We want Learning and Work
to be Innovative,
Collaborative and Fun.
We want Learning and Work
to be Innovative,
Collaborative and Fun.
Several weeks ago, I asked the folks in our new Trainers Community, “What’s your greatest professional challenge?” From the dozens of replies, a single theme emerged: CHANGE. I suppose this won’t come as a surprise to anyone. The training industry has changed as profoundly as everything else the pandemic touched. Our colleagues are starting new positions, reinventing curricula, and adapting to online/virtual formats. With all the upheaval, change management exercises and activities couldn’t be more in demand.
By nature, change comes in multiple dimensions and has many faces. But no matter what the change is, a myriad of emotions—both negative and positive—follow. Excitement, anticipation, and hope, as well as fear, loss, and angst.
A range of Change Management Activities can help participants:
I’ve curated these favorite Change Management activities and tools from subject matter experts far and wide, including consultants, therapists, practitioners, bloggers, and consultants and sorted them into a handful of categories:
This may sound like a simple exercise, but people quickly become accustomed to their seat selection and choose the same seat each time they enter a room. If not the same chair, perhaps they tend toward a right or left side, or gravitate to familiar faces. After your group has gotten settled, ask them to stand up and find a different seat, with different tablemates. Debrief the activity by exploring what created discomfort; what they see differently from their new vantage point; how the simple experience of changing seats mirrors the challenge of deeper life changes.
Ask the group to comfortably cross their arms. Next, ask them to do it the other way. Quickly, they realize that doing something differently feels very strange at first, but the longer they do it, the less foreign it feels.
Crossing your arms non-verbally communicates hesitance and reluctance. When groups are facing a change together, gauge their feelings about different aspects of the transition. As you articulate a variety of statements about an upcoming change, ask them to indicate their feelings about crossed and uncrossed arms. You can quickly gauge the group and discuss the aspects causing the most consternation.
Change is such a common challenge for leaders and managers, that several consultants have created toolkits to help companies implement organizational change. These rubrics are helpful across a range of changes and transitions.
The simple Square Wheels cartoon leads people to consider whether and how the image reflects the way organizations often work. Through the analysis, they look for opportunities for improvement in situations or processes.
This is a parable of two mice who are faced with a looming issue—soon they will be out of cheese. What will they do? One is paralyzed by fear; the other explores the maze looking for a new source of cheese. The Who Moved My Cheese book and accompanying articles lead groups to consider how they face change.
The All Change change management training activity sets up a simple situation: an organization, spread across two sites in the city is about to move to a single site, outside the city. The move will cause disruption in a number of ways. For some staff, it will mean a longer commute, for all it will mean moving from a city-base to a rural environment. The computer systems to be installed at the new location is familiar to staff in one of the two sites, but not the other. More staff are to be recruited and some job roles will change. The changeover is due to take place in one year’s time. Faced with this situation teams are asked a crucial question: What major considerations and challenges can you identify for a smooth and seamless transition to the new site – and exactly how would this work?
Change Reaction is an assessment tool managers and team leaders use to understand individuals’ personal reactions to change. The instrument consists of 24-questions, designed to illuminate typical responses to change and ways to manage effectively change.
Sometimes people just need to talk. Having a handful of well-conceived discussion prompts can help those facing change to articulate
Todd Wilmore shared this tip on LinkedIN as a way to help us see when it’s time to bite the bullet and have those tough conversations. “I learned this formula from Dave Gleicher and it was later popularized by Dick Beckhard (Beckhard & Harris, 1987). It may be a way to introduce the need to communicate without forcing the issue.Begin by sharing the formula above on a flip chart or power point. Ask them if they know what it means and if they understand the algebraic term (> means greater than) Explain each part one at a time. If the formula is not balance properly, the initiative will fail or be less effective.”
C = Desired Change – In your case, strategic initiative
D = Dissatisfaction – If teams are satisfied with the current situation they will be less likely to change.
V = Vision of the Future – You have to have a team that is passionate and committed. Help them see the future
F = Needed First Step – (and next step and next step …)
R = Resistance to Change – There are always barriers, excuses, limiters, a natural resistance to learn new ways and change. Identify them by asking and leverage them.
In other words, change happens only if Dissatisfaction, Vision for the Future, and First Steps are GREATER THAN Resistance to Change. DVF together still may not be enough to make change happen if the R is too great. At the end, have them choose one initiative and discuss each part of the formula and how well they have made efforts to balance the formula to succeed. ~ Todd Wilmore
I appreciate Todd’s contribution and perspective. The mathmetician in me wonders if were to to give Dissatisfaction, Vision, First Steps, and Resistance numerical values, if we would need to sum D + V + F, or multiply their value, D x V x F. I’m gonna go with addition, but welcome others input!
In addition to the range of Change Management tools that help managers, team leaders, and trainers develop the skills necessary to implement change effectively, we invite you to explore this set of Coaching Tools. Coaching card decks, conversation prompts, and exercises can help individuals and teams “grow.” To hone in on your GOALS and vision of success, understand the REALITY of current challenges, explore and prioritize OPTIONS, and Discover WAYS FORWARD.