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Holiday Bookends July 2, 2011

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", American Dreamers, Canada, Coaching, life balance, Offtime, Personal action plans, Satisfaction, The 3 Key Life Aspects, The Plan, Veracity, well being.
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Canada Day on July 1 (Friday this year) and Independence Day on July 4th (Monday).

This got me noodling about both great countries.

Born in Canada, I am also a US Citizen.  I love both countries. It makes me smile every time I get into a discussion about each country’s pros / cons and the great stuff / crappy issues faced by them.  People on both sides of the border have some outdated opinions about those on the other side of the 49th Parallel.

So, for my Holiday Gift to readers of this blog – let me clear up some popular misconceptions I hear:

#1.  Americans don’t know anything about what goes on in Canada.  This really pisses off Canucks.  It’s true that Yanks don’t know as much about Canada as Canadians do about the US.

It has everything to do with the fact that Canadians consume about the same about of news and media from the States as do the Americans.  Unfortunately the Americans don’t have the same TV access to Canadian media so they aren’t faced with news or stories each day.

But it’s not that Americans only care about what’s going on here. I find that the people I come in contact with are aware of world events to an extent that is generally speaking greater than the average Canuck.

2. All Canadians are very nice.  (Yes. ALL of them.)  I’m amazed at how prevalent this feeling is in the US.  It’s wrong.

Let me assure US readers that I’ve known some really NOT nice Canadians over my life.  When I worked at the Hudson Bay Company, the Chairman (George Kosich) was known as George Carnage because of his attitude that anyone who got in his way was an “enemy” to be dispensed with quickly.

Are there more “nice” people proportionately n Canada then the US?  From my experience, it’s about the same ratio.

– But what I love about many Canadians is that they have waaaaay better listening skills than Americans.  They’re less likely to interrupt and more likely to ask questions than their southern cousins.  Great listeners learn more and are more likely to be regarded as nice.

– On the other hand, Americans lead the world – far and away – in terms of charity donations and philanthropic support.  That’s pretty nice.

3.  Americans are the least fit nation in the world.  Canadians are more fit because they spend more time on fitness and outdoors.

The first one is right – unfortunately.  Yanks inherited that mantle from Germans about 8 years ago.  I believe it has to do with the size of portions here and the accessibility of cheap fast food.

About the second one.  I don’t buy that argument.  Unfortunately, the last report I saw showed the Canucks are closing -in with regard to measurements like Body Mass Index (BMI).  Both countries are out of shape but it’s worse in the warmer country.

4. You can always spot a Canadian from an American by their “accents”.  Partially right – but not always.

I think that North America has kind of ‘local accents’ that are north / south in nature.  People in Fargo sound exactly like people just north of them in Winnipeg.  Edmonton residents could pass as locals in Alaska.  Vancouver-ites sound a lot like Seattle-eans. Toronto people have a real mix, some sound like Chicagoans, others like Wisconsin individuals.  Calgary seems like they were separated at birth from Denverites.  Newfoundlanders could pass easily as a local at a bar in New England.

Clearly French-Quebecers sound unique though, right? Not really – just spend some time in New Orleans French Quarter and you’ll hear many of the same sounds.

I do think Americans from what is called, “the south” have a wonderful and unique lilt – I’m sorry it’s being lost due to migration there from other states.  In the same way, I love the sound of many words used by a lot of Montrealers who still call English as their first language; kind of classy and romantic.

5. Finally, the big question: Which is right –

a) Canada is a better country to live in.

b) The United States is a better country to live in.

The answer is….drum roll please….

Yes.(!)

Wherever you are this weekend – and all year long – Love it. And accept those from the other side of the border as being about as close to you as any nation could possibly be.

Have a great long weekend!

John

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Audience targeting to survive May 11, 2011

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", 21 Ways Women in Management Shoot Themselves in the Foot, Action Plans, business success, Business Success Coach, Coaching, DIRECTV, executive coach, leadership coach, business consultant, career advice, Personal action plans, SWOT analysis, Tech Republic, Tempur-Pedic, The 3 Key Life Aspects, The Four Windows Process, The Plan, Veracity, women in management.
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In my coaching practice, the clients are mostly in either media (video, newspaper, movies) or technology (including gaming).  But what we talk about is far more universal.  Most of our time is about addressing perhaps 4 to 6 issues like

  • leadership and effectiveness
  • balance between career and personal “lives”
  • planning (and execution) of a solid plan
Of course we get into a lot of technical conversations related to their jobs because it can be the detail stuff (“how do I actually do that?”) that derails us even when we get the theory.
A lot of what we discuss and work on can be found in our new book, The Plan.  Additionally I’m impressed by a few new ideas we’ve discussed that I now see floating to the surface in these sectors. These will impact all of us in our daily lives.  Some of them:
1. Groupon – is moving into concert sales.  This can save a bad tour, help fill an otherwise unsuccessful venue, and democratize the event by making it less expensive for most people.
When that succeeds I think it will spread to movie theaters.  There are too many chairs empty in nearly every showing.  People will go if the show is less expensive.
2. Newspapers and magazines are moving into the digital world but aren’t sure how to monetize (eg: make money) now when they get there.
I’ve seen a few ideas that showcase the future and thought these 2 quick videos seem to be the most likely outcomes:
Any entrepreneur or small business faces the same needs to understand audience targeting.  I believe that algorhythims are going to lead us there.   Anyone know some great geek?  Grab ’em while they’re available.

