The dynamics of Moving Motivators, by Jurgen Appelo, father of Management 3.0, helps managers learn more about what motivates their team members. Jurgen’s idea when creating this exercise was to provide a tool to reflect about individual motivation and how it is affected by organizational change.
The Moving Motivators
The exercise is simple. If you still don’t know it, I suggest that you practice it on your own, preferably now.
There are 10 motivators, each described in a letter (click here to print). If you can’t print them now, you can write each motivator down on a sticky note.
The first step is to consider: What motivators are important for you? Put the letters in order, from left (less important) to right (more important).
Knowing the team
After a lot of practice with “one-on-one sessions” using the intrinsic motivators Jurgen derived from the work with Daniel Pink, Steven Reiss and Edward Deci, we decided to adapt the exercise to use in a group at the team’s retrospective ceremony.
After explaining to the team that the objective of the retrospective would be to better know one another individually and collectively, we invited the members to reflect individually on the motivators that are most important for them. We presented each of the motivators and explained them one by one. We asked them to write each motivator down on a sticky note and to order them from most to least important.
After all participants had their sticky notes in order, we asked them to write “10” on the most important item, “9” on the second most important, and so on to “1” (the least important). Then we collected everyone’s notes.
The second step in the activity involves two parallel tasks:
- We invited all team members to consider: What motivators are most important for our team, collectively? We asked them to discuss and order the motivators, now focusing on the collective view.
- While they conversed, the facilitator added up the numbers written on the individual motivators in the first step of the activity. The count is done by motivator. At the end, the result will be something like:
1st Acceptance – total: 230
2nd Freedom – total: 214
3rd Purpose – total: 200
4th Relationship – total: 190
5th Curiosity – total: 185
6th Honor – total: 120
7th Order – total: 85
8th Status – total: 70
9th Power – total: 10
10th Mastery – total: 8
The result should not be presented to the team until the collective order has been concluded. After the discussion of collective motivators and the ranking of individual motivators are completed, we put both on a wall, one under the other, and invite the team to consider: What are the main differences between the sum of our individual motivators and our collective motivators? What do these differences tell us?
We usually ask the team to focus on the top 5 motivators, since these are the most important ones.
The activity can be concluded with this simple reflection. Ranking the motivators is by itself a good self-knowledge exercise, but the individual results are also a good starting point for a one-to-one session with each team member.
This is one of the tools to better understand and develop your team’s motivation. Learn with Management 3.0 about breaking paradigms, empowering teams, and facilitating people and team dynamics, and achieve a real Agile Transformation in your team.