Sales Coach Gets Backlash For Suggesting Workers Imagine Their Family's Been Kidnapped As Motivation — 'Or You Could Just Pay People More'

A fear-inducing, tyrannical management style might not be the best way to encourage workers.

andy elliott @officialandyelliott / TikTok

There are plenty of unique ways in which companies attempt to motivate their employees to boost morale, but one sales coach may have gone a little overboard when he revealed an unusual method he believes can be the key to improving a company’s work productivity.

A sales coach told workers to imagine their family getting kidnapped as a way to improve work performance.

Sales coach and “motivational” speaker Andy Elliott recently shared an interesting tactic to motivate workers to implement success in their work environment.


According to Elliott, if you want to increase sales and production within your company, all you need to do is simply imagine the unspeakable horror of your family getting kidnapped, and you’ll be well on your way to seeing some results.



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It’s important to note that this is coming from the same man who refuses to hire anyone without a six-pack.

In his TikTok video, Elliott stated that entrepreneurial workers will never reach their full potential unless their backs are pressed against the wall with practically no place to turn to.

He says, “If someone right now, I’m just giving you an example, kidnapped your family and said they were going to kill them unless you tripled production or revenue in your company, you’d [expletive] do it in a heartbeat.”

“Why’s someone got to kidnap them? Why’s that got to happen?” Elliott continues. “You know why? Because until you put your back against the wall, you don’t even play to 20% of your full potential.” 


So, is this actually a level up from the occasional pizza party at the office, or is this just another capitalistic strategy to incentivize unfathomable fears from workers to prioritize work and do the impossible? Many are suggesting the latter, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why. 

andy elliott sales coach suggests people imagine their families kidnapped as motivation to work harderPhoto: fizkes / Shutterstock

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Some suggested that Elliott's sales strategy can 'work both ways.'

Imagining the thought of your family’s fate being left entirely up to whether or not you could triple your company’s revenue is certainly not something most people want to think about. But what if we altered the narrative?

Under another TikTok user's stitched video, one person wrote, “This strategy works much better in reverse to get fair wages from your employer.” 

“So if we threaten their families, could we get a livable wage? I wouldn’t do it!!! I’m just curious,” another contemplative user wrote.

“They’ll say anything besides paying a livable wage,” a third user added.


Is the practice of inducing fear in employees truly effective?

Research indicates that a fear-inducing, tyrannical management style might not be the best way to encourage workers to actually work (surprise, surprise). 

Though Elliott is merely a sales trainer offering a different approach, based on research, this practice probably wouldn’t last very long in the workplace due to a number of factors. 

For one, people typically wouldn’t want to imagine their family being put in harm’s way, but that’s beside the point. Instilling fear, threats, and other anxieties would actually just make people feel incredible uneasy within themselves and in their environment, thus making it much more difficult for them to perform sufficiently.


Overall, while Elliott’s radical take may inspire some to put a little more effort into their performance, it’s safe to say that, in the long run, companies would likely fare better by maintaining a workspace that allows employees to feel confident and appreciated in their roles.

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Xiomara Demarchi is a New York writer and contributor to YourTango’s news and entertainment team. Keep up with them on Instagram.