Trust Building™


The Trust Building™ exercise is an effective, high-energy team development activity for exploring the challenging issues of effective team membership and team leadership, driven by building trust in teams.



“The debrief helped me understand how personal bias impacts trust how much trust or distrust impacts team performance. Very powerful.

Senior Executive
Finance Industry

The Trust Building™ exercise highlights the value of trust in teams while uncovering the gross negative impact distrust has on team morale and performance.

The exercise is based on three factors related to creating trust – competence, concern for others, and authenticity. Trust Building also examines the creation of distrust and how a team can manage distrust and foster trust within the team.

Trust Building™ is a Level 2 Simulation

  • Participants (8-32 with one set of materials) are divided into 2-4 working teams tasked with reproducing the facilitator’s prototype.
  • Each participant takes on the role of either a Representative or a Builder.
  • In addition, one or two of the participants may be Distorters (either a Representative or a Builder), who will be attempting to sabotage the team’s efforts.
  • Each team is allowed to send one Representative at a time to view and make “mental notes” for the team related to the prototype.
  • The first team to successfully replicate the Prototype wins.
  • To learn how restricted or poor communication hinders the task
  • Understand how reduced trust has significant consequences for team process and team effectiveness – less information, less involvement, isolation, poor work results
  • To understand “labeling” someone as an outsider or untrustworthy makes it difficult fo the person to be effective, and unable to recover without someone else’s help – thus others in the team need to accept a leadership role even if they are not in a formal leadership position
  • Learn, each team member has more positive and negative power than they realize to affect team outcomes. They can do so unconsciously, or can be aware and take responsibility.
  • To consciously build trust and openness increases cooperation and improves work outcomes
  • Understand working toward complete transparency provides information needed for problem solving.
  • One set of 36 Trust Exercise pieces for the facilitator to create a prototype
  • One set of 36 Trust Exercise pieces for each team to use (total of four sets)
  • 40 laminated role cards for team members in a plastic case
  • Instructions for different prototype options
  • CD-ROM with facilitator materials and resources
  • A Quick-Read, 1-page Facilitator’s Guide
  • All materials are designed for durability and reuse for many years to come
  • Exercise Length: 1.5 hours without assessment, 2.0 hours with assessment
  • Number of Participants: 8-32 with one set of materials, many more if more than one set of materials is used
  • Space Required: 1 large room, 1 break-out room for each team, 1 room or secluded space for the prototype
  • Certification required: NO, this simulation is designed to be used right out of the box with a minimum amount of pre-planning