Management 3.0 Practice: Moving Motivators

What motivates you?

Need to make a decision but are unsure about the effects on your motivation? Want to know what motivates your colleagues? Hiring a new team member and need to know what makes her tick?

It’s time to play Moving Motivators!

“Thanks! We did this game with the whole team – not one-on-one – which is very useful to create a mutual understanding of what motivates my teammates!”
–  MATTHIAS ORGLER, agile coach and software developer, Frankfurt, Germany

Management guru Jurgen Appelo invented this exercise to reflect on motivation and how it is affected by organizational change. The Moving Motivators exercise is based on the ten intrinsic desires which Jurgen derived from the works of Daniel Pink, Steven Reiss, and Edward Deci.

Get your own deck of Moving Motivators cards today!

Learn to play Moving Motivators at a Management 3.0  event!


Ten Intrinsic Desires

Moving Motivators is simple while dealing with very complicated pieces of the motivation puzzle. Here’s how you play:

Step One: Which motivators are important to you? Place the cards in the order from Left (least important) to Right (most important.)

Step Two: How can change affect your motivators? Move the card Up for a positive change and Down for a negative one.

Step Three: The reflection of organizational change on your motivators. When most of  your important motivators go down or when the least important ones go up, you may have some work to do on your own motivation.

Moving Motivators was first developed for team managers for one-on-one sessions to learn more about what motivates their team members. Now it is used openly with whole teams, between start-up founders and even in personal relationships.

“I use this game to do a motivation reflection of my startup partner. Both of us explore and define in detail the real motivation for us to start the business. While before that, it is unclear, although both of us are willing to start the business and making funs from that. This is a very useful exercise.”
– an agile coach, Shanghai China

Learn how to play Moving Motivators with your Scrum Team


“The reason why I chose this exercise [Moving Motivators] is because we were facing some changes in this organization–product strategy changes–and I just wanted to find out how these changes were affecting the team,” as well as “What is the root of the motivation for the team itself because we never talked about that in a retrospective where we tried to figure out how who is motivated in each way,” SIVLAN SHAER, scrum master at Bison Group, Swiss software development company. He continued to say that while management was pushing hard to implement a certain kind of change, he felt this exercise empowered him to go back to them and say “If you want something from our team and if this is something that does really match to our top free motivators, then it’s for free what we do and you don’t have to push or explain quite a lot of it. It just matches with our motivation, and we’re just going to do it. We’re running for it!”

Get Moving Motivators Today!

Get your own deck of Moving Motivators cards today!

Or if you want to DIY, you can print and cut out in 14 different languages!:

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Management 3.0 in Action: More Moving Motivators tips & case stories

Check out our Leadership Resource Hub to learn about all the Management 3.0 Products and Practices. And read more about intrinsic motivation in Jurgen Appelo’s newest book Managing for Happiness!

Photos: Dan Pop

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