Internal and external motivators

Is it good pay that motivates us? A long await vacation? A project award? Promotion? Good work environment? Snacks in the office? Health benefits?

Probably. Sometimes. Those are usually short-lived motivators and if we get them once they can demotivate when we don’t get them again. More often we are motivated by more intangible things coming from the inside.

The difference and science behind it are described by Daniel Pink in his book Drive. Here’s a summary by RSA Animotion if you’re interested:

In short (when we are paid well enough to have our needs covered):
Even though we are motivated by extrinsic (external) motivators intrinsic motivators motivate us more.

Understand what motivates people around you

So how do you know what makes you tick? What makes another team member highly engaged in the task at hand? What gets under your skin?

Those usually come from the intrinsic motivators. One of the ways to figure out what motivates you and people in your team is using Moving Motivators (CHAMPFROGS) game from Management 3.0.

Intrinsic motivators defined by Management 3.0

Jurgen Apello, the author of the boor Management 3.0 introduces CHAMPFROGS = The 10 intrinsic Motivators:

  • Curiosity: I have plenty of things to investigate and to think about
  • Honor: I feel proud that my personal values are reflected in how I work.
  • Acceptance: The people around me approve of what I do and who I am.
  • Mastery: My work challenges my competence but it is still within my abilities.
  • Power: There’s enough room for me to influence what happens around me.
  • Freedom: I am independent of others with my work and my responsibilities.
  • Relatedness: I have good social contacts with the people in my work.
  • Order: There are enough rules and policies for a stable environment.
  • Goal: My purpose in life is reflected in the work that I do.
  • Status: My position is good, and recognized by the people who work with me.

How to play moving motivators

I used Moving Motivators in my one-on-one discussions with the team members and also in a group of people (not yet with my team as I didn’t have time to do them 1-1 with everyone yet). Here’s how to play it according to Management 3.0.

Here’s how we played it (we skipped step 2 in the Management 3.0 description):

  1. Define which motivators are important to you:
    • Place the cards in order (there are no equals, one’s always more important than another)
    • For example from the left (most important) to right (least important)
  2. Talk to your teammate/teammates about which motivators are least and most important to them
    • You can choose how you one talk, one after another, group them whatever works for whom
    • Make sure you explain your understanding of each motivator
  3. Take it a step further
    • Ask which motivators a teammate finds at work (by moving the ones that are met few centimeters above others).
    • Ask what makes them find the motivation at work (talk about the motivators that are found at work)
    • Brainstorm together how can you address the ones that are not found, especially if they’re at the top.

Moving Motivators tips

  • Always have a discussion when playing moving motivators.
  • If you use Moving Motivators as a one-on-one tool make sure to take it to step 3 and Act on it.
  • When you are introducing the moving motivators to your direct report in a manager-direct report relationship start from introducing your motivators (= manager goes first).
  • You can start with doing the game in one-on-one set up and ask everyone in the team if they would feel comfortable doing this together with the team.
  • If you do it in the group consider talking only about most and least important ones and leave a fuzzy middle for later (or even skip it)
  • Always act on it (and I know I already said that).

Impressions after playing the game

In general, I found moving motivators a great conversation starter. It’s great to learn what motivates your people and how it differs from your motivation. Also, you can see how differently you can understand some of those things.

Using CHAMPFROGS helped me figure out how to make my teammates lives a bit easier by small changes in our everyday work.

Also, I showed them to other managers and looks like they found it very helpful too and even said that playing moving motivators increased work satisfaction of people directly reporting to them. So I can announce first weeks with Moving Motivators a huge success 🙂

Picture source:


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