7 Fun and Engaging Change Management Exercises (2023)

Are you struggling to get your employees to adapt to new ways of working? The change management process can be long and complex because people tend to resist change. But your business needs to become adaptable to thrive in an evolving market.

So, how do you engage workers in your change management strategy? We’ve created a helpful guide inspired by research from Kotter’s 8-Step Process for leading change to “Who Moved My Cheese?’ by Spencer Johnson.

Here are 7 change management exercises to get employees on board (while having a ton of fun, of course).

Table of Contents hide

What are change management exercises?

The Importance Of Organizational Change Management

Why Do Employees Resist Change?

Lack Of Communication

Trust Issues

Self-Interest

(Video) A short activity on Change

7 Fun and Engaging Change Management Activities

1. Cross Your Arms

2. The Alien at Dinner

3. Changing Places

4. The Ups and Downs of Change

How to play:

5. The Four P’s

6. Bouncing Back

7. Can Do Company

Follow Up With Stellar Change Management

Keep your Team Focused with Fun

(Video) Change Management Team Activity (Sample Activity with Corporate Trainer Dana Brownlee)

What are change management exercises?

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Change management exercises help change workers’ attitudes toward organizational transformation. Played at the beginning of a meeting or work retreat, these exercises promote conversations about the upcoming change. These games also help management to anticipate employee concerns and better communicate the benefits of their change initiative.

You might think playing games in the workplace is counter-productive, but the opposite is true. As we’ll discuss in more detail, the change management process can be taxing on workers. You can improve your change management by addressing resistance through games and activities. These change management activities encourage employees to self-reflect on their approach to organizational change.

The Importance Of Organizational Change Management

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The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated how the business world could transform at a moment’s notice. The pandemic has permanently changed how corporations react to change. Organizations are investing heavily in change managers to help them restructure their company’s approach. These businesses understand the importance of creating a change-friendly culture.

Recent insights from McKinsey suggest the scale of this change in attitude. ‘Each sector, industry, and function will have to reinvent itself to achieve maximum growth and sustainability.’ This is especially true in the digital age.

You need a comprehensive change management strategy to get the most out of digital transformation. A step-by-step plan will address your employees’ resistance to change. Then you can manage potential disruptions and approach transformation holistically.

Why Do Employees Resist Change?

7 Fun and Engaging Change Management Exercises (4)

If you have a resistance problem within your workforce, it can be hard to know how to move forward. Despite your best efforts, your employees are reluctant to adopt new work methods. The harder you push change, the more frustrated employees become. The best approach is to address resistance at its source.

Resistance in the workplace is contagious. If one employee starts reverting to traditional processes, others will follow. Before you know it, your change strategy is falling apart. You need to understand why your employees struggle to adapt to tackle this problem.

Here are some common reasons an employee might resist change.

Apprehension & Low Tolerance

Employees with a low tolerance for change will become frustrated the more their organization pushes a transformation. It’s tempting to think that employees are only resistant to large-scale change, but studies show that small, everyday changes contribute to high workplace change fatigue. Gartner reports that ‘different types of change exert on employees and… day-to-day changes, such as moving to a new manager or team, are far more damaging.’

Lack Of Communication

Employees often report feeling disregarded during a change initiative. Keeping your workers in the loop is critical to the success of your strategy. Communicate your business goals and explain how your change project will benefit employees.

To engage employees, you also need to listen. Be open to employee feedback and make changes to your plan. Consider using a digital solution or platform to collect feedback and analyze the change process. Digital platforms are a great way to connect the aims of management and their staff during times of change.

Trust Issues

Transformational leaders value trust between themselves and their workforce. But many fail to build that all-important relationship. Companies that maintain trust experience a much smoother transition and less resistance to change. But remember, building trust requires a proactive approach. Building a solid relationship takes time.

Trust also means inspiring confidence in your workforce. The last thing you want is your employees to doubt your change management strategy. Work hard to improve your technique and communicate it to employees.

