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Change Management Icebreakers and Short Exercises


One constant is that everything changes. How we deal with change influences our day to day decisions. The Change Management training modules, in this section, will help bring a greater understanding of the benefits of change and how to deal with it.

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Document TitleDuration
(mins)
   
All Change! - How We React to Change
15
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All Change! - How We React to Change

Time:
This exercise will take about 15 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 30 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To illustrate typical reactions to change when communication is limited.
• To briefly consider the reasons for these reactions.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels. It can be used with people who don't know one another at all, or who have met/worked together previously.

You'll Need:
Nothing, other than the handouts provided.

Notes:
This icebreaker can be used with any group of participants at the start of a learning and development session focused on change management. It is particularly useful for helping participants understand the reasons for resistance to change and to understand the importance of effective communication during any change project.

The handout that accompanies this icebreaker provides tips on dealing with resistance to change.

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Art Gallery - Creating a Visual Representation
40
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Art Gallery - Creating a Visual Representation

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 30 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 40 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To explore a particular concept, idea or problem, in an enjoyable way.
• To develop shared understanding of the concept, idea or problem.
• To identify areas of uncertainty or misunderstanding.
• To identify lack of knowledge, which the facilitator can address in the rest of the session.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 15 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Coloured stickers or shapes (see note).

Notes:
There is a variant version to this ice breaker which entails asking participants to prepare a collage from the materials you have for them rather than just a drawing. Instructions, timing etc for the variant version are included in brackets in the text. Whether you choose to use them will depend mainly on how much time you are able to allow.

For this exercise you will need:

Basic version:
Flipchart paper, coloured pens and coloured stickers or shapes.

Variation:
As above, plus a collection of old magazines, journals, postcards, birthday cards or similar, scissors and glue pens.

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Barriers to Change - Icebreaker
40
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Barriers to Change - Icebreaker

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 15 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 40 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To introduce participants to one another.
• To identify common barriers to change.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 15 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing, other than the materials provided.

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Bouncing Back – The Nature of Resilience
15
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Bouncing Back – The Nature of Resilience

Time:
The exercise in this module can be completed in about 15 minutes. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing about 30-45 minutes for this module.

Aims:
• To introduce the concept of personal resilience as the process of bouncing back from adversity.
• To define resilience and explore some of the key elements, which can affect resilience and the ability to bounce back.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of any size.

Useful For:
Staff and managers at all levels.

You'll Need:
Enough bouncy rubber balls to give one to each participant. Ideally, its best to let participants take these away with them as a reminder of what they have learnt. They are excellent for illustrating the point that when we bounce back, we can bounce back even better (brighter, stronger, cleverer).

A range of bright and colourful bouncy balls can be purchased from Trainers' Market.

Notes:
This exercise can be used with large groups, provided that you have plenty of space. Participants need to have enough space to spread out and to bounce rubber balls on the ground and to bounce them to and from a partner. It is important that they can do this without being fearful of breaking windows, ornaments etc., if a ball goes awry. An outside space may be ideal if available and weather permits.

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Change Management Word Search
20
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Change Management Word Search

Time:
The exercise in this module can be completed in about 20 minutes. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing about 35 minutes for this module.

Aims:
• To encourage participants to think about and remember key learning points relating to managing change.

Group Size:
This module can be used with groups of any size.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing other than the materials provided.

Notes:
This Word Search contains key learning points, rather than key words, so as well as providing an interesting icebreaker option; it can also be used as the basis for an effective review exercise.
The time required for this exercise depends on how much time you want to allow for discussion about the significance of the key phrases found.

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Changing Partners - Feelings Towards Change
20
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Changing Partners - Feelings Towards Change

Time:
The exercise in this module can be completed in about 20 minutes. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing about 35 minutes for this module.

Aims:
• To recognise the impact of imposed change on people. It also acts an energiser between other change sessions.

Group Size:
This module can be used with large groups of more than 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing other than the materials provided.

Notes:
You may want to read the article ‘When Change Really Hurts’ by Sheila Williams, which is available in Trainers’ Library. This provides background information about the change curve, which you may want to reference in your discussion.

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Course Introduction - A Basic Introduction to Training Events
45
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Course Introduction - A Basic Introduction to Training Events

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 15 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 45 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To welcome the participants.
• To introduce the facilitator(s) and participants to each other.
• To introduce the facilities.
• To agree the course objectives and timetable.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of any size.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing, other than the materials provided.

Notes:
This initial introductory module allows the facilitator to find out more about the participants, to understand their expectations and to match them as closely as possible to the course objectives. By getting participant agreement at the start of the course, boundaries are set for what will and will not be covered. Where necessary the facilitator will be able to change or alter activities that will not meet participants' requirements or to spend more time on those that will. The objectives and expectations can then be reviewed at the end of the day.

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Feelings Cards - Icebreakers
20
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Feelings Cards - Icebreakers

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 5 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 20 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To introduce participants to one another.
• To encourage participants to share their perceptions of the organisation they work for.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing, other than the materials provided.

