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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.
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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.

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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.

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These 3 career tips will move you ahead March 16, 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 strategy, career success, CBS Interactive, DIRECTV, Tech Republic, The Four Windows Process, Veracity, women in management.
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Executive and leadership coach John M McKee has helped a lot of people move their career forward while others stalled and fell by the wayside.  In today’s Veracity Blog, he shares 3 of his favorite tips for career success.

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Career Tip #1: Results = Rewards. There will be times it seems that form and process are the most important things in your company and consequently to your boss. They aren’t.

Over thirty years, I don’t recall a single person getting a monster bonus at year’s end or awesome promotion for following the company’s process better than the rest of us. Over the long run, great rewards and promotions go to the one who gives great results.

Career Tip #2 Face time works to your benefit. So your boss is incompetent; & doesn’t have a clue about the company, your job or even his own. Do you really have to waste more your time meeting with him (or her)? Yes, absolutely. And it’s not a waste.

It’s actually smart to spend time with your superior. Don’t rely solely on email or voicemail. Your boss probably receives too many electronic messages already. And while it seems like efficient time management to communicate through email or voicemail, it does little good for your career if (s)he doesn’t know much about you beyond the role you perform.

Go out of your way to talk to the boss about your responsibilities and accomplishments in person. Leave it to everyone else to fill up the boss’ in-boxes.

Career Tip #3: A good listener is hard to find. Recognize that all bosses expect to be heard and then have their directions followed. So – “Listen, listen, listen. And remember that you have two ears and one mouth for a good reason.”

Don’t be one of those misguided types who debates everything they’re instructed to do. After the first 1 or 2 times, it doesn’t show anyone how smart you are. It just becomes tiresome. If this is tough at times, keep in mind that someone else in your company is ready and willing to listen to the boss. Better it’s you.

Here’s to your Future!

–   john

Interested in more tips and career advice?  Check out John M McKee’s weekly blog on CBS Interactive’s Tech Republic.

Free coaching offer for our new website launch March 14, 2010

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", 21 Ways Women in Management Shoot Themselves in the Foot, business intelligence, business strategy, business success, Business Success Coach, Career Wisdom, Coaching, Notes for Business, women in management.
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Taking calculated risks is a characteristic of all great businesses and business leaders.  This week, executive and leadership coach John M McKee chose to take his own calculated step.  He is taking a bold move to a new website for the international coaching practice Business Success Coach.net.

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Can you take 3 good websites and make 1 terrific one?  Or will the sum be less than the components?  This week, we intend to find out.

Up until now, many people found our business life coaching practice through one of 3 different websites:

http://www.BusinessSuccessCoach.net

http://www.JohnMMcKee.com and

http://www.BusinessWomanWeb.com.

We spent 2 months considering the pro’s and the con’s of moving from 3 independent websites, each of which was doing very well for the Practice.  Then, with fingers firmly crossed we gave our web designer Mandi Ziino of Dreamscape Digital.net the go ahead to move us forward.

Mandi has been working with us for several years now.  I know her and she knows me.  A talented artist in her own right, she is also tech savvy and good with SEO.  A solid combination of talent and smarts.

I gave her ideas and budget.  She went to work.  Over the course of about 8 weeks we went back and forth looking at new approaches and what we could carry forward from our old sites.   We agreed that we wanted to do entirely differently this time around.  I was concerned, and admittedly still am to a certain extent, about losing traffic – especially from my core clients who are women executives and women in business.

The site is now up; check it out and tell me what you think.

One of the challenges for the site was to be able to combine information pages for my 2 books with more general insight into coaching.  The books, both are published by Wheatmark,

– “21 Ways Women in Management Shoot Themselves in the Foot”, and

– “Career Wisdom, 101 Proven Strategies for Workplace Success”

They are sold at bookstores as well online at sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com.  But we know people like to go to an author’s site to see if there’s a “fit”.  So we wanted the site to help with that.

