"I purposely don't link to these books or the site because I don't want to continue to promote carrots as a motivational metaphor. I don't know about you, but the titles listed above reduce a complex set of principles and activities down to a much too simple instinctual metaphor - and insult the audience.
“I'm sure that some of the sidelong glances the motivation industry gets from its own clients are driven by the continued use of this metaphor. The concept of carrot and stick creates and aura of duplicity and manipulation - when in reality we're talking about alignment of values and goals. I don't believe incentive and recognition programs manipulate as much as "guide." I'm sure someone will make the point that those words may have distinction but no difference. Let them - I respect my audience and in my mind there are big differences."
I couldn’t agree more. Many months ago, I also wrote on this topic, expanding on Harry Levinson's Jackass Fallacy: Think about the carrot and stick metaphor for motivation. When you picture that in your mind, what’s between the carrot and stick? A jackass. I don’t think about my team members as jackasses. Do you?
Paul suggests a couple of different metaphors: progress bar or a heart – tying into the need to belong and the need to see progress as real drivers of engagement and motivation.
What metaphor would you suggest? I find it hard to summarize in a simple visual. How to do you boil down an act of one person seeing, acknowledging, appreciating, recognizing and actively valuing the efforts and behaviors of another? Any ideas?