Activity: Motivation – identifying personal motivators 

The following activity has been provided by Shay McConnon (An Even Better Place to Work) and is one of a series of safe, short and fun activities on a number of key engagement themes such as giving feedback, managing differences, ownership, openess, motivation and feeling valued.  It is ideal for when time is limited and you are looking for a quick activity to improve engagement levels and can be used as part of a team meeting, lunch ‘n’ learn sessions etc or combined with other activities for a longer session.

This particular activity can be used to identify personal motivators.


Objective: To help people understand their motivational drivers and explore ways these can be met even more fully in the team. This particular activity focuses on identifying personal motivators.

Group Size: Groups of 3-4

Time: 20+ minutes

Materials: Pack of Motivation Cards for each group and a Motivation@Work sheet.


Phase 1

  1. Form groups of 3-4 and give each group a pack of Motivation Card.
  2. These cards are spread face up on the table.
  3. Spin a pen to select someone to start.
  4. This person thinks of the perfect job for him/her but does not tell the team what this job is.
  5. The job may or may not be related to their current role or company e.g. a TV producer, professional tennis player, etc.
  6. S/he selects 6 cards that have something to do with their perfect job.
  7. Blank cards can be used to represent aspects of the job not covered by these cards.
  8. Rank order these 6 cards.
  9. The others have to guess what this perfect job would be from these 6 cards.
  10. The selected person only reveals their perfect job after everyone has had a discussion and made a guess at the answer.

Phase 2

  1. The selected person now goes through each card in turn indication whether that motivational driver is present in his/her current job.
  2. The selected person moves the card to the right to indicate a gap i.e. when the need is not being met in the current job – a little to the right to indicate a small gap and a lot to the right to show a bigger gap.
  3. The others now explore with the selected person how s/he could be even more motivated i.e. problem solve on how to reduce the size of the gap.
  4. Give the selected person the  Motivation@Work sheet for completion.
  5. Repeat this activity with the others in the group.

Phase 3

  1. Convene the team and discuss
    • How useful has that activity been?
    • Would it be helpful to share completed  Motivation@Work sheets with the team leader?
    • What can we do to keep motivational levels high in the team?
    • Are there any team or personal goals we want to agree?
  2. Record any team or personal goals agreed

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