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Planning on changing things around the office in 2016? Try these exercises to help your team embrace change...

by , 11 December 2015
If you're planning a major change in your department or company soon, try these exercises with your team. They'll help them mentally prepare for the change ahead and understand the challenges that come with change are normal.

And, help them be more supportive of your ideas and plans...

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Top five reasons why your employees may resist change

Employees might fight the changes because they:
  • Don't know the underlying business need for change.
  • Fear retrenchment. Or they know retrenchments are part of the change process.
  • Uncertain about their personal competence for successful change.
  • Have comfort zones and resist the change in the status quo.
  • Fear you'll need them to do much more for less, or the same, remuneration.
If you keep an eye on an individual's behaviour before the changes, you'll understand how he might to react to the changes. This way you can help him through the changes.

Team-building exercises to help your team prepare for change:
The exercises require your team to get through simple everyday tasks in a different way. Firstly, split your team up into four groups and give each group a chance to do each of the exercises below.

The first 3 exercises show how people have to concentrate harder initially to cope with change. But with time and practice, they'll be able to master the new skills and soon it'll be second nature to them.

Exercise 1: Give the team pages you've torn out of a children's colouring-in book and ask them to cut out the figures using their left hand. Or right hand if they're left handed.

Exercise 2: Crumple up a few pieces of paper into a ball. Ask them to toss the paper ball into a waste paper bin while wearing a blind-fold.

Exercise 3: Get this group to dial an unfamiliar number on their cell phones while a second team member holds the phone for them.

Exercise 4: Get them to write a paragraph narrated by another team member (that you prepared ahead of time) in the blocks on a piece of graph paper. They need to do this exercise upside-down while leaning against a wall and supported by their narrator colleague. You'll have to pre-warn the ladies to wear trousers on that day for this exercise. This'll highlight their need to be patient with their colleagues during the change.

 
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What your team members can learn from these exercises:
  • They'll help your team members understand and accept that their colleagues may react in a different way to them when you implement the changes.
  • Change requires people to learn something new or accept something in a different way. This can be very frustrating if it involves re-learning something which under a previous method or system was easily achievable. This is because the brain can imagine and remember being competent. This causes a sense of loss or failure relative to past experience.
  • Different methods (types of change) create different pressures on different parts of the brain.
  • That's why it's natural for people to struggle initially when change happens. If your team understands struggle is inevitable and natural during change, they'll accept it more readily.
     







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