Build Trust in 20 Minutes or Less

As a teambuilding facilitator, I am constantly asking my clients, “what are your goals and expectations for your teambuilding experience.”  Almost without fail, the answer is “increased trust between the members of our team.”

Building a foundation of trust has lasting benefit, long beyond the teambuilding experience.  Trust leads to cohesion, cohesion leads to an environment where team members are willing to take a chance with their ideas and suggestions.  Those fresh ideas often lead to innovation, and an environment that supports innovation is more likely to breed success.  It all begins with trust.

Here’s an activity that doesn’t require much in the way of expert facilitation.  I run it with nearly every group whose main focus is building trust.  The activity  is almost always received positively, and often leads to a rapid gain in vulnerability-based trust.

My Favorite Scar –

Find a quiet place for a discussion.  Frame the activity as a trust activity, and one that should be taken relatively seriously.  Ask your group to select and share a story about one of the following topics:

  • Your favorite scar – where is it and how it happened
  • A funny childhood story
  • The coolest thing that ever happened to you
  • The scariest thing that ever happened to you
  • Something people would be surprised to learn about you

This is not meant to be a therapy session, but the activity does give the group an opportunity to share stories that they might not normally share with their fellow team members.

I always hold a short debrief, often asking quite simply, “what is the value of an activity like this?” and then follow with a quick, fun, moving activity.  For many of my corporate groups, this simple trust activity has been one of the highlights of the day.

Hope it works for you!