Christopher England's enthusiasm for Outsourcing the American Dream is infectious. His real-world experience and unique insights into contemporary business issues have enabled him to challenge the rules held sacred by conventional wisdom.
Christopher England, a finance and marketing professional, is an accomplished management and process improvement consultant. His clients have included Columbia Gas of Ohio, the Columbus Museum of Art, Franklin University, Nationwide Insurance, and Volunteers of America in Columbus, Ohio; Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) in Dublin, OH; Kent State University in Kent, Ohio; Laurel Lake Conference Center in Pataskala, Ohio; and Select Sires in Plain City, OH, to name just but a few. Some of his more creative projects have included a local marketing plan for the Columbus Museum of Art's nationally-recognized 1st Thursdays and an international marketing plan for OCLC's 21st release of the Dewey Decimal Classification System, the world's largest library and knowledge classification system. His audiences range from senior executives to middle managers, from seasoned professionals to entry-level support staff.
Mr. England obtained his MBA in Organizational Leadership and Management from Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio in December 1995. Chris, a summa cum laude graduate of Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, also holds a BBA in Human Resources Management and Business Management. As a student at Kent State University, he received Distinguished Cadet honors as a Technical Sergeant in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, and was a recipient of the Reserve Officers Association of the United States Award in acknowledgment of his "meritorious contribution to the common good of the United States." He holds his National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) Series 6 license and is an active member of the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP). Chris has hands-on experience in applying business and market intelligence and counterintelligence to corporate strategy, and has undergone intensive training at John Nolan and William DeGenaro's Centre for Operational Business Intelligence in Sarasota, FL. He resides in Pickerington, Ohio.
An Inteview With Christopher M. England
Outsourcing the American Dream is an intriguing book title. Why this tile?
I wanted to come up with a title that conveys what I am seeing in America today: ballooning trade deficits; crushing tax burdens; decaying, crime-ridden cities; an escalating number of personal-bankruptcy filings; failing school systems; an economically- and morally-bankrupt welfare state; mounting consumer debt as a percentage of disposable income; onerous government regulations; soaring energy costs; a spiraling national debt; and wasteful government spending. The title also conveys that the American Dream has been outsourced or displaced, but not lost. We have the opportunity to rekindle the American Dream by returning to values that served us well in the past: accomplishment; entrepreneurialism, invention, and rugged individualism (tempered with a return to basic family and community values); freedom and initiative; optimism and opportunity; results-orientation; risk taking; a sense of destiny, direction, and discovery; and spontaneity.
The American Dream -- It means different things to different people. How do you define it?
I like how David McNally, author of Even Eagles Need a Push, defines it. He states "The true American Dream not only provides the freedom to use our gifts and talents to achieve our highest goals, but also the freedom to fulfill our purpose in life."
That brings up an interesting point. The concepts of Purpose and Vision seem to be important to you. Why is this?
Every American needs to identify his or her life's purpose. Purpose helps us focus our energies and resources on what's important to our success. Additionally, I believe it is the responsibility of every American to find out who they are and how they can use who they are to our nation's advantage. The greatest waste of our natural resources is the number of people who never achieve their potential and never fulfill their dreams.
What role do leaders play in this Visioning process?
Leaders must provide organizational members with a shared view of the future, a clear sense of direction, a mobilization of energy, and a sense of being engaged in something important. All organizational members require a clear understanding about what the organization is trying to achieve. High energy and excitement are products of an environment in which employees are clear about their purposes, the results to be achieved, and their abilities to influence the results. Most important, employees who have a sense of purpose are motivated, enthusiastic, and energetic and provide better service to customers.
What steps must leaders take to fulfill this role?
1. Establish a clear and commonly-understood purpose and identify the major lines of business and strategic activities the organization will develop to fulfill its purpose, as well as the critical success factors of the industry.
2. Identify the core processes necessary to accomplish the purpose and establish the critical success indicators the organization will use to track its progress.
3. Overhaul the organization's culture and structure to support the achievement of the organization's purpose.
In your book, you refer to Opportunity Perceivers and Problem Perceivers. What's the difference?
Problem Perceivers perceive change as a problem. Although they may have realistic fears about the future, these individuals fail to take full responsibility for their situation and fail to actively contribute to their own recovery. They often allow others to control their destinies.
Opportunity Perceivers perceive change as an opportunity. Although they may have realistic fears about the future, these individuals take full responsibility for their situation and actively contribute to their own recovery. They rarely allow others to control their destinies.
While seemingly revolutionary, my message is simple: if you perceive change as a problem, solve it; if you perceive change as an opportunity, take advantage of it.
In Chapter 9 you introduce twenty-one rather controversial political ideas. In light of recent events, which ideas do you feel we need to adopt first?
In light of recent events, we need to begin by ending world dependence on Middle-Eastern oil and overhauling the guidelines for immigration to America. The other ideas can be put on hold for a short while. Outsourcing the American Dream covers each of the twenty-one ideas in considerable detail, and encourages readers to call, write, or e-mail their representatives if they see an idea they like.
What makes your book different from other books on corporate downsizing?
Unlike other books on corporate downsizing, Outsourcing the American Dream offers readers a variety of strategies for coping with the financial and psychological costs of downsizing and presents readers with a workable program for taking control of their own lives and destinies.
Outsourcing the American Dream uses case studies, checklists, first-hand experiences, key learnings from classical literature, and cartoons and graphics to highlight and reinforce key concepts. The reader will finish the book feeling that he or she has some specific ideas to apply to his or her particular situation, and will be compelled to take action.
In your book you refer to Six Key Skills for today's employees. What are they?
The six key skills are communication skills, interpersonal/leadership skills, technology skills, problem-solving skills, multi-cultural skills, and creative/innovative skills.
If you could share one last thought with our listeners, what would it be?
Never allow any organization to control your destiny. Never leave your job or career security to chance. Take control of your life and live your dreams. If you don't, someone else will. Your future does not exist; it is created by your actions (or lack thereof).