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Does Extreme Peer Pressure Work?

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An Amazon office in Germany won’t give employees their full bonuses unless the rest of their department does not take all their sick days.

Jay: Hey guys, it’s Jay. Hope you are doing great, coming to you live from Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Having a great time out here hosting the Oracle Modern Marketing Experience 2017 conference. Saw something yesterday in the news that I thought was really interesting.
Amazon in Germany has a program whereby, if you want to get your full bonus, your teammates have to not use all their sick days. Now, you get a bonus if you don’t use all your sick days—that seems reasonable. But you cannot get your full bonus unless your teammates don’t use all their sick days either. That is extreme peer pressure. Like, “Look man, I know you’re not feeling good, but you’ve got to come to work.”
And I find it really fascinating, like a fascinating psychological concept of whether or not that would actually have an impact on job performance. It reminded me of when I was in high school, and I was a very mediocre high school basketball player. But our coach used to do a thing in practice that I remember to this day because it was irksome and annoying, but I think pretty effective. So we do free throw shooting practice, as most teams do, and like a lot of teams, if you miss a free throw, you have to run. And you have to run suicide sprints, which is back and forth, back and forth, back and forth until you’re exhausted. The way our coach did it, though, was if you missed a free throw in practice, the whole team had to run but you.
That is extreme peer pressure, and quite a motivating factor to be good at free throw shooting. So I’m out here with this conference for Oracle, lots of talk about customer experience and marketing and sales and alignment, and it made me wonder if we could do this in business, this sort of extreme at peer pressure. What if we said, “Look, marketing doesn’t get their bonus unless sales makes their numbers,” or, “Sales doesn’t get their bonus unless marketing makes their numbers.” Or, “Neither sales nor marketing get their bonus unless customer service makes their numbers from a retention and customer satisfaction perspective.”
We’re always incentivizing parts of companies based on the success or failure of that silo of the company. But what if we did it cross-pollinated? What if we took a page from Amazon in Germany and from my old high school basketball coach and said, “Look, we’re gonna be all in this together.”
So that’s what I’ve been thinking about here in Vegas for this episode of Jay Today. I would love to know what you think in the comments below. Do you have an example of extreme peer pressure that either worked or didn’t work, and do you think this could actually be effective in companies, your company, or maybe a company that you work with? That’s what I’m gonna leave you with here today.
As always, the Jay Today program is brought to you by my good friends at Emma. Get more from your email marketing. Go to From Las Vegas, Nevada, this is Jay. I will see you next week. Thanks as always for watching Jay Today.

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