Moving motivators can turn a group of consultants into a team!

Moving motivators is not only to help improve team dynamics. You can even use this exercise to create a team from a group of individuals who only share an employer.

In this post, you are going to learn about an experiment that I ran to help a group of consultants each of whom has a separate customer, to form a team together and eventually become one of the greatest teams in their area of expertise.

At a consulting company, it’s common for people to integrate with different teams at their respective clients. These consultants are usually employed at the same company. Since they work for/at different clients, they do not gather together as a team. It means they often do not have a shared goal or a set of practices that keep them together. The main value that keeps them together seems to be the experience they share as being the consultant team member at their clients or wearing a T-shirt with the same logo: their employer’s.

My goal was to build a team out of this group so that they could create a competitive advantage. I knew they each had a strong set of skills that they used at their client, but others at the consulting company did not necessarily know how they could benefit from the skills of their colleague.

I introduced Moving Motivators from Management 3.0 to this group at a team offsite in beautiful Lisbon, Portugal.

Step one: Motivators lineup

I divided the group into two parts to make it easier to have conversations across the group. In each group, at first, each person laid out their motivators in one line in front of them. Then we had a pair conversation about the two right most and the two left most cards in each person’s motivators. After the pair conversation, each pair shared a couple of a’ha moments they had just experienced. Some of these findings were:

  1. The main take away was how people define motivators differently. For example, the meaning of honor is different to people depending on their background and culture.
  2. Motivators are not just a way to show how a person is motivated and understand how someone else’s motivators are different from theirs. This line-up is mostly interesting because it creates conversations about the underlying reasons why people chose the actions they chose on a regular basis.
  3. Some people had no idea that it was possible for someone to find power or freedom unimportant. However after some people explained their perspective about this, it was suddenly clear that it was not only possible but actually quite ok to value power and freedom less than other motivators in life.

Moving Motivators step 1

Step 2: Change

In the second step, I introduced different change scenarios to the group. And each member moved their motivators up and down accordingly. They then had conversations in groups of three to describe how their motivators had been affected.

Slowly, I as the facilitator moved the change examples closer and closer to their daily work. Some examples of the questions that I asked of the group are:

  • How would your motivators move up or down, if the biggest client you all have decided to hire more of your consulting colleagues?
  • If this consulting company gets bought by a bigger consultancy firm, how would your motivators move up or down?
  • How would your motivators move up or down, if several of your colleagues lost their assignments but you kept yours?

This step too created very interesting conversations amongst the people in the group and helped them understand their colleagues better.

Moving motivators step 2

Step 3: Group motivators

This is the step in which I created a team from a group of consultants. First, I asked the group to gather around one deck of moving motivators cards.

Then I asked the group to do their best to create a line up of what motivates the entire group. The purpose was to create a common sense of camaraderie amongst the different personalities in the team. They performed this step silently. As you can imagine, it took a while for people to move the cards and settle for the final results.

This step was almost like a board game. The game we played as I instructed had a few rules in order to allow every individual to voice their opinion.

At first I lined up the cards randomly. The players took turns to make their move.

The rules of the game:

for the person whose turn is to make a move, the rules are:

  • You can touch up to three cards and move their placement.
  • It is ok to move a card to the very end of the line (in each direction)
  • If you are happy with the line up, you can say “pass” and allow the next person play their round.
  • If you say “pass” twice in two consecutive rounds, you must step out and let the rest of the group play for two full rounds before you can enter the game again.

This step was very fun to play and created a lot of laughter amongst the group. Eventually the team members settled and were all happy with the proposed line up of values for their team.

This was the first time, they saw each other as team members rather than just a group. This exercise paved the way for activities that then enabled this team to create visualizations, share knowledge and assist each other in their assignments. Eventually the team was so high performing that clients approached them for using the skills of the  entire team, rather than asking for a “resource” to join their company.

Moving motivators step 3-2


  1. Moving motivators for coaching distributed teams - Remote Forever - February 28, 2018

    […] a regular Moving Motivators workshop for them, somewhat similar to the what is described in Moving motivators can turn a group of consultants into a team! without step 3 on that blog […]

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