Is carrot or stick the better approach to leadership and management?
We recently caught up with Stephanie, founder of Grow Disrupt, to get her thoughts on both approaches!
She spent years using the stick as a motivator to get her business off the ground, because the carrot was never sufficient motivation in those early years. Having already tried to start several businesses without success, the challenges she faced at the company she worked for eventually became a big enough stick. But over time, her thoughts have shifted!
Frustrations became the stick that motivated Stephanie to create her first business and get it off the ground. While one could argue that there was some ‘carrot’ involved (she had a vision and goals of where she wanted to be that were pulling her forward) it was the stick that ultimately created results. Although she’d tried multiple times to build a business, she never had success until the stick of wanting to escape her current work showed up. Acting as her own manager, she used this approach for the next several years. She was harder on herself, she pushed herself further, and never really celebrated the wins.
Stephanie ended up exhausted and burnt out. She tells a story about being stuck in traffic; “There was one day I literally pulled over on the side of the road, it was rush hour traffic and I was just in tears, because I couldn't even cope with being stuck in rush hour traffic, because I was so tired and so burnt out.”
It brought results, but at what cost?
Finding her personal motivator and tapping into it propelled her forward. Surprisingly, Stephanie found that she performed better when functioning and managing herself from a “carrot” perspective, a reward system, as opposed to one of punishment. The carrot approach led to better overall performance and satisfaction in both her and her team. Everyone has more energy, clients get better results, and SHE gets better results.
Stephanie is unsure if Grow Disrupt would have ever gotten going if she started with this reward system. There's a time and a place for both the carrot and the stick. It's up to us to determine when to use one rather than the other. If you're watching this video, there's a good chance you're a high performing entrepreneur of some variety.
The greatest lesson she has gleaned over the years is that we don't need to be shamed or guilted into altering our ways. We are already working hard and pushing forward, so we don't need to be forced or coerced into making improvements.
Grow Disrupt's purpose is to organize events around acceptance rather than correction. Helping us see how brilliant we are, how incredible we all are. They help us to grasp how to function within our individuality a bit better. This technique produces the greatest long-term results. You should consider making the switch.