Do you really know what is it that motivates you? It can be hard to define sometimes. Moreover it can change as you are growing up.
The other day I, as a Scrum master of the team, organized the workshop called Moving Motivators (created by Jurgen Appelo) for us and we all found it very interesting and enlightening. This is the perfect activity to get to know, not only your team members better, but also to get to know yourself, and how the whole team fits together. We are a relatively newly formed team and recently we have welcomed one new team member as well, so this was the activity which seemed appropriate at the moment, although it can be used in various situations.
The activity is based on 10 intrinsic desires represented on the cards. Everyone had to order all the cards for themselves from left to right starting with the card which represents your biggest motivator. After that, we all explained the reasoning behind it. Although the cards have the description and we had discussed all the cards together before we started ordering them, most of us had a slightly different interpretation of the each motivator when we were explaining ourselves later. This is what made this exercise so great.
Here goes now a little bit about me trying to understand myself and what motivates me. I suppose I am not the only one who, at the age of seven, has not already figured out if she wants to be ballerina or pilot. 🙂
I will explain a few motivators from my point of view and please do not take it as ultimate description, because as I said it differs from person to person. What the photo shows is the result of how I ordered the motivators for myself.
After I finished my studies of the computer science at the Faculty of Natural Sciences (University of Novi Sad), I started working as a programmer. I was a junior software developer and became a team lead after a year or so. That role came to me completely naturally since I was interested in organizing work and trying to make it go more efficiently and remove overheads.
After trying to push myself to be the programmer for a while, I realized it is not making me feel happy. I needed to learn a lot more to be very good at it. If I am not good enough at something as per my standards, I just cannot do it in some other way. I realized that mastery is one of my biggest motivators. In order to be very good at programming you need to put in a lot more work and practice and it comes only if you have great interest in the field. For me, that was not the main interest. I figured out that I like thinking about process and how the work actually happens more than doing the actual programming. That is when I switched to management role and started discovering Agile world. It has now been almost 3 years that I am working as a Scrum master.
I placed Mastery card as the second motivator. The Relatedness one is on the first place. You can also notice that the last one is Freedom (i.e. Independence from others with your own work and responsibilities). These two cards are on two ends because it is the only way it makes sense for me and it really matches with the job I like and do. I suppose I am in the right place then. My job is in the team and around the team, so having good relations with people around me is my biggest motivator.
Someone might misinterpret how I see Power, so I will explain that one too, since it is my third biggest motivator. For me, it is not about the power of a boss or a director kind from the traditional way of organizing work. As the description of the card says it is important for me that I have enough room to influence what happens around me. This is how it works in so-called flat organizational structure we have in Codecentric. I am very glad that we can change the things around us in order to achieve the highest efficiency and happiness at work for ourselves. What is very important for me is that organization adjusts to the team’s needs.
Anyway, that is how I would explain some of the motivators. Other team members had their ways of thinking. It was very valuable for all of us to hear each others thoughts, to learn about each other and to see what we can do now with those learnings to be even better team than we are at the moment. What is most important to be learned from this activity is that someone’s actions directly depend on what it is that moves them. For me, when I understand what is behind someone’s action, I can respect it, I know how to act on it, and I know that there are no bad people, there are only unfortunate situations.