Self-Interest

Most people find comfort in things staying the same. When a company undergoes a large-scale transformation, its workers are the first to feel it. They worry about becoming redundant after the introduction of new business processes.

Employees are more likely to resist change if they aren’t shown the benefits of a change initiative. To appeal to your worker’s self-interest, explain the perks of change: more efficient and rewarding work, more opportunities to scale up, and more opportunities for collaboration.

7 Fun and Engaging Change Management Activities

Below are seven entertaining exercises to help employees overcome their fear of change. Go ahead and try one for yourself before your next significant change.

1. Cross Your Arms

7 Fun and Engaging Change Management Exercises (5)

How to play:

Ask employees to cross their arms. Ask them to cross their arms the other way when they are comfortable. Once they’ve done this, ask them why the second attempt might have left them feeling uncomfortable, even though it’s the same action.

What’s the point?

This activity steers the conversation towards specific changes within your organization. Examining how tricky it is to cross your arms in different positions highlights the difficulty of change.

Benefits:

Employees can get used to the idea of change being uncomfortable at first. Soon, they realize that the new way of doing things becomes comfortable over time. This teaches resilience and prevents employees from giving up too quickly.

2. The Alien at Dinner

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How to play:

Ask employees to imagine themselves as aliens observing a human dinner party. Their task is to point out unusual human social norms and to explain them to the beings on their imaginary planet. Why do they drink poisonous alcohol? Why do they knock their glasses together when celebrating?

What’s the point?

Encourage your employees to be more open-minded toward changing long-standing methods. This exercise highlights alternative ways of doing something. It helps employees shake off traditional ways of thinking that might be stalling their progress.

Benefits:

This game works to transform mindsets about traditional ways of working. It helps employees detach from old processes and adopt new ones with minimal disruption. When introducing a new work process, you can remind employees of the lessons of this game.

(Video) Teamwork Exercise 2: Paper Chains - The Importance of Communication

3. Changing Places

7 Fun and Engaging Change Management Exercises (7)

How to play:

Allow employees to sit wherever they want in the workplace. Then have them move to a different seat. Ask them to think about how their perspective changed in moving to the new seat and why.

After stretching for a minute, tell them they can now sit wherever they like. Watch which seat they choose.

Play the game twice and see if people behave the same way the second time. Discuss why people may have changed their choice the second time around.

What’s the point?

Guide the discussion to highlight our innate resistance to change and the benefits of moving away from a comfort zone to the unknown. Take this opportunity to acknowledge the fear of the unknown and share information about the need for upcoming changes.

Benefits:

Getting your employees out of their comfort zone is crucial to a successful change project. Too often, employees resort to old habits because it’s easier. This activity demonstrates the advantage of taking a new perspective on your environment. Physical management exercises like this have a bigger impact on employee mindsets because it sticks with them for longer.

4. The Ups and Downs of Change

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How to play:

Ask employees to stand in a horizontal line, facing outwards. Before starting the game, write down a list of terms related to change management—for example, training, digital transformation, digital adoption platform, business process, etc.

Read out each word on your list. Employees must either take a step forward if they feel positive about the term or a step backward if they feel negative.

After completing your list, notice the positions of everyone in the room.

What’s the point?

Employees can self-reflect on their approach to change management terms by visualizing their reactions to change. The pattern of employees around the room demonstrates the lack of cohesion in the workforce during change.

Benefits:

This activity shows the detrimental effect of an individual’s resistance to change. By seeing how different workers react to change, the team can collaborate more easily to find a way forward. Use the opportunity to discuss the importance of sticking together as a team during times of change.

5. The Four P’s

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How to play:

Start this exercise with a large whiteboard or flip chart. Create four columns and label them left to right: Project, Purpose, Particulars, and People.

Then, have your group of employees fill in each column as follows:

  • Project — list the upcoming changes.
  • Purpose — ask what benefits the change will bring. Will it increase revenue? Will it make processes more efficient?
  • Particulars — list the details of what needs to change.
  • People — have the group identify which employees will need to change how they do things or participate in the change.

What’s the point?

