Influence = Money – The Ugly World of Speaker Fees

I’m shell-shocked!

Have you ever followed someone so closely that you feel like you really know them?  I mean, you allowed them to speak into your life, you invested in their materials, you bought it all hook, line, and sinker.  Only to later realize that the person you looked up to isn’t that person after all?

I recently contacted the John Maxwell group to look into bringing John to a local teacher conference.  I had a substantial amount of money to work with.  However, I was shocked to learn that what I could offer wasn’t even one-third of what it took to get John to show up for a one to a two-hour session!  How much would it cost?  $75,000 big ones!

In the world of public educators, only very few make over $75,000 a year.  How could a school district justify paying someone that for 1-2 hours?  They couldn’t!  There are only certain organizations and big businesses that can do that!

Now, I’m not against someone getting paid what they are worth.  I’m not against someone making money.  I think the thing that bothers me the most here is that I know that John came from the world of ministry (which I’m very familiar with) and I know his message of “influence.”

What better way for someone to “give back” and influence hundreds of teachers and potentially thousands of students than to pour into the lives of educators?  Surely The Maxwell Group could find one day where John could come and do that?  Surely someone in John’s position would take a day out of his busy schedule, take less money, all for the benefit of education.

Somewhere he forgot where he came from.  Somewhere he forgot the days when he was preaching to a handful of congregants and would have willingly done that for very little pay.

Maybe it isn’t John.  Maybe it is his organization.  Maybe he doesn’t even know how much they charge to get him to a venue to share his leadership insights.  If that is the case, then that is sad and ultimately John’s leadership fault.  Because “everything rises and falls on leadership.”

I’ve been sitting on this for a while.  Like I said before, I’m shocked.  I have many John Maxwell books, attended many of his conferences, and even still have the CD’s from his monthly subscription.  But I can’t lose the bad taste in my mouth that someone would pass up the opportunity to pour into the lives of educators because of an exorbitant money fee.

I consider myself a lifelong learner.  I learned in this exchange that Leadership is Money, nothing more, nothing less.

I also learned that the world of speaker fees is outrageous!  Again, I’m not against someone getting paid well for what they know, teach and do.  But come on! 

Many reading this will pass this off that I’m bitter.  You’re wrong.  I’m truly shocked.  But think what you will. Someone that I held in high esteem proved to me that money is more important than the message.  That when you make it, you forget the little people.  And that influence is for the elite.

I’ll honestly never look at Key Note Speakers the same.  I’ll always be asking myself, “Would they even care enough to be here if they weren’t paid?”