The Empathy Expedition is a dynamic and game-like roleplay exercise designed to develop emotional intelligence, leadership, and change management skills in an engaging and entertaining way. Participants will embark on a fictional journey through various challenging scenarios, where they must demonstrate empathy, active listening, and adaptability as they navigate change and lead their teams to success. You could also turn this into a competitive game between groups by allocating points to various performance criteria.
Examine change management scenarios and practice handling them in teams.
What You Need
- Challenge Cards. Each explains a challenging leadership and change management scenario. If you know the background of your delegates, design these based on their specific circumstances and the change they are going through. The power of this exercise rests on the quality of the scenarios designed and presented here: the more related they are to the background of the delegates, the more they would get out of this exercise.
- Divide participants into teams of 3 or 4 members and assign each team a team leader.
- Introduce the concept of the Empathy Expedition and set the scene for the fictional journey through a time of significant organisational change.
- Provide each team with a set of Challenge Cards representing different leadership and change management scenarios. These cards will outline specific challenges related to team dynamics, employee resistance to change, and conflicting emotions during the transition.
- Let each team pick a random Challenge Card, which will be their unique scenario for the game.
- Teams have 15 minutes to prepare their responses and strategies for their assigned scenario. The team leader will facilitate the discussion and decision-making process.
- The game begins with each team enacting their scenario while other teams play the role of employees, stakeholders, or colleagues experiencing the changes proposed by the team leader.
- During the roleplay, team leaders must demonstrate empathy, active listening, and effective communication to address emotions, concerns, and resistance among their “team members” (which is other participating teams in this exercise).
- As each team presents their scenario, other teams will provide feedback and suggestions for improvement.
- Time Trial. Each team has a limited time to navigate their scenario, enhancing decision-making skills under time pressure.
- Empathy Points. Teams earn points based on their ability to show empathy, active listening, and understanding during the roleplay.
Explaining the Exercise: 5 minutes
Activity: 15 minutes examining scenarios depicted by Challenge Cards + 10 minutes for each team to present their scenario and facilitate discussions = 15 min + 10 x N teams min
Group Feedback: 10 minutes
- Gather all teams for a debriefing session after completing the roleplay scenarios.
- Facilitate a lively discussion on the challenges faced, successful strategies used, and the importance of empathy and effective communication in leadership and change management.
- Encourage teams to share their experiences, the emotions they encountered, and how they addressed them during the game.
- Relate the game experiences to real-life leadership and change management situations, discussing the impact of empathy on team morale, collaboration, and successful implementation of change initiatives.
- Recognise and celebrate teams’ achievements, highlighting specific instances of exemplary empathy and leadership skills displayed during the game.
- Conclude the session by reinforcing the significance of empathy as a crucial skill for effective leadership and driving positive change in organisations.
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