This exercise will help participants connect the four areas and see the greater purpose of the change they will soon experience. Participants conclude that if they don’t change the way they do their job, then they won’t achieve their objectives.

Benefits:

The takeaway from this activity is that change management is a multi-step process. Employees are more likely to engage with change if they understand the change management process.

6. Bouncing Back

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How to play:

In a spacious area, hand out bouncy balls for pairs of employees to bounce back and forth for a few minutes. Then, ask them if they ever doubted the ball would fail to bounce back up. Point out that, like the bouncy balls, they too will be able to bounce back from challenges. Finally, let them keep the bouncy balls as a tangible reminder.

What’s the point?

The game itself is pretty simple. But don’t forget, the memento of the ball is the real point of this game. The ball represents an employee’s capacity for resilience. This game acts as a reminder they can overcome any challenge.

Benefits:

This activity teaches determination by addressing employees’ fear of failure. Most employees resist change because they aren’t sure it’ll pay off. As a change manager, your role is to communicate the benefits of change. This activity helps to remind employees that they can bounce back after failing. This change management exercise reduces fear of failure and encourages employees to take more risks.

7. Can Do Company

7 Fun and Engaging Change Management Exercises (11)

How to play:

For this final change management exercise, divide employees into groups. Have them develop an idea for a company, such as candy bars for cats or water bottles for dogs.

Assign members of each group-specific job functions like designing, marketing, distributing, etc. Have each “mini-company” prepare a product and business plan presentation.

After 10 minutes, change the group dynamic by moving participants from one group to another. Change the specifications for the final presentation and share important information with only one group member.

Depending on how much time you have, you can repeat the changes or spread them out throughout. After the allotted time, each group can present and pick a winner at the end.

What’s the point?

This exercise will force participants to be flexible, communicate, and work together. After the activity, follow up with an open discussion on how teams adapted to changes. What benefits came from their new members or new specifications? Employees can reflect on how they collaborate with different teams. Ask workers to reflect on what works and what doesn’t.

Benefits:

This game shows employees how quickly they adapt to changes when they need to. Jumping into a new work dynamic can be daunting, but practice certainly helps. When faced with a change in the future, employees can remember this activity and how they thrived in unfamiliar environments.

(Video) Team Building Activity At Work [EASY AND AWESOME]

Follow Up With Stellar Change Management

These seven change management activities are all designed to help minimize employee resistance to change. To question why we fear change and to encourage a more productive attitude toward change.

Not only will they give individuals a chance to examine their attitudes towards change in-depth, but they are also sure to enrich any work environment and improve productivity. And that’s a change that no one will be complaining about.

But for these change management activities to truly mean something, organizational leadership must follow up with stellar change management. This means supporting change through comprehensive training. Be sure to create space for feedback through surveys, or other company communication channels. Change managers must make adjustments to their strategy based on feedback from employees.

Keep your Team Focused with Fun

7 Fun and Engaging Change Management Exercises (12)

Enterprise-wide change initiatives demand a lot from their employees. Even smaller-scale change management impacts the workforce. The learning process can be daunting, but your initiative will fall apart if you don’t make change fun.

Change management activities like the ones we’ve listed above can add variety to the training process. Practical change management exercises encourage workers to collaborate. Collaboration is crucial to achieving your business outcomes.

Remember, successful change management is all about supporting staff during times of change. Change can be tedious and uninspiring for lower-level employees. Unlike executives, they don’t see the company-wide benefits of transformation. That’s why change management activities are such essential change management tools.

Address the anxiety of your employees by focusing on their needs. Ask them to be honest about their concerns and find ways to make the process fun. Not only will these change management exercises engage employees in learning new processes, but they’ll also encourage engagement in future change projects.

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FAQs

What are some major change management activities? ›

What are some major change management activities? Hold regular meetings with employees where you discuss the progress of the changes implemented in the company. Emphasize the positive aspects of organizational change activities and encourage employees to share their input on how best to implement them.

What are the 3 C's of the change management? ›

The three-C principle can help you overcome this change management challenge. Managers should ensure the changes they are communicating are clear, compelling, and credible.

