Is resistance to change an issue in your workplace? If yes, it’s time to conduct some change management exercises for your teams.
Many employees often say “NO” to change. Is it going to help your organization?
We all know that adaptability is the quality of being able to adjust to new conditions. This is a skill your employees must develop in order to deal with change.
So, you need your employees to be more adaptable and say “YES” to change.
In this article, let’s see 10 change management exercises to improve the adaptability skills of your teams.
What is Resistance to Change and How to Overcome it?
‘Resistance to change’ is basically the reluctance an employee shows when he has to do something different. For example, with the arrival of the Covid pandemic, it was hard for many office employees to start working remotely.
As a business leader, you want your employees to quickly respond to changes. The best way to achieve this is by developing their adaptability skills. So, conducting some change management and adaptability exercises is desirable.
When your employees are highly adaptable, they will learn new things faster, handle tough situations with ease, and quickly respond to change.
10 Change Management Exercises to Improve Adaptability
Here are 10 team building exercises that will help your employees to improve adaptability skills and manage change.
#1. All Abroad
This is an interesting exercise that helps your teams to become more adaptable to change. The goal of this exercise is to make everyone stay on a ship until its size is completely reduced.
Time: Approximately 10 minutes
Participants: 3-8 members per group
Materials: A room or outdoor space with a flat surface, tarpaulins/blankets; one per group
- First, divide the participants into small groups.
- Next, get some tarpaulins or blankets and set them on the floor, which will be considered a ship.
- Now, ask each group to stay on their ship for some time.
- Then, reduce the size of the ship (fold the tarpaulin) and ask them to stay on it again.
- This activity continues by reducing the size of the ship and every member should try to stay on their ship.
- As a team, how did you plan this activity?
- What challenges did you face during this exercise and how did you overcome them?
- Did you learn something that you can apply to your real work? Please explain.
#2. Balloon Frenzy
This exercise helps to develop the adaptability skills of your employees and reduce resistance. The goal of this activity is to keep balloons in the air and prevent them from sinking to the floor.
Time: Your choice
Participants: 2-6 members per group
Materials: A large room or open space, lots of inflated balloons of different colors
- Initially, have lots of inflated balloons of different colors. Then, split the employees into small teams.
- Now, give an equal number of balloons to each group depending on the size. Make sure that each team has different colored balloons.
- Set a time limit for the activity and ask the teams to launch their balloons into the air.
- Each team should keep their balloons in the air by hitting, but they must hold them. Also, balloons that hit the floor must be eliminated.
- Finally, see which group kept the highest number of balloons in the air.
Advice for the facilitator
Make sure you remove the dropped balloons from the field. So, you can appoint a non-participating member for that.
- What were the interesting as well as challenging aspects of this exercise?
- Did you have the fear of failure during this exercise?
- “Being more adaptable will make you a better team player.” Do you agree? If so, why?
#3. Bounce Back
This is a simple exercise to deal with change. In this exercise, the participants should bounce a rubber ball back and forth, and then they need to explain what was in their minds when the ball has hit the ground.
Time: 3-5 minutes
Participants: Exactly 2 people per group
Materials: A room or outdoor space with a flat surface, a rubber ball for each pair
- Initially, divide the employees into pairs. Then, hand a rubber ball to each pair.
- Next, instruct them to bounce the ball back and forth for some time.
- Now, one person from each pair should do it first. Then, he can hand the ball to his partner to do the same.
- Finally, ask them whether they worried that the ball wouldn’t bounce up after hitting the ground.
- Did you think the ball wouldn’t bounce up after hitting the ground?
- Like the ball hit the ground and bounce up, can you come back strongly in tough situations?
- What quality do you need the most in order to face challenges?
#4. Change Your Seats
This exercise is ideal for both small and large teams. Here the participants should observe an object from different seats and notice the difference.
Time: Around 5 minutes
Materials: A room with enough space, chairs for all the participants, and a random object for each team
- Initially, divide the employees into teams.
- Then, ask each team to place chairs in a circle and take a seat.
- Now, place an object in the center. Then, ask each member to observe the object for a few seconds.
- Next, ask them to change their seats and observe the object again.
- At last, instruct them to repeat the process once again and notice the change.
- Did you feel any differences when you observed the object after changing seats?
- What message did you get from this exercise?
- Do you think viewing things from different perspectives will help you perform better? If so, why?
#5. Cross Your Arms
This is one of the popular change management exercises. It helps you understand how adaptable your employees are to a quick change. Here participants should try to cross their arms in different ways.
Time: Less than 5 minutes
Materials: A large room or outdoor space
- Arrange the employees into teams.
- Instruct each group member to cross their arms.
- Once they are done, ask them to cross their arms the other way.
- How did you feel when you crossed your arms at first?
- What changes did you feel when you crossed your arms the other way?
- “To be successful at work, we need to go out of our comfort zone a little bit.” What do you think?
