Can Motivational Speakers Cause Harm? - CiteHR
Nnair
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Evanjerik
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Written by Robert Bacal

In a previous article I mentioned that most motivational speakers cost good money and achieve nothing more than very temporary increases in "motivation" and morale. That's a best case scenario. The poor ones don't achieve anything at all. There's another question though. Can motivational speakers cause harm to individuals and organizations?

Scam-Fighter File - Can Motivational Speakers Cause Harm?

In a previous article I mentioned that most motivational speakers cost good money and achieve nothing more than very temporary increases in "motivation" and morale. That's a best case scenario. The poor ones don't achieve anything at all. There's another question though. Can motivational speakers cause harm to individuals and organizations?

The answer is a resounding YES. Let's put aside the cost/benefit issues for now. Let's look at the potential effects on employees and organizations. To do so we need to consider the issue of EXPECTATIONS.

One of the most common problems organizations have with respect to employees, is credibility. An organization where employees see the company and management as keeping their promises tends to be more successful. Simply put, there's less cynicism, less complaining, and more loyalty to companies that don't make promises they don't keep. Companies and managers that promise new things and don't deliver, get into big trouble. What happens is when a company promises that a "new" system will save 35% of time, employees want to believe it. On implementation, if it appears to employees that the "promise" was incorrect, how do they react? They blame management for making a bad decision (at least in their eyes), and are less likely to react with enthusiasm to the "next" promise.

What does this have to do with motivational speakers? First, most motivational speakers are brought in by management. They are presented to employees as valued gurus, with something to say. Expectations are intentionally created regarding the value that the speaker will provide. Then, the speaker drops in for an hour or two, does the motivational thing, and a big chunk of the audience is disappointed. Perhaps it's that many people don't like feeling they are being "manipulated into motivation". Or just as common, apart from the theater and pizzazz of the motivational speaker, there is often no content, and little practicality to what is presented.

So we end up with the classic cycle of expectations and disappointment. Raise expectations with the pre-speaker hype. The speaker disappoints many in the audience, and then leaves the scene. However the managers and executives who brought in the speaker are the ones that look stupid. They have just lost more credibility in the eyes of their staff.

Motivational speakers can cause harm in another way. Individuals who may be susceptible to motivational ideas and theater, can go away "halfcocked"...the a little knowledge is a dangerous thing syndrome. Here's a real example. Jane was a receptionist, somewhat quiet, but what we would call a bit passive-aggressive. Management, with good intentions, arranged to have Jane attend a high profile motivational session on assertiveness and taking control of one's life. Lo, and behold...it TAKES...she GETS it (or does she). She returned to work all hyped up, all "assertive" but her understanding of being assertive (based on the few hours with the motivational speaker) was twisted. She actually ended up more aggressive, impossible to work with, and no amount of coaching from her manager helped, once she "got the spirit" from the motivational speaker. In the case of Jane, she eventually was fired. Certainly Jane was harmed personally.

There are indeed situations where motivational speakers can cause harm to companies, management, and even individual employees. When you consider bringing in a motivational speaker ask yourself these two questions:



1) What will happen if we make promises we can't deliver?

2) Is it possible some individuals will get the "wrong end of the stick" and take it TOO seriously?


Keep Learning

Prasanth

www.nnair.8m.com

Hi Prashant
Saw your profile on www.nnair.8m.com. One of your interests show "HR proceess improvement". Can you please share something on this topic?
regards
sangeeta

Hi,
Process mapping / Fine tuning is an indepth topic, which requires vast expertize in HR Domain.
I ve just begun understanding this complex topic.
Would be glad to help you, should the same fall into my sphere of knowledge.
Do let me know, what sort of information are you looking for ?
Keep Learning
Prasanth
www.nnair.8m.com

I have just finished conducting a three day Effective Supervision training program and there are two facts that I emphasized to my participants which are related on the aforementioned topic:
a. Motivation per se comes from the employee himself but it should be the organization that should give the tools for proper motivation, and
b. Never, in any circumstances, make promises to your employees.
Motivational speakers sometimes paint rosy pictures to the detriment of the organization.

Hi Prashanth
I'm looking for SOPs and flow charts on HR processes & systems. Though the processes differ for each industry/organization, would like to have an overall understanding of how the current processes be standardized or improved and even new and better processes be introduced.
regards
sangeeta

Hi
You may pls go to my post on BPR Business Process Reengineering , for a better idea on Process Mapping / Re Engineering
It is with the same purpose , I ve posted the same.
A standard operating procedure ( SOP) describes the established steps and processes for completing specific tasks.
A standard operating procedure is to be compliant with all in house process as well as applicable Govt regulations

All SOP should contain the following details
Purpose
Scope
Procedure
ll fwd the sample SOP copy , for easy referral.
The fundementas for all process improvements , are the same, the DOMAIN changes.
You can apply the same technique for study into the HR process in your Organization.
You may find lot of flow charts in CITE HR, which throws light on Process flows.
Keep learning
Prasanth
www.nnair.8m.com

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