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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

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.


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.JohnMMcKee.com and


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!


Women are still being held back. Unacceptable. March 2, 2010

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", 21 Ways Women in Management Shoot Themselves in the Foot, business intelligence, Business Success Coach, career planning, Career Wisdom, Coaching, executive coach, leadership coach, business consultant, career advice, life balance, Notes for Business, Personal action plans.
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Catalyst’s recent research shows that more progress is needed for women in corporations Executive and leadership coach John M McKee has ideas for those caught in this no-win situation.


I wrote my first book, 21 Ways Women in Management Shoot Themselves in the Foot, back in 2006.

One of my goals with that book was to help women overcome “invisible” barriers to moving up the career ladder.  A second one, also stated loudly within it, was to help overcome the persistent inequity in compensation that women had at the time.

I was disappointed to see Catalyst’s most recent report on this issue last week. I suggest you read it and make some decisions about what you, personally, can do about what it says.

It shows clearly that progress is not moving quickly enough.

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.


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.


“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

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.


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!