Most psychological testing exercises will evoke some form of reaction on the participant’s part. An action that will cause the individual to evaluate their perspective on the exercise they have just taken and what it means to their lives. Dr. J. DeLayne Stroud shares some simple exercises that HR and Training Departments can engage in to create constructive change in support of and for the benefit of departments that are planning of organizational change, working through a change initiative or have realized that there is significant push back by a groups of employees. The exercises are simple, the results are illuminating.
The following exercise is conducted in pairs, and lasts about 45 minutes. See what you can discover about yourself.
Exercise – Change Your Look
- Tell participants that they are going to assist in an experiment about making changes. I would not mention that it is a game. Obtain their buy-in ahead of time with their agreement to live with the changes made until the experiment is over. Reassure them that the experiment only lasts 30 minutes, and they will not have to do anything that they feel uncomfortable with.
- Number participants off in groups of two and have each pair stand facing each other.
- Ask the participants to determine which one will observe and which one will make the changes.
- Tell the observer to study their partner closely because their partner will be making a few changes.
- Next, the observer from each pair should turn their back (or close their eyes) and ask the other person to make five changes to their physical appearance. This could mean moving their watch from one wrist to the other, removing a shoe, taking off jewelry or a tie, or removing their glasses. Give participants 30 seconds to complete the changes.
- Participants may face each other again, all eyes open and ask the partner who did not make changes to identify as many changes as possible. Allow about 30 seconds for this.
- Do a couple more rounds of steps 5 through 7.
- Finally, ask participants to make 10 changes in 20 seconds. You will likely get some resistance at this point. When you start to get verbal resistance, stop and move to the discussion questions.
- How did it feel to be asked to make so many changes?
- What are some things that make people resistant to change?
- What can you do to make it easier for people in your organization to accept the changes associated with Lean and Six Sigma?
Begin with the preceding questions. At some point participants will begin to refer to the changes made during the exercise. When this starts to happen, ask the following questions:
- Why is it difficult to maintain changes once they are made?
- What kind of support is necessary to maintain the changes associated with Lean and Six Sigma?
When providing instructions for this exercise, obtain agreement from the participants that they will maintain whatever changes are made until the exercise is over. Prompt the group to think about and share their own personal emotions related to making changes.
Some participants may make the point that these changes are not like changes being made in the organization. If this happens, acknowledge the validity of the statement, but ask how these changes – and people’s reactions to them – are similar.
J. DeLayne Stroud is a Master Black Belt project manager with DeLeeuw Associates, a division of Conversion Services International. He retired from Bank of America in 2005 with more than 20 years of experience as an executive in project and change management in the banking industry. He has led multiple Six Sigma initiatives, including Design for Six Sigma and Lean initiatives. He can be reached at email@example.com.