Intense Trust Team Building Activity for 10-15 People and a Few Hours


“I need an intense trust primer for 10-15 people (I have not decided who should attend yet) and I have a few hours at my disposal.  What could I do for the group to get them to be able to understand how to repair and deepen trust?”


Trust comes from real vulnerability, not silly activities that poorly mimic ‘trust’.  If you want and intense trust session, the trust that people extend MUST be real, not ‘put-my-company-hat-on’ trust.  That means each person being vulnerable.  A GREAT trust building activity that is disguised as an ‘icebreaker’ is Who Are You?  You can find it in the Limited Materials Digital Kit (I am biased obviously, but everyone should buy this kit and have these activities in their back pocket – they are all awesome).

Who Are You quickly breaks down walls with an incredible shared experience.  Participants become vulnerable without even realizing it, extending trust in pairs.  It is not uncommon to see people hugging and even crying after the 15-minute activity.

This basic agenda works great for small groups, 10-15 participants is a great number, and has been the premise of long term work for me with executive teams and specifically in turn arounds and strategic interventions.

One of my favorite activities to hit hard on trust is the Trust Walk. Of course, we run our activities to connect heart and mind which is why we use mouse and rat traps in the course area!  NOTE – the traps are loaded in a certain way so they can NEVER go off.  If you purchase Trust Walk from us, they come with the activity.

Below is a short video of a Trust Building Activity called Trust Walk

Here is the basic agenda I have run in orientation programs for senior executives from GE:

Communication Introduction – 30 minutes with simple debrief

Beginning with an ‘elementary’ activity and establishing a basis for good communication is a great way to start.  We use Let Go My Ego as the activity.  While this seems VERY simplistic and much too easy for groups, it is incredibly challenging and will show the group immediately that what we KNOW and what we DO are two different things.

Finish with establishing communication rules for the remainder of the session.

Short discussion about Trust (using Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey) – 30 minutes – preferably in a circle:

  • What is trust?
  • Why is trust important?
  • What happens in an environment with low trust? High Trust
  • What happens when trust is broken or lost? Can it be repaired? (trying to get to some beliefs)

Show Business Case for Trust – 30 minutes
Use examples – read book for this:

  • Warren Buffets 23B acquisition of McLane from Walmart, NO due diligence and it took 30 days saving millions of dollars (High Trust = Speed up, Cost down)
  • Air Travel – Trust is low due to terrorism = Speed down, Cost up

Character and Competence (see graphic)Trust Principles The Tree

Use doctor example – I need heart surgery, I love and completely ‘Trust’ my wife. However, she will not need my surgeon! Is she upset that I don’t ‘Trust’ her? Of course not. I trust her character but not her competence in surgery.
Where else do we see this exact scenario playing out but with negative outcomes and people upset?


Put Character and Competence into ACTION! 45 Minutes

The Trust Walk (already set up with mouse and rat traps and people take their shoes off)

Further debrief and discussion about the Trust Walk

Trust Accounts – 15 Minutes

In every single action you take you are either adding or subtracting to your trust account with others. Short discussion.

Trust Taxes and Trust Dividends from your Trust Accounts:

  • Taxes – a person automatically discounts what you say by XX% due to low trust
  • Dividends – a person automatically gives you benefit of the doubt by XX% due to high trust

At this point, we are easily at the two hour mark and sometimes more. We might go several different directions from here, but ALWAYS end with application:

Application – 30 Minutes:

  • What are we going to do differently moving forward?
  • What are the small daily behaviors that will show us we are deliberately seeking to increase trust?
  • How will we recognize someone attempting to repair or deepen trust?

This is on our list to create for a Team Workout Series, which will be highly directive and detailed.

I hope this helps!

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