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These 5 tips will help you become a great leader October 20, 2009

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Action Plans, business success, Business Success Coach, career success, Career Wisdom, Coaching, Notes for Business, Personal action plans, Personal Success, small business coach, succeeding during a recession, Veracity, women in management.
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Great leaders seem to know exactly what to do at the time.  In this week’s Veracity blog, executive coach John M McKee shares 5 tips he’s seen used by some of the best.


I was pleased to see that Jason Hiner, Editor in Chief of TechRepublic, liked some of my work on leadership enough that he made a video using tips I’d created.

He’s done a great job of focusing on the most valuable tips in 4 1/2 minutes.

If you’re a leader, or intend to become one, check it out here. I created the original article based on some of the best – and most effective – approaches I’ve seen used over my 30 years in business and coaching.

If you can’t use at least one of these to improve your game – I’ll be very surprised!

Here’s to your future!



Is it more OK to cheat now? September 30, 2009

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", 21 Ways Women in Management Shoot Themselves in the Foot, business strategy, business success, Business Success Coach, Career Wisdom, Coaching, Job advice, Notes for Business, Personal Success, Satisfaction, Veracity.
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abc1The incidence of cheating seems to be on the rise.  In this article executive coach John M McKee highlights recent research that found this may be easily controlled.


Interesting article in this week’s (10/05/09) BusinessWeek magazine on the subject of cheating. Seems like the frequency of people being dishonest is way up.

The article, by Ellen Gibson, notes that this increase may be partially due to the aftermath of the financial crisis – led by individuals like Bernie Madoff and his ilk.  She goes on to quote Dan Ariely, a Duke U prof and author of a best seller called, Predictably Irrational.

He notes that people are more likely to cheat if they are a step removed from the cash payoff.  Something along the lines of, ” If I am not actually hurting or lying to the person I’m dealing with directly; I don’t feel as bad doing it.  And I’m more likely to do it.”

In an experiment involving 500 people, Ariely found that people who do small “cheating things” are more likely to do bigger ones when they get away with it.  Some of his test subjects were asked to wear counterfeit designer products while others wore the real brand.  The ones who felt they got away with cheating with the glasses were more likely ( 2x as likely) to cheat on other unrelated tasks.

In another test, he found that people who had to sign their names at the top of a test were less likely to cheat than those who didn’t sign the paper or those who signed at the bottom of the page.

His conclusion? When reminded of their better selves, by signing before the test, people are more likely to remain honest.  His advice to the IRS for next tax season:  Move the signature line to the top of the page.”

It may be worth trying on your end –  perhaps you can use this information to help yourself or others perform better.


Wrong and Strong vs Right and Weak June 6, 2008

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Business, Coaching, Notes for Business, Personal Success.
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Bill Clinton famously said during his term as Pres that during times of uncertainty it’s better to be wrong and strong than right and weak.

I think many business leaders would agree with this, as would individuals involved in any activity where winning is dependent upon market share. The logic being that there is only so much out there and if we don’t go after it (and get it), then others will. And then we’ll become the loser because they have more than we do.

Those who believe that there are unlimited resources, or at least enough for everyone to have a fair share take a different approach. They are less confrontational, more likely to show strong empathy, and recognize that their success isn’t dependent upon another’s failures.

If you are working in an environment that is based upon Bill Clinton’s logic, but are more inclined to accept the premise that there is ample for everyone; it can be very disheartening. It will likely cause you to have dissonance about what you are doing and as a result you will be less successful. This can create health and personal satisfaction issues.

Take an honest look at your place of employment and ask yourself if you share it’s basic “operating assumptions”. If you don’t – GET OUT! Otherwise you may end up putting in long hours trying to force success when it’s never going to happen.


Unexpectedly Unemployed? June 27, 2007

Posted by John M McKee in Action Plans, Business, Coaching, Notes for Business, Personal Success.
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       John M McKee

It’s a reality for a lot of folks who were certain they’d never find themselves out of work.

With new computer programming, cheaper sources of well educated professionals oversees, and more demanding and competitive marketplaces every day, the liklihood is that almost anyone can find themselves out of work nowadays.

If you’re an accountant, you’ve aleady seen the effects of software like TurboTax.  North American and other western countries are seeing their country’s medical professionals now being replaced by individuals who are well qualified and trained but live in India where – thanks to high speed access – they can look at a patient’s MRI or XRays and give an opinion for about 1/3 the cost usually associated; and do it faster than many patients have come to expect.  Lawyers are watching as new websites take traditional high margin / low time investment business like divorce or business filings away from them. 

Nobody is bulletproof anymore.  So what to do if you suddenly are told your services are not needed any longer?  Here are 4 action items which can help you survive at the outset:

1. Negotiate a severance package before you leave the office.  Typically, most companies will pay a week of pay for every year you’ve been with them and they’ll usually extend benefits for a certain period of time.  But these can often be increased to include more pay for those with more senior roles within the organization; I’ve seen lump sum payouts which included extra time before the ‘official’ leave day, holiday and vacation pay, stock options payoffs.  It’s not unusual to get several months of cellular service or even a laptop when you ask.  Other common packages include things like “outplacement service” which involves using a service organization to help create a resume and provide a temporary office to work out of and / or using a coach to help you through the ‘transition’ and consider new options for the next phase of your life.

