Use the Carrot and not the Stick

Use the Carrot and not the Stick


The Carrot


Early one morning a fisherman was walking down toward the water where he was hoping to catch a few fish, he had one small problem in that he had no bait. Suddenly he noticed a snake with a large frog in its mouth. Knowing that it was a non-poisonous snake he picked it up, removed the frog for bait and was about to throw the reptile into the bushes when he noticed how sad it looked for having lost his food. The fisherman took pity on the snake, opened his liquor flask and poured a few drops of brandy down the snake’s throat, dropped him to the ground and carried on toward the water.


The fisherman baited the hook with bits of frog, cast out into the water, sat down and waited for a fish to bite. Sitting in the sunlight, he suddenly felt something tugging on his collar. Not having heard anyone approaching he turned around with a fright, only to see the snake with another frog. Moral of the story? Reward the action you would like to be repeated.


As a parent, a business owner, a manager or a leader, you will get along much better with children and adults when you show appreciation for any good action they may have done. Say thank-you and be grateful for what has been done. Just remember, we focus on the action and not the person.

When my wife had only been working for a short period as a receptionist at a large industrial company, the works manager walked into the foyer, and said. “Carol, I want to compliment you for the professional way you dealt with that irate and upset customer who called to complain about the late delivery of his order”


While attending a young men’s meeting at our church, the pastor was speaking to the newly wed guys, telling them how important it was to compliment the wife at every opportunity. As an example, he suggested that when the supper was not as nice as mother used to make, then they could say something nice about the lovely plate is was served on!


Catch them doing something right, Ken Blanchard, Author, The One Minute Manager


The Stick


A newly wed Hill-Billy couple were sitting in their buggy about to leave on honeymoon. One stubborn mule wasn’t going to move, he just stood there while the other 3 mules tried to get going. The young man started to whip the stubborn mule before he would move. A short while further the same mule sat down. ‘That’s one’, shouted the driver who got the mule going again with his stick. A few minutes later the mule stopped and sat down. ‘That’s two.’ And again, the mule had to be smacked before he moved on. The same thing happened once more. ‘That’s three shouted the man, as he used his stick once more. The mule shuffled on, 3 minutes later he stopped. The Hill-Billy pulled out his gun, shot the mule and killed him. The wife turned on her husband, shouting and screaming at him for being so cruel. When she stopped, he turned to her and said. ‘That’s one’


Pity the employees, the children, the wives, and yes, even some husbands, who must put up with bosses

and partners that threaten others with a ‘stick’


I once worked for a sales manager who never acknowledged any good sales I made, he would try to tell our branch manager that he had got the order. One morning I got to work about an hour after starting time, as I walked in and in front of the office staff he chewed me out for getting to work late, didn’t first ask me why I was late. (this was long before mobile phones)

When I explained that I had called on a customer on the way to work and had obtained a good order for our company, he did not apologise, just turned around and went to his office. I went straight to the MD, told him what happened and handed in my resignation.

I went to work for the opposition, there they had a far nicer sales manager. One who encouraged his sales people and we had a very low staff turnover because the manager used a carrot and not a stick to motivate the staff.


So, to the business owners, leaders, supervisors and managers, check what methods are you using to encourage the people who work for, or under you. And as an employee, are you happy with the way you are managed? In both situations and in our modern world, improve your work environment, there is no reason for not having a pleasant work relationship as part of a reciprocal and win win partnership.


‘Employees make the best product when they like where they work’ Merle Norman


“The way positive reinforcement is carried out is more important than the amount” B F Skinner


“People work harder and smarter if they find their work satisfying and know that it is appreciated” Thomas J Frye


Have fun


Martin Louw

Think and grow wealthy, healthy and wise






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