Piers Steel


Piers Steel

Expert on the Science of Motivation and Procrastination

Don’t put off listening to what Piers Steel has to say. One of the world’s foremost researchers on the science of motivation and procrastination, he explains why professionals in all sectors struggle with “dysfunctional delay,” why this practice hurts business, and what can—and must—be done about it to avoid lost opportunities, lost sales, and disgruntled colleagues and clients.

Steel is a professor at the University of Calgary, where he teaches human resources and organizational dynamics at the Haskayne School of Business. As a researcher into motivation and procrastination, he conducts projects that identify the prototypical procrastinator, isolate effective self-regulatory techniques, and help to prevent procrastination.

Steel is also the author of the bestselling book, The Procrastination Equation, and he has appeared in countless publications around the world, including Psychology Today, New Scientist, Good Housekeeping, and The New Yorker.

Stop Putting it Off: Get to Yes

From putting it off to getting to yes, procrastination occurs throughout the sales process.

Sales professionals in all industries and sectors struggle with this dysfunctional delay, often with disastrous results. Instead of taking action immediately, they act too late, if at all. The result is lost opportunities, lost sales, and even worse – disgruntled clients.

Without a tangible deadline in sight, decisions and actions are postponed to the point of pain, resulting in emotional and financial turmoil, not to mention stress and sickness. The price of chronic procrastination is high and as the world continues to speed up and demands increase, will continue to rise if left unchecked.

Those in a sales role are especially vulnerable to procrastination. Key personality traits that many sales professionals share – sociability, spontaneity and an outgoing nature – are also traits that are linked to a key cause of procrastination: impulsiveness.

Fortunately, there are tools and techniques that when put to use and can provide immense benefit and massive increases in productivity and performance. Dr. Piers Steel shares these secrets in this educational, customized and energetic presentation

Maximizing Motivation, Minimizing Procrastination (Workshop)

The program focuses on leading-edge, evidence-based techniques for maximizing motivation. The basic forces that determine when we are motivated and when we procrastinate are established, so why do we put off what we need to get done?

Each participant is assessed in terms of their relative level of procrastination, and a more detailed diagnostic test will be administered that identifies the underlying reasons for procrastination, providing the foundation for change.

Though customization is always an option, a recommended package includes:

  1. Pre-commitment: Learning how to act now to stop ourselves from acting otherwise later.
  2. Stimulus Control: Learing to maximize motivation by controlling environmental cues that direct us either to work or to play.
  3. Wish Fulfilment: Fantasy and vision boards (e.g., from The Secret) actually damage motivation, making your dreams less likely to come true. A proven and effective alternative, mental contrasting, is taught in its place.
  4. Energy Allocation: The number one reason for putting off what we need to get done is that we are too tired. Use your own chronobiology to identify your peak productive times.
  5. Productive Procrastination: This turns the procrastination impulse against itself, making periods of procrastination productive.
  6. Goal Setting: Many rely on SMART goals, based on an early 1980s article about team management. In the last three decades, we have a better system for crafting motivational goals, the CSI Approach.

At the end of each technique, we’ll take time to apply it to personal situations.

Using everyday language, the workshop makes use of PowerPoint presentations, clicker polling, video clips, self-assessment quizzes, and in-class demonstrations. Some techniques are covered in the book The Procrastination Equation, but the content is not exclusive to it. Additional materials covered in class are provided by handouts or electronic PDFs.