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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.


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.



Public restrooms should be gender neutral October 19, 2010

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Action Plans, Business Success Coach, CBS Interactive, Coaching, DIRECTV, emotional decisions, life balance, Offtime, Personal action plans, quality of life, Rants, Satisfaction, stress, The Four Windows Process, Veracity, well being, Women.
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Why aren’t most restrooms gender neutral?  In this posting, business life coach John M McKee makes the case that it’s time for a change.


Out for dinner last night in San Francisco I took a quick trip to the restroom.  In and out, ( including time to wash my hands and check out appearance) was probably about 3 minutes.

It struck me when I came out, just how easy the trip was.  For most guys, it’s fast and easy.  Then I got to thinking about all the women I’ve seen waiting to use “the facilities” over the years.  I mean common everyday places like:

  • concerts
  • restaurants
  • movies
  • stores

It’s just dumb – isn’t it; that someone has to wait to use a restroom while another – often just next door – stands vacant?

Why aren’t public restrooms gender neutral?  I realize that I could be making life a bit more difficult for all guys if there was some change as a result of this question.  But hey, this deserves a little noodling.

If asked, would you agree that all public restrooms ( or at least most) be opened up to both women and men?

Here’s to the 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.
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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.


The Role of Fantasy in Wealth Building April 14, 2010

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", business intelligence, career success, Coaching, emotional decisions, life balance, Personal Success, The 3 Key Life Aspects, The Four Windows Process.
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A while back I interviewed a very smart money manager, Angela McKinney looking for a few tips anybody could use to take better control over the money.

I was impressed with her creativity and brain power.  Good ideas you can use immediately.

Listen to that interview here on Womens Radio.com.

The Role of Fantasy in Wealth Building.

3 Issues / 3 Positions February 17, 2010

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", business intelligence, Business Success Coach, Career Wisdom, Coaching, emotional decisions, Rants, small business coach, The Four Windows Process.
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Random thoughts about 3 recent news stories:

1.  Toyota – This company’s crisis just gets worse, doesn’t it?

In a recent blog that I write for CBS Interactive’s Tech Republic, I asked “what if you were the CEO”?  I then brought forward some suggestions that I thought could be used for damage control.

But moving forward is easier when a company’s senior team faces it honestly and fairly.  Based on what the Federal Gov’t is uncovering – that doesn’t seem to be the case.  This mess has cost them billions and it will be a long time (if ever) before they recover that value.

Related joke making the rounds in business meetings:  “I made great time getting here. Arrived much earlier than I thought I would.  I came by Toyota.

Lesson from Management 101 – treat people as you’d like to be treated yourself.  (Duh!)

2. California May End aid to legal immigrants – looking for ways to find new money for critical needs, the Golden State may take a step to eliminate the provision of emergency cash, food and medical aid to new legal immigrants.

Hardly the stuff of humanitarian dreams. But it’s the  right move.

It could save the bankrupt state $304 MM.  And California needs every penny it can find if it’s ever going to right itself.

Most countries, including my place of birth, Canada; welcome immigrants when they can show they have the financial wherewithal to support themselves for at least 18 months after they are allowed into the country.  I’ve always felt this is a fine way to allow new people into a country:  They get a great place to live, and there’s little risk that the existing citizens are going to have foot the new arrival’s bills. This reduces the potential for additional burden to their own financial situation, which is smart.

As one “American-citizen-by choice” to another, I say, “Go for it Governor Schwarzenegger.”

3. Could a cyber attack crippled the US?  Absolutely.

Recently a group of former White House department heads joined with others from the military, security think tanks leaders and business leaders to role play what could happen if a massive attack was made on America’s web users.

The scenario was breath taking.  Based on smaller but similar attacks which occur every day in government and business environments it is also very possible, according to all involved.

The answer was the the US would be crippled and quickly.  In the end no grand plan emerged.  But the group did agree to advise the President to federalize the National Guard to buttress the support that would be required when individuals, businesses and governmental organizations lost access to all the fundamentals needed for survival. Glad to see groups like this being created to look into scenarios like this and create at least some type of plan just in case.

Here’s to your Future!


10 Motivators of those who don’t “need” to work January 27, 2010

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Action Plans, business intelligence, Coaching, DIRECTV, emotional decisions, life balance, Notes for Business, Personal action plans, quality of life, Satisfaction, The Four Windows Process, well being.

Ever wondered why someone chooses to go back into the workplace even when they don’t need the money?  In this article, international executive and leadership coach John M McKee discusses the key reasons driving their action.  Some of them may surprise you.



Why is it that some individuals work so much harder than others, even when it  doesn’t “makes sense”?

Understanding their underlying emotional needs may help.

Many people will work for years until they reach a point need or time wise, when they no longer have to continue with their role, and then they finish. Others, however, continue in those roles or activities long after such considerations or commitments are fully satisfied.

Why? What motivates some people to continue when they no longer must?

Psychologists note that the answer may be found in how one views their self worth. Some individuals have a stronger “need to be needed”.

Those people may exhibit one or more of the following characteristics:

1. Need for prestige – These individual’s self-worth is reinforced by the title of their role, status of the company employing them, or visible perks such as having a executive assistant to attend to certain tasks for chores for them. Prestige may also come from having subordinates who simply listen and take direction from them.

2. Need for influence – Certain roles or positions have “reach” and influence many others. Could be through direct reporting relationships and often it’s the power of role
e.g.: a reporter or celebrity who has no employees but can influence many others through their work.

3. Need for affiliation – Some jobs come with built-in associates and “friends”. Soon after one arrives, they have chosen or been chosen by others as business friends; perhaps more accurately referred to as colleagues. In many cases these people partially fill the individual’s desire for personal relationships. It can be traumatic for them to learn that those people don’t feel the same toward them.

4. Need for success – For many reasons, some people are overachievers. They grasp onto tasks, assignments, roles with clear quantifiable outcomes and then set about doing whatever it takes to do them better than anyone else can. Being recognized for doing more than others may become an unconscious goal in itself.

5. Need for identification – Some people need to have a clear role, one that they and others can see as being clearly important. Such roles can be personal or professional, e.g.: mother, executive, doctor, actor. However it arose and whichever role is chosen, those people often become lost without the role.

6. Need for purpose – It is important that we feel have a purpose for our life. Without one, an individual’s life can feel very unsatisfying. A person’s purpose can be broad, for example, “to help others succeed” or more narrowly defined, such as “to be a great father, or top golfer”.

7. Need to help others – Some individuals feel that they have been given so much that they have an “obligation” to give to others via volunteerism or activism. This feeling may be genuine altruism or perhaps a deep rooted sense of guilt for being so blessed when others have little.

8. Need for reputation – Many people view themselves – and others – through the perspective of what they “do” or “have done”. When these people meet others, one of the first things they often discuss is their track record, complete with titles. Alternately, this need can be witnessed by how they first inquire about others, for example, “what do you do?” as opposed to other types of questions.

9. Need for work – There are true workaholics. This individual behave like this often because they are addicted, and less frequently because they love their jobs – although they will usually profess that as being their reason for being so busy.

10. Need for activity – For such people, they simply don’t have much that interests them outside of their job. Of course this can make this individual pretty boring to those who come into contact with them. Additionally they are often easily bored by others.