Team Motivation: A Fairytale or a Horror Movie?

By applaudo

The word motivation is one of the most worn and whose meaning is associated with a fairy tale, making it intangible. However, I want to share a simple way that will help you materialize this state. Making a personal influence on you and even on your team.

The word motivation comes from the Latin motivus which means “cause of movement”, where the cause lies inside the person as an actionable factor. Therefore, you cannot impose motivation on another person and you cannot force anyone to move if they don’t feel like it.

Salaries, flexible schedules, and videogame rooms seem not to be enough to keep employees motivated. These happen to be external incentives. Which although they are very good, and I am not saying you should take the perks away, they do not cover the whole being.

However, I have good news for you! What you can do is encourage. That is, stimulate the internal impulses of a person who already has them even before meeting you. Leading him to acquire a state of motivation and consequently direct his energy and behaviors towards a great purpose.

Moving Motivators

First of all, there are 2 types of motivation: Internal and external motivation. In this article, I will focus on internal support based on a fantastic tool called Moving Motivators, a tool I learned during my Management 3.0 certification process.

In my opinion, internal motivation comes to us through a personal understanding of how we see the world. Management 3.0 proposes “Moving motivators” as a resource with 10 intrinsic motivators that I share below:

    1. Acceptance: people around me approve what I do and who I am.
    2. Curiosity: I have many things to investigate and to think about.
    3. Freedom: I am independent of others with my own work and responsibilities.
    4. Status: my position is good and well-recognized by the people who work with me.
    5. Goal: my purpose in life is reflected in the work I do.
    6. Honor: I feel proud that my personal values ​​are reflected in how I work.
    7. Master: my work challenges my skills but is still within my capabilities.
    8. Order: there are enough rules and policies for a stable environment.
    9. Power: there is enough space for me to influence what happens around me.
    10. Relationships: I have good social relationships with the people at my job.

There are a variety of reasons why people can move their feet to get closer to what we value and want to achieve (for work-related porpuses).

Moving Motivators is excellent to discover what shakes your team towards the best state of motivation and very easy to use and understand. I will share my experience with 2 examples:

1. Motivated teams

Moving Motivators is excellent to discover the main motivators in your team as a whole and it’s pretty simple for you to do.

First, talk in a 1:1 meeting to each team member and ask: What motivates you as a person? Then, you can place Moving Motivator cards on a table without a specific order (scrambled) and allow the person himself to order cards from left to right pondering the highest motivators. Be a great observer of the process.

For an enriching analysis. As a team leader you can weigh from 1 to 10 the most influential motivators for each team member. Then consolidate in a matrix-like the following:

If you notice in the matrix above, the main (the highest) motivators of this team as a whole are:

The matrix gives you enough insight to conduct your conversations with the team in informational, follow-up or status meetings. For example, this team told me through these signals that they need to be influential in their work and in the organization as a system. And at the same time face activities that challenge their abilities (within their capacities).

As a leader, this provides assertiveness to make the necessary adjustments in the team system, processes and tools with the sole objective of enhancing effectiveness and achieving outstanding results, constantly!

Imagine Tony Stark working in a government post office. This is where the routine reigns in all its splendor. I’m sure he wouldn’t last an hour! And this is what happens when you discover that you have a mastery and freedom lover subjected to traditional activities.

You can also figure out why Fred, the Product Discovery team member, whose supreme motivator is order, fails to deal with uncertainty.

2. Making personal decisions

Recently I had to make a huge key decision in my life, which I could not take lightly. Moving Motivators also helped me identify what would make me take the opportunity presented to me and to determine if it was really worth it.

As on the previous shared experience, I placed motivator cards without a specific order. Then proceed to ponder from left to right. The process of starting from messy motivators (chaos) to prioritization (order), benefited me to discern what my true internal impulses were.

The great thing besides discovering what truly motivated me was to recognize what I wanted to win and what I would lose (trade-off). This provides a stable context where you can take an informed decision to know if what is presented to you is convenient.

My top 3 motivators were as follows:

Last but not least…

In my opinion, I found this really useful. A perfect balance between having a learning experience and produce actionable items as a result when talking about peopleware. Like this tool, there’re others that help us to bring back to earth those “unicorn ideas” and really do something to improve and provision the best places possible for motivated people.

Thanks for getting here, I hope you found something of value in this post!

About the author

Mario Mejia

Graduated from Computer Science Engineering from Universidad Francisco Gavidia. Mario has over 6 years of experience as a Scrum Master and Agile Coach. He’s currently a Scrum Master at Applaudo Studio