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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
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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

Better than sex? August 24, 2010

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Action Plans, business intelligence, Business Success Coach, Career Wisdom, Coaching, DIRECTV, emotional decisions, Job advice, life balance, Personal action plans, quality of life, The Four Windows Process, women in management.
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Some people actually say that their job can be better than sex. In this blog, business life coach John McKee discusses what may be behind that thinking.  And why it’s dangerous.

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Can work be better than sex?

Some time ago I was working with a guy who was the business development lead for new ventures and strategic partnerships at his company.   It was clear he really enjoyed his job.  He was good at it, helping his employer to successfully move into new areas never considered before his arrival.

I remarked that it was clear he loved what he was doing.  His response was particularly telling:

“John, when things come together, this job is better than sex!”

Ever considered just how seductive the job you do, or the company you work with, can be?

– You can have huge praise lauded onto you; raises, bonuses, and promotions.

-And each action comes with a nice message – “You!  You’re GREAT! We love what you do around here!  We’re SO LUCKY to have you!  We don’t know what we’d do if you ever leave us!”

Pretty heady stuff.  It doesn’t take long until it starts to feel very nice.

On the other side, the home front; not many folks get those kinds of compliments or that type of praise heaped on them regularly.

So, in ways like above, and others, companies can romance you. As a result, you can become very emotionally attached to them. And like any affair, this feeling can cause you to lose perspective when considering options – like leaving them.

Recently I was working with a woman employed at a large soft drink company.  She’d just been offered a job by a competitor. That job was a significant jump in responsibility – a level that would probably take her a couple of years to reach with her current employer.  In addition to a bigger title, the other company was offering a company car (which she didn’t have now,) a much bigger bonus, and she could telecommute a couple of days a week if she chose.

The last was important because she was a new mom.

Yet she didn’t think she should take the offer. When we huddled together to consider the pros and cons; she realized that she wasn’t making a lot of sense. Then she justified her thinking by saying that she felt “obliged” to stay at the current place.  “They’ve been good to me in the past, and it’s really not that bad.”

Not THAT bad!

She sounded like a lot of folks when they’re contemplating leaving a lover, husband, or girlfriend because the relationship has gone downhill.   They usually recall the good things from the past and forget about the other opportunities which may exist to have a happier, more satisfying life with another person.  “It’s not really that bad…”

In the end, she made the right decision and is very happy.  But it wasn’t easy for her.

And – by the way –  that’s exactly what companies want you to feel: obliged to them.

They want their best talent feeling loyal and dedicated to them.  So they design their compensation plans to act like golden handcuffs. They may even offer two or more incentive programs so it’s even harder to walk away.

But in the end, any relationship based on stuff which cause us to temporarily feel good but does not provide any authentic joy and long-term satisfaction will crater.

And if a relationship is going to collapse, it’s better that you’re the one who walks away first.

John

Noodling about success August 6, 2010

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", 21 Ways Women in Management Shoot Themselves in the Foot, Action Plans, business intelligence, Business Success Coach, Canada, Career Wisdom, CBS Interactive, Coaching, executive coach, leadership coach, business consultant, career advice, Personal action plans, Personal Success, Satisfaction, small business coach, Veracity, wellness, women in management.
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Do you have a plan for your life?  A written plan?  In this article, business life coach John M McKee makes the point that individuals – just like successful organizations – should have a plan for their life.

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“Are you satisfied with life?”

I ask my new clients this question before we get started.

Thinking about your life as being made up of a career, a personal life and your financial situation – would you describe yourself as satisfied?

Most individuals tell me that they’re successful in one those, but not many tell me they’re satisfied overall.  (Which is kind of sad.)

I believe most answer that way because life really hasn’t turned out like they thought it would back when they were still in school.   At that point, they were certain that they had it all figured out.  They “knew” they’d do well.

But now they don’t feel as satisfied as they’d expected.

The reason, I’m convinced, is that most people don’t have a plan for their life.

“A plan?” many people say.

“I don’t need a plan to tell me if I’m as successful as I could be. I can see how things are.  And anyway, I’m doing everything I can already. Having a plan won’t make me more successful.”

I disagree. Studies show that when we set a clear goal or objective – for any aspect of our life – we’re more likely to perform better.

This is proven repeatedly: When tests are done with those who are learning a new skill or language, or trying to lose weight, or engaging in a new sport; they are always more likely to move forward & do it more quickly, when they have established goals and continually review their progress. We need a measurement that is objective.

And yet most people don’t do the same for their career plan, finances or personal lives.

If you don’t have a plan, you’re not giving yourself the best chance to improve your life.