How do you play change management game? ›

How to play the Change Management Game? The exercise consists of 34 questions. The participants in the exercise are asked to tell each other stories of successful change either from their own experience or otherwise. They tell their stories based on the questions that they see in front of them.

What is McKinsey 7S model in change management? ›

The McKinsey 7-S Model is a change framework based on a company's organizational design. It aims to depict how change leaders can effectively manage organizational change by strategizing around the interactions of seven key elements: structure, strategy, system, shared values, skill, style, and staff.

What is 7S project management framework? ›

What are the 7S Factors? The seven factors are: strategy; structure; systems; shared values; skills; style; and staff.

What are the 4 P's of change management? ›

With Change management, there are specific people, roles or positions involved. To embrace and implement Transition, your team and employees must understand and benefit from communications on the 4 P's: Purpose, Picture, Plan and Part.

What are the five 5 major activities performed by management? ›

At the most fundamental level, management is a discipline that consists of a set of five general functions: planning, organizing, staffing, leading and controlling. These five functions are part of a body of practices and theories on how to be a successful manager.

What are the five P's of change? ›

Fortunately, the crowded landscape of change management frameworks can be distilled to a set of common principles and considerations — purpose, people, priority, process, and proof.

What are the five pillars of change? ›

The 5 pillars of sustainable change are leadership, strategy, culture, structure, and systems. These pillars play a significant role in making change successful in any organization.

What are cozy management games? ›

But cozy games are generally regarded as featuring cute characters, often anthropomorphic animals or child-like humans, who engage in player activities such as farming, gathering, growing and nurturing, with a vague goal of creative personalization and in-game socialization.

What is the number one rule of change management? ›

Change management works at its best in one case only: when it's used to on-board and motivate employees to embrace the novelty of the new. You want them to actively push change forward, and not be victims of change.

Is McKinsey 7-S Model still relevant? ›

Models of organizational effectiveness go in and out of fashion, but the McKinsey 7-S framework has stood the test of time. In this article, we'll explore the seven elements in detail, and learn how it can be used to improve performance or manage change in organizations by ensuring that they all work in harmony.

What is Kotter's 8 step change model? ›

The 8 steps in the process of change include: creating a sense of urgency, forming powerful guiding coalitions, developing a vision and a strategy, communicating the vision, removing obstacles and empowering employees for action, creating short-term wins, consolidating gains and strengthening change by anchoring change ...

What are soft elements in 7-S model? ›

The seven components of McKinsey's model are divided into two groups: hard S and soft S. The Hard S elements are Strategy, Structure, and Systems. The Soft S elements are Style, Staff, Skills, and Shared values.

How 7S framework will impact performance? ›

7s Factors

Strategy, structure and systems are hard elements that as opposed to soft elements, are much easier to identify and manage. On the other hand, while more difficult to handle, soft areas are the backbone of the enterprise and are more likely to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.

Where and when do you use the 7-S model? ›

The 7s model can be used when organizational design and effectiveness are at question. It can help all stakeholders to work towards agreement when there are differing opinions about how the seven elements should be aligned. The following steps should help you as you implement this tool.

What are the four C's of change? ›

This course builds on the 4Cs of Change Management Framework developed by CSC - Committing to Change, Capacitating to Change, Contributing and Collaborating to Change, and Celebrating and Continuing Change.

What are the 6 stages of change management? ›

The TTM posits that individuals move through six stages of change: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and termination.

What are the six components of change management? ›

Typically, there are six components of Change Management: Leadership Alignment, Stakeholder Engagement, Communication, Change Impact and Readiness, Training, and Organisation Design.

What are the 5 M's of operations? ›

Lean is an all-encompassing philosophy that takes the 5 M's (Man, Material, Machines, Methods, and Money) and harmonizes or helps orchestrate them together for the best possible outcome in your manufacturing operations.

What are the 4 typical stages of change? ›

When change is first introduced at work, the people affected will typically go through four stages. These can be visualised on the change curve. The stages are shock, anger, acceptance and commitment.

