Gamifying Change: The Change Management Game

- Practices & Exercises

by Ralph van Roosmalen

Change. Change is easy and difficult. So many books have been written about change, how to change behavior, how to change organizations, how to change people, how to change whatever.

And on the other hand, almost everyone has a mobile phone nowadays. That change happened in less than 20 years and was not so hard.

Change is complex, and sometimes even close to chaotic. It is not easy to change things. The behavior of any change project is hard to understand and difficult to predict. However, we still want to change things for many reasons. Should we just give up and let things happen?

Nope, strongly disagree with that. You could look into Lean Change Management, developed by Jason Little. Lean Change Management is a feedback-driven approach to change management inspired by combining the best ideas from Agile, Lean Startup, Change Management and Design Thinking. This is how we believe it should work, every model is wrong, but when combined you can create a better model (that is still wrong 😉).

Jurgen Appelo also wrote a book about Change Management a few years ago. It is called “How to Change the World.” In this book, he describes four aspects of Change Management.

You need to understand that any organization is a complex system. It will never act exactly like you expect it will act. Therefore, you need to adapt to the system during your change project. You need to dance with the system.

People are part of your system. That is one of the reasons your organization is a complex system. You can’t and should not ignore people. Every person is different. Therefore make sure you mind the individual people.

Systems influence each other. Your team is influenced by other teams, your organization is influenced by other organizations. Behavior spreads through a complex system, it happens by the interaction between different people, and parts of the organization. You need to stimulate the network to get things going.

The behavior of people is strongly influenced by the environment in which they live. It is hard to change behavior, but the environment is something we can tweak. Because people’s behaviors depend on their environment, if you change the environment you change the people.

This results in the Management 3.0 Change model:

  • Dance with the System – using the PDCA model
  • Mind the People – using the ADKAR® model
  • Stimulate the Network – using the Adoption Curve model
  • Change the Environment – using the Five I’s model

It goes beyond the reach of this blog post to explain the four steps in depth. I would recommend you read the book How to Change the World to learn more about it.

If you want a chance to be successful, you need to cover all those four parts. How do you know you covered all parts? That is where the Change Management Game comes in!

We developed a game called the Change Management Game. The game exists using 34 cards that will help in your change. You can soon buy the official game in our shop.

You can now download the Change Management Game for free! Hop over, fill in the details, download, print, cut, and play with your team.

How does it work? Simple, schedule a meeting with your change agents. Shuffle the cards, and put them in a pile in the middle of the table. Make sure the text is facing down.

Change Management Game
Click for more info on the Management 3.0 Change Management Game

Pick a card, and read out the question. For example: Where are things going well? This card is part of Dance with the system. Can you answer this question? Did you ever think about this? Just try to answer as many cards as time permits. The answers will or will not confirm your thought about it already or give you new insights to help you change.

As with many Management 3.0 games, you can use them in many ways. Another approach could be to start a Change project. Schedule the kick-off meeting, and make sure you ordered a set of Change Management Game cards. Put the cards on the wall, randomly. Give all attendees sticky notes and a sharpie. Ask them to come up with ideas to implement some of the questions, or answers to the questions. Write them on a stickie note and put them next to the Change Management Game Card. Depending on the group, this will take 15-30 minutes. When you are done you can group them and remove duplicates. This will be excellent input for your new Change Canvas.

Photo: Steve Johnson (Unsplash)


One thought on "Gamifying Change: The Change Management Game"

  • Kate Keaney says:

    This looks great! It’s a great way to get the team engaged in discussion right from the start. Change is complex but this is a good start to taking on the challenge.

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