Why we use the analogy - The Carrot and the Stick

It is really quite simple and, yes, most of the time it is about moving donkeys.

We all know Donkeys are great workers - when they want to be, and can carry and tow incredible weights.


So what do we mean when we say we need to use the Carrot and the Stick... Surely it is one or the other?

Well, let's look at this analogy.

The Stick is a tool to punish. Some of us are old enough to remember the threat of the cane, the punishment from the Head Master. The fear in our eyes as the tears began to flood and that was before the call to the Head Masters office. The Stick will always be assosciated with the trouble you get into, it is never the reward.


The Carrot is a reward, you get a carrot for doing well, being good, obeying instructions. The carrot is a happy prize to a Donkey. Let's face it, a carrot is a damn good thing for a hungry Donkey...


But if you are clever, and if you have something to tie the two together, you have a tool. You have the Carrot and the Stick, not as a reward or punishment, but together it can set the direction. If we can find the carrot and stick in all the things we do, we can change the minds of the detractors, work with the people of influence and build a community of goodwill.

The Carrot and the Stick can be a way to get results that going to work for everyone.


When Cycle works on projects, one rule we have is to deliver a Stick - we must first have a Carrot. Even in the hardest environments, we always look for the Carrot.

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