Trigger Action By The Carrot or Stick

Motivate with Carrot or Stick

Using a combination of inducing desire for reward and fear of punishment is a great way to motivate others.

In idiomatic terms, this is known as triggering action “by the carrot or stick”. A good way to do this is to point out the advantages, rewards, and benefits of a certain action, while also pointing out the disadvantages, punishments, or bad experiences that could happen if the action is NOT done.

When you trigger action by the carrot or stick, you motivate people towards a certain goal while moving them away from a problem at the same time. A good illustration of this can be seen in an incident during the Battle of Stalingrad. Russian commanders motivated their soldiers to fight by promising them loot and rewards if they conquer the enemy, but they were also threatened to be killed on the spot if they retreat. This is a perfect example of triggering action by the carrot or stick.

In everyday life, you can influence other people’s behaviour by emphasizing the good and beneficial effects of a certain action, while pointing out the negative consequences if they fail to do that action. If you’re a manager, you can motivate your subordinates to work harder for additional compensation and recognition. But you should also make it clear to them that working below par has negative consequences.


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