The Carrot & Stick Era Is Over!

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Think about it: Why do people move in a given direction? What is it that pushes them or entices them? Are they pursuing a “carrot” or running from a “stick”?

Chances are one of the two. Yet, wouldn’t you rather move by intrinsic inspiration — which is sustainable — than by external fear or motivation, which are unsustainable?

For too long — pretty much since the dawn of civilization! — most humans have been moved by carrots and sticks but, that is coming to an end.

The reasons are many. To begin with, either pushing someone with a stick or enticing them with a carrot is not very efficient and, thus, not sustainable.

The law of diminishing marginal utility or satisfaction ensures that humans are never satisfied and, therefore, require a bigger carrot or scarier stick.

The carrot-&-stick “methodology” stopped working back in the 1960s and IBM was the first global company to notice it. Since then, we have witnessed, repeatedly, the continued failures of this approach despite the ‘evolution’ of the carrots and sticks, especially with millennials.

Yes, millennials are the most reluctant to the anachronic carrot & stick approach and most sensitive to the new force behind human actions. It’s called “ Envisioning” or Intrinsic Inspiration based on the six psychological criteria for purposeful work.

Intrinsic Inspiration is based on a ‘Higher Purpose’ of being. As humanity evolves and is better able to meet its basic needs, it is no longer satisfied with having food and shelter, it is not enough to have a brand new car or the latest gadget. As we evolve, we keep questioning the main purpose of our existence and cannot feel satisfied, or at ease, with material stuff alone. We need to have a sense of higher purpose, namely, something that transcends the mundane. And this is where the new “force” of Intrinsic Inspiration comes in.

To put it in a nutshell, there are three ways to have someone do something:

1) By coercion

2) By collusion

3) By inspiration

The first two are not even be morally or ethically correct, let alone sustainable.

Intrinsic Inspiration or Envisioning, however, has been the force behind human progress since time immemorial.

A spark of fire within someone’s mind and heart is all it takes to make the impossible possible.

Just look around the world, companies that are doing well are those that have a Visionary as their CEO.

A CEO’s vision can be quite inspiring. However, it will only be sustainable if it is based on moral authority, namely, walking the talk. Additionally, CEOs must fully understand the importance of a tropophilic organizational structure with a positive hedonic tone and conducive to ideal-seeking behavior, affording those within the organization with the opportunity of having a higher purpose other than just making money.

Thus, to ensure your business accomplishes great things do like Antoine de Saint Exupéry:

“T o build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather help them to long for the endless immensity of the sea!

Namely, ignite your worker’s mind and heart and the rest will be accomplished by default through Tropophilia!

Here’s to the the Ignited Hearts and Minds within Your Organization!

JC Wandemberg Ph.D.

President & Founder

Sustainable Systems International

About the author: Dr. Wandemberg is an international consultant, professor, stocks trader, and analyst of economic, environmental, social, managerial, marketing, and political issues. For the past 30 years Dr. Wandemberg has collaborated with corporations, communities, and organizations to integrate sustainability through self-transformation processes and Open Systems Design Principles, thus, catalyzing a Culture of Trust, Transparency, and Integrity.

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