What motivates my team?

“Moving Motivators” is a Management 3.0 exercise to reflect on your intrinsic motivation, to find out what makes you or your team members and colleagues tick and how these motivators could be affected by an upcoming change.I used the exercise in one-to-one development conversations with my team members to find out what motivates them and what needs to change in order to increase their motivation in their current role.

First, we quickly talked about each motivator card and clarified what they mean for them. Everybody interprets them differently which is completely OK but important to understand peoples thought process during the exercise and helpful for the conversations that follow.

I asked them to put the motivator cards in priority order from left (least important) to right (most important) by answering the question “what motivates you?”. I encouraged them to NOT focus on their current role in the company, instead just to think in general what motivates them. I also set the rule that there must be a distinct order, motivators cannot be stacked to represent equal priority.

Once they managed to put the cards in priority order, I asked them to reflect on their role, responsibilities and projects they are currently working on and how this impacts their motivators. The impact is illustrated by moving the cards either up (positive impact) or down (negative impact).


The result as shown in the example above served as a baseline for the development conversation. I narrowed the scope  to the top 2 to 4 motivators and had a discussion around the following questions:

  • What would you like to achieve and in what way would this affect your motivators?
  • What needs to change in your current role/ job/project to increase motivator x?
  • What can I do as your manager to help increasing motivator y
  • What do you need from your peers that might help to increase motivator z?

The exercise was for everyone rather an unusual approach to a development conversation. Nevertheless, the feedback was very positive. Thinking about your intrinsic motivators, reflecting on them and using them as guidance for a mid to longterm development plan helped me and my team members to focus together on a meaningful and motivational change in their jobs.