#6. Forward or Backward Game
This game will test how people respond to change. In this exercise, the participants can respond to certain words either positively or negatively by moving forward or backward.
Time: 5-10 minutes
Materials: A large room or outdoor space, a list consisting of some change-related words
- Before you start, prepare a list of change-related words like “alteration”, “conversion”, “transition” etc. Probably, you can write 5-10 words.
- Next, spit the employees into teams. Then, instruct each team to stand shoulder to shoulder horizontally.
- Now, ask the participants to move forward if the word they hear induces a positive response and move backward for a negative response.
- Then, read each word louder one by one and see what happens.
- Where did you move the most – forward or backward?
- Were you confused about where to move at any point?
- “Moving forward is confidence and having enough confidence will help you accomplish more.” Do you agree? If so, why?
#7. Tag Team Game
The tag team game helps employees adapt themselves by learning more from their colleagues. In this exercise, each group needs to create a “virtual teammate” by combining all the skills and strengths of its teammates.
Time: Your choice
Participants: 4-6 people per group
Materials: Pens and paper sheets for each participant
- At first, divide the employees into small groups.
- Next, ask each person to write down their skills as well as strengths that can help their team to succeed and then share it with their teammates.
- Now, instruct each group to create a “virtual teammate” by combining all those skills and strengths and write a short profile description about him.
- Finally, each group should share this with the other teams so that everyone can identify their own strengths and weaknesses.
- During this exercise, how did you adapt yourself to the new scenario?
- Did you feel like you want to improve a skill or overcome some weaknesses?
- What skill do you need to develop in order to deal with change?
#8. Tea Break
This is one of the funniest exercises to minimize resistance. In this exercise, the participants need to taste their drinks in two different areas.
Time: 5-10 minutes
Participants: 4-6 members per team
Materials: A cup of tea or any other drink for each participant
- Start by dividing the employees into small teams. Then, provide a cup of tea or any other drink to each team member.
- Now, ask them to taste their drinks.
- Then, invite them to come outdoors with their drinks.
- At last, instruct them to have their drinks and see if there is any change in taste or feel.
- When you drink tea coming outdoor, did you notice any change in the taste or feel? Please explain.
- Where did you enjoy drinking your tea the most – inside the room or outside? And why?
- What lesson will you bring to work from this activity?
#9. The Alien at Dinner
This is another fabulous exercise for improving adaptability and managing change. Here the participants need to consider themselves an alien and have dinner with humans.
Time: Your choice
Participants: 3-6 individuals in each group
Materials: A large room with dining arrangements, food for all the participants
- Before you start, make arrangements for dinner (or lunch) in the dining room.
- Now, split the employees into teams and invite them to the dining room. Then, ask them to take their seats.
- Next, instruct each participant to consider himself as an alien and the rest of the participants including their teammates as humans.
- Then, serve food and wish them to enjoy their dinner. During dinner, each person should watch the way humans eat and talk to one another.
- Finally, let each alien identify the unique behavior possessed by humans.
Advice for the facilitator
Some people say you can conduct this activity without providing any food (by simply asking the participants to assume they are having dinner), but I strictly don’t agree with that idea.
For the best results, you should arrange some kind of food for your employees and ask them to pretend as aliens.
If you can’t arrange a large meal, try some snacks such as burgers, chips, etc. depending on your budget.
- What was most interesting in this activity?
- When you considered yourself alien and your teammates as humans, what changes did you notice?
- “When we view things from different perspectives, we can avoid most misunderstandings and become more adaptable.” What do you think?
#10. The Magic Wand
This activity tests how flexible your employees are to a change. Here the participants should tell what they would like to change in the world if they have a magic wand.
Time: Around 5 minutes
Participants: 3-8 individuals in each group
- Initially, arrange the employees into teams.
- Then, ask them to assume that they have a magic wand, which can change anything in this world.
- Now, instruct them to tell what they would like to change. Then, give them some time for discussion.
- Finally, each team should tell what they would like to change using their magic wand.
- As a team, how did you reach the solution, and did everyone agree with this solution?
- Did anyone say that they want to change themselves using the magic wand?
- “We constantly need to change ourselves in order to succeed in this technological world.” What do you think?
3 Helpful Books for Adapting to Change in 2022
Most adaptability/change management books aren’t helping much in the present business settings. However, the following 3 books are an exception; they will help you and your team adapt to change in the modern era.
These books are available on Amazon, so below are the links.
CHANGES: The Busy Professional’s Guide to Reducing Stress, Accomplishing Goals and Mastering Adaptability by Michael Diettrich-Chastain
Read and enjoy!
(Note: I earn a small commission when you make a purchase using these links at no extra cost to you.)
Want More Adaptability Training Exercises?
Just in case you want more adaptability exercises, you can read my newly published article: “10 Adaptability Activities for Employees in Your Workplace“.
The more adaptable your employees are the better they will respond to change. So, try the above 10 change management exercises with your teams and see what happens.