Change management exercise ideas to get the ball rolling

Sometimes you just run out of new ideas to introduce change to your team or workshops. Then you know you can fall back on the tried and tested fun and engaging icebreakers and exercises. These exercises help employees to overcome the fear of change management. It is an opportunity to talk about the change, find out why it is happening and help them to understand the benefits to get on board at an early stage.

Not only will it help employees to understand the vision of the change management process, but also to boost morale. This will allow them to anticipate future concerns and in the process reduce any negativity as well as resistance to change.

Here are four ideas to help the change management ball rolling.

  1. Fishbowl Discussion

Everyone likes to be involved in the decision-making process. If you only ask a few stakeholders to participate in the process, you will often face resistance. A fishbowl discussion is perfect for these situations.

The objective of Fishbowl Discussions:

A fishbowl discussion aims to include a wide range of stakeholders to create an inclusive decision-making process by creating a transparent communication channel. It is a roundtable discussion of prime stakeholders with a larger group of stakeholders witnessing it. This discussion format allows everyone to provide their individual input and experiences and allows them to question the key project owners.


  • Set up the discussion by creating a roundtable with eight chairs – remember to always keep two chairs vacant, allowing six participants to discuss. The remaining participants should be observers standing behind the roundtable.
  • The moderator should initiate this change management exercise by giving a brief presentation about the topic and rules. Any two participants should take notes to compile later for review.
  • Request any six participants to discuss the change at hand.
  • In case of any interruptions or questions, request the observer to take a vacant chair and present their view.
  • If there are no breaks or questions, the moderator should then ask the observers for their feedback.
  • With 10 minutes left, stop the discussion and use the remaining time for reflections and last thoughts from participants and observers.
  • You can use variations of this exercise by introducing role-play scenarios or swapping the initial participants with observers.
  1. The Switch Places Exercise

When you gain a new perspective, this often reduces resistance. The switch places exercise is the simplest change management exercise. Try this with your team to deliver an unfamiliar perspective and gain more understanding of other team members’ viewpoints.

The objective of the Switch Places Exercise: 

This change management exercise encourages your team members to leave their comfort zones and explore a new perspective. By continuously changing places, people realize that change is a continuous process. Every time they gain a new perspective, they learn something new, which will boost their performance overall.


  • Have your team members sit in a circle
  • Place an object in the centre of the circle
  • At regular intervals – every few minutes or so – ask them to switch places and observe the object again for a minute. Note that some people might resist changing seats.
  • Start a discussion amongst the participants as to what changed and how they will describe the object now that they have multiple perspectives
  1. The Four P’s

When your team can see the bigger picture, the chances of successful change implementation improve in leaps and bounds. Set proper expectations at the inception of the project by highlighting the four P’s – Project, Purpose, Particulars and People.

The objective of The Four P’s:

This activity readies your team to adopt change by allowing them to explore the new procedure, the why and how of the change management process. This exercise encourages you to overcome potential barriers to change by working in anticipation of future concerns.


  • Create four columns on a whiteboard – one for each of the four P’s.
  • Divide participants into teams and ask them to provide inputs for the following:
    • Project: State the change you have in mind.
    • Purpose: What do you aim to achieve via this change?
    • Particulars: What are the change enablers for this process? Discuss the tools, training, and strategy for this change implementation.
    • People: Identify the impacted stakeholders and how their roles will change.
  • Help them see the importance of your change initiative and how it will help them achieve their set goals.
  1. Form a New Company

The change management activity begins with the identification and communication of the root need for the change. This change management exercise helps us with just that.

The objective of Form a New Company:

Most of the time, employees fail to understand the perspective of top-level management and the reason behind introducing a change. You can provide exposure to the same reasons by allowing them to think like their manager. This allows them to see the importance of being flexible and agile throughout the change management process.


  • Ask your participants to form teams and produce a unique business idea to form a new company.
  • Ask them to imitate all the core departments of their company and produce strategies for each of these departments. Have them prepare a quick presentation for each of these core business areas.
  • Shuffle the team members and ask them to prepare a new presentation by incorporating the feedback of their new members.
  • Repeat this process a few times and then vote for the best presentation.
  • Open a discussion on how teams were able to adapt to change.

What other exercises do you use to get your team excited for the new change management process that awaits them?

#changemanagement #changecommunication

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