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November 2013

Why Go to a Conference?

Tomorrow we kick off with another Motivational Maps conference at the Elstead Hotel in Bournemouth and I am really looking forward to it. Why do people go to Conferences? What is the point? And what do they take from them?

People go to Conferences, I think, to belong: to be part of something bigger than themselves, and the fact that other people are there lends validity to their own commitment to the topic and ostensible purpose of the specific conference. In our case it is Motivational Maps: it is not enough that more than 20,000 Maps have been done in over 12 countries; we need to see the whites of the eyes of the people who are creating this, who are marketing and selling this, and we need to hear the siren notes of future possibilities. Plus, we need to know there are others who believe as strongly as we do, and that this is not all wishful thinking or a delusion that we have had.

Of course, as a sidebar, it is inevitable for some people that the ‘topic of the conference’ is a delusion. People invest their time, energy and money in things which sometimes don’t work out for them, and Motivational Maps is not immune from this phenomenon. But that said, finding others who believe, strengthens belief and furthermore leads to point two.

Namely, what is the point? To belong yes, but also to explore, to learn and to develop one’s capacity for what is possible. We all of us look to others who can give us insight and perspective, who can provide ideas and leadership that can help us safely and effectively traverse our way into a successful future. As one stone sharpens another, so we go to Conference to pick up that key piece of information that will make a difference in our own practice. And this ‘key’ can come in many different ways, such is the unbelievable nature of the universe.

Again, as another sidebar, Motivational Maps recognises in its very construction in the unpredictable nature of the universe. The whole map is a self-perception inventory – objectively constructed and mathematically regulated and exactly controlled; and yet on the last page of the individual report is the ‘cledon’. The what, you ask? The cledon. A cledon is a concept from ancient Greece. Basically, a cledon is when someone walks down the street and passes two old people in an alleyway who are talking, and one says to the other something that the passer-by hears. And that ‘something’ exactly applies to their situation and they recognise a god has spoken to them. So it is with the Map and the large database of random quotations that may speak to one’s condition. To apply this to the Conference then: anybody, at any time, may say something that provides you with the key to unlock a problem or issue that you have. And you need to expect that to happen!

And finally, what do they take from conferences? Rarely nothing, usually lots; and the more they expect to gain, the more they will take. At its deepest level, their beliefs about the value of the ‘topic’ will strengthen; strengthened beliefs result in greater motivation, more energy, and an even more profound bias for action. At another level, they will take practical ideas, good suggestions, even useful insights that will enable them to function more effectively. Plus, they will network and they will belong; they will be part of the bigger picture and will feel in themselves even stronger, even more able, and for some it might well be that they date their real progress from attending just some event.

So if you want to know more about motivation, about recruitment, about Motivational Maps, then you have only one day left to book on. It will be worth it – that I can guarantee! Go to to get on board.

Engagement - What about Encouragement?

Increasingly, organisations are beginning to wise up to the idea that change management is one thing. Let’s improve the structure, the strategy or the system, or all these things in tandem. But unless the people can ‘perform’ all their labour is in vain.

 And frankly, people performing begins at the top. As the great Quality guru, Crosby, once put it: ‘Good ideas and solid concepts have a great deal of difficulty being understood by those who earn their living by doing it some other way.’ Those at the top can be the most averse to realistically appraising themselves. But if they don’t, as sure as night follows days, neither will their staff!

 Furthermore, given the importance of people to our long-term success, it really does pay off to consider recruitment, retention and reward in depth, and go on considering it. Paraphrasing Sun Tzu, Krause observes: ‘Leaders who complain about morale of their employees evidently do not realise that employee’s morale is a mirror of confidence in their leadership’ Phew! Heavy stuff.

 I am sometimes asked what is the single most important quality in an employee. That’s difficult to answer with total certainty, but I like this story.

 The Devil realised he was never going to win in his battle against God, so he decided to throw in the towel. To this end he held a car boot sale in order to flog off all his tools and assets.

 The day came - it had been well advertised - and various colleagues and peers turned up looking for bargains. And, boy! were there some bargains.

 There was this sharp, shiny, pointy spear - pride - that could shatter anyone’s armour. Very expensive, but a tasty piece of equipment.

 Alongside this there was a multi-pronged mace - very menacing - that had a curious magnetic property, drawing things to it and destroying them at the same time. This was envy - really cool. Very expensive.

