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You should know the Rule of 3 June 28, 2011

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", business intelligence, career planning, career success, coaches, Coaching, executive coach, leadership coach, business consultant, career advice, Personal Success, The Plan, Veracity.
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Today, more than ever, it’s important to face up to the idea that your employment or professional success may be impacted by factors beyond your control.  In this blog executive coach John M McKee discusses how to apply a planning approach that’s used successfully by organizations to your own career.

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Headhunters are receiving a lot of resumes these days. 

One I spoke with yesterday told me that her office is being flooded with them while there’s still no dramatic increase in hiring.

2011 is, and will remain, a difficult year.  Depending on which stats you believe, it’s likely that we’ll close the year in the US with about 8.9% reported unemployment, growth for the economy will be about 2.2% in real terms.  For most businesses, the prospects are no more positive.  Clients are developing an attitude of playing it safe and spending – in many cases – the minimum possible.

More than ever before, I’m hearing requests for information and guidance. To boil them down, they are, more or less in one of these areas:

  • How can I guard against ending up as another one of the statistics we’re seeing on the news every day?
  • Are there tools or approaches that one can use to help ensure that (s)he is proactively managing his/her career more assertively?

Here’s one I’ve found to be very successful.  It’s called The Rule of 3. It’s predicated on the premise that nobody should be managing-by-crossed-fingers.

 The Rule of 3 is the opposite of hoping.  You know:  Hoping to not get fired, or Hoping that one’s clients will start buying more, and then Hoping they’ll pay their bills more promptly.  Crossed fingers as a strategy isn’t going to do it.  Much better to buy some lotto tickets.

The Rule works for an individual who’s employed, self-employed, or contracting.  It works for small business and large organizations.

It assumes that none of us is smart enough to ever see everything ahead.

It’s about keeping options open, being thoughtful, and rolling with the natural shifts in cycles.  I suggest you give it some consideration, and noodle about how to apply it to your situation.

So, my advice is – starting today – determine 3 options for your professional life. I’ll use an example of someone who works for an organization to show where these options could be:

1. I have a job and will do whatever it takes to keep it.  For most people, this means stepping-up.  Doing, and being seen and recognized for doing, things beyond which others in similar roles would ever do.  Showing – more than ever – that you’re the one who the company simply must keep even if others have to be laid off.  It could involve more work, more hours, helping out in different areas beyond your role, taking courses to show that you are capable of doing other projects or activities.  You want everyone to know that you, more than anyone else, are a keeper.

2. Accept the reality that you still may lose your job. Despite your best efforts personally, other factors can come into play. The company may go down, or the offices where you work may be shuttered, or your department could be outsourced.

With that as a possibility, now is the time to start planning what the ideal alternative would be.  What I mean is:

  • “If I became victim of this environment, what would my preferred outcome be?
  • If I could choose my next job, what would it be and where would it be?”

Get clear on this and start investigating, while you’re still in your current role, what it would take to get that other job.  It could be internal or with another company or another industry.

Now you’ve got the beginnings of a back-up plan that you could use in the event of the worst case in the current job.  With some groundwork now, you would be in a strong place to move from a sacking to a job you could be happy with.  Start taking actions that will help ensure you will not be immobilized by actions taken by the current employer

3. Recognize that your preferred outcome may not materialize as expected and hoped.  So, you lost your current job and then went after the preferred alternative but your plan didn’t come together as intended.  Now what?  Here’s where the Rule of 3 is even more important because, as ugly as it is, you’ve already contemplated this scenario.  You’ve noodled about other jobs, or sources of income, that you could do and that would keep some cash flowing into your life.  Not necessarily the kind of activity you’d prefer; but it can keep the rent paid and buy you some meatloaf.  Creating this fallback plan while you’re still employed is important because you’re doing it more dispassionately.  Your ego is intact, your common sense more in play.  I once had a company executive tell me his #3 was working at a call center providing service to others.(!)

Hopefully, neither he or you  will never have to use your #3; but creating a plan now that is more likely to help you through the possible worst case scenario will reduce the chances of having to find out.  You are becoming more active in managing your future and increasing the chances of effectively dealing with any problems that may arise.

For more ideas about creating a plan. Check out my new book The Plan.  Right now it’s available as a download at no charge.

Here’s to your future.

John

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Why we decided to give away “The Plan” for free June 22, 2011

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", business success, Coaching, Job advice, life balance, Personal Success, The 3 Key Life Aspects, The Four Windows Process, The Plan, The Secret.
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Why are John M McKee and his co-author Helen Latimer giving away their new book The Plan?  In this blog, John shares the reasons behind a decision to forgo the revenue. Hint: there’s no “good business case” behind it.

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For a lot of reasons, the US economy – and those of most of the world – isn’t improving .

Currently, in this country there are 4 key issues affecting us:

1. Unemployment is recorded at 9.1% –  that’s an historical high.  An,d in reality, about 12% of the workforce is out of work when you count those no longer qualifying for unemployment coverage.

2. Housing sales are at levels below last year – which was down from the year before.  We have enough houses on the market to satisfy demand for 3 years

3. People don’t feel good about the future – in the country that is historically the most optimistic in the world, we no longer feel like winners.  We worry about our jobs, retirement and our childrens’ future.

4. Inflation is on the rise – combined with the impact of hurricanes, fires and floods in the areas that supply us with our food, we’re going to see prices rising very quickly.

The bad news isn’t uniquely American either. Aside from Brazil, China and India, there are very few big countries who expect a better future. This is clearly a challenging time for people everywhere.

I was discussing this with my colleague and the co-author of our new book, The Plan.  And we decided that, in a small way, we could help.

Our book is intended to provide a unique approach to getting what you want out of life.  It’s based on the same method used by very-successful organizations and individual, so you know it works.

We believe that this giveaway – which is only for a limited time – may help a lot of individuals to get clear about what they should do next.   Giving away an ebook that we sell every day for $7.99 isn’t exactly the best business model, obviously.

But we hope that people who take us up on this free offer will ultimately regain perspective and get back to being successful.  So it’s worth it.

To take advantage of this click here or go to my coaching practice website Business Success Coach.net where you’ll see it on the right side of each page.

Here’s to your success!

John

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.

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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.

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!

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