Every now and then I have team trainers approaching me and asking about ideas for team building trust activities. How can we create trust in a specific setting? The good thing is that there are loads of trust activities out there – trustfall, blindwalk, trust wave to name few. The bad thing is that having lunch together usually works better than any of these.
I believe that people build trust in everyday situations, and they also lose this trust in their everyday activities. If people do it themselves every day then the real question is – how much is it actually worth to have trust in your team? Or how much are you loosing for not having the trust?
There is a simple exercise that will show that. It is not made up by me, I saw it in a team training some 20 years ago and it is still going strong.
The idea of the exercise is that in addition to the overall goal, every person has their own goal. Some of these goals might be to work against the group goal. If you are a boardgame lover then you might draw parallels to the popular boardgame Saboteur.
The cool thing is that the skewed setup shows quite well what the difference is between having and not having trust in your team.
It is a 30 minute indoor, sitting down exercise, so everybody will love it. The best setup is for 3 teams (4 can be used if needed) and you need an instructor (or checker) for every team.
When debriefing, it is important to make it very clear that the whole exercise is skewed and results do not in any way show the true capabilities of the teams. The exercise is just to show the difference between having and not having trust within a team.
The whole setup with facilitation and debriefing ideas is included in the downloadable pdf. Download it here, print out one piece, add a few decks of cards and you have all you need to run the activity.