A while ago we were writing about the Moving Motivators and how they can help team leaders and managers to be more empathetic and to be able to talk differently to persons. A while ago, I was actually making that experience in one of our coaching assignments by helping solving conflicts. In there I was helping a product development team to be more agile and use more Scrum to achieve better and faster customer value. I was usually going there 1-2 times a week and attend their Sprint Plannings, Reviews and Retrospectives. Things improved slightly and their conversations within the group improved from time to time, which also had impact on the result of a sprint.
At one day in the office, one of the more senior developers came to me. He mentioned, that two of the Product Owners were constantly in a fight and even sometimes shouting loudly at each other in the office. He asked me, if I could fix it.
Consequently I booked two individiul 1-1 sessions with each of the product owners. In both 1-1s I asked them to lay out the Moving Motivators and we had a conversation about, what motivated them. After both sessions I understood, what one of the problems could have been. One Product Owner was motivated by Freedom and Mastery, while the other one was motivated by Order and Goal. Those motivators were conflicting each other.
In the next individual 1-1s I made them both aware of the other person’s motivator: “Did you realize, that Mastery and Freedom motivates Person B?” Of course, both Product Owners were not aware of that. I don’t remember oing much more than this. There might have been a bit more of conversation. But nothing more big. I heard later, that the shouting and loud discussions stopped. They did not become best firends, but at least they could work with each other from then on.
Visualization of what we think and focusing on a set of variables can help creative minds to achieve a more effective outome. I could have asked both Product Owners only orally: “What motivates you”. Their answer would be naturally much less deep, much less thoughtful. For example, one would have mentioned money or salary to be their motivator. Then we could leave it like this. The motivator do not ask us for money as a motivator. They ask for the reason, why we would might need the money: Freedom, Power, Status, Relatedness. To achieve them, money might be an accelerator.
Back to the two POs: I can’t say, what exactly happened in both of them. But as my friend Alex told me a while ago: “Nobody is waking up in the morning and decides to spoil your day.” Their arguments and conflict was based not on hate or personal dislike. But it was based on the understanding, that each of them wanted to do best they can for their company. Because of the different motivators, they could not align on their common vision. Naturally both of them have only a incomplete mental model of the other person. The visibility of the motivators, therefore, made the other person aware of who the other person is. They changed their perceptions and their attitude towards the other person. In the end the moving motivator can help solving conflicts.
Do you want to learn more abut the Moving Motivators? Join us on one of our upcoming Management 3.0 trainings!