Personal Motivation

Having watched Dan Pink’s video on motivation, I thought I’d try out the concepts on colleagues and friends. I have asked about 10 (ish) people what motivations they have and seen how they fit into the three categories of Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.

What I have discovered is that these 3 groups help enormously to focus on the real underlying motivators. I had to use the 5 why’s approach to get to the underlying root cause.

I decided to try it out on myself and found a complete re-focusing on my tasks. I threw away my task list and did this instead. I now feel highly motivated and have a lot less on my plate.

For example: My task list went something like this:

1. Install Visio on laptop
2. Prepare spreadsheet for presentation
Etc. etc. etc.

I found this list uninspiring and a hassle.

I redefined my day with the following:



Have a growing company which provides a sustainable income and is an asset with long term growth


Contribute to the long term adoption of Agile as a source of values and organisational process in large organisations and society as a whole


Master Agile as a whole and focus specifically on Agile Architecture


Choose my own direction, level of working, style and whom I work for and have the freedom to express myself within the roles

Life Balance:

Have a lovely home, where I can spend time, make friends, be with the children and provide learning and stability for the family. Be able to go on holiday each year.


1. Create a London (and worldwide?) centre for excellence in Scaling Agile
2. Be part of a huge network of like minded and interested people
3. Provide consultancy, training and staff to organisations and individuals

The enablers I thought were worth mentioning as they came out on the journey along the 5 whys. They were not the root cause though.

Change in state of mind

I never did install Visio on the laptop and I haven’t needed it yet. Instead, I look at this vision every time I do something and feel uplifted that I am working towards these motivators. If the task doesn’t fit one of them, I don’t do it.

This emphasises the importance of Vision in teams and for the organisations. The vision should be motivating and clear. This must come from the envisioning stage (time-boxed) or sprint 0 and feeds into the implementation cycles. We can then build the motivation that is required for high performing teams.


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