Charlotte Blank: Lead Like a Scientist


How do you motivate employees and sales partners? Do your incentive programs work? How do you know? If you have no idea, you’re not alone. Traditional management practices lead managers to treat workforce motivation as an overly simple “do this, get that” relationship between effort and reward. But surprising new insights from behavioral economics and social psychology are revealing that the psychology of motivation is more complex than that. Humans are influenced by a host of nonconscious factors that affect how hard we work – and it’s time for leaders to adjust our approach to workforce motivation accordingly. Cash is not always king. More is not always better. Leading like a scientist means challenging the status quo and testing new ideas to inspire discretionary effort of your salesforce and employees. What might you try? If you have a hunch, you have a hypothesis. In this talk, Maritz chief behavioral officer Charlotte Blank discusses a groundbreaking field experiment in an automotive dealership channel incentive program. Her surprising findings will change the way you think about incentives, recognition, rewards, and motivation. You don’t need a degree in psychology to lead like a scientist – you just have to be open to experimentation. Charlotte has led programs in consumer psychology, social media, and global branding during her ten years in the media and automotive industries. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology from Emory University, and a Master’s in Business Administration from Harvard Business School. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at