jump to navigation

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.
1 comment so far

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

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.
add a comment

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.


Why get a degree? April 4, 2011

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Action Plans, American Dreamers, career planning, career success, Career Wisdom, CBS Interactive, Coaching, DIRECTV, Gen Y's, Job advice, new jobs, Personal action plans, The Secret, Veracity.
add a comment

For most people, getting a degree today has become a bad investment.

I believe that most of these individuals would be better off simply getting into the workplace sooner.  It’s not that I’m against education – I’m actually a strong advocate of lifelong learning.  It’s just that – for most college kids – the job market is no longer likely to provide any kind of ROI.

Consider these stats which I picked up in Forbes Magazine:

During the past 30 years, overall inflation in the US was 106%

Health care costs went up 251%

College tuitions and fees?  Up 439%!

Translation: the cost of tuition / room / board are increasing at a rate 6 times faster than the average earnings of a college grad.  Combine that with the fact that there are fewer hi pay jobs today as a result of global hiring, and the math simply no longer is right.

Many very successful people are college dropouts.  They include Steve Jobs (Apple) , Bill Gates (Microsoft), Clare Danes (actor), Richard Branson (Virgin), Dave Thomas (Wendys), Albert Enstein.  I’m in the same boat (– although clearly not in the same league..)

I discussed this trend more deeply in my 2nd book Career Wisdom.   At this point I now use a ‘rule of thumb’ when giving students ideas to noodle about their career:  Don’t go into any type of work that can be done faster or cheaper:

– by a computer (eg: accountants hate Turbo Tax)

– by someone overseas ( this now includes doctors by the way)

– online (eg: lawyers hate sites that do divorces or estate plans for 1/4 their cost)

We are truly moving into an era of the creative class where people are valued for their new ideas and approaches.  And we’re also moving into an era of  hands-on work, where a job cannot be automated or done elsewhere – these include mechanics which pay pretty well and flipping hamburgers.

Just don’t get stuck with an education bill for a hundred thousand dollars with a false expectation that you will be able to pay it off and then find out that the “job” you’d expected is now done in a different way and you’re too expensive to hire.

Here’s to your future!


More insight here.

Are US citizens less aware? Or less concerned? Part 1. May 16, 2008

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Action Plans, Canada, Coaching, Gen Y's, Offtime, Personal Success, quality of life, Satisfaction, The 3 Key Life Aspects, US, Veracity, Women.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

I am a citizen of the US by choice. A Canadian by birth, my wife and I chose to relocate to this country about 13 years ago with our children – sons Sean and Trevor, and daughter Jessica.

We noticed immediately that many typical life things were almost identical between the 2 countries. Both used the same consumer brands for the most part, many of the same TV networks we’d watched in Toronto, Mississauga, and Winnipeg were still there, people sounded the same (except apparently we said “oot” instead of “owt’ when saying “not in”, and the new neighbors said “zee” instead of “zaid” for the last letter of the alphabet), and we were now using the standard systems of measurement instead of the metrics.

We also noticed that life was, for most individuals at least, easier in the States: Most folks didn’t have to work as hard to make a buck, most had more things or better things (cars, clothes, food, entertainment, restaurants) than those living in Canada.

Except for the obvious issue of health insurance, it was pretty clear to all of us that it was easier to live happily in the US. The health insurance here made us crazy because we’d grown up with it as an entitlement and although our new friends and neighbors liked to rag us about coming from a socialist state, we all knew that the system in Canada for health was effective and had never disappointed us. Ever.

It was clear to us that our new neighbors and friends had been, to a great extent, “brainwashed” by those who sought to convince them that free enterprise was a better way to run a medical system. They were, for the most part, wrong, we knew. But they had no standard of comparison while we had now experienced healthcare in both countries firsthand. However, we had good health insurance here in the States and our concern was for those others who didn’t or couldn’t afford any insurance at all.

We soon fell in love with much of what makes America, and in particular, California, (“the most Canadian of all states”) great.

