Retrospective with Management 3.0: Moving Motivators

The dynamics of Moving Motivators, by Jurgen Appelo, father of Management 3.0, helps managers to learn more about what motivates their team members. Jurgen’s idea while creating this exercise was to provide a tool to reflect on individual motivation and see how organizational change is affecting them.


The Moving Motivators

The exercise is simple. If you still don’t know it, I suggest to 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 down each motivator on a sticky note.

The first step is to answer the question: What motivators are essential for you? Put the letters in order, from left (less important) to the 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 know one another better 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 of the 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:

  1. We invited all team members to consider: What motivators are most important for our team, collectively? We asked them to discuss and once again put motivators in order, this time focusing on the collective view.
  2. When they made their changes, the facilitator added up the numbers written on the individual motivators in the first step of the activity. The count is done by motivator. In 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 shouldn´t be presented to the team before having the collective order of motivators. After the discussion of collective motivators and the ranking of individual motivators are completed, we put both on a wall, one under another, 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.

We can sum up the activity with this simple conclusion: 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.

Moving Motivators are one of the tools helping to understand better your team´s motivation, and develop it. Learn with Management 3.0 about breaking paradigms, empowering teams, and facilitating people and team dynamics, and achieve a real Digital Transformation in your team.

More articles:

“Feelings and Paths” Retrospective
Controversy: Can the Product Owner participate in the Retrospective?
Agile Retrospectives Free Ebook


Foto de Luiz Rodrigues
Luiz Rodrigues


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