Here’s to your future,

John

My Career Rule of Three’s June 30, 2010

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Action Plans, anxiety, business and career coaching, business intelligence, business success, Career Wisdom, Coaching, executive coach, leadership coach, business consultant, career advice, Job advice, Tech Republic, The Four Windows Process, Veracity, women in management.
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In this tough economy many people have additional projects added to their jobs as a result of fewer people being replaced.  In this article, business life coach John M McKee provides advice to ensure that you survive through this period.

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“I’ve been getting home at 3, even 5 in the morning.  That’s after starting the day in the office at 8 AM.  I’m going to break!”

The person speaking was a client of mine. It was very clear that her boss was really taking advantage, pushing her way too hard.

My client’s a dedicated lady.  She’s a vice president in the accounting department at one America’s largest movie studios.   She’s also a bit soft spoken.  People take advantage of her gentle nature which is one of the reasons she engaged me.

For the last few weeks her boss had been pushing her hard but now a new systems switch-over has been added to her load – so she’s been working into the night just to keep up with the projects throwing.

As we discussed how to deal with her situation, it became clear that she feels she’s trapped in a place she doesn’t want to be.  But she has no ideas about where or what she may prefer. 

I shared with her my career-planning Rule of Three’s.  Do they apply to you?

1. Recognize that the job you’re in may disappear at any time.  Anyone, even the best performers, may find themselves out of work in today’s environment. Accept that reality.

2. Consider how you’ll do if things don’t work out with your job.  How you would you handle it, psychologically, if your boss called you in one day for a conversation that starts with something like, “Alice, I’m sorry but….” Does your life revolve around work, with few close friends or family members?  If so, wake up.  Nobody’s bulletproof any longer.

3. Noodle on what you could do as a fallback job. It’s possible that you may not immediately get one at the same level or pay as you are currently earning.  Have a “worst case” plan that contemplates you doing things like taking a not-for-pay job, or a lowing paying job for a period of time.

It’s surprising and sad how much on one’s sense of identity may be tied to their job.  With these simple rules you are less likely to fall into a heap if the worst case happens.   As I noted in my blog at CNET, the economy isn’t recovering quickly at this stage.  So ensure that  your plan includes some financial back up to ensure you can survive for at least 3 months if you’re suddenly out of work.

Here’s to your future.

John

Outsourcing = End of good life in West? June 4, 2010

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", business and career coaching, business intelligence, business strategy, Business Success Coach, Coaching, Tech Republic, Tempur-Pedic, The Four Windows Process, women in management.
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Worried that outsourcing will ultimately reduce our standard of living and put all the good years behind us?  In this blog, author and executive leadership coach John M McKee discusses the prospect. Then he provides an opportunity to ensure it doesn’t happen.

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I recently fired-up a subscriber of my Online Leadership Program. Based in Australia, he is in the final stages of a PhD thesis in Leadership & a senior executive. He clearly thought my advice on outsourcing was off-the- mark.

He wrote: “Yes I agree that lot of organisations are moving off-shore, your sea change. An interesting anecdote that goes along with this is the Sydney (New South Wales – Australia) law firm decided that they could move all but a few of their secretarial serviced to the Philippines and terminated their Australian staff. May be good for the firm but sux for Australia’s unemployment …

..consider the strategy of off-shoring customer service concepts. ..as we (OECD) countries go down this path and wages increase, workers will eventually become Unionized and the standard and cost of living goes up in the target country at the detrimental cost of the recipient country. So the target country’s standard of living improves to be equal to that of OECD and the source countries standard of living goes down. When the playing field is equal, where do you go then to reduce your costs? It probably won’t affect you, I may suggest you will be retires and living well and all the secretaries are living on the bread line as poor pensioners because in Australia 9% of wages is put into superannuation for retirement.

Sure CEOs today can generate additional benefits at the cost of their people, but what about the cost to the country’s economy today and into the future with an aging population. Profits are generated by costs, and CEOs are drive by profits.

He makes a good observation, however it presumes that we in the Western Nations continue to do nothing beyond what’s going on today.

I think that’s unlikely.

The trend he described, in which the source country has a reduced standard of living while the target country witnesses an increase; is one that is growing quickly.  It may be inevitable if not recognized and dealt with by governments, academic facilities, and business people.

For the next generation and those who are affected by outsourcing, the best opportunity is to move into an arena that cannot be “replaced” by cheaper labor elsewhere OR by a computer.

That creates a new wave of the so-called “creative class” in the West.  If more are educated or re -trained to create (and that creation could come by computer, or otherwise) we can continue to lead and grow the other countries successfully.

When asked by parents what should they do for their kids education, this is what I tell them.  And I finish my advice by saying that, otherwise the West will be left in the dust by countries that have cheaper human costs and newer tech environments such as India, China, or Brazil.