I like what we’ve done.  Initial comments and feedback from a few client and colleagues who were tipped off before the launch have given me their feedback.  To celebrate the launch of the new site we have a great offer for a very limited time:

5 Days of Free Coaching with me by email.

If you’d like some help kick starting your business, your career, or your personal life, this is a great way to try out some new ideas and approaches.

Sign up here.

And while you’re there, let us know what you think about the new site.  I’m a big believer in making running changes in a business model.

Here’s to the future!

john

9 Timely Tips for Small Business Owners January 21, 2010

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Action Plans, business intelligence, business strategy, Business Success Coach, executive coach, leadership coach, business consultant, career advice, Notes for Business, small business coach, Veracity, women in management.
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Is your small business feeling the pressure of a new year that’s starting slowly?  In this blog, executive and leadership coach John M McKee provides tips he’s seen used successfully by winners around the world.

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“John, I need some help and some different ideas!  My business is slowing down – I’m concerned it’s going to get worse before it starts getting better and I want to make sure I’m still here when the economy gets good again. I do not want to lose my business after all the hard work and struggles I’ve been through. What can  you suggest?”

These comments were from a client of ours at BusinessSuccessCoach.net. She runs a small business that, while still profitable, is very dependent upon the economy running smoothly. And, obviously, the outlook for the US economy is still not exactly positive. The economy is tough right now and forecasts don’t call for much improvement in the near future.

Credit remains too tight, many costs are going up. Revenues seem hard just to maintain with each passing month and that’s across almost all industries.

So, what’s a small business owner to do?

First, don’t over react. Economies cycle up and down. Admittedly, this one’s more severe than we’ve seen in a long time; but it’s going to pass. And when it does, the market demand for services and goods will return.

In the meantime, here are 9 tactics and strategies I’ve seen used successfully over my 30 years as a company leader and coach:

1. Have a plan. Great businesses – of any size – have a plan that looks ahead at least 3 years and includes all their critical needs such as revenues and expenses by line, cash flow forecasts, new options to grow the business, and ideas for surviving in a bad situation. Any business person who says that (s)he’s just focused on making through each week or even month will have more difficulty recognizing opportunities as they arise. And opportunities always arise for those who are watchful.

2. Manage your plan. Your plan isn’t something to do annually and then file. It should be reviewed frequently and regularly to help you understand trends that you may otherwise may not want to face up to. At least as important, it may clue you in that a new business option which didn’t look great before, is now much more viable.

3. Check your receivables. You may be surprised to see that your “best” clients are paying more slowly than others; or that your suppliers aren’t giving you the same discounts you’d been promised.

4. Cash is King. You already know that credit is more difficult than way back in 2009; and even when one’s been given it, they are often surprised when they go to access a credit line that it’s being withheld. Keep enough cash on hand to survive at least 2 months in the worst case.

5. Reward your best clients. Keep them happy, show them you care, make sure they don’t ever want to try out another business partner – which is how you should regard yourself.

6. Cut expenses to the bone. It’s those “everyday” little things that need to be examined now and you may be surprised to find goods and services at lower prices as everyone adjusts their offers. Just like some people saw McDonald’s new coffee drinks were about the same as what they’d been buying at Starbucks have saved big; most businesses can do the same.

7. Keep your perspective. As I said at the beginning, “this too shall pass”. A primary trait of entrepreneurs is being able to see opportunities that others miss it entirely and that skill may be what got you into business in the first place. So, while it’s important to be realistic about the situation, doom and gloom has no place in small business success.

8. Look for small successes.  Celebrate them. Focus on success by being on the lookout for those little wins. And when you find them exploit them and be grateful. If someone on your team accomplished something, make a big deal about it and encourage more of that behavior.

9. Look after yourself (and your loved ones). Everyone can behave well in good times but how we behave in difficult times is a true measure of who we are.

Here’s an old adage that bears repeating in today’s business climate, “The harder I work; the luckier I get.” Keep this nugget in mind as you make sure that your small business isn’t just surviving – it’s thriving!

– john

Can any new boss fix General Motors? December 2, 2009

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", business intelligence, business strategy, career planning, Coaching, executive coach, leadership coach, business consultant, career advice, Veracity, Women.
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The recent news out of General Motors indicates that change is in the air. In this article, international executive and leadership coach John M McKee shares an new approach that the company may want to consider.

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I believe that great leaders can accomplish what others believe is impossible.  I’ve seen it happen firsthand.

But I also accept that an organization’s culture – that combination of people, structure, policies and procedures as well as attitudes and values- can slow down, or stop cold, even the most gifted executive.

Can GM be fixed?  Not sure.  Back in July of 2008 I said that it was likely that the US auto industry was on the verge of tanking.  Can it ever achieve the lofty goals that the Board and Chairman Ed Whitacre believe are appropriate?  Just think about the task that the person who replaces Fritz Henderson has ahead of him/her:

1. Create cars that people really want and which can go toe-to-toe with world brands like Toyota and Infiniti in terms of appeal, quality and style, as well as Hyundai on the value equation.  Not to mention Ford’s resurrection under Alan Mulally.

2. Create a corporate culture that is fast, caring, and fixated on a single goal as opposed to one that has many goals, is slow, and fixated on other’s peccadilloes.

3. Pay back the US and CDN governments in a timely fashion (and get them off the back of the company in doing so.)

4. Grow the company in Europe and China at the same rate as Brazil.

5. Maintain a minimum US market share of about 20% with fewer brands and retail outlets than it had a year ago.

6. Make money.

The new CEO is going to have to be great in many aspects of leadership.  I wrote about a few of those on this blog over a year ago.

When it’s all said and done, dumping former boss Fritz Henderson was probably always in the cards.  It gives the company more breathing room, allows them to look like they are being proactive at the same time.  But whether any single guy can actually fix the company may be simply too much for any one individual.

Perhaps it’s time to let a woman run an auto company – recent stats note that women are the primary decision makers in most car purchases now. And we sure need some new ideas if The General is to survive.

Looking forward!

john

Is it more OK to cheat now? September 30, 2009

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", 21 Ways Women in Management Shoot Themselves in the Foot, business strategy, business success, Business Success Coach, Career Wisdom, Coaching, Job advice, Notes for Business, Personal Success, Satisfaction, Veracity.
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abc1The incidence of cheating seems to be on the rise.  In this article executive coach John M McKee highlights recent research that found this may be easily controlled.

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Interesting article in this week’s (10/05/09) BusinessWeek magazine on the subject of cheating. Seems like the frequency of people being dishonest is way up.

The article, by Ellen Gibson, notes that this increase may be partially due to the aftermath of the financial crisis – led by individuals like Bernie Madoff and his ilk.  She goes on to quote Dan Ariely, a Duke U prof and author of a best seller called, Predictably Irrational.

He notes that people are more likely to cheat if they are a step removed from the cash payoff.  Something along the lines of, ” If I am not actually hurting or lying to the person I’m dealing with directly; I don’t feel as bad doing it.  And I’m more likely to do it.”

In an experiment involving 500 people, Ariely found that people who do small “cheating things” are more likely to do bigger ones when they get away with it.  Some of his test subjects were asked to wear counterfeit designer products while others wore the real brand.  The ones who felt they got away with cheating with the glasses were more likely ( 2x as likely) to cheat on other unrelated tasks.

In another test, he found that people who had to sign their names at the top of a test were less likely to cheat than those who didn’t sign the paper or those who signed at the bottom of the page.

His conclusion? When reminded of their better selves, by signing before the test, people are more likely to remain honest.  His advice to the IRS for next tax season:  Move the signature line to the top of the page.”

It may be worth trying on your end –  perhaps you can use this information to help yourself or others perform better.

john