Management 3.0

Change and Innovation Practices

Jurgen Appelo

Successful entrepreneur, Top 100 Leadership Speaker, Top 50 Management Expert, author of 4 books, junior in humility.


Practice overview


Do you need to make a decision but are you unsure about the effects on your motivation? Do you want to know what motivates your colleagues? Do you want to hire a new team member and do you need to know what makes her tick? It’s time to play Moving Motivators!

This exercise was invented to reflect on personal motivation and how it is affected by organizational change. The Moving Motivators exercise is based on the ten intrinsic desires that were derived from the works of Daniel Pink, Steven Reiss, and Deci/Ryan.


Explore Employee Engagement with Moving Motivators

The original version of Moving Motivators is intended to be played by two people. If you have a group of more people, ask them to self-organize in pairs. In each pair the game is played twice: once for each person. While one person plays, the other observes.

tag Motivation
tag Engagement



Get the cards

Make the motivator cards available to participants. Give only one set to each pair because if you give them two sets they often start playing individually and then they don't pay attention to each other.

You can download the cards here or your can order them from the Management 3.0 web shop.


Explain their meaning

Go through all the cards with the entire groep and briefly explore the meaning of each word. Answer any questions that people have. If there are different interpretations about the words, that's fine. (Even the researchers and scientsts don't always agree.)


Place the cards in order

It's time to start the exercise. One person in each pair starts and places the motivator cards in order, from unimportant to important. This is a personal reflection. There are no good and bad choices. The player should think out loud and explain his choices to the other player, who is simply observing.

Give them 8-10 minutes for the first person.

Moving Motivators 1


Consider a change

Now let every player consider an important change in their work. For example, becoming a more Agile organization, being promoted to a management position, or moving to another city. The player should move cards up when the change is positive for that motivator, and move them down when the change is negative. Again, the player explains to his observer why he moves the cards up or down.

Moving Motivators 2


Switch roles

Start the exercise all over but now with switched roles. The observer becomes the player and first orders her cards and then moves them up or down depending on some change. All the while, she explains to her observer her motivations.

Again, give them maximum 8-10 minutes for this second round.



Start a group-wide evaluation. Ask what people noticed, whether there were important similarities or differences, and what the effect was of having an observer sitting next to them.