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Are you a Stick or a Carrot Kinda Person?


There are two types of people you may have on your team, people who are motivated by sticks and people who are motivated by carrots. Which one are you? Here’s how to recognize the difference and how to keep both of them happy and on track.

So in my last meeting with our marketing director in last week’s weekly meeting and the saying about the ‘Stick and Carrot’ came up. I’ve had an opportunity to process that saying a little bit and I have some points I’d like to share.

First of all, what does it mean? “Are you a stick or a carrot person?” This is a saying that identifies the intrinsic and extrinsic motivational styles for people.

Stick People (Extrinsic Motivation)

If you are a stick person, you are motivated by structure. You are motivated by punishment. If you do something bad, you get punished and you get better.

Carrot People (Intrinsic Motivation)

A carrot person is someone who is motivated by incentives, someone who is motivated by:

  • Positive Rewards
  • Positive Encouragement
  • Bonuses
  • etc.

So are you a stick or a carrot person? Let me tell you why knowing this is important. If you are a stick person, then put yourself in a position where that is going to benefit you. That might sound kind of weird but what I mean is that you should apply for positions that have a lot of structure, a lot of guidance, and a lot of rules. Positions with a lot of policies and procedures in place that allow you to function within the guideline and rules you are familiar with. So that you can perform under those guidelines. You will succeed in that situation.

If you are a carrot person, then you want to put yourself in a position that allows for growth, for ambition, for compensation. So salespeople, or people who are motivated by the incentives we talked about above.

So now let’s take a look at the other side of the equation, let’s say that you’re the employer. In that interview process, find a way to ask that question. Find out what motivates somebody because you want to know if you’re putting ‘stick person’ in a sales position, in the same way, you don’t necessarily want a carrot person in a position that won’t give them the opportunity to innovate and grow.

So with all that being said, are you a stick, or are you a carrot?

Talk to you soon.