Working for the boss or working together?

- Worker Happiness

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by Vasco Duarte

Although a lot of people I know get inspiration from management courses and books, there’s one thing they often ask themselves. ‘What can I start with this Monday? And then do Tuesday?’ Personally I don’t believe in books or practices that change the world overnight. Or on a Monday afternoon, no matter how sunny. What I do believe in is changing your world step by step. As does Robert Misch, working at a German company called (meaning ‘good question’). After attending a Management 3.0 course he wanted to change things. The best thing? He knew where to start.

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Getting your goals straight

So when his IT department organized an offsite event to discuss vision, strategy and “next steps”, he suggested to start with a game called Moving Motivators (I wrote about it before, right here). People liked the idea, teamed up and started to play; the goal was to make everyone in the team aware of his motivators and to link these to the goal of their department to see if and how they could be combined.

Taking it a step further


After they finished they got curious and wondered how much overlap their motivators had. So they invented the Moving Motivator Radar (as did my friend Rob van Lanen). Everyone filled in their personal motivators on a radar, creating a common view they can now share with others. I think this variation is very smart. You can see it’s a shared thing, a team result. But the individuals are also very visible. And it looks amazing as well!

Feedback door

Robert also introduced the Feedback Door (a combination of a happiness index and a feedback method) at the end of a workshop. It works quite simple: you put a scale on a door with post-it notes. On top “this was great” at the bottom “I hated it”. Before leaving the room everyone places a post-it note with a comment on the door. It’s an easy way to get useful feedback. If someone puts the post-it on top, you know she liked the workshop. If this note says ‘Next time use examples from real users’ you still know she liked it, but you also know how to improve. Robert told me it took about fifteen minutes, but then there were quite some post-it’s on the door with useful things on it.

The results

For me, the best thing about this story is that the effect of what they did is still increasing. Once people realized what their intrinsic motivators were they started to realize it’s up to them. They can combine the company goal and their own internal motivators; it’s no longer “working for the boss”, it’s achieving something you both benefit from. And by putting their Motivation Radar on the wall they spread the word. There’s now a discussion going on in the company and people want to know more. They’re on to something. And by using the feedback door, people came to realize those workshops aren’t a fixed thing where you sit and wait. They can actively influence what they are about.

I think it’s about empowering people. It’s about freedom and getting the best out of you. And that is what we all want, one way or the other.

Header Photo: rawpixel (Unsplash)

One thought on "Working for the boss or working together?"

  • Benito says:

    Fantastic exercise! I was thinking: You can also use the post-it so that everyone can write down the team’s projects and goals and link them to one or more motivators. In this way, it may be possible to determine the possible/optimal contribution of each one in each project. Then the team mediates to define who does what and WHY.

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