Alternating Hand Grips

This is an exercise developed by Jerry Weinberg http://www.geraldmweinberg.com. I've used this exercise extensively in situations where I'm going to have the same group of people for several days (3 or more).

This is either an exercise or a LearningCycle depending on the follow-through.


Ask the students to clasp their hands together, interlocking their fingers. After a few moments, ask them to note which thumb is "on top."

Ask them to take their hands apart.


Ask the students to clasp their hands together again, this time making sure the other thumb is "on top." Give them enough time to have some experience.


Part 1

Ask the students for their experience. Ask them how they would describe it. Make a list of what they have to say.

Part 2

Discuss SatirChangeModel. Relate that to this class.

Mention that some percentage of people, 10%, are in to change for the sake of change. Another percentage, 10%, are not going to change at any cost. In the middle we have two other groups, early and late adopters.


This is where we may not have a learning cycle or we might. If the issues of change management are part of the overall goals of the workshop, course, etc. then we need to plan to apply this model during the remainder of the course in some way.

On the other hand, if we're just setting context for a course and using this as an ice breaker, we might just have the students apply this to the course and their return to work. If so:
  • Ask them how this applies to their forthcoming experience with this class.
  • Ask them how this applies when they go back to their job "next Monday."

Final Recommendations

Keep the list of what the students had to say visible for the entire course. When you start to notice resistance, frustration, or some sign that a student is somewhere else, ask them where they are on the list.