I love using games and interactive activities when I share Agile and Scrum with people. It allows me to explain concepts in a much more direct, fun and powerful way than any theory session will do.
During the last retrospective meeting, we’ve used the opportunity to engage ourselves in an activity that will allow us to get to know one with each other better by finding out what really motivates us. Even if we share an open team culture and we know each other quite well, we never talk about our intrinsic motivators inside the team. So I expected to get some new insights into that blind spot.
Trigger for this was on one side the science behind intrinsic and extrinsic motivation provided, on the other side it was the facilitation technique introduced by Jurgen Appelo in his book, Management 3.0 Workout.
Daniel Pink tells us in this video that science has proven that extrinsic motivators don’t work for knowledge workers, which is a fact that has been ignored by most organizations for the last decades. The “Moving Motivators” game is a great tool to reveal what really motivates us to do our jobs.
The setup is quite simple, this is what I did to prepare myself for the event:
- Print the Moving Motivator cards or simply buy them.
- Laminate the cards: The printed cards look great but laminating them makes them awesome It also protects the cards, makes them reusable, gives them a professional look and a nice touch. Your team will love them!
- Cut the cards and prepare the card decks for handing them out to your team. Make sure each team member receives a set
- Entire event should take no longer than 1h:30 for a group up to 7 people. In case you have a bigger group, split it in smaller ones.
The Moving Motivators facilitation exercise is based on the Champfrogs model of the ten intrinsic desires. Although, I find value in the original intent of the exercise, I’ve modified it and did not focus on evaluating the results at team level and the creation of diagrams based on them. The focus was more on the discussion behind, on the people having the trust to open up and even show vulnerability when telling their stories.
Our agenda included the following:
- Introduction: a short overview on the 10 motivators and the purpose of the exercise. Plan around 15min for this activity
- Round one: How important are the 10 motivators for you? Think about the question and put the motivators in your individual order. We’ve started with the most important ones and ended with the one that are not that important.
- Round one: team sync activity. Every team member explains in front of the team the 3 most important individual motivators and why the last 3 were placed at the bottom. Make it a team activity with some energy in there. Let all other team members “visit” the explaining one. This shows interest and avoids sitting meetings. In addition it helps the team to understand and learn about each other.
- Round two: How do these motivators reflect in your daily activity? If the change is positive then ask the team member to move the card upwards or if the change is negative then move the card downwards. When the change had no effect on the motivator then card can remain in the middle
- Round two: Discuss the results in the team, the same you did in round 1
- Once you finished both rounds, talk open about learnings: What did you observed? What was interesting? What was surprising?
- I set up also a happiness door to encourage my colleagues to give me feedback at the end of the event. It was the first time I have facilitated it, so every feedback was more than welcome.
My learnings and take aways from this session:
- Next time I won’t spend too much time explaining the 10 motivators. I got the feedback that at some point the detailed presentation of the motivators turned out to be boring and participants lost focus
- It was a good opportunity to build trust by opening up and share information with the team
- The exercise helps to set a foundation for having quality discussions about what is important to each person. It helps demonstrate people can be different and they can talk about it in a healthy way.
- My personal feeling: I’ve seen a lot of smiles on people’s faces, the atmosphere in the room was very positive and optimistic, which made the people feel comfortable to share.