So I’ve mentioned that in my 1-1s, I leverage exercises. When I’m starting off new direct report relationships, one of my favorite exercises is by Jurgen Appelo with Management 3.0 (  The site is fantastic at explaining the exercise and gaining access to a set of cards. I’m going to focus on how I’ve leveraged this material and the results I’ve experienced.

Although, I find value in the original intent of the exercise, I’ve modified it for the purposes of learning what motivates (in general) my team members.  I print these cards and then simply ask the person to “Put these in priority order from left (highest) to right (lowest) what motivates you”. After they have finished ordering them, I lay down my cards in priority order next to theirs.  I then ask a series of questions (in no particular order):

    • Share a little why you placed these 3 at the top
    • Share a little why you placed this at the bottom
    • Was it difficult to determine the order?
    • Is there a right order?
    • If you had done this a few years ago, would your order be different?
    • Would you order be different in a few years from now?
    • Is it possible to have your order be influenced by your current situation?
    • What do you see is the same between our lines?
    • What do you see is different between our lines?
    • Why is it important for me to know what is at the top of your line?
      Note:  Of course, I’ve asked other questions based on what naturally occurs during the conversation.

Here are some of the key benefits that this exercise has resulted in:

    • Example: This exercise encompasses reflection, ownership, collaboration, sharing, and awareness of motivating factors…such a great way to lead by example.
    • Discussion:  If you just sort the cards and say thank you, FAIL!  This helps set a foundation to have quality discussions about what is important to each person. This exercise helps demonstrate people can be different and they can talk about it in a healthy way.
    • Trust:  How comfortable is the person to order this in front of you?  How much are they sharing?  How much are you sharing? This is an opportunity to build trust.
    • Knowledge: You now possess knowledge about what motivates your team, which may be different than what motivates you.  Leverage this information when presenting opportunities – think what’s in it for them not why I would want to do this.

As a result of these experienced benefits, this continues to be one of my favorite exercises.

How might you leverage this exercise?

Tricia Broderick

Tricia Broderick

Tricia Broderick is a leadership and organizational advisor. Her transformational leadership at all levels of an organization, ignites growth of leaders and high performing teams to deliver quality outcomes. Tricia has more than twenty years of experience in the software development industry. She is a highly-rated trainer, coach, facilitator and motivational keynote speaker. Beyond her extensive knowledge and skills, her biggest offering is inspiring people to believe anything is possible.


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