How to Build a Coalition For Change | Learning & Development | Primeast

Throughout the process of transformational change, it’s imperative that teams work together, with a shared vision and commitment to achieve the goals of that vision. You’ll need to employ strategies for overcoming resistance to change

John Kotter’s eight-step change management framework provides change leaders with the process to execute sustainable organizational change. You’ll need to create urgency for change, and without vision, transformational change will fail

The need to build a guiding coalition for change

Inherent for sustainable change is the need to form a powerful coalition for change.

It is this team that will comprise the key people in driving effective change. It is imperative they work as a coordinated and coherent team, continuing to enthuse the wider organization with the future vision, reaffirming urgency, and building on momentum for change.

The people in your guiding coalition are likely to come from different backgrounds, different divisions and departments, and offer different skills and expertise. One of the major challenges for the change leader is to turn a group of individual leaders into a bonded team. This article describes why your team needs group bonding activities as part of its process to form a coalition for change. We also describe three group bonding activities which will help your team gel together.

Why you need group bonding activities

Effective teams share common goals. High performing team members are effective communicators, and have highly developed emotional intelligence. They are happy in each other’s company, and the team works in an atmosphere of trust. They are not afraid to offer honest feedback, and work collaboratively, especially when problem-solving.

Group bonding activities should be designed to promote:

  • Respect for colleagues
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Communication ability

They should enable team members to better know their colleagues, and identify skills and expertise needed throughout the change process.

Here are three team building exercises that will help you achieve these aims:

The dream vacation

This is an activity that helps colleagues discover more about each other. Divide into pairs or fours, and task each person to map out their dream vacation. Tell them they have been rewarded with a month’s paid leave from work, and money is not a limiting factor. When planning vacations, each person should include as much detail as possible. For example:

  • Destinations
  • Mode of transport
  • Who is going
  • Trips and activities during the vacation
  • Etc.

Time given for this part of the task is 15 minutes.

Once vacations have been planned, each person should describe vacation plans to his or her teammates. Encourage teammates to ask about motivations, spending plans, why they have chosen who should accompany them on vacation, etc.

This exercise not only acts to encourage people to share what is important to them, but helps others to learn what makes their colleagues tick. It is likely to reveal some surprises along the way.

The blindfolded rope square

This is a physical activity designed to increase communication skills.

Gather teams of up to 12 people in a loosely bunched group. Place a blindfold on each, and position a rope of around 10 meters in length on the floor, entwined between them. Ask them to spin around a few times, and then tell them the rope is within their reach. Their task is to use the rope to form a square, using only verbal communication. The group should say when they have finished, at which point they remove their blindfolds.

If they have been successful, congratulate them. If not, ask them what they could have done to improve their performance. In this task, you will also discover leaders and followers, and should give people the opportunity to dissect team performance afterwards.

Confessor and critic

Designed to develop emotional intelligence, honesty, and communication ability.

Explain to the team the basics of emotional intelligence, and how negative emotional responses tend to prevent teamwork. 

Divide the group into pairs, and ask each person to describe to their partner a weakness they possess. Examples might be: being too domineering or too subservient; being disorganized; being obstructive; over-eating or drinking; sulkiness; etc. An example of a real incident should be given.

The other person acts as a critic, and gives a negative appraisal to the confession made. This should include blame given in a judgemental way, and being uncaring.

Each person then takes a few minutes to write down what it felt like to give and hear the confession and the criticism.

After this, the critic should then give a positive appraisal to the confessor. Instead of being judgemental, discuss the weakness in an understanding and caring manner.

Repeat the appraisal part of the exercise after this positive criticism.

This is a good exercise to commit team members to consider how to find solutions, improve and develop, rather than play the blame game.

Design your group bonding activity for your group

Group bonding activities come in many formats. The ones you use should be designed with your group in mind. For example, physical challenges may not suit all. Workshops or team bonding weekends are often best for teams that lack confidence.

To discover how Team Building sessions will help your organization produce high performing change leadership teams contact Forward Focus today. 

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