5 lessons from our journey
There’s nothing quite so inspiring as a real, live motivational speaker.
You pump up your audience — quickly breaking them out of their old ways of thinking by introducing new, stimulating ideas.
Speaking and workshop moments are like that morning jolt of caffeine. But, like that morning jolt, the effect doesn’t last. Eventually, your audience either needs another jolt or a more sustainable way to keep them going. The question isn’t about how motivated someone is the day of a leadership workshop — you’re already an expert at that — the question is “what happens the day after?”
Sustaining the motivation, inspiration, and positive new behaviors that your speaking or workshops instill has been among the guiding objectives at ProHabits from the beginning.
After working with over 200 organizations and seeing over 200 thousand commitments on our platform, we’ve learned a lot of lessons about how to sustain inspiration and behavior change.
Here are the top 5 lessons we’ve learned.
Lesson 1: The Moment is Crucial
How long do you think the motivation a speaker provides lasts? A day? A week? A month? The actual time varies, but one thing remains constant: the motivation quickly fades.
Every day people are faced with a barrage of emails, calls, meetings, and distractions. Before there’s time to breathe they’re falling into their old behaviors and mindsets. If only you could be the one sending those emails and leading meetings!
With ProHabits, we allow you to do just that.
Of course, this raises the question “how do you do it?” You can’t be around all the time and regular leadership workshops get expensive quickly for your clients. The answer we found is ‘MicroActions:’ daily 2-minute activities sent via text or email.
Each 2-minute action takes a larger goal, let’s say working on expressing gratitude to team members, and breaks it down into smaller bite-sized chunks. So, instead of forgetting the leadership workshop, the user receives daily reminders and calls to action to sustain the new behaviors with direct, actionable ways to do so.
MicroActions can be introduced to an organization at any time. But, if you want to sustain the motivation and behavioral change that your leadership workshop inspires — then it’s most effective to introduce MicroActions in conjunction with your workshop.
To keep the motivation going you have to act quickly to reinforce the key behaviors and mindsets. As the saying goes, “strike while the iron is hot.” The moment is crucial!
Lesson 2: Managers mean the world
As a speaker, organizations call on you to amp up their team and help them transform their organization. It’s a tall order. That’s why knowing where to focus your attention makes all the difference.
At ProHabits, helping organizations meet their change goals we’ve found time and again that it’s best to focus on managers. Top-level leaders are already well supported and ground-level team members are only in control of themselves. It’s by focusing on the often ignored mid-level managers that the greatest impact can occur.
Now, let’s be clear about what I’m NOT saying. I’m not saying that motivational speaking and workshops should only ever be directed at middle management. Rather, I’m saying that we discovered it’s the mid-level manager who is most important for sustaining your speaking moments.
We’ve all heard the statistic: 70% of the variance in workplace turnover can be attributed to the manager. Management science has made it clear that people don’t work for organizations — they work for their manager. It’s the manager that shapes the everyday experiences of their teams and reinforces the specific micro-culture that drives the organization.
Lesson 3: Motivate and re-motivate
Organizational change is not a straightforward path. When people set off to pursue personal growth after an inspiring speech, they’re motivated to change. But, too often, the first bump in the road is enough to derail their efforts. And you won’t be there to remind them that these bumps are a natural part of the growth process.
This is what makes daily calls to actions and re-motivational periods essential. When motivation slumps and people need to be reminded of their commitments to change and the goals they’re working towards.
We’ve found that by breaking down the leadership lessons delivered by speakers, such as Marshall Goldsmith, Jennifer Brown, and Dr. Eddie Moore, that participants are better prepared for periodic bumps in the road.
With ProHabits, speakers can break down their lessons into 2-minute chunks that allow people to pursue personal growth no matter how busy or discouraged they may be on a given day. Instead of simply going about their day they’re called to focus on a particular aspect of the speaker’s lesson and something tangible to do about it.
Lesson 4: It’s a long road
Organizational change and habit formation are deeply intertwined. Without a significant change in daily habits across the organization, there’s unlikely to be an enduring change. This is why having a habit reinforcement period is essential.
Let’s be clear, every organization is different and will change at their own pace. Change varies based on the size of the organization and the difficulty of the habits they’re trying to form. But, one thing remains constant: it takes time. As we’ve worked with organizations, of all kinds, we’ve come to notice that impact doesn’t start to take shape until about 20 or 30 days in.
This doesn’t mean that positive results don’t occur before — we’ve often heard of successes that can occur right away — but rather that there needs to be time for adjustment. For both organizational and personal growth, it’s a journey — not a sprint.
For many of us, it’s hard enough to remember what happened last week, let alone a speech given a month ago — no matter how inspiring. Like any journey, people need to be well provisioned for the road to personal growth. This means refueling each day and making at least some progress. It’s the small steps that take us the farthest.
Lesson 5: Rewards make a big difference
There’s a lot of different leadership philosophies about rewards. Some leaders feel rewards should be doled out at every opportunity. Others think that people shouldn’t be rewarded for doing what they’re supposed to do and that only in the most extraordinary cases should there be rewards.
Today, the latter opinion has gone out of favor — and it doesn’t fit with what we’ve learned either. Rewards, whether big, small, substantial, or symbolic are all helpful in promoting long-term change. This is especially true when change isn’t mandatory.
This is why the ProHabits platform has gamified the process. Daily reminders to pursue personal growth are combined with elements such as completion streaks, a leaderboard, and badges that participants can earn. This gives the participants the ability to visualize their progress and be recognized for their efforts.
When you deliver an inspiring speech or hold a motivational workshop, you can’t stick around forever. Teams must get back to their daily realities and face them the best they can.
So when it comes to making a leadership workshop or a speaking moment last there are five things to remember. These are acting quickly to reinforce, focusing on managers, planning for obstacles, preparing for a journey, and offering rewards.
Live speaking sessions are highly valuable to participants and organizations alike. The value deserves to be sustained.