect of our life – we’re more likely to perform better.

This is proven repeatedly: When tests are done with those who are learning a new skill or language, or trying to lose weight, or engaging in a new sport; they are always more likely to move forward & do it more quickly, when they have established goals and continually review their progress. We need a measurement that is objective.

And yet most people don’t do the same for their career plan, finances or personal lives.

If you don’t have a plan, you’re not giving yourself the best chance to improve your life.

Here’s to your future,

John

My Career Rule of Three’s June 30, 2010

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Action Plans, anxiety, business and career coaching, business intelligence, business success, Career Wisdom, Coaching, executive coach, leadership coach, business consultant, career advice, Job advice, Tech Republic, The Four Windows Process, Veracity, women in management.
add a comment

In this tough economy many people have additional projects added to their jobs as a result of fewer people being replaced.  In this article, business life coach John M McKee provides advice to ensure that you survive through this period.

————————————————————————————————————-

“I’ve been getting home at 3, even 5 in the morning.  That’s after starting the day in the office at 8 AM.  I’m going to break!”

The person speaking was a client of mine. It was very clear that her boss was really taking advantage, pushing her way too hard.

My client’s a dedicated lady.  She’s a vice president in the accounting department at one America’s largest movie studios.   She’s also a bit soft spoken.  People take advantage of her gentle nature which is one of the reasons she engaged me.

For the last few weeks her boss had been pushing her hard but now a new systems switch-over has been added to her load – so she’s been working into the night just to keep up with the projects throwing.

As we discussed how to deal with her situation, it became clear that she feels she’s trapped in a place she doesn’t want to be.  But she has no ideas about where or what she may prefer. 

I shared with her my career-planning Rule of Three’s.  Do they apply to you?

1. Recognize that the job you’re in may disappear at any time.  Anyone, even the best performers, may find themselves out of work in today’s environment. Accept that reality.

2. Consider how you’ll do if things don’t work out with your job.  How you would you handle it, psychologically, if your boss called you in one day for a conversation that starts with something like, “Alice, I’m sorry but….” Does your life revolve around work, with few close friends or family members?  If so, wake up.  Nobody’s bulletproof any longer.

3. Noodle on what you could do as a fallback job. It’s possible that you may not immediately get one at the same level or pay as you are currently earning.  Have a “worst case” plan that contemplates you doing things like taking a not-for-pay job, or a lowing paying job for a period of time.

It’s surprising and sad how much on one’s sense of identity may be tied to their job.  With these simple rules you are less likely to fall into a heap if the worst case happens.   As I noted in my blog at CNET, the economy isn’t recovering quickly at this stage.  So ensure that  your plan includes some financial back up to ensure you can survive for at least 3 months if you’re suddenly out of work.

Here’s to your future.

John

Outsourcing = End of good life in West? June 4, 2010

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", business and career coaching, business intelligence, business strategy, Business Success Coach, Coaching, Tech Republic, Tempur-Pedic, The Four Windows Process, women in management.
add a comment

Worried that outsourcing will ultimately reduce our standard of living and put all the good years behind us?  In this blog, author and executive leadership coach John M McKee discusses the prospect. Then he provides an opportunity to ensure it doesn’t happen.

——————————————————————————————————

I recently fired-up a subscriber of my Online Leadership Program. Based in Australia, he is in the final stages of a PhD thesis in Leadership & a senior executive. He clearly thought my advice on outsourcing was off-the- mark.

He wrote: “Yes I agree that lot of organisations are moving off-shore, your sea change. An interesting anecdote that goes along with this is the Sydney (New South Wales – Australia) law firm decided that they could move all but a few of their secretarial serviced to the Philippines and terminated their Australian staff. May be good for the firm but sux for Australia’s unemployment …

..consider the strategy of off-shoring customer service concepts. ..as we (OECD) countries go down this path and wages increase, workers will eventually become Unionized and the standard and cost of living goes up in the target country at the detrimental cost of the recipient country. So the target country’s standard of living improves to be equal to that of OECD and the source countries standard of living goes down. When the playing field is equal, where do you go then to reduce your costs? It probably won’t affect you, I may suggest you will be retires and living well and all the secretaries are living on the bread line as poor pensioners because in Australia 9% of wages is put into superannuation for retirement.

Sure CEOs today can generate additional benefits at the cost of their people, but what about the cost to the country’s economy today and into the future with an aging population. Profits are generated by costs, and CEOs are drive by profits.

He makes a good observation, however it presumes that we in the Western Nations continue to do nothing beyond what’s going on today.

I think that’s unlikely.

The trend he described, in which the source country has a reduced standard of living while the target country witnesses an increase; is one that is growing quickly.  It may be inevitable if not recognized and dealt with by governments, academic facilities, and business people.

For the next generation and those who are affected by outsourcing, the best opportunity is to move into an arena that cannot be “replaced” by cheaper labor elsewhere OR by a computer.

That creates a new wave of the so-called “creative class” in the West.  If more are educated or re -trained to create (and that creation could come by computer, or otherwise) we can continue to lead and grow the other countries successfully.

When asked by parents what should they do for their kids education, this is what I tell them.  And I finish my advice by saying that, otherwise the West will be left in the dust by countries that have cheaper human costs and newer tech environments such as India, China, or Brazil.