Altruism Works!

There’s an interesting trend I’ve noticed.  Sometimes, like when you learn a new word, noticing a trend is just that… noticing.  

But in this case, I don’t think so.  

It’s the rising wave of altruism.  

Now, full disclosure, I work for a company that teaches emotional intelligence.  We go into companies with churn, turmoil, and teams that are underperforming and we help them create an intentional culture.  So, what I do every day is read about, think about and learn about cultures that work and emotional intelligence.  

Still… it really seems like it’s not just us.  

First I got wind of the idea of the B Corp.  If you don’t already know, a B Corp is like a C Corp or an LLC except that written into the articles of incorporation is some benefit to society (hence the “B”).  A B Corp is not a non-profit, it’s a for-profit company that makes a strong stand for altruism in some way or another.  Because the mission is written into the articles of incorporation that beneficial mission HAS to drive the Board of Directors’ decisions, the vision of the company and the culture. What companies are finding is that a clear focus on the benefit of society makes them MORE profitable, not less.  That by giving back to the community and the world at large, the buy in and commitment to the success of the company is deeper for both the leadership and the employees. The more you give, the more you get.

Then, a week ago I found myself at a lunch and learn on millennials and the focus is, as it turns out, not on millennials at all but on the overarching idea of purpose trumping financial gain.  It turns out the majority of the younger generation in the U.S. would rather follow a higher purpose than drudge away for a huge paycheck.  Well… YEAH! This is not the me generation, this is the we generation.  I wonder though, if this isn't about generations as they pertain to age demographics but generations as it pertains to the waves of awareness in the world, regardless of how long you've been here. 

In my twitter feed I saw this great video which talks about this study in which people are given $5 or $20 to spend either on themselves or to spend on others, either donate or buy a gift.  Their happiness is tracked and the ones who report greater happiness are, every time, the ones who used the money for the good of others.  The amount didn’t matter… And when teams of people are given money either to take home or to spend on their team as a group the teams that spent money on each other, on the group, were more successful - as in they MADE MORE MONEY as well as being happier.  

It feels right, right?  

So… now what?  You can go out and give money to Greenpeace or an organization you believe in.  You can invest in your sales team by giving them a half-Friday if they go volunteer in the community.  You can buy a cup of coffee for a co-worker for no reason at all.  The one thing you can be sure of is that giving to others, and inspiring those around you to join in and do the same, will make you happier and more productive. 

To learn more about ways to build teams, increase productivity through emotional intelligence and be your best self, please visit