 All in all, the Devil had some fantastic, high tech equipment - stuff that could really get in you and mess you up. All very expensive. His colleagues were standing there drooling over it, wondering which pieces they could afford to buy.

 But in the centre of the collection was a large, nondescript, blunt, lustreless piece of metallic tubing – its only possible use was as leverage.

 Beelzebub said, ‘How much is that old piece of junk?’

 The Devil smiled and quoted a price. There was a gasp all round - the price he asked was worth more than all the other pieces put together.

 ‘That’s outrageous!’ said Beelzebub, ‘that’s just a piece of junk’.

 ‘That,’ said the Devil, ‘is Discouragement. Without it none of the other tools work. When I want to tempt someone I always start with Discouragement. Buy it and you’ll see.’

 Ever seen the effects of discouragement on members of staff?  It’s far worse than lack of skill.

 So I guess as managers we must work on encouragement – in the structure, strategy, and systems and in everything we do. May be then we can sustain that enthusiasm that is oh-so vital.

Becoming a Business Practitioner of Motivational Maps

At Motivational Maps we have two levels of Practitioners or licensees and sometimes I am asked what is the difference. Clearly, you get more for the more expensive license, but is it just that – you get more? Not really, there is a fundamental difference in thinking between the two levels and they are correlated with the needs of the prospects who have their own business agendas and objectives.

At the less expensive end, we have the Licensed Practitioner, or LP. This is typically for coaches, trainers or consultants who have a vibrant business and service their clients well with their own expertise and toolkit. But they realise that motivation is a special area that they do not fully or adequately cover with their existing technologies. Thus, buying into Motivational Maps at an LP level is acquiring new know-how, a new technology, and with the primary purpose of adding extra value to those prospects and clients. Because it is a product, it has the added benefit from the service providers’ point of view of being an extremely useful sales and marketing tool: anyone can say what they supply as a service but this does require high levels of trust and credibility to enable buy-in; a product can seriously shorten the lead-in time for a sale precisely it demonstrates immediate and replicable results. It’s easy to see what you are getting.

On the other hand, we have our more expensive Business Practitioner, or BP, package. It would appear initially that this is just the same but with more bells and whistle. In particular that the BP can sub-license, has unlimited Map access and so on – so what’s qualitatively different? Everything! The whole point of being a Business Practitioner is that your business is built around this core product. And this works in a number of ways.

First, the whole idea of sub-licensing is so that you can create residual income: in other words so that you can create and maintain a group of practitioners who are licensed and dependent on you. Because they are in business, then they continually use maps; this is quite different often from an organisation who uses maps for a one-off purpose, say, team building, and then desists once the objective is achieved. And because the maps are a product and your practitioners need them, this builds buy-in and long-term loyalty. This in turn produces regularity and steadiness of income.

Secondly, just as sub-licensing creates residual income because Map sales are increased, there is another startlingly effect. Basically, the team not only acts as a sales force for you, but as a marketing one too. This obviously takes longer and is less immediate but in a way can be more significant. I have lost count of the number of times I am contacted in a positive way because somebody in the area has run into one of my licensees; it’s like a continual form of advertising – your presence is in the market even when you are not. Eventually, the Maps become a brand and people buy you because you are part of that brand even when it may be that the Map itself is not the product they need at that moment. In other words, the Maps position you in the market place and enhance your validity.

Thirdly, as this also follows naturally from what we’ve said before: the team creates increased sales, it provides a natural form of marketing, and then it acts as a centre of intelligence: you learn so much about what is going on in an area or a sector as a direct result of your licensees talking about it. Knowledge is power, as they say, and that’s certainly true if one uses it. And the use of it is what I call the exponential effect: realising that the individual has a certain capability and capacity for work, but that’s it – they are limited by being single. You, the BP at the centre of their web, gets to know all the individual narratives can see how by combining different people, the group can punch seriously above its actual weight. Currently, as I speak, two independent teams of licensees who did not know each other were introduced by me to focus on one major high street retailer – and lo! What they could not have achieved separately has now become a major contract to deliver Maps.

Becoming a BP is not for every coach, consultant and trainer, since their business model may already be effective, and this is unnecessary. But for those who want something that can take their business to another level the Maps are an amazing opportunity, and the good news is: Motivational Maps needs more Business Practitioners all over the globe!