Notes:
You will need to create a set of Feelings Cards for each person.

The Feelings Cards can be used in many different ways and for many different situations. These notes explain three ways of using them in a simple icebreaker. Two slightly more complex training exercises are explained in Training Modules.

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Feelings Towards Change
30
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Feelings Towards Change

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 15 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 30 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To identify how participants feel about change.
• To discuss the reasons for these reactions to change.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing, other than the materials provided.

Notes:
This exercise can be used as the basis of an in depth module, with lots of discussion for change managers. It is equally useful though as a simple warm-up exercise introducing training around change, with a shorter discussion of the key points.

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Filing Frenzy!
30
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Filing Frenzy!

Skills tested by this teambuilding game/training module:
Attention to Detail, Accuracy, Process Improvement, Communication, Teamwork, Goal Setting, Motivation, Information Sharing, Problem Solving.

Background:
In this exercise participants work individually or in teams to sort a pack of specially designed ‘cards’ into categories following selected instructions carefully.

Originally designed to test and develop attention to detail and accuracy, the exercise can also be used as an energiser to develop teamwork, goal setting and process improvement.

The exercise can also be used to show reactions to change and is a particularly effective tool for demonstrating the transition curve and in particular the effect change has on short term performance.

Timing
Filing Frenzy is normally run as a series of intermittent energisers, with each ‘round’ taking about 10 minutes to run.

Requirements
All material required for this exercise are provided. For durability and ease of use, you might like to consider laminating the game cards.

PLEASE NOTE:
This exercise may not be suitable for participants who are colour blind or visually impaired.

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Getting Knotted! - Teamwork and Communication
30
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Getting Knotted! - Teamwork and Communication

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 15 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 30 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To test participants’ team and communication skills.
• To test participants’ abilities to work together to analyse and solve a problem.
• To provide a high energy energiser, or introduction to training.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
String.

Notes:
This exercise involves bending and twisting and may not be suitable for all participants. Please remind participants to take care in this exercise.

Whilst the lengths of string are not essential (participants can simply hold hands) they do give participants more room to move and can reduce encroachment on ‘personal space’. Nevertheless, participants are going to be working in close proximity to each other in this exercise!

You will need a minimum of six participants for this exercise, and it works better with larger numbers than this in each team.

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Hopes and Fears - Establishing Aims and Objectives
45
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Hopes and Fears - Establishing Aims and Objectives

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 20 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 45 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To establish participants’ worries about the training they’re attending.
• To identify what participants are hoping for in the training.
• To help establish/develop some objectives and ground rules for the training.
• To encourage an atmosphere of empathy and mutual support.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 15 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
• A hat or other receptacle.
Hats can be purchased from Trainers' Market.

Notes:
This can be a really useful introduction to training that participants might be worried about. A typical example is presentation skills, where participants are often worried about having to make a presentation to fellow participants.

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Horror and Happy Ever After Stories - Sharing Experiences
30
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Horror and Happy Ever After Stories - Sharing Experiences

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 15 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 30 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To provide an opportunity for participants to share good and bad experiences.
• To gather real-life examples that can be referred to throughout the training.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing other than the materials provided.

Notes:
Our thanks to Buffy Sparks for her help in writing this icebreaker.

This exercise can be adapted to training on almost any topic, including, for example, sales, performance management, negotiation, change.

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Metaphor - Aims and Objectives
30
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Metaphor - Aims and Objectives

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 10 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 30 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To identify how participants are feeling.
• To explore their thoughts, fears and concerns in a comfortable way.
• To establish learning objectives for the course or programme.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
Nothing other than the materials provided.

Notes:
This icebreaker can be useful for putting participants at ease. It provides a tool through which participants can highlight concerns and areas for personal development in a non-threatening and potentially humorous way. It is particularly useful when training around areas that participants may feel uncomfortable about or which they may find challenging.

The use of the metaphor makes it easier for participants to discuss their own development needs and any challenges that they face.

Depending on the subject matter, it is also possible to use the metaphor as a theme for the course or programme. Course handouts and other materials can be branded and themed around the metaphor that is used.

You will need to spend some time in advance of the session choosing a suitable metaphor for the topic(s) to be covered in the training.

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My Picture Says... - Identifying Values and/or Objectives
30
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My Picture Says... - Identifying Values and/or Objectives

Time:
The exercise in this module can be completed in about 20 minutes. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing about 30 minutes.

Aims:
• To provide an opportunity for participants to learn something about each other.
• To help participants learn more about each other’s values and motivators.
Or
• To help participants identify group and individual objectives for the course/workshop they’re attending.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to about 15 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
For Version1:
A selection of images, each printed on to an A4 sheet of paper. The images could be very varied and include, for example, abstract images, landscapes, animals, people and holiday scenes.

For Version 2:
A selection of images from Trainers’ Images (or a similar resource) that could be used to illustrate particular challenges, behaviours or problems that might be relevant to the participants.

