You Don't Need Another Process, You Need Results
by Carol L. Skolnick
Why do businesses hire motivational speakers?
Because their people aren't motivated.

Why do they keep hiring them?
Because their people still aren't motivated.

Imagine: you sign up for a computer course. The teacher tells you that Quark Xpress or Microsoft Word is the ultimate productivity solution. You see a slide show of all the beautiful documents you can create with this program. Your expert instructor tells you about all the great jobs she's gotten and all the accolades she has received as a result of mastering this software. She certainly looks happy and successful. Since this is a hands-on course, she has you try the software yourself, in simple, short exercises. By course's end, you are all fired up...but you haven't actually learned how to use Quark or Word. Sure, you have a manual, but...back at the office, it doesn't look as easy as it did during the course, and it's not nearly as exciting. Soon you're needing another course. Maybe you'll get it this time.

Of course, no one would attend a computer course like this, and yet this is what we do with team-building seminars and other E.Q.  programs in business all the time. This is no joke; it's a reality that makes motivational speakers and self-help gurus wealthy and has little or no ROI.

Nevertheless, there's a never-ending parade of process programs marching through corporations these days. And here's what happens: the parade comes to town; we applaud the band, we're entertained by the dancers, we admire the floats and the banners...we watch and we wave. Soon there's no more music, no more excitement...until the next parade marches by. We get jazzed by the big brass bands of processes, and then it's over...because we have not mastered an instrument ourselves.

It's safe to say that all skill-building processes work if you use them, just like all diets and exercise regimens work when you follow them. A good teacher, facilitator, or motivational speaker will leave you with a substantial experience, along with homework to reinforce the tools of the process. A good process will provide you and your employees with the keys to its mastery. Otherwise, you have only received a commencement speech and a diploma and you're on your own.

How can you tell if a motivational program will be worth your time and money? There are no guarantees, but here are some things to look for:

Track record. Don't rely solely on testimonials for a particular speaker or teacher. Research the process' success ratio in business.  If there is no data, find out all you can about the process and the instructor. Ask for references, and for a demonstration. If possible, sit in on the facilitator's workshop or get a private consultation.

Curriculum and support. What exactly will the facilitator present? What tools are provided to ensure ongoing success? Are resources readily available for your employees? In what format and at what cost? Are follow-up sessions simply review or do they build upon the material covered?

Your culture. Determine whether the process -- and the facilitator -- is a good match for your corporation and your people.  No chemistry = no results.

Willingness. Don't even think about spending thousands of dollars on a training program unless there is commitment across the organization. Will your employees participate? Will top management support the program and its follow-up, financially and by example?

In summary: processes and promises are abundant, but they don't all deliver. If you want jazz, hire a band; but if you want results, look for something more: expert facilitation, tools you can and will use, and commitment.


By Carol L. Skolnick, Facilitator, The Work of Byron Katie, a powerful self-inquiry process for ending painful belief-patterns and developing personal and professional clarity. Please visit Carol's web site at for additional resources and information on upcoming events.