We loved the quality of life, our kids were in good schools, I had a great job with DIRECTV, Susan had another horse and was able to ride year-round at a stable within 10 minutes of our home. We made good friends here while keeping in contact with those who mattered from Canada.

Over the years, however, we noticed that things started to change. We realized that the famous wonderful and unique optimism of American citizens was going downhill. We heard and saw an increasing number of people becoming more negative about the future of their country and their own lives. They were starting to sound like Canadians actually.

When we went back to Canada we were often reminded just how tough it was to carve out a good living and bank money for the future.

And we also noticed that the wonderful Canadian sarcasm – to us it was equally a part of who Canadians are as US optimism is to Yanks – was often more focused on the country to the south. No longer as envious of what they saw as the American lifestyle and values, Canadians, especially the Gens X and Y, were now more vocally critical of what they perceived to be empire building from the US government. And, on a personal level, because it’s still tougher to get ahead in Canada then in the US, there was a growing outspokenism by Canucks about folks in the States, who’d had it “so easy”, too.

It’s always seemed to me that most US citizens are less aware of what they have that are those who watch America from afar. I’ve believe that is greatly due to:

1. a real inward focus that the news services (eg: NBC, CBS, etc) have in their reporting

2. a real inward focus of the education systems

Yesterday I came across a very brief video presentation made at TED, the conference focused on technology/entertainment/and design that often addresses issues of a global nature. I think this presenter makes a very good case for what I am mean.

Check it out here.

So here’s my question: Do you think that US citizens are less aware of what’s going on in the world, then people in other countries?

Let me and the other readers know. I’ll report back in the near future.


Spike TV had some odd questions for a career successs coach…. March 4, 2008

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Business Success Coach, Career Wisdom, Coaching, Gen Y's, Job advice, Manswers, Offtime, Personal Success, Satisfaction, Spike TV, Veracity.
Tags: ,
add a comment

John M McKee

Last week a team from the TV network Spike TV arrived at our office. They’d come to interview me for their top rated show Manswers.

A four person outfit, they moved quickly and soon set about changing around furniture, adjusting the bookcases’ “background” pieces such as pictures, certificates and yes, books; assembling lights of different sizes and intensities around the place, and doing sound checks. (“I’m picking up on the recording a bird chirping outside – can we do anything about the birds around here?”). Lighting was an issue and consequently the temperature increased significantly within about an hour of them arriving.

I learned that anything which is considered “art” needs is best left off-camera. This, because the original artist may not want their work shown without their approval. To ensure no mistakes are made, such “art” can include things like book covers – even the 2 books I’d written were covered-up; photographs including my family, and grad certificates from schools like Pepperdine University. So my bookcase will probably look like a wall of things misplaced or turned around. But no one will see their “art” displayed without permission.

When I’d been asked to appear on the show, the assistant producer had said they were coming to me because I am a “recognized expert on career and job success issues.” She told me they have a light and fun show, and that they use experts to provide some fact-based balance for their viewers. I gathered she must have seen me on other TV shows or perhaps on local radio; but who knows how these things come together?

Some of the questions I was asked for my segment:

  • what is a chicken sexer, and how much can they earn? (This is a person who determines the sex of baby chicks in chicken farms. If you’re a new chick, you don’t want to be a male by the way. They earn about $300 a week.)
  • what are some good jobs that most guys don’t consider? ( Here are a couple which I suggested: Gastroenterologist – earns up to $8k a week and most enjoy the work. Or a crime scene cleaner – it’s the kind of job which a guy who wants to work alone can appreciate. And make $1400 a week.)
  • how much does the average US employee make? (About $600 a week.)
  • Others included – are most people happy with their work? What are the best ways to get a job? How much can an arm wrestler make professionally. And a bunch more. (Tune-in and find out the answers. My episode will probably be on-air in a month or so.)

I enjoyed the team from Spike TV, and as a result I went onto their website and watched some old episodes. Definitely stuff aimed at youngish males on this show. But I did learn a few things about each one’s subject. I’ll let you be the judge – drop me a line when you see it.

looking forward…..