Moving Motivators: working with purpose

It has happened to you that at some point in your life you have asked yourself what moves you? Do I feel happy with what I am doing? ……..

I often like to ask myself that question so I don`t deviate from my purpose and to enjoy what I am doing.

In psychology, there are several studies to understand what moves people, what is the motivation behind the behavior. In this regard, there has been talking of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

According to the study by Núñez, J. L., Martín-Albo, J., & Navarro, J. G. (2005) on “El modelo jerárquico de motivación intrínseca/extrínseca”, it states that there are 2 types of motivations:

Intrinsic motivation, which refers to engaging in an activity for the pleasure and satisfaction derived from its performance (Deci and Ryan, 1985).

On the other hand, Extrinsic Motivation, which refers to a series of behaviors that are carried out not for reasons inherent to them, but for instrumental reasons, that is, they are behaviors linked to external contingencies. Deci and Ryan (1985, 1991).

Jurgen Appelo, the founder of Management 3.0, also refers to these concepts, indicating that:

· Intrinsic motivation is defined as the innate desire of people to do well and to have an eagerness for self-control and self-direction in accomplishing objectives. Successful intrinsic motivation is the result of the fulfillment of basic desires.

· Extrinsic motivation is related to external rewards such as payments, bonuses, or promotions.

J. Appelo has been a great inspiration for me because it shows simply and entertainingly, how we can manage teams, focusing on intrinsic motivation and making teams enjoy what they do with great results.

It is a different way from what we generally see in organizations where they resort to extrinsic motivators as incentives associated with results to motivate their employees.

Now that we’re clear on that, let’s have a look at the ten intrinsic motivations. Keep in mind that while there are explanations for each one, the most important thing is that each motivator makes sense to you and your team. Take a few minutes before starting to define what each motivator means to you.

A few months ago I was accompanying a team from a Food company as a coach. This team was made up of 4 people, a Director, and three Managers. Previously, we had implemented the practice of Personal Maps, being an excellent option since the Director had been joining recently. They got to know each other better, they were enthusiastic about the practice and the learnings they achieved as a team. It was still a team that needed to keep working on their trust and communication, so I thought it would be an excellent idea to experiment with Moving Motivators. If you want to know more about this practice, I invite you to visit the Management 3.0 site

The objective of this practice is to motivate and engage people. One of the easiest and definitely the most fun ways to delve into intrinsic motivations is to play Moving Motivators!

It is an exercise that helps to reflect on motivation and how it affects organizational change.

The Moving Motivators exercise is based on 10 intrinsic motivators:

• Acceptance: People around me approve of what I do and who I am

• Curiosity: I have many things to investigate and think about.

• Goal: my purpose in life is reflected in the work I do.

• Status: my position is good and recognized by the people who work with me.

• Freedom: I am independent of others with my own work and responsibilities.

• Honor: I am proud that my personal values are reflected in how I work.

• Order: There are enough rules and policies for a stable environment.

• Mastery: my work challenges my competencies, but is still within my capabilities.

• Power: there is enough space for me to influence what is happening around me.

• Relationships: I have good social relationships with the people at my work.

This practice consists of a template where the photo of each of the participants is placed with 10 cards, one for each motivation. Each participant reflects on each card and prioritizes them by lining up the cards from left to right, where the most important is on the left. Subsequently, they reflect on how that motivation has been modified due to the current situation, moving them upwards, if the motivation increased or downwards if not.

How was the dynamic done?

• Considerations: this activity was carried out in a virtual way by zoom using the Miro tool.

• At the beginning of the dynamic, the explanation of each motivator was reviewed. This is very important to keep in mind. While there are explanations for each one, the most important thing is that each motivator makes sense to the person and the team. It is valuable to take a few minutes before you begin to define what each motivator means to you.

• We took the time to understand each motivator well and allow space for questions. Then they began to work individually, ordering from left to right according to priority.

• For the next phase, they considered the current situation. They assessed whether they had to:

- Increased, moving these above the line

- Leaving them unchanged

- Decreased, moving them below the line on which the cards were positioned on Miro’s board.

• At the end of the prioritization, we talked about giving space for each one to count because the motivators are more and less important to them. With this, the rest of the team heard what the motivators meant to each teammate and how they impacted their life and team dynamics. At this point, I also exchange opinions and draw conclusions that I will mention below.

As a facilitator I learned that:

• It is important to reflect and to give yourself enough time to generate an open and honest dialogue, to have good questions prepared to challenge the beliefs of the team.

I learned that intrinsic motivation is what moves people since they feel that they add value through their work and also feel proud of what they do as a team. Also, when the leader learns this, he can build confidence and guide the team toward achieving surprising results.

In my next experiment:

• I would propose to the team that after a few months they could review the order of the motivators to see if they suffered changes or remain the same and that they discuss what is impacting the order of priority if there are any (could be personal situations, work situations, etc.).

• It would be enriching to create groups of people with similar motivators and invite them to generate collaborative actions that promote teamwork or have a positive influence on team motivation.

• I would ask the team to choose the time and day of the week that best suits them, to have a space of time in which they are calmer, and to ensure that they take time without interruptions and accommodate their team needs.

The team learned that:

• The most relevant motivators were common and that this united them and moved them more as a team, generating great cohesion.

• These motivators may vary over time because they depended on the current situation.

• They learned that they should not assume that the motivation is the same as a person even if they are participating in the same project. Each person experiences a context differently according to their priorities.

After a few months, in the second session, the team managed to define a team purpose to communicate a new vision to the rest of the management, making them participate in other activities, which was very powerful to work on cohesion and deal with work.

I invite you to use this tool to rediscover the motivations and priorities of your co-workers.

It can have multiple applications and you can also adapt them depending on how big the equipment is and the time you have. If the team is very large and you have limited time, I recommend that you discuss the three most and least important motivations instead of talking about each of the cards.

Moving Motivators is very entertaining, it is a tool that gives us the possibility of humanizing relationships, understanding that it mobilizes people. No matter what country you are from and how different you think, you will always find common ground that allows you to connect with the diversity of the teams, appreciating the richness of having each partner in your daily work and sharing different points of view that enrich the work you do.

I dare you to be a change agent on your team, I’m sure they will appreciate it. Management 3.0 gives you the opportunity to learn practices that enrich and humanize teams.




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María Elena Verdugo

María Elena Verdugo

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