What are the five strategies? ›

They are Plan, Ploy, Pattern, Position, and Perspective.

What is a change framework? ›

Change management framework is a process, a structure to follow when generating Insights and a change plan in your organization. Resisting the change is a natural reaction when you don´t involve people affected by the change.

What is Nora game? ›

About This Game

Pox Nora is an online, collectible, turn-based strategy game. Players can take their deck of Runes (cards) and go on an adventure in the many single player campaigns, skirmish against the AI, or battle against other players in player vs player matches.

What is serenity game? ›

The Serenity Role Playing Game was the first game to be produced under the Cortex System. It is a rules light generic roll-over system using polyhedral dice. Each of a character's attributes and skills is assigned one of these dice types, with larger dice representing greater ability, ranging from d4 to d12+d4.

What is the 85% rule in management? ›

What is the 85/15 Rule? The 85/15 Rule states that 85% of the problems in the workplace are caused by problems in the system. Only 15% of the problems in the workplace are actually caused by issues pertaining to an individual (issues such as laziness, carelessness, etc.)

What makes a good change manager? ›

A world-class change manager is creative, tapping their imagination and the imaginations of others in the organization. They create original ideas to simplify complex concepts, breaking large efforts into small pieces to make the end results more attainable. They think outside the box.

What is a fun team building activity? ›

Examples of team building exercises are the Human Knot, Scavenger Hunts, and Profile Bingo. These activities are similar to team building games and fun group activities, and are a way to improve team cooperation in the workplace. These exercises include both indoor team activities and outdoor team building activities.

Which of the following is included in 7 R's? ›

So, what are the 7 Rs? The Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport UK (2019) defines them as: Getting the Right product, in the Right quantity, in the Right condition, at the Right place, at the Right time, to the Right customer, at the Right price.

What is RACI model for change management? ›

A Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed (RACI) diagram or RACI matrix is used to describe the roles and responsibilities of various teams or people in delivering a project or operating a process.

Why are the 7Rs important? ›

7 “Rights'' or “Rs' ” is one of the most essentials concepts in logistics management. If logistics services companies in India want to excel in their functionality – they need to follow the 7 Rs' as given below. These seven rights facilitate the moving and storing of goods in an efficient, timely, and reliable manner.

What are the 8 R's? ›

For those who think the concept of the “Three Rs” of recycling are difficult, get ready to meet the “Eight Rs.” For those of who recycle, you're going to love the new Rs: remember the need; refuse and assess; reduce; reuse; refill; repair; regift; recycle; and repeat.

How do you apply 7 R's? ›

Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Repurpose, Reuse, Recycle and Rot! All these 7 concepts are focused on minimizing the waste and taking steps towards sustainability work your way through all of them and you will be well on your way to saving the environment and living a zero-waste life.

What are the 4 components of RACI? ›

The acronym RACI stands for responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed. This is how each of the 4 components is defined: Responsible: a manager or team member who is directly responsible for successfully completing a project task.

What is the difference between RACI and RASCI? ›

The two terms are often used interchangeably. In essence, they do mean the same thing. There is only one minor difference, that is, the extra 'S' in 'RASCI', which stands for 'Support'. Some organizations prefer to use the RACI version.

Is RACI used in agile? ›

An Agile RACI matrix is a role-responsibility matrix for Agile teams that clarifies who is responsible for which project components. Use an Agile RACI matrix to structure your Agile team's development sprint schedule, define project deliverable roles, and assign tasks.

What are the 5 P's of management? ›

The 5 P's of management provide such a framework. The 5 Ps are: 1) Plan, 2) Process, 3) People, 4) Possessions, and 5) Profits. Planning is the key to the success of an organization.

What is the 8 step model of change? ›

Kotter's 8-Step Model Infographic

Create a sense of urgency, recruit powerful change leaders, build a vision and effectively communicate it, remove obstacles, create quick wins, and build on your momentum. If you do these things, you can help make the change part of your organizational culture.

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