I've heard this question asked before: "What is your why?" As in, "Why are you doing this? What motivates you? What are you trying to get out of it?" This isn't a "unique way," but I'd recommend asking people simple questions like that to find out what makes them tick. Once you know, you'll have a better idea about how to motivate team members and how to help them succeed.
Try Strengths Finder 2.0 (http://strengths.gallup.com/110440/about-strengthsfinder-20.aspx). This is an assessment tool that rank orders people's strengths and classifies those strengths into categories. For about $10 per person, each member of your group can take the assessment and learn his or her top five strengths. These inform what motivates a person, what their best role in a group is, whose strengths complement whose the best, etc. I use Strengths Finder 2.0 in the context of divorce mediation - as a tool to inform divorcing couples about how the other thinks, operates, reacts, etc. to facilitate healthy communication dynamics during the mediation and beyond.
There are also commonly held ideas about what motivates people based on their generation. For example, people born before 1945 work differently and have different motivations than people born after 1981. I can provide more details on this and the Strengths Finder 2.0 if you like - just call.
Catherine is right about Strength Finder 2.0. Check it out!
Here's what I do with my teams. Once a year, we go on an off-site retreat that involves something like Strength Finder 2.0. I bring in an external facilitator to lead the process, which starts with taking the assessment, then sharing the outcomes with each other in a group. The facilitator leads some exercises that help the team practice communication, listening, motivation, etc.
Now, here's what I think makes this worthwhile. We print the outcomes of the assessments and post them in a public place in the office. In our case, on each team member's desk or door. Every time team members interact with each other, they see a reminder of what motivates (or de-motivates) the person with whom they're working. It's important to factor the Strength Finder results in each team member's annual and quarterly goal-setting and assessment sessions. I even prefer to do part of that goal-setting and assessment in the team setting, where we try to focus on how to leverage the strengths of each member to lift the team as a whole.
I hope this helps. I'll be happy to share more to your specific situation if you want to set up a call. Onward and Upward!
I agree with Joe Putnam. It is not unique, but how many of us have responded to something similar to this question with, "Why didn't you just ask me?"
Secondly, the key word here is "personally." Tests and measures aren't personal. I don't know about you all, but my answers to tests, no matter how comprehensive, were determined by how I was feeling that day. My experience has been folks respond to a genuine interest in them. If you make them feel like what they say and feel matters to you, then you have no trouble getting them to open up. Yes, it takes work. But motivating others is an inside job. In fact, inspiration is what it's call. People feel inspired when you provide an environment that is conducive to that. Treat each individual with respect and interest and most of all, pay attention. Employ active listening where you reflect back to them in content and in feeling what they are saying to you. For instance, to the person who talks about providing for his family, you would reflect "Your family is important to you." Feeling understood or that you are making the effort to understand, he will agree or clarify. I believe that this will give you more than any tool, test or measure could.
As the Food Lion Lion says, "That's just my two cents."
I know I am really re-inventing the wheel here but it seems like these days with personality tests, team assessments, and online social polls that people have forgotten conversation. Take the time to talk to your team. Not in an official meeting with pomp and circumstance but actually talk with them. Know them, their hopes and dreams, share you own. Want to know how to motivate your team? Know your team!
In my experience, if you are looking to motivate individual team members you are going to be chasing a mirage. The reason I say this is because peoples personal motivation is fickle and ever changing. The other problem is that it is so varied that it would be a nightmare to manage any inventive program or management strategy on an individual basis.
No. What you need to look at is how you can unite your team behind a common cause that transcends their individual motivation.
I have an exceptional example of how a friend of mine got a company doubling its output simply by applying the common cause psychology. It would explain this perfectly but I just don't have the time right now to type it all out.
Best of Luck!!
There are several unique solutions for this. One of my favourites is DISC team facilitation. We have everyone complete a short behavioural questionnaire, and then I debrief the team together, looking at everyone's different profiles and discussing what motivates each person differently, what strengths they bring to the table, and how the team can work together more effectively overall.
With that said, I've also had a lot of success with simply asking people individually what motivates them.
Hope that helps! Feel free to reach out for a call in follow up!