But don’t be adversarial – the HR folks or your boss will anticipate a hassle and it’s usually the ones who are the most ‘understanding’ who get the best packages when they leave.

2.  Consider what’s in your bank account currently – then cut down on your typical living expenses.  I once worked with a guy who’d been laid off unexpectedly.  He called his wife from the office to tell her and they had a very emotional conversation about how unfair it was and she was supportive of what a bad outcome this was given his years of loyalty.  As the call wound down, she told him that she was off to a meeting with a large retail chain to look at some new furniture they’d been talking about for the last year or so. 

I don’t think it makes sense to continue spending patterns which were developed when there was a constant and reliable income stream.

3. Consider getting into something entirely different next time.  If you were “de-hired” this time around because of one of the above world events; chances are you may be again.  Give some thought to changing careers, even starting your own business this time.   I realize that it’s tough to think of investing money to start your own company when existing money is a big consideration, but this may be the best time to get creative and start looking at how to make a new enterprise succeed on a shoe-string.  Savings accounts and lines of credit exist for rainy days – this may be one of the rainiest periods in our life so consider using them.   Write a business plan and test it out with friends, relatives, others in the same field or even from tartget customers.  If you have confidence in your idea after those dialogs, then I suggest you treat this time as one of those golden opportunities which appear out of nowhere.  Get moving!


April 24th is National Pay Equity Day April 24, 2007

Posted by John M McKee in Business, Coaching, Notes for Business, Personal Success.
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Tuesday, April 24 is the day set aside by the National Committee for Pay Equity.  It falls on a Tuesday because that’s the day of the week that women catch up with the same amount of money that men made in the week before.

The NCPE has been around since 1979.  It’s mission is to eliminate sex and race-based wage discrimination and to achieve pay equity for all.  In 1963 when the Equal Pay Act was signed by Congress, women made 59 cents for every dollar made by men.  By 2005, it had risen to 77 cents.  Some will say that’s pretty good progress – but the reality is that means the gap narrowed by less than 1/2 cent a year in that time.

Over a working lifetime this wage disparity costs the average American woman and her family  an estimated $700,000 to $2 million.  It has a huge impact on her Social Security benefits as a consequence as well.  Research indicates a couple of clear reasons for the wage disparity between guys and gals:  Often, women ( and also people of color of both genders) are segregated into a few low paying job classifications.  Lower educations are always a big factor in the difference.  But a study by the General Accounting Office in 2005 reported that a difference of 20% could not be accounted for by anything but simple discrimination. 

How stupid is that? 

There are some encouraging signs that this unacceptable situation is nearing an end however – more college graduates are female now, and more business startups are being led by women.  This will help to balance the disparity and it won’t take another 20 years to see and feel the impact of this new generation of women.

Hopefully we won’t need to have a National Pay Equity Day in the near future.

                                                                                – john

Are gay men the best bosses? March 1, 2007

Posted by John M McKee in Action Plans, Business, Coaching, Notes for Business, Personal Success, Satisfaction.
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John M McKee

Most of my clients are women. I enjoy working with guys; but for some reason I seem to attract females more often.

And that’s just fine because more often than not it’s easier to get a dialog going with women than men. There are a lot reasons for that – including the anatomy of the female brain, nurturing done when they were children, hormones, and simple cultural background. Women are more ready and able to communicate than the hairier gender. This makes it a lot easier to successfully coach them.

Now there’s new research which indicates that gay men may have some of the same communication approaches as females, and, when combined with some of the attributes traditionally found in guys the result may be the perfect boss. In this month’ s DETAILS magazine, writer Daniel Sacks presents the case for this pretty well. He reviews research done in the book “The G Quotient: Why Gay Executives Are Excelling as Leaders… and What Every Manager Needs to Know.

“Gay managers tend to look at how each individual brings unique abilities, and they see their job as figuring out how best to take advantage of those skills”, says USC business school Prof Kirk Snyder who authored the book. He details the results of a 5 year study which include a finding that gay bosses produce 35 to 60% higher levels of employee satisfaction than their straight counterparts. When you consider that only about 14% of the workforce are fully engaged by their jobs (Towers Perrin Research); this is a big deal.

Seems that the way gay males had to behave to make it thru high school may have much to do with their successful management styles- – they did a lot more dodging and weaving, and are constantly assessing their style as they grow up. And”coming out” can create an individual with a greater ability for self reflection and candidness than other guys possess; resulting in an individual who is secure in his identity without the need to abuse others to boost their egos. The article notes that the typical male manager learned as a boy that “there are 2 emotions: angry and tired.” Doesn’t make for a great repertoire to fall back on when someone needs some constructive advice to improve performance does it?

So, if your new boss happens to be a gay guy, chances are you’re going to be happier and more satisfied.

till next time