Gamification has gone from a hypothetical idea for making training less tedious and more effective, to a very proven solution for this. Not only does gamification make training more pleasant for those forced to endure it, but it also acts on the human nature of memory and retaining experience to cement training in a more concrete manner as well. The greater sense of agency and enjoyment brought in by gamification are quite proven. So, when it comes to a complex and somewhat unpleasant science like change management, such change management exercises are pretty self evident in their benefits.
Nobody’s arguing that change management exercises are a great training method and a good ice breaker for this field. However, one may find themselves remiss as to what sort of exercises can be used, and what’s available. Of course, you can create your own, but that’s a hassle, isn’t it? So, what exercises are popular? Let’s take a look at a few, how they work, and what benefits they bring.
#1 – Alien for Dinner
This one’s fun, and I use this one for applications outside of change management. In this, participants discuss some of humanity’s social norms and protocols from the perspective of an alien present at a dinner party, which seeks to understand why people behave like they do.
This challenges people to question social suppositions, something critical to change.
#2 – Basket Ball Bonus
People help their best thrower to score baskets over a number of hurdles (usually with a blind fold).
This one’s a bit more sports-related and I was never a fan of sports stuff but, it does address something important. This condones creativity and communication – problem solving aspects that are crucial to change.
#3 – The Change Game
This one’s all about addressing making people comfortable with change, and possibly seeing it as a positive thing. People will make rapid changes to their appearance, and note changes in their partners, and point out optimistic aspects thereto, no matter how ridiculous they may be.
This one is great for unfreezing people in a lighthearted way. I highly encourage this, but with some caution.
#4 – Maths Game
Teams choose their best at addition, multiplication, subtraction and division, and present them with an exam paper. No prerequisites for completion or approach are given to them overall. The first team to hand in the paper is the winner of the game, but ultimately, there is no loser.
What is to be learned from this is the power of assumption and mental models, as well as the consequences of unpredictability.
These are only a small sampling of these sorts of exercises, and I’ve stuck mainly to the more cerebral ones. There are a number of more physical ones involving races and the like, and honestly, those have limited application because older or less athletic staff may be less receptive of such things. I know that’d be the case with me.
So, you have a lot of choice for change management exercises, and these are four I highly recommend. I recommend looking for the more cerebral ones as I said, because physical demands may not be compatible in the real world – we’re not all twenty afterall.