The Carrot and The Stick

The carrot and the stick approach relies on the philosophy that all our behaviors are motivated by rewards and punishment, and this approach has been integrated into our everyday life to the point where it is impossible to distinguish. It is the basic psychology perspective which is the foundation of behavioral psychology, that rewards and punishment can not only change but also shape our behavior. How is this relevant? The carrot and the stick approach is used from childhood, using food or timeout to change behavior of children, all the way to puberty, where our behavior is governed by what people think of us. It has been prevalent since the Neanderthal days, where food was the literal carrot and escaping predators was the stick. Even as adults, money and societal perceptions remain a large part of what drives our everyday behaviors to long term decisions. Our careers are still decided by what would earn us the most money or what would be the most prestigious in society. But with my limited experience and understanding of this phenomenon, I got thinking; what if we didn’t need to use this external carrot and stick anymore? As humans, we should be evolved enough to already know what is good for us and bad for us and not use that to motivate or drive our behavior. Rather, perhaps, we need to dig deeper, start to access what truly motivates us. At the expense of sounding like I'm preaching, I tried to imagine a world where there is no carrot or stick. To be honest, we are in the making, with our advancements in technology such as self driving cars and new economic concepts such as universal basic income, there is a high likelihood of money not being a carrot in the near future. Even social expectations are less important today than they were several years ago. So what would I do, if I had nothing to do? For a long time I'd thought the only thing I wanted was to help people, again cliché and preachy. But though this thought process, I realized that what I really want to do is to have conversations. One on one conversations that bring value to both parties through the sharing of ideas and insights and ideally through this conversation, I'm able to help people. While this might not have been my exact thinking when I started in recruitment 2 years ago, looking back I inadvertently picked a career that allows me to do just that! Moreover, I realized that my successes have been built on the basis of these conversations. And because of this, I am able to be a better recruiter, as its important for me to understand beyond your qualifications and achievements, it's about your motivations and career path. Because I don't want to fill jobs, I want to build careers. Author: Kopal Manglik - Executive, Accounting & Finance Recruitment at Argyll Scott Hong Kong. Contact Kopal on

Posted over 8 years ago
About the author:
Lorna Maltby

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