We don’t need no motivation… but education

And so should you. The infiltration of (wannabe?) trainers, motivational speakers and employee ‘engagement’ experts has been an overwhelming experience for professionals (folks like me) who don’t have the need to scream, shout and jump up and down from the chair or on the stage. What’s crazier is that organisers and decision makers now thing that a ‘motivational retreat’ is just the thing their teams need when the real cause is something as straight-forward as communication and/or leadership.

That’s a pity. Because we all know looking at the opposite direction wouldn’t make our problems go away. They’ll still be there when we face reality. That’s why I don’t think motivation works over the long haul. It’s never permanent and depending on it is super expensive over the long haul.

Think about the costs involved in bringing in a facilitator every month or letting your people watch a YouTube video for 30 minutes every day. If you’re leading a small team of 10 people with an average pay-rate of $10/hour. We’re talking about $2,500 per month just to let them consume online content. A facilitator would be another $1,000 (bare minimum, the higher they jump more they charge) in addition to the resources’ time. We’re talking close to $4,000 every month, which is a heck of a lot money for something that fizzles out in a moment’s notice.

External consultants and stakeholders should carefully consider how best they can create value for the employees over the long-haul. The short term fixes can only take them so far. That’s why I believe educating them has a better ROI over motivating them, simply because the former offers knowledge that creates awareness, clarity and enough ammunition to be self-motivated. Also, the interventions can be less frequent because most engagements would be on an ongoing (6-12 months) basis.

Now, an educational engagement could either be a workshop or coaching arrangement. Or perhaps something that blends the two (like the mastermind coaching program that I offer) for best results. The value education creates isn’t via just teaching and/or training but by coaching people on implementing the principles taught. And you can’t get that done by a 45 or 90 minute keynote. No matter how high you jump up and down.

If you’re a consultant yourself, you’ll be quick to note that I’m not talking about getting that ‘repeat business.’ That’s deliberate and for a reason — the best coaches ensure that they run themselves out of business. Their goal is to leave the clients enabled and independent not the other way around.

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