Tool: Two Worlds of Trust

One of the common questions I get from colleagues is related to team awareness: “…Are there any games or team exercises that develop not only trust in teams, but also help to realize the importance of having this trust?” Below you will find an example of such an exercise.

Tool: Two Worlds of Trust

Goal: to increase awareness and importance of self-trust and trust in teams. To work together with a team to create a possible action plan for development.

Participants: Work in small groups, up to 5 people each. 

Timing: 120 minutes

❗️ Preparation: Prepare a coordinate system on the floor (as well as tape, stickers, markers) according to the picture below. The vertical axis represents the level of Trust (High-Low), the horizontal axis represents the two worlds (self-trust, trust inside team). Use smiley faces to mark the “mood” of each square as it is shown on the picture.

Step 0. As facilitator explain the schema to the team. Ask participants if they have any problems understanding it. If needed, discuss in brief the key terms: self-trust, its relation to the trust inside a team. You will need not more than 10 minutes for it. 

Round 1. Ideas Generation

The goal of this step is to discuss in small groups and write down as many answers as possible to the questions suggested by facilitator. Teams start moving from the bottom left square (1) to the upper right one (2) and then to the numbers 3 and 4 (see picture). Participants will need 10-15 minutes for each square.

Here are the questions for each area:

  1. Why don’t we like it, if our self-trust is poor?
  2. Why do we feel comfortable, if the level of trust inside a team is high?
  3. Why do we avoid a team with no trust?
  4. Why do we feel better, if we trust ourselves?

Make a short break for 5 minutes for coffee and refreshment. 

Round 2. Indicators

After the team has created answers for each area, we move on to analyzing the indicators or signs of transition between the “worlds.” We ask the team to carefully look at the results and, within the next 30 minutes, discuss and write down the signs that indicate the transformation from the upper world to the lower world. From a more comfortable zone to an uncomfortable one. These indicators will be placed on the horizontal axis.

❗️Tip: use stickers of a different color to separate indicators from ideas. 

Round 3. Action plan

As a result of the discussion, we have identified the signs (indicators) that can help us understand what matters for this particular team when it comes to trust inside a team and the self-trust. Now we need to think about improvements. We ask the team to analyze the indicators that we identified in the previous step and to decide, what indicators do we as a team have in reality right now. Write down actions that we can take together to make the situation better. These actions will be placed on the vertical axis at the top. Take 20 minutes for it.

At the end of the game ask an open question to the group to observe how they are feeling after the game. Note, if they are taking the game and action plan positively.

(Final step of the game should look like shown on the picture)


What we can achieve as a result:

  • Awareness of the importance of self-trust and trust inside the team
  • A set of indicators which can inform us about the status quo of trust in a team right now
  • A list of activities that can help the team to improve trust

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