The Carrot and the Stick

CarrotI was a relatively good child. I was no saint, mind you, but I was fairly obedient as kids go. As a relatively good kid, my parents could motivate me pretty easily to change my behavior with simple incentives like a small bump in my allowance, getting bed-time pushed back a few minutes, etc. There was, however, always the threat of consequences should I fall short of what was expected of me. I still remember (it’s branded in my brain’s RAM) my father’s stern lecture and painful consequences of not cleaning the dog poop out of the kennel.

Simple, positive incentives were the norm in my family, and usually worked. Yet the threat of negative consequences was always present and occasionally necessary to motivate the necessary behavior change in a stubborn child.

Stick Call Centers and QA programs are always struggling with how to motivate behavior change. One client asked me "do we use the carrot or the stick?" The answer is yes. You will need both to effectively motivate behavior change. To rely on one without the other will ultimately damage the culture of your call center. You need to have both.

The challenge, like being a parent, is knowing when and how to use them.

Creative Commons photos courtesy of Flickr, nickwheeleroz, and michael448 

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