In this video, Michael Norton talks about a research project that forced people to spend money on other people. The results? People were happier when they spent money on other people than if they spent it on themselves. The amount of money didn’t seem to make a difference nor did what they actually bought. Just the act of giving made people happy.
All well and good when it comes to charity, but how does this relate to business? About 8 minutes in, Norton talks about the impact this study had on sales teams. Sales teams that were given money and told to spend it on another member of the team had significantly higher sales than those who didn’t.
In other words, giving team members small bonuses to spend on themselves actually is a loosing proposition. Having them spend on each other results in greater happiness and higher productivity.
This strategy is counter intuitive but also very easy to implement. Why not give teams small budgets with the only stipulation that it must be spent on someone else in their team? Try it in your office in the new year and tell us what results you get.