A key axiom of business strategy or criminal investigations is to "follow the money."
If you follow the money then you know why things happen the way they happen--which isn't always the way things look on the surface. For example, the nightly news makes its money from advertisers who want the biggest audience for their dollar. Therefore, the goal of the nightly news is to produce ratings. (Whereas the expressed intent is to report the news.)
This idea of "following the money" doesn't have to be about cash. You can tell a lot about a person or a group dynamic by following the path of whatever gives them the biggest payoff--accolaides, validation, fame, justice, beauty, power... I asked Nancy-the-Insightful about a dynamic once that seemed strange and she answered quite matter-of-factly, "Oh, it's because that's how you get power in that family." Hmmm....
While following the money in our observations can produce insight about others, it can also reveal insights about ourselves. The behaviors in ourselves that are compulsive typically have a money trail--a payoff we are seeking.
Anytime something seems off or weird, follow the money. It can reveal things that aren't obvious.