Notes:
The time needed for this exercise will be influenced by the number of participants in your group. Allow 5 minutes for the initial exercise and 2 minutes for each participant to explain their choice.

We’d like to thank Nicki Davey of Saltbox Training and Events (www.salt-box.co.uk) for the idea for this icebreaker.

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Pass the Baton - Sharing Positive and Negative Experiences
30
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Pass the Baton - Sharing Positive and Negative Experiences

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 15 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 30 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To encourage participants to share good and bad experiences relevant to the subject of your course/workshop.
• To help identify issues related to the topic.
• To help participants identify key learning objectives for the course/workshop.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
For this exercise you will need a baton, or two. (Two is nice, because you can have a red one for the negative experiences and a green one for the positives). You can make a baton out of rolled up paper, or alternatively, for a fun twist, you might like to replace your batons with sticks of rock (candy), with the 'winner' from each round keeping the rock as a prize.

Notes:
This is a simple, fun exercise that really does encourage participants to disclose information about difficult situations they may have faced that are relevant to the course/workshop you are facilitating. It also enables positive experiences to be shared.

The icebreaker can be adapted to almost any topic, including for example, customer service, appraisals, negotiation skills and recruitment.

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Postcard Review - Post-Training Review
15
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Postcard Review - Post-Training Review

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 10 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 15 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To provide a memorable review of training participants have received.
• To remind participants of key learning points or action points from a course or workshop.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
A selection of picture postcards - one postcard per participant, and a few spare ones.

Select postcards with a variety of images: Countryside, coastal, historic buildings, modes of transport, animals etc.

Notes:
This exercise was developed from an idea submitted by Barbara Buffton. Barbara Buffton is an international training consultant, performance coach and published author. Much of her experience (and her clients keep coming back for more) is with large multi-national companies. She has had four books published, including The Which? Guide to Choosing a Career (1998).

Her most recent book, Follow Your Dream, is available from http://www.bookshaker.com/product_info.php?products_id=134

Contact Barbara on info@bbassociates.freeserve.co.uk

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Sweet Review - A Simple Review/Preview Exercise
20
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Sweet Review - A Simple Review/Preview Exercise

Time:
This exercise will take about 15 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 20 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To encourage participants to review learning.
• To encourage transfer and personal application of learning.
• To check understanding.
• To agree any changes to a training agenda.
• To check that participants’ objectives are being met.

Group Sizes:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to about 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
For this exercise you will need sweets of various colours – enough sweets for each person to take at least two. Avoid using nut-based sweets (e.g., Peanut M&Ms) due to the risk of allergy.

Notes:
This exercise provides a simple, fun and totally random way of reviewing learning or setting up any desired outcomes for the day ahead.

Prior to the exercise you will need to devise a different question/request for each sweet colour you have.

For example, for a review, you might use:
• Red: Tell me what was your most useful learning point from the course.
• Yellow: What one thing will you do differently as a result of being here?
• Green: Who else will you need to share your learning or ideas with for it to be successful?
• Brown: What action are you going to take tomorrow as a result of your attendance on this course?

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The Winning Post - Celebrating Goals and Objectives
30
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The Winning Post - Celebrating Goals and Objectives

Time:
The exercise in this module will take about 15 minutes to complete. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 30 minutes to complete this module.

Aims:
• To assess progress against programme and personal objectives.
• To provide participants with an opportunity to reflect upon the impact of the training so far.
• To focus on achievement in a fun way.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with groups of up to 25 participants.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels.

You'll Need:
• Coloured clay or Plasticine (available to buy from Trainers' Market).
• Wet wipes.
• A camera is nice but not essential.

Notes:
This exercise is designed to be used as an energiser and to assess participants’ feelings and sense of progress in a creative and enjoyable way. It is especially suited to open-minded, creative groups and is useful on training and development programmes where participants attend over a series of separate days.

The exercise is also easily adapted for use as an icebreaker, or as part of the review process.

For the exercise you will need a selection of pots or packs of coloured modelling clay or plasticine. We also recommend that you provide wet wipes for your participants, who may get a bit messy.

If available, a camera can be used to record the results.

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Working in Remote Teams
15
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Working in Remote Teams

Time:
The exercise in this module can be complete within 15 minutes. In total, allowing for discussion, we recommend allowing 30 minutes to complete the module.

Aims:
• To understand all of the different elements needed to make remote teams successful.
• To generate creative ideas to summarise what remote teams require as a base for sharing knowledge and completing tasks.
• To challenge participants to work together against the clock to come up with examples of descriptive words.

Group Size:
This module is suitable for use with all group sizes.

Useful For:
Staff at all levels, especially those who are about to start or are already working as a remote team.

You'll Need:
Nothing other than the materials provided.

Notes:
This activity can be used for any size group. The exercise works best with participants who are just about to start working remotely, but can also be used as a re-energiser when remote teams become bogged down or 'stuck'. This activity can also be used with Team Leaders at the start of projects.

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