Two Great Motivation Questions for All of Us

About twelve years ago good friend and colleague from the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers, Jim Beaubien, gave me some wise counsel at a time when our business was struggling.

At the time, we had a training or simulation event solution for every conceivable management challenge out there in organization land. And I was presenting about 80% of it!

“Ian, I see two problems,” Jim wisely said. “First of all, no one can be an expert in all those things you teach, so how good are your workshops, really? Secondly, since you do so much, your market can’t identify you in their minds with any particular expertise. You have no brand identity.”

Then he proceeded to ask me two classic questions:

  1. “What do you like to do? From among this plethora of offerings, what are you passionate about?
  2. What are you good at? Where does your mix of skills, knowledge and experience enable you to offer high value to your clients?”

After several minutes with my forehead locked in deep furrow, I identified two areas that apply to both questions: (1) developing managers into leaders and (2) facilitating meetings, especially around team building.

Then Jim proceeded, “Where your passion and your expertise meet…this is where you should be doing your work!”

This was a huge turning point for me and for Fulcrum. We (painfully to me, I might add) proceeded to cull the range of programs and services we offered, paring them down to only those that supported (1) leadership development and (2) team building. Our business started to turn around that year. I became a lot happier on the platform. No longer did I have to keep up with–as if this was remotely possible–the latest developments in so many areas.

Since that meeting with Jim, we have added a third template question: (3) Is there a viable market for what we offer?

It appears that there still is…

 pay What I’m Reading

Pay: Why People Earn What They Earn by Kevin F. HallockSalaries and benefits are always on your employees’ minds. Pay is not a motivator but, if perceived by the employee as insufficient or unfair, it can become a huge de-motivator. While this topic isn’t necessarily the most exciting one on the planet, the book does explain the various types of remuneration–including executive compensation–and how jobs are evaluated and rated for their pay level. This is general information that savvy managers should know in order to respond to basic questions from their staff.