John C. Crystal
One man's experience and his capacity to recognize and then integrate some basic truths with his actions formed the basis of the Crystal-Barkley Corporation. The genesis of Life\Work Design is in the late John Crystal's experience as a US Intelligence officer in World War II. Through this experience, he learned the importance of the principle of reality; just as a spy must, individuals in the real world of work must understand their own capabilities and what's happening in their surrounding environment. Survival and the accomplishment of missions depend upon observing this principle.
This early insight led John Crystal to an extensive career in international business management. He first began putting his planning principles to work as Sears Roebuck's first manager for Europe, North Africa and Middle East operations. After many years in international business he commenced coaching individuals, which was his own true passion. His World War II intelligence work served as a paradigm for a process that was to help thousands of people to focus and redirect their lives. Through the 1960's and 70's Crystal tested and refined his "Crystal Life\Work Planning Process, "as he assisted Foreign Service officers and returning military to approach civilian life and work. He realized that, without such a tool, most people do not act on their own dreams nor pursue them even under favorable conditions.
Through Crystal's collaborative spirit
and his discovery by Richard N. Bolles, he became the inspiration for the perennially
best-selling book, What Color Is Your Parachute? Later, the two co-authored
Where Do I Go From Here With My Life?, often referred to as "the bible
of career counseling" and considered a classic in the field. He is often
cited by Bolles as a "genius" and "the person who had the most influence on my
In 1981 Nella Barkley persuaded Crystal to join her in building an organization to make the Life\Work Design Process more widely available. Her experience in management consulting had convinced her that individuals' uncertainty about their own careers usually results in their own and their employers' diminished expectations and outcomes. Nella said of John, "his brilliance, compassion and ability to see the truth around him have produced an approach which has begun to revolutionize the way Americans employ themselves."
John Crystal died in the fall of 1988. His work continues today through the Crystal-Barkley Corporation.
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