Some experiences in motivation workshops and the Champfrogs list

I have talked to you about the motivation topic many times, for example, a post in two parts, a year ago about this topic… What motivates the members of a team? (1/2).

Nowadays it seems that people being the most determinant factor of a project’s success is widespread and that motivation is the basis of productivity, to create good products, business, etc…

As we saw years ago in what motivates a team and the money-driven motivation problem, Harry F. Harlow tested that intrinsic motivation (the one that comes from within, instead of external, like paying someone for something) is one of the most efficient ways of motivating a person.

But… what is it that motivates someone intrinsically? There are a bunch of authors that have come up with elaborate lists about what motivates intrinsically, perhaps the most prominent being Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Rian in their investigation  Handbook of Self-Determination Research and Steven Reiss with Who am I?: 16 Basic Desires that Motivate Our Actions Define Our Personalities.

“Champfrogs Checklist” and the motivation factors workshop

Jurgen Appelo invented this exercise, to reflect on motivation and how changes affect motivation. He came up with a list of intrinsic motivators, derived from authors such as Daniel Pink, Steven Reiss and Edward Deci, which he called “Champfrogs Checklist” (the word Champfrogs coming from the initials from each of those motivators) and those are:

  • Curiosity, thinking
  • Honor, loyalty, integrity
  • Acceptance, approval
  • Mastery, competence
  • Power, influence
  • Freedom, independence, autonomy
  • Relatedness, social contact, friends
  • Order, stability, certainty
  • Goal, idealism, purpose
  • Status, social standing

You can also watch a summarizing video we made about the topic.

The workshop

I think I may have done this exercise about motivation more than 20 times, if you have ever been to one of my courses, I’m sure that you will remember it. Apart from having it done in courses, I have applied it with students in my university classes, with companies in agile activities and we have applied it ourselves in 233 Grados de TI.

I am going to tell you how we do it, in case it is any good for you to replicate. Originally, the exercise is done as it follows…

  • Step one: From the aforementioned list, which motivators are important to you? Initially, the idea is to sort them from most important to least important.
  • Step two: How does a change affect your list of motivators? Regarding ideas of change, you move the motivators order.
  • Step three: Reflexion, especially when most of your important motivators go up or down or when most of the least important ones go up.

Let’s do it…

I’ll show you some photos about it…


In the slide you can see the Champfrogs cards by Management 3.0


Participants make a matrix, their names in rows, Champfrogs motivators in columns


Then, they score every factor from 1 to 9…

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