In Dan Ariely's new book, Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations, the author describes an experiment that took place at a semiconductor factory in Israel. Armed with some cash, a couple complimentary text messages from the bosses, and few slices of 'za, Ariely found that the factory—where a worker's output could be precisely quantified depending on the amount of computer chips he made—was the perfect stage for his study.
At the beginning of the week, three groups received three separate messages, promising either pizza, a $30 bonus, or a simple "Well done!" text from a higher-up. Another cluster of employees, serving as a control group, would receive no bonus.
Surprisingly, few workers were inspired by the cash, performing only 4.9 percent above the control group. The employees who received pizza and compliments, however, performed 6.7 and 6.6 better than the control group, respectively.
I am not a person who is easily motivated. There is a very short list of things that make me want to get off my couch and do something with my life, and it goes like this (in no particular order):
-Coach Eric Taylor from Friday Night Lights
-Any sort of contact with a woman
-A training montage from any of the first four Rocky movies
So yeah, it makes sense to me that pizza would be the best motivator for some cube monkeys that probably hate their jobs anyway. What's bizarre here is that a simple "Well done!" from a superior makes people more motivated than money. I could not give less of a shit about being complimented by my boss. It's a nice gesture, and I certainly appreciate it, but if I had to pick between someone saying nice about me and an extra $30 in my pocket, I'm taking the money every time. Not sorry about it. It's a doggy dog world, and I am a shark who eats doggy dogs.