REWARDS—An Organization Elicits the Behavior It Rewards

Chapter 6 Pg’s 145 Lead With Love  By Gerry Czarnecki

At a very early stage in my managerial career, I walked into the office of a new boss and saw a sign on his wall that read, “An organization elicits the behavior it rewards.” This man ultimately became my most important mentor, and his message has stayed with me ever since.

To use a simple analogy, a dog behind an invisible fence learns not to go outside the boundary because he gets an electric shock when he crosses it. By the same token, he learns to sit on command when he is given a treat for doing it correctly. In short, there are two ways to learn— one through threat or punishment, one through reward. Although we humans are far more complex than dogs, the same principles of learning can apply to us. The message in this chapter is that if you truly know how to love, then be positive. Although punishment has some value, the value of rewards is far greater. We learn what we should be doing when we are rewarded for the behavior.

As children we learn the word no or not very early. As we explore the new things we encounter, our parents often try to protect us from mistakes by telling us “no.” Leaders need to break what I call the “Cycle of No.” Every time you think of the word no as an answer or as a statement, try a positive version of that response. Focus on what to do, instead of what not to do.

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