Action-Reflection: Change Activity

In leadership classes and organizational development courses, often conversations will go the route of theory. Theory is important because it can explain behavior. But, from a strategy standpoint, theories can only go so far. One way to groom leaders in the classroom is to give them activities that they actually “do” outside of class. It really works well if you tie the actions to a graded discussion or writing exercise.

Here is a great activity to experience the reality of change management:

  1. A change activity. In this one, ask your students to “change” up something about their day. This can be things like:
    1. Park in a different parking spot than where you normally park (at work, at church, at grocery store, etc)
    2. Sit in a different spot in a meeting
    3. Drive a different way (to work, to school, to church, to the grocery store, etc)
    4. Order something different off of your favorite restaurant menu
    5. Or, you can come up with a change of your own, but it must be approved before taking action
  2. It is recommended that the student make one change, on at least four days of the week. A student could choose to repeat the one change, if the firs time the change was attempted, they failed. (I.e., a student could decide to drive to work a different way, BUT they could experience forgetting to actually do it)

The results can show students that habits are POWERFUL. More importantly, there are some changes people can make easily, and there are some that can be incredibly hard. If a change is tied to something a student is more emotionally attached to, the change can be very hard. This is an important dynamic to understand in leading others in big change efforts in organizations.