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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

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“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.
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“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!

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.
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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.

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“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.
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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.

Japan regaining relevance. Again. December 29, 2009

Posted by John M McKee in American Dreamers, business and career coaching, business success, Business Success Coach, Coaching, executive coach, leadership coach, business consultant, career advice, Notes for Business, Veracity, well being.
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If you’re focused on Asia, but only watching China, Korea, or Taiwan; then you’re missing an important player.  In this article executive coach John M McKee comments on what he found in Japan last week.

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I just returned from a trip to Japan .  I was pleased to note that it no longer feels like a “formerly great” country.  From the perspective of an executive coach, it was clear to me that the country’s firing on all cylinders, again.

In Tokyo for one week and then up to Sapporo for another week, I had ample time to get a feel for the pulse of the country.  It didn’t feel like life support is needed on either island.  On the contrary – it felt vibrant, the people seemed upbeat in general.  And, although Christmas isn’t celebrated much ( only about 1 million of the 136 million population are Christians so the lack of “traditional Christmas activities” was not surprising,) the stores were still very busy.  People weren’t just kicking tires, they were out to buy.

I went to Akihabara, aka Electric Town.  If you’ve never been there, make a point of finding it on your next trip to Tokyo.  (Not hard, it’s right on one the main subway lines.)  Japan has always had a great electronics industry and a trip to Akihabara showed that it’s not just alive but it’s thriving.  I wish a lot more of their cool stuff showed up in North America and sooner.  And, if you’re a shopper who thinks that Best Buy is the pinnacle of electronics retail; you’ll be blown away.

Some stores are 8 stories high.  Other stores look like a “mom and pop” place opened at the end of world war 2.  But it’s all wonderful and cool and inexpensive for the most part. You can’t think of any product with a cable or connector that they don’t have.  Plus, they have staff, demonstrations, and education areas.  If you arrived and weren’t sure what you needed, there is always someone to help you.

We all know that China and India are the Asian Tigers, consequently we spend a lot of time tracking their progress and watching their growth with deep respect.  But it’s worth noting that Japan remains the second largest national economy after the US.  They are growing their exports again – actually had a positive balance of trade with China last month.  And judging by their leadership in fashion and anime over the past few years, they have taken a strong position in several cultural sectors in addition to their auto and electronic industries.

Up north in Japan’s 5th largest city of Sapporo (yes it’s the home of the beer and a brewery visit is in order when you go), the scene was similar.  Shoppers were energized there too.  The island’s tourism biz seems to be growing with great skiing and snowboarding adding to the luster of the wonderful and popular spring fed bathhouses in the mountains which housed the Olympics a couple of decades ago.

If you haven’t been to Japan – go.  If it’s been more than 5 years, go again.

Keep an eye on this country – there’s lots to learn and it’s easy to forget with all the hype of their neighboring countries.

Looking forward!

john

Cranky? It could kill your job August 12, 2009

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", anxiety, business and career coaching, business strategy, business success, career success, Coaching, Job advice, life balance, quality of life, replenishment, small business coach, stress, Tempur-Pedic, The Secret, Veracity, well being, wellness, Women.
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abc1Sleep issues often cause poor performance on the job. In this article business and executive coach John M McKee discusses 5 tactics to make you more successful.

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“I’m simply fed up!”

And, with that comment, a new client of mine started working with me last January.

He went on, saying that, “I’m already in a very pressureful business. I shouldn’t have to deal with more bureaucratic bulls*** that makes it even tougher to get my job done.  The HR department seems to feel that its job is to prevent me from hiring good people or firing the dead weight!”

He’s a temperamental senior executive, known to have a big temper.  But the organization – a midsized cable television network – puts up with his fits because he helps them to succeed.  They asked me to do some remedial coaching to try to help him act a little more “business like”: no screaming fits, no cursing, door slamming should stop. The objective was for him to at least try to act like a normal human being in meetings with his peers.

In our first meeting I could sense his frustration level.  I dealt with it head-on.  “What’s your problem?” I asked.

He started to list all the things in his life that are driving him crazy.  To be fair it was a list that would make even the most even-keeled person become unbalanced. (His wife had left him, his 401k is now a 201k after the events of last year, he was promised a big raise but then the company didn’t deliver the goods, he hurt his knee skiing and it aches all day, and he isn’t sleeping much.

That last one caught my attention.  In addition to being an executive and business coach, I am also a Wellness Adviser for Tempur-Pedic.   During my 30+ years in boardrooms and executive suites I have seen firsthand that a lack of sleep can have a major impact on one’s performance, attitude, and behavior.  It struck me that this client may be sleep deprived and that everyone may be seeing the result of that.

We discussed how long he sleeps each night, if he’s one to toss and turn, how fast he goes to sleep when his head hits the pillow, and how he feels when he gets up in the AM.

From his answers it was clear that he wasn’t getting enough quality sleep.

This makes him emotional and drives his actions and behavior.  My client didn’t need a coach to help him understand fundamentals of good management practice – he needed more sleep!

I gave him some suggestions, he put them into practice and – like magic – he’s become the “old executive” everyone knew and loved.

If you’re feeling emotional, irrational, cranky, foggy, or just plain run down; consider a few of these ideas to improve your sleep.  It may make you more effective, content, and successful:

1. Caffeine – if you have trouble sleeping, drink no more than 2 caffeinated beverages a day, none after lunch.  This includes tea by the way.  And many things we eat have caffeine – check the labels.

2. Booze – This is a trick one because it can make you sleepy and you go right to sleep without all that “noise”.  So it seems like it’s a sleep aid. But it’s not a good sleep.  Then you usually wake up still feeling tired.  Try not to drink within 4 hours of bedtime.

3.  Bed – Don’t try to save money on your bed. It’s probably one of the best investments in your personal success you can make.  If you are uncomfortable (bed is too hard, too soft, too hot, too cold, too small, too crowded, etc etc) you toss and turn, and that breaks up the important deep sleep that replenishes you.  If you need to save money on furniture buy a less expensive dining room suite.  They never get used as much as people expect anyway.

4. Environment – Your bedroom should be dark – any light can interrupt your sleep. It should be quiet – for obvious reasons. Ideally it’s a bit on the cool side – about 64 degrees.  If you have a tv in the bedroom, don’t watch it at bedtime and don’t read before you go to sleep either.  Both can stimulate your brain just when you want it quieter.  Finally, if you are prone to waking up and looking at the time, put the clock in a drawer so you can’t see it.

5. Exercise – Regular exercise helps us sleep better.  I know that it’s tough to find the time to exercise but cut back elsewhere and figure it out.  Do it in the AM or early PM, but not too close to bedtime.  Exercise will help you work out stress and clear your head too – each important for some good zzz’s.

I realize that this list may seem pretty short and that many readers will have seen similar lists.  But if your job performance is not what is needed, I strongly urge you to consider your sleep patterns. Adults need about 8 hours of sleep each night to perform a peak levels.  Anything less is going to hit you.

If you chose to ignore your sleep issues, you can always feel free to call us at our Coaching Practice here at Business Success Coach.net.  Our phone # is 720.226.9072 and we’ll be happy to work with you on other ways of improving your results.

But it’s probably going to cost you more…

Here’s to your success!

john