Carrots and Sticks – the 7 deadly flaws

This list from Daniel Pink’s book is well worth the read. (Get your copy of DRIVE here.) Of course there are situations when these ‘rules’ don’t apply; because like most rules these are somewhat of a generalisation. The point is that ‘intrinsic motivation’ is generally the best way to tap into the best efforts of people – and that ‘bribes’ are usually not effective.

  1. They can extinguish intrinsic motivation
  2. They can diminish performance
  3. The can crush creativity
  4. They can crowd out good behaviour
  5. They can encourage cheating, shortcuts and unethical behaviour
  6. They can become addictive
  7. They can foster short-term thinking.

When you think about motivation. and especially the power & prevalence of intrinsic motivation, you must accept that one person cannot 'motivate' another. You can cajole, threaten, bribe and bully - but you can't motivate.

Any objectives that you have that include reference to team motivation should be re-thought. Instead, think about how you create a culture (and environment) that is conducive to high-performing environments.