Moving Motivators (Free Exercise)

I invented a new exercise which allows people to reflect on their motivation, and how this is being affected by organizational change. Check out the following description, and see if you like it…

Ten Intrinsic Desires

The Moving Motivators exercise is based on the 10 intrinsic desires which I derived from the works of Daniel Pink, Steven Reiss, and Deci/Ryan. In order to play the Moving Motivators exercise you need to download this PDF, print the results on sturdy paper, and cut out the cards.

1st Step: Important to You

In the first part of the exercise you determine which motivators are most important to you. You do this by ordering the cards from the left (least important) to the right (most important).

It appears that the results vary strongly among players. For example, Freedom turns out to be the most important motivator for me, and Order is the least important. But for my friends the results turned out to be quite different.

2nd Step: Effects of Change

In the second part of the exercise you consider a change in your work life, such as an Agile transformation, a relocation, a new project, or a new job. You then determine how that change affects your motivators. If the change is positive, you move the card up. If the change is negative, you move the card down.

You will probably see that organizational changes have a different impact on different motivators. Perhaps the Agile transformation of your team makes your Curiosity card go up, but your Competence card may (temporarily) go down. Or the new job you applied for will increase your Status while at the same time it may decrease your Relatedness.

3rd Step: Reflection on Motivation

The Moving Motivators exercise reveals the effect of an organizational change on your motivators. When most of the important motivators go down, or when only the least important ones go up, you may realize that you have some work to do on your own motivation.

The exercise is particularly interesting for team managers (possibly to be performed with people in private one-on-one situations). It allows managers to find out what motivates their team members, and how an organizational change is affecting them. The exercise may give better insights than a regular conversation.

And it’s more fun too!

p.s. The Moving Motivators exercise is new. Please report your findings and possible improvements!

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