Leadership #8, The Carrot is Mightier Than a Stick - Bottom of the Ninth #146


Bottom of the 9th - Carrots and Sticks

RSA ANIMATE: Daniel Pink's


: The surprising truth about what motivates us

"The Carrot is Mightier Than a Stick" John Wooden's Leadership Lesson #8 by Keith Wahl

John Wooden wrote 12 Leadership Lessons that enhance our understandings of leadership and success. These 12 lessons will be the focus of Bottom of the Ninth for 12 weeks.

(Pre-requisite to this week's reading - watch the video link above...you'll love it!)

Wooden's belief in "The Carrot is Mightier Than a Stick" is based in the ideas of positive motivation. Wooden believed in encouragement being more powerful than punishment. He wanted team members who were filled with pride and not fear. A respected leader's praise fills a person with life, while a punishment invokes fear and death. Criticism is designed to correct, improve, and change, and should not antagonize the recipient. Positive environments build loyalty and love.

Pink's talk and the video above seems to add additional layers to the equation. Creative tasks don't work on incentive-based system. In fact, the more complex and creative a task, the less financial awards incentivize behavior. It begs the question in professional athletics - have athletes lost all sense of creativity at that level? Should Major League Baseball, or any professional sport, be an exercise in creativity instead of people chasing bigger and bigger carrots?

How often to we encourage creativity in today's athletes instead of inspiring them to be self-directed, fanning the flames inside young athletes to get better at something? We all know that it's fun to just get better at something. When we started Bottom of the Ninth three years ago, it wasn't to make a bunch of money. It was fun to relate faith to baseball, I had an opportunity to get better at writing, and it's had an effect on people's lives.

While the chance of this weekly devotional having the same level of social impact of Skype or Steve Jobs sits somewhere between slim and none, it hits the core of a transcendent purpose for the lives involved - writers, editors, and readers. We get to determine the subject of the writing, we get to refine our skills, and we get to see what the Lord does with it. It's become a weekly opportunity to tap into a transcendent purpose.

This week, if even for a few minutes per day, think about what you would do to make a dent in the universe of money and time were no object. Dream a little, look for a little more purpose, and consider acting on it!

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