RAMPS – Purpose is Service to a Greater

RAMPS: P is for Purpose, the sense one is serving a valued "greater". Those who rate this band of the motivational spectrum highly can be go-to workhorses, but only if we keep them connected to their valued greater. If rhythm is largely focused on the distribution of "feels good" through one’s working life, purpose works to carry us through the…
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RAMPS – Ways To Affect Mastery

RAMPS: Affecting mastery, the sense an individual has that she is growing in a way she values, means first jiggling our ideas about efficiency & relevance in work, then jumping in to the opportunities that jiggling will reveal. We talked about the widespread pernicious conceptual cluster we call "finish-line efficiency": the idea that software development is basically a race, w/a…
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RAMPS – Mastery is Opportunity to Grow

RAMPS: M is for Mastery, the sense that my work is actively helping me grow, along some dimension I value. When my motivational spectrum calls for a high degree of mastery, I do my best work when it is just a little over my head. People sometimes confuse the drive for mastery with a drive to know everything. But it’s…
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RAMPS – Ways to Affect Autonomy

Autonomy is the sense of free motion in a team. I adjust the levels of this by expressing important needs as problems, letting go of unimportant needs, and managing risk by a combination of acceptance, next-stepping, and iteration. The more we need creative technical work, the more we have to concern ourselves with providing the humans who do it the…
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RAMPS – Autonomy is Freedom to Move

Autonomy is a powerful factor in motivation, and the more creative & technical the work, the more likely autonomy is to figure largely in the maker’s motivational spectrum. Here are three different ways I work when I am geeking out. Each of these is about equal in probability to be the one I use for any particular problem. I will…
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RAMPS – Ways to Affect Rhythm

Achieving good Rhythm, a well-tuned distribution of "feels good" across time, is at once the most visceral of sensations and the most difficult to reliably prescribe. Affecting rhythm, therefore, is a fundamentally experimental effort. There are three broad levels to think about, and each has its own possibilities and limits. There is the individual maker, a team of makers, and…
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RAMPS – Rhythm is Tension and Release

Rhythm is about sequences of alternating tension and release. Noticing, orchestrating, and managing the levels and timing of those sequences is one way I can affect the motivation of myself and others. Take a second right now give yourself a nice full-bodied stretch, complete with a yawn. Feels good, yeah? Some of you are at the end of your day,…
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RAMPS – A Way I Approach Motivational Puzzles

Motivational Puzzles Rhythm, Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose, and Safety are important bands in my own motivational spectrum, so I often use them when I’m thinking about other people’s motivational spectroscopy. I’ll give you snapshots of the meaning behind those bands in a minute, but I want to start with that base metaphor, of spectrums, spectroscopy, and signature. When you bombard an…
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Purpose As Motivator: The P in RAMPS

Purpose is the P in RAMPS. Purpose as motivator is about the sense an individual has that she’s contributing to a greater mission shared by many. Both attributes matter: mission must be of a higher order than any individual’s whim, & it must be felt to be shared by the whole team. Purpose is really always purposes. Seen "from above",…
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Rhythm as Urgency: The R in RAMPS

Rhythm is the R in RAMPS. Let’s take a look. Rhythm is about tension & release. It is the sense one has of readying, girding, coiling, then taking that stored energy & sending it out. We’ll get to music in a second, tho maybe in a way that will surprise you. But let’s start with some non-musical kinds of tension…
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