Working with different people across IT helped me to understand the difference in motivation. I’ve heard a lot about motivation both from the psychological and people own perspective. As Scrum Master, more often than you can imagine, I’m struggling with the problem of commitment, achieving goals, deadlines, etc. If you were to give the name to it what would it be? I guess the answer should be MOTIVATION.

Let’s spend a few moments on this topic and then in the next paragraph I’ll give you a quite simple exercise to boost your teammates’ motivation.

From the psychological point of view motivation can be divided into two categories: intrinsic and extrinsic.

The first one should be considered as doing something for fun, because you like or enjoy it. Quite good example can be playing the toys by children. They’re not doing this because they have to or they are rewarded for this. They’re doing this because they like this. The second one – extrinsic motivation – which is more controlling type of motivation. On one hand, you can do something to obtain a reward or to avoid a punishment. On the other hand, it can be more autonomously driven. For instance, giving blood. Let’s face the truth – it’s not fun but you’re not going to be awarded or punished by doing this. People usually do it because they find that it’s the very important thing to do. For this reason, we call this extrinsic autonomous motivation.

And what is the best? There are two types of motivation that lead to the best performance and well-being outcomes. Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic autonomous motivation. In other words, if you do something because you enjoy it or you find it meaningful, you’re more likely to perform better and to feel better. You’re likely to have more energy and to put more energy into your work. On the other hand, if you work only for the paycheck, you’re less likely to perform well and you’re more likely to burn out. To get long lasting motivation, you need to enjoy your work or at least find it meaningful and important.

Using the above definitions plus quite well known exercise like moving motivatores we can create quite simple and powerful tool to increase the level of productivity in your team. Note: using above link you can learn more about moving motivators and usage of this. Here’s how I’ve used this?

Moving motivators contain set of ten intrinsic desires which Jurgen derived from the works of Daniel PinkSteven Reiss, and Edward Deci. I’m using this on 1 on 1 meetings with my team members. During the meeting I’m trying to be not only focused on work aspect but also on motivation at all, so at and after work. This small change to agenda can have a huge impact on actual result from such meetings.

The agenda of such meeting is as follows:

  1. Explaining why, what and how– why we’re here (for me quite meaningful is to tell that we can finish this meeting in every minute, of course we need to explain the purpose of such meetings, do not try to manipulate in any way – the most important thing is to be honest), what we’re going to do (explaining motivation, how does it work, getting to know a little bit what the person likes, etc.), how we’re going to spend the next hour and next meetings (explaining exercise and set of meetings). Meetings should be arranged approximately every two weeks. One hour is enough to stay focused and to move forward.
  2. Start exercise – exercise itself can start with the statement: “If you can think about three situations in your life when you felt fully motivated.”. then you need to give the person some time to think about such situations and then ask if the person can describe this situations. They can be either from private or work life. This short exercise is helpful to dive into the main activity and to be focused on this particular person motivation.
  3. Defining motivators– After having some descriptions you  need to understand what are the motivators that stand behind given situations. There are different ways of achieving this goal. First of all, you can just ask but you need to give some example of motivators. Motivators all in all are some values that we care about. It can be for instance, having chance to learn, winning, etc. My first approach was to ask but than I found Moving Motivator game which makes this part much easier. You just show cards and ask the person to order them by necessity (starting from the most important value for them). Once you have it ordered you need to
  4. Score them– Ask the person to write a number next to the value. On the left side there should be a number with the level of satisfaction of fulfillment of particular value. On the right level the person wants to be in the future. Range can be totally different. I suggest to use 10 points range where 1 is I’m totally dissatisfied with this and 10 means that situation is perfect.

moving motivatores

  1. Ways of working on enhancing the values– Personally I’ve decided to use Walt Disney method. For those who are not familiar with this you can find some more info using this link. So how to use it in this example? You start from choosing the first (the most important value) and then start working on this following Walt Disney method. Good tip is to start from giving the definition of particular value for this person. Different people can have different meanings of the same thing so it’s worth clarifying this at the beginning. Then ask your participant to think of any ideas this person can do (or can happen) in order to move from left to right. Following the dreamer stage you should remind that there’s no boundaries and everything is possible. Creativity in this stage is crucial. This helps the person to be open-minded and think out-of -the-box. This session should be up to 1hour. During the next meeting you should consider the same value but from the different perspective and so on.
  2. The goal of each stage – is to have a short-term plan to improve your level of satisfaction. Goal should be SMART/ER. So after going through all Walt Disney Stages you should be able to identify quite good ideas and then convert them to achievable goals to be able to check the progress.


  1. It’s important for you as a coach/facilitator to make notes and send them after the meeting (transparency and stuff like that).
  2. It’ll be perfect if you can book/organize different rooms for different stages.
  3. If the person can’t move with the dreamer stage maybe the problem lies in different aspect of their lives. Here helpful can be some coaching question to understand the reason and instead of trying to follow all stages create SMART or any other goals to fix current problem. Sometimes simple things prevent us from moving and spending some time to removing them can be healing.
  4. You can perform this method for yourself to understand your own motivators and improve the level of your satisfaction.

Try to do it and leave comments how it works?