Companies often include motivational speakers in their training systems and a good motivational speaker can spark some fresh thinking and bring energy into the program. However, make sure your expectations are reasonable, so you will achieve the goals you are hoping your investment will address. Unfortunately, you cannot and should not believe that a motivational speaker can transform a low-Drive person into a high- Drive person.
Drive is un-teachable after adulthood, because it is developed through an intense combination of genetic makeup and years of environmental influence while our minds are young and impressionable. To expect a speaker to come in and change those brain pathways and behavior in a day, or at all, for that matter, is not supported by the research. To the contrary, research also actively shows that motivational speaking does not change most behavior in general . . . even teachable skills . . . much less hard-wired personality characteristics.
What motivational speakers can do is motivate the people who are, how shall we say this . . . motive-able. In other words, the people in your group who are already high in Drive. They are the ones who are eager to try anything and everything to achieve and to compete, so a good speaker can fire them up and provide great inspiration, because they are “singing to the choir.” Your low-Drive folks may also enjoy the speech, and you may even see a temporary uplift in performance, but research shows that their behavior will revert to the mean quickly . . . because their hurdle relative to selling is not wanting to be a strong salesperson, it is the innate personality set needed to be a strong salesperson.
So by all means seek out and find great speakers. Let them fire up your team and stir up creativity and energy. Just be sure your goals are realistic so your expectations and investment match the results you are seeking.
Dr. Christopher Croner and Richard Abraham are authors of Never Hire a Bad Salesperson Again and developers of the proprietary and patented sales test, The DriveTest™, for sales candidates. For more information, click here.