Team activity — React to change

This team-building activity can help develop awareness of how we react to change. 

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Time required

Approximately 30 minutes, depending on group size.


Prior to the meeting, you may wish to personally review a change process/cycle model, to be familiar with basic steps and issues at each stage. An example is the SlideShare of William Bridges’: Managing Transition.

Do not share in advance what this activity is about. At the meeting, once everyone has taken their seats, ask team members to get up and change chairs. Don’t look them in the eye or give any explanation. If they ask, just say they must move to any seat other than the one they were in, and they should take their things with them. 

If you’re doing this virtually, you might consider giving everyone a new link to a different online learning space as above, don’t give any explanation. If they ask why, just say that it’s necessary. 

Once everyone is back, ask for volunteers to share what they felt or experienced during or after the request to change seats. 

Suggested wording 

I want you to think about what you thought or felt when you were forced to change chairs [or meeting space]. Having change thrust upon us with little or no explanation can be stressful. We may feel resentment, annoyance or something else. 

OK, let’s have each person share what they experienced when forced to change without knowing why. 


You could link what the group shares to the various steps in William Bridges’ change process/cycle model. 

The purpose of this activity is to convey ideas to help team members manage change in the workplace. These may include the notions that:

  • Change is rarely straightforward. It is often complex and messy.
  • Change can take time, and patience is important.
  • Change can cause anxiety. It’s important to share and demonstrate an understanding of our fears and concerns, to help reduce this anxiety.
  • Sometimes it can be helpful to explore possibilities and take reasonable risks.
  • We do not all react the same way to change. 

Suggested wording 

There are two things to consider here – we need to do our best to prepare people for change and explain the purpose of the change. The other is that we can be aware of our own stress related to change and take steps to seek clarity, in order to gain a better sense of control. 

Find more activities like this at Team building activities.

Contributors include.articlesWilliam J. Pallett

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