Team Motivation: A Fairytale or Horror Film?

- Motivation

by Mario Mejía

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 and have a personal influence on you and 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.

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 video game rooms seem not to be enough to keep employees motivated. These happen to be external incentives. Which although very good, they do not fulfil all of someone. However, I have good news for you! What you can do is encourage and stimulate the internal impulses of a person who already has them even before meeting you. This leads the person to acquire a state of motivation and consequently direct his energy and behaviors towards a great purpose.

Moving Motivators

There are 2 types of motivation: 

  • Internal
  • External

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 personal understanding of how we see the world.

The 10 Intrinsic Motivators of, Moving Motivators:

#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 purposes).

Moving Motivators is an excellent way to discover what shakes your team towards the best state of motivation. And it is very easy to use and understand.

Motivated teams

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 member. Then consolidate it in a matrix like the following:

  • Power
  • Relationships
  • Mastery

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. At the same time they face activities that challenge their abilities (within their capacities). As a leader, this provides assertiveness to make the necessary adjustments in the team, processes, practices and tools with the sole objective of enhancing effectiveness and achieving outstanding results, constantly!

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 and to determine if it was really worth it. As on the previous shared experience, I placed motivator cards without a specific order. Then I proceeded 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.

Photo credit: Tegan Mierle via Unsplash

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