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Leadership Library

Team Building Activities

The Key to Fort Knox team bulding activities kit includes 60 lbs.of events in rolling duffel bags, stuffed with events and a field guide with concise instructions to set up, run and debrief each event. Activities can be held in a conference room, classroom, or out in nature. You may select the entire kit or any of the specific activities below. Unless otherwise indicated, the total time needed for each exercise is approximately 30 to 45 minutes and should not exceed 60 minutes.

Alphabet Soup

This event is designed to stimulate dialogue about how team members can work together to be more efficient and effective. Insight is gainted into how teams can work toward continual improvement. Participants will learn how to discover the best way for the team to get a job done.
Outcomes  >  Communication  •  Problem Solving

Bull Ring

The challenge of this event is to carry a small ball using a metal ring and rope —  a “bull ring” — through a series of obstacles and place the ball into a goal. Bull Ring utilizes physical movement and cooperation. It also takes coordination to keep the ball on the ring. This is a great activity for new groups.
Outcomes  >  Communication  •  Problem Solving  •  Teamwork

Chain of Command

Traditionally an icebreaker, this event is designed to get the group interacting and having fun while recognizing the need for good communication, leadership and teamwork. Participants will recognize the inherent difficulties in some organization structures, such as the typical hierarchy and the chain of command. This event is a great way to get people touching each other without being threatened.
Outcomes  >  Communication  •  Icebreaker  •  Problem Solving  •  Trust Building

Change Five

Are you ready for change? This is a great game for helping people integrate change into their daily lives. After this activity the group will be able to identify some of the resistance to change we all share.
Outcomes  >  Icebreaker  •  Integrating Change  • Perspectives  •  Trust Building

China Syndrome

Creativity, group coordination, communication, leadership, perseverance, determination and many other team and personal skills will be put to the test during this activity. In the beginning this event is often considered impossible and causes stress for some participants. The power of the lesson learned is gained from pushing past the stress and realizing how important it is for teams to find different ways to look at situations and support each other even when there is no clear path and no one is the expert.
Outcomes  >  Coaching  •  Communication  •  Critical Thinking  •  Problem Solving

Don’t Touch Me

Don’t Touch Me will challenge the team to think outside the box and challenge the actual and implied rules. Warning: this event can lead to major paradigm shift. Once a team discovers the self-imposed rules they will begin to see the solutions.
Outcomes  >  Icebreaker  •  Leadership  •  Problem Solving  •  Team Creativity

Get It Together

The purpose of this exercise is to practice clear communication and learn to trust team members during challenging and confusing times. In organizations, workers are often considered students and administrators are usually coaches. This event will remind all participants what it feels like to be in the other role and should lend insight into how to improve the relationship between the manager and the employee.
Outcomes  >  Coaching  •  Communication  •  Trust Building

Group Juggling

Most jobs include heavy amounts of juggling. We also come up against significant barriers, which must be broken through to increase performance. In this event participants will juggle as many items as fast as possible, without dropping them. This activity simulates a working environment where chaos rules, people are going many different directions, and lots of energy and resources are used to keep all the plates spinning. Participants identify what is needed to break through limitations, think creatively, and focus on the most efficient way to complete tasks.
Outcomes  >  Communication  •  Group Processes  •  Teamwork

Have You Ever?

Traditionally an icebreaker, this event is designed to get the group interacting and having fun. It provides an opportunity to notice similarities and commonalities, and sets a tone for the rest of the day. Total time needed is approximately 10 to 15 minutes and should not exceed 25 minutes.
Outcomes  >  Icebreaker  •  Helping Groups Discover the Benefit of Sharing Information  •  Pure Fun

Knot a Team

This exercise will bring group members closer together as it involves close physical proximity as well as interdependence among participants. Being physically close creates a setting for cohesiveness and teamwork, and helps break down the invisible walls people build around themselves. The tools it will take to unravel the knot are the same tools the team will need to overcome challenges they will face in work and life.
Outcomes  >  Communication  •  Critical Thinking  •  Problem Solving

Knot or Not a Knot

Most jobs involve a heavy amount to decision making. This team building activity simulates how we make decisions when given time and when we are under time pressure. It challenges the group to make a decision and stand by it, understand and accept the decisions of others, and see the whