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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.


  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!
Executive leadership coach

Holiday Bookends July 2, 2011

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", American Dreamers, Canada, Coaching, life balance, Offtime, Personal action plans, Satisfaction, The 3 Key Life Aspects, The Plan, Veracity, well being.
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Canada Day on July 1 (Friday this year) and Independence Day on July 4th (Monday).

This got me noodling about both great countries.

Born in Canada, I am also a US Citizen.  I love both countries. It makes me smile every time I get into a discussion about each country’s pros / cons and the great stuff / crappy issues faced by them.  People on both sides of the border have some outdated opinions about those on the other side of the 49th Parallel.

So, for my Holiday Gift to readers of this blog – let me clear up some popular misconceptions I hear:

#1.  Americans don’t know anything about what goes on in Canada.  This really pisses off Canucks.  It’s true that Yanks don’t know as much about Canada as Canadians do about the US.

It has everything to do with the fact that Canadians consume about the same about of news and media from the States as do the Americans.  Unfortunately the Americans don’t have the same TV access to Canadian media so they aren’t faced with news or stories each day.

But it’s not that Americans only care about what’s going on here. I find that the people I come in contact with are aware of world events to an extent that is generally speaking greater than the average Canuck.

2. All Canadians are very nice.  (Yes. ALL of them.)  I’m amazed at how prevalent this feeling is in the US.  It’s wrong.

Let me assure US readers that I’ve known some really NOT nice Canadians over my life.  When I worked at the Hudson Bay Company, the Chairman (George Kosich) was known as George Carnage because of his attitude that anyone who got in his way was an “enemy” to be dispensed with quickly.

Are there more “nice” people proportionately n Canada then the US?  From my experience, it’s about the same ratio.

– But what I love about many Canadians is that they have waaaaay better listening skills than Americans.  They’re less likely to interrupt and more likely to ask questions than their southern cousins.  Great listeners learn more and are more likely to be regarded as nice.

– On the other hand, Americans lead the world – far and away – in terms of charity donations and philanthropic support.  That’s pretty nice.

3.  Americans are the least fit nation in the world.  Canadians are more fit because they spend more time on fitness and outdoors.

The first one is right – unfortunately.  Yanks inherited that mantle from Germans about 8 years ago.  I believe it has to do with the size of portions here and the accessibility of cheap fast food.

About the second one.  I don’t buy that argument.  Unfortunately, the last report I saw showed the Canucks are closing -in with regard to measurements like Body Mass Index (BMI).  Both countries are out of shape but it’s worse in the warmer country.

4. You can always spot a Canadian from an American by their “accents”.  Partially right – but not always.

I think that North America has kind of ‘local accents’ that are north / south in nature.  People in Fargo sound exactly like people just north of them in Winnipeg.  Edmonton residents could pass as locals in Alaska.  Vancouver-ites sound a lot like Seattle-eans. Toronto people have a real mix, some sound like Chicagoans, others like Wisconsin individuals.  Calgary seems like they were separated at birth from Denverites.  Newfoundlanders could pass easily as a local at a bar in New England.

Clearly French-Quebecers sound unique though, right? Not really – just spend some time in New Orleans French Quarter and you’ll hear many of the same sounds.

I do think Americans from what is called, “the south” have a wonderful and unique lilt – I’m sorry it’s being lost due to migration there from other states.  In the same way, I love the sound of many words used by a lot of Montrealers who still call English as their first language; kind of classy and romantic.

5. Finally, the big question: Which is right –

a) Canada is a better country to live in.

b) The United States is a better country to live in.

The answer is….drum roll please….


Wherever you are this weekend – and all year long – Love it. And accept those from the other side of the border as being about as close to you as any nation could possibly be.

Have a great long weekend!


The media is listening February 26, 2011

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", business success, Canada, career planning, DIRECTV, life balance, Personal action plans, Personal Success.
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Last week I was invited to go to San Diego today to appear on a live morning show on KUSI TV.

The kicker is – our book, The Plan, isn’t even in stores yet!

It won’t be for sale in the local Barnes and Nobles of the world or even at most bookseller online sites for at least a week – so being asked to discuss it at this stage is great.

Here’s the link to the interview clip.

As far as I know the hard copy book can only be purchased today at this site.  Although if you visit our website for the book you can buy it there.  download an EBook version of it for only $7.99.  The cool thing about the digital book is that it has active links to additional resources.

Looking forward!



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.
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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,


Stressing out? Try this. August 20, 2009

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Action Plans, anxiety, business success, Business Success Coach, Canada, Career Wisdom, Coaching, Job advice, life balance, quality of life, Tempur-Pedic, Veracity, wellness, Women.
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tn_john-002.jpgToday, more than ever, people are feeling the effects of stress.  In this week’s VERACITY Blog, executive coach John M McKee discusses a free audio program which can help individuals get past their stress and move forward.


There are a lot of people stressed out – about a lot things – right now.

You’ve probably noticed.  May even be feeling the impact of stress yourself.

When we’re stressed, we function less effectively.  It’s harder to make decisions, and then we may second-guess ourselves.  It’s harder to fall asleep and stay asleep – this affects us during the day of course; often manifested by being more emotional than usual.  (“I never cry.  But I cried! What’s up with that?”)

There are a lot of reasons to feel stressed today and I’m not going to list them here.  You know what’s going on in your life.  But you may not be conscious of this fact: even if things are fine in your life, you may be impacted by stress simply be the news or hearing from others about increased difficulties they are experiencing.  This is particularly so for individuals who have a strong sense of empathy; which usually translates to women more than men.

If you’re feeling more stressed than usual, you should  check out this free audio program currently offered by Business Success Coach.net.  Recorded by a Canadian medical doctor whom I regard as one of the finest experts in this field, Dr. Alan Banack, it’s been used successfully by patients and individuals for over 20 years.

A similar audio tape of his helped me to quit smoking back in 1988. Quite simply – these work.

Each of us get stressed out at different times.  Usually we can manage it and it goes away on its own.  But sometimes it doesn’t.  It kind of grabs onto us and doesn’t let go.  Then we see our performance drop.  We may feel tired or lack energy.  We become less than we were on many fronts.  This audio will help you overcome it.

If you’re not sure that something you download for free can actually help you: then I urge you to test it out.

Dr Alan Banack, has been practicing for nearly 30 years.  He has patients throughout North America who have benefited from his psycho therapy and leading edge approach to reducing or eliminating the effects of stress.   You should try this free program.  Let me know how it worked for you.

It’s available our organization’s website at Business Success Coach.net.  Listen the my interview with Dr Banack beforehand too.

Here’s to your future!


Vacations, Recharging, Improving July 15, 2009

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", American Dreamers, anxiety, business and career coaching, business strategy, Business Success Coach, Canada, Coaching, The 3 Key Life Aspects, The Secret, Veracity, well being.
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Many people are not taking a vacation this year.  They feel that the economy or their particular situation makes time off a bad idea.  In this blog, executive and business coach John M McKee talks about his recent vacation and why it’s more important then ever to use down-time to your advantage.


The surf wasn’t as good as hoped.  I was sitting on my surfboard with my daughter Jess about 10 yards away on hers and we were waiting for some ride-worthy waves to bear down on us.  Despite the lack of breakers at this moment, it struck me that life doesn’t get much better than this.

On vacation for a couple of weeks on Canada’s Vancouver Island, we were near a small village called Tofino.  It’s in a rainforest; known for its excellent beaches and waves.  My wife Susan, who is a great planner (and understands life’s needs better than most people), had rented us a great house near the beach for a month.  With relatives and friends staying with us over the period; it was just a great opportunity to decompress and recharge.

So I was surfing with my daughter this particular afternoon, with plans to go out for dinner as a group and then attend a concert arranged by Susan’s sister, Pam the head of the Tofino Art and Culture Festival on the Island.  The concert was a solo act by a bassoonist and turned out to be one of life’s great little surprises – we enjoyed him and the few hours we spent together.johncloseup-resized-for-veracity.jpg

Many individuals fail to recognize the genuine benefits that accrue when they take a serious vacation.  And, yes, I do realize that during this time, not everyone can afford to go out of the country for some time off.  If you’re in that situation, then take a stay-cation around the home.  The key point to remember is this – if you work hard, or are under stress from being out of work – you still need to give yourself some “time off”.  Otherwise you get stale, can become cranky, and risk depression.  Any of which are not going to do you – or anyone who’s near you – any benefit.

Recently, I was interviewed on the subject of how to take a vacation and get the most of it.  I provided some ideas and suggestions to help get away, enjoy the time off, and get back into the work mode quick when you return to the job. If you’re interested you can see it at this link:


During my time off, I also had the opportunity to go ocean kayaking with my brother-in-law, Tim Lewis, sister in-law Flo Skakum-Lewis, nephew Jeff and above mentioned daughter.  As daylight became nightfall, I was reminded that,  it’s hard to keep thinking about the job when you’re worried about dying….  But once we were back on land, we were invigorated and charged, not depleted.  That’s one of the great benefits of challenging yourself in new ways.  It sharpens the mind and the body.

If you are stalling about taking time off this year, I encourage you to move forward and do something.

Over the long haul, you’ll become a better and more successful individual because of vacations.  In the short-term it’s unlikely to hurt your career or job requirements.  More importantly, it will probably improve your performance.

Looking forward…