This is a great exercise for engaging your team or a group of individuals in the critical topic of motivation while they also get out of their chairs and have some fun. The purpose is to expand motivation within the team by understanding what motivates one another, building team resonance on which actions to engage, and to strategically use those actions to stimulate team engagement.
- In advance, post enough flip chart pages around the room for each small group to have a page. It's easiest for the group if they can see a sample of what you will ask them to draw on their flip chart page, thus on a flip chart up front, draw a large circle taking up the whole flip chart page and then draw a smaller circle inside the big circle. This inside circle will be about one-third as big as the outside circle. Follow the directions below for creating three wedges in each circle and labeling each wedge.
- Direct the group/team to break into small groups of approximately 4 or 5 persons and ask each small group to convene around one of the flip chart pages posted on the wall. Ask the members to give each person a different color marker.
- Show all participants the sample you have drawn in advance of what you want them to create. And then ask that someone in each small group draw a circle with a target in the middle on the flip chart page similar to the one you show them. Next ask the person to draw 3 wedges in the big circle and label each wedge with one of these phrases:
- Move Toward
- Move Away From
- Move Against
Then do the same to the inside circle so it has the same 3 wedges. For this circle they might just write the words, toward, away and against for the 3 wedges.
- In the space between the outer and inner circle, ask each person to write how he/she is motivated to engage with their team in the move toward wedge, and in the other two wedges list what he/she moves away from (or is bored by, or withdraws from, and so on), and list what he/she moves against by writing words. For example, someone might write praise or interesting assignments in move toward, in the move away from wedge, he/she might write purposeless meetings, and in the against wedge he/she might write unreasonable deadlines given on Fridays.
- Once each person has finished writing then ask the small group members to talk with one another and write the words in the appropriate wedges of the inner circle that indicate areas of agreement for all members.
- Ask each small group to report their results to the full group/team and to particularly focus on the points of agreement in the inner circle.
- Facilitate a group discussion about what terms would go into a wedge for the three areas of move toward, away from and against for the full team or group.
- Challenge the group to create an action plan based on what they have learned. Can they build in ways to create more positive motivators that they move toward to support better engagement? Can they take action to remove something that leads many to shut down or quite paying attention as listed in the move away from wedge? Can they take action to change something that is so upsetting to at least some team members that they are actively moving against it?
Follow-up activities can be to get team members in pairs to talk about what each person wrote and to talk with one another about how they might better support each other in finding high motivation ways to engage. You might also schedule a time to review the action plan and focus on success and next steps. The team/group can check in with their motivation target periodically to see if they are operating on target.
Excerpted from Developing Emotional and Social Intelligence: Exercises for Leaders, Individuals, and Teams by Marcia Hughes and Amy Miller.