Move your Motivators

blog, management30

What really motivates you? Do you know why you come out of bed every working day to go to work? I really don’t like movies with zombies… I really don’t. Why? Not sure, but it may have to do with the notion that zombies just do and care about one single thing: kill people to eat them. They don’t care about it… Perhaps very mindful but such a simple purpose would be a horror to me.


A few weeks ago I was presenting a Scrum Master training. As usual, I started the training with Personal Maps. I always participate because I also want to people to get to know me. Besides that, when people share things about themselves, I would find it very impolite not to do the same.

When I was done with my Personal Map I noticed something. I had a node “Work”, with some of the companies I worked for. There was, however, another top node: “Agile Strides”. Agile Strides represents my journey as a freelancer. And it is true… I don’t consider it as work! I spend time on doing things that I find important, things that are motivating me!

Now it really helps if you are aware what your motivators are. When you know which things motivate you, you can try to run experiments and do things that will trigger and tickle your motivators positively. Additionally, when you know which motivators your team members find important, you can help them to stimulate their motivators.

A while ago I was asked to assist Snappet in improving their team binding. Not that they had team issues, but their Russian team members and Dutch team members were all for one week in the Netherlands. It was an excellent opportunity to grow the team relations, especially since the Snappet teams are relatively young teams.

We played the Moving Motivator game, part of Management 3.0. The Moving Motivator game is about finding out what motivates you. Doing the Moving Motivator game is not difficult, it is easy and it helps you explore and address your intrinsic beliefs.


To prepare the game, you need to have multiple sets of the Moving Motivator decks. You can order them here, or you can print them yourselves. Secondly, you need a room with a table and that’s it. You are ready to go!

You start the session by explaining why knowing each other’s motivators can help you as a team. One of the motivators in the game is Relatedness. When all your team members have this as their top motivator, you know as a coach, scrum master, manager, team lead, or most important as a team member, that it will be highly valued when you go out for drinks, or have lunch together as team. When for example Orderness is a low value for some team members, you know that introducing a clean desk policy will probably be a bad idea. (It is a bad idea anyway if you want to have innovation and creativity in your organization.)

Next, all team members will rank their motivators, from very important to not important. I had one person who explained that he missed a motivator. No problem, take a blank card, write it down and just add your personal motivator. Nobody is stating that M30 has all the wisdom and knowledge.

After everyone was done, I invited everyone to explain their top three cards to the group. Why are they important to you and could they perhaps provide some examples? I also asked them to explain the least important card.

Did I also participate? No but I did share my ranking of motivators. I did it while explaining the game. As I said before, if you expect team members to be open, you also should be open. Lead by example, of course.

In the second part, we discussed a possible experiment that Snappet will start this year. Snappet is considering to apply some kind of specialization. So teams won’t work on everything anymore, but they will focus on some specific areas. This has advantages and disadvantages and probably you can find a gazillion of blogs about generalizing versus specializing. However, I just want to give the team insight in what it would mean in terms of their motivators.

So I explained the case and most them were already aware about it. I asked them to move the cards up that will be influenced positively, and move the cards down that will be influenced negatively.

Some people moved Curiosity up, because they said they expect to have more time to get familiar with some new concepts. Where others moved curiosity down, because they don’t like the idea the idea of only working in a limited set of modules. Did I correct them, or tell them that this is not possible or say that they interpreted the case incorrectly? I hope you already know the answer, of course not. It is how they perceive it, and who are you to say something like this is good or bad.

Two people didn’t move any card up or down. They said their motivators won’t be influenced by this possible change. No problem, again it is as how they perceive it.

I gave everyone a form, and asked them to write down the order of their cards. Where some people came to the conclusion the letters sounded a bit like how some of them talked during the last event where some beer was involved 😉

What if people don’t want to write down their order? No problem for me. However, it makes me wonder about the team. Don’t they trust each other? Is there fear in the team? In this case people felt 100% OK writing their order of motivators on the form.


I used to be a manager, so give me data, Excel, and some time and you will make me happy :). I made an overview for every team. Just as a reference, but also to see if there are major differences between the teams. It turned out that all teams value Curiosity as important and Status as not important. This is exactly as I would expect, after getting to know the teams better. I also calculated team averages, yes I know that this has almost no value. When you have two people, one vegetarian and one meat lover, they also won’t eat a bit of meat.  But it was fun and resulted in something that teams could talk about. As with every metric, it is a starting point of the discussion.

The feedback about the session was good, some of the feedback included:

  1. “Personal values and motivation are always good to know.”
  2. “Cool concept and probably quite useful when supporting a discussion about bigger changes in the team, work or life in general.”
  3. “Good to have some insights in your own values, and what motivates you. Also nice to see how the other team members are thinking.”
  4. “It was interesting. Not sure if it’s useful.”

Most of them liked it but there were also some people who doubt if they will use it again, or what the value is. This tool won’t work for everyone, some people won’t like it or won’t see the advantage. That is OK, it is just another tool that you can use to get a discussion going or that will help a team find out where they want to start experimenting.

If you want to learn more about Motivation, why not attend a two-day Management 3.0 Foundation Workshop? Click here for more info.


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