The carrot or stick is an old debate that rages in every industry & sector (& home – but for now let’s focus on the commercial environment opposed to motivating toddlers, teens, husbands, wives or strong minded Jack Russells)!
A reward that motivates one person won’t always work for the next. The same goes with punishment, for you a mere threat of punishment could be the only motivator you need to get moving. Whether you have a carrot or a stick preference, either one has limited motivating potential without a hand. It’s the hand that reaches down and helps us back up again. It’s the hand that gently guides us back onto the right path. It’s the hand that is behind us pushing us forward when we don’t think we have the strength or ability to go any further. It’s the hand that renews our motivation and increases our productivity.
I worked in professional sales for 5 years and I loved it! I was winning awards for personal sales & for my team. I’m competitive & I love winning but mostly I love helping people – which was the key to my success. After a while I started to get itchy feet. My job started to feel more about winning than helping people. I started losing my motivation, interest & finally my productivity took a nose dive. I had a good relationship with one of the VPs & he waved different carrots under my nose to get me back on track but none of them worked for me. Then it was the stick strategy & that was the final nail in my coffin – I couldn’t see a future for me there anymore & I ended up leaving a job I had loved & excelled at.
The National Institute of Economic & Social Research claims that meaningful productivity (increased output per worker) is critical for economic growth and also poses the largest domestic risk to the UK economy. For me once I lost sight of the meaning of my work my motivation & then my productivity dramatically dropped. How many people in the workforce today are fully motivated & productive? Maybe we’re dangling too many carrots & running around waving sticks when we just need to offer a hand. That strategy wasn’t used on me, if it had I wouldn't have left.
Now I’m on a mission to help people to reach their potential & maximise their productivity – whatever that looks like. So today you don’t have to drop your sticks or throw away your carrots but maybe offer a hand as well – you’ll be surprised at how it inspires motivation & influences productivity.