– John

150,000 showed up this weekend May 2, 2011

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Action Plans, American Dreamers, Business Success Coach, Career Wisdom, Coaching, DIRECTV, Manswers, Personal action plans, Personal Success, professional speakers, quality of life, SWOT analysis, The 3 Key Life Aspects, The Four Windows Process, unemployment action, Women, women in management, working after quitting.
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This past weekend I was on a panel discussion at the LA Times Festival of Books.  

It was very encouraging to see that a “book fair” could bring about 150,000 people into downtown Los Angeles on one of the hottest days of the year.   Who’d have thought, in this day of ebooks and free online information about everything, (not to mention expensive gasoline @ $4.50 a gallon) that they’re would be this many folks prepared to make a trip to the campus of the University of Southern California, or USC, as it’s know around here.

Amazing and wonderful turnout.  The Times are to be congratulated for promoting this event, now in it’s 16 year I believe, and helping authors and readers come together in a well managed and very pretty environment.  The woman who headed it up for the newspaper, Maret Orliss, did an awesome job looking after everyone’s needs at once.

I was there, (supported, again, by beautiful wife Susan,) to participate in a panel discussion and book signing event for my new book, The Plan.  It came out in February and has been getting some good reviews across North America for being an easy to use and interesting book for anyone wanting to take control of their destiny.  I’m real pleased with how the momentum is growing.  My co-author, Canadian consultant and mentor Helen Latimer, put a lot of time into creating a “tool” as well as an interesting read.

The panel was called, Finding Life in Work.

Our moderator, Dennis Nishi, a writer himself, with articles in papers including The Wall Street Journal, had done his homework.  It was a treat to speak to someone who actually had read the book beforehand!  I was pleased that my belief that everyone should take advantage – and get  the benefits – from creating their own SWOT analysis, was widely embraced by the other panelists.

I know that many cities have book festivals.  Most people do not attend them and I’d guess it’s because they don’t think there will be much to interest them.  But having seen so many people of all ages actively engaged this past weekend, I’d encourage you to try it out.  You may learn something but even if you don’t, it’s a great way to connect with those in your city

Have a great week!

John

Her advice: Don’t bring it to bed! April 11, 2011

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", 21 Ways Women in Management Shoot Themselves in the Foot, Business Success Coach, coaches, Coaching, life balance, Personal action plans, Personal Success, Satisfaction, Tech Republic, Tempur-Pedic, Veracity, wellness, Women.
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Cate Hartenstein is one of those very unique people who seem to be in a continual state of learning.

Recently she joined me on my WomensRadio show Business Success Coaching to discuss her thoughts about The Plan, my new book co-authored with Helen Latimer.  You can listen to the 7 minute podcast by clicking  below. 

An artist and art educator, Cate uses visual art to assist individuals in overcoming the barriers and access to their creative potential.  Her process facilitates self insight using the information and metaphors available within the process and product of art making.

Currently working on her Master’s degree in Art Therapy and Marriage and Family Therapy at Notre Dame de Namur University, Cate sits on the board of Art Trek the Southern California based non-profit that provides art experiences to children, adolescents, adults, and teachers.

Married, she has 4 young adult children. Cate tells us that she’s dedicated helping her children to each develop a “plan” for their lives. (We loved that..)

And what about her advice, “don’t bring this to bed..”? Cate elaborated,”With my husband snoring beside me, and my Corgi at my feet, I simply couldn’t put the book down.  It’s that great!”

(I hope everyone feels the same way.)

For more information about Art Therapy visit their site.

This was a fun interview – listen here: The Plan: Not for Bed!

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.
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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!

John

More insight here.

The media is listening February 26, 2011

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", business success, Canada, career planning, DIRECTV, life balance, Personal action plans, Personal Success.
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Last week I was invited to go to San Diego today to appear on a live morning show on KUSI TV.

The kicker is – our book, The Plan, isn’t even in stores yet!

It won’t be for sale in the local Barnes and Nobles of the world or even at most bookseller online sites for at least a week – so being asked to discuss it at this stage is great.

Here’s the link to the interview clip.

As far as I know the hard copy book can only be purchased today at this site.  Although if you visit our website for the book you can buy it there.  download an EBook version of it for only $7.99.  The cool thing about the digital book is that it has active links to additional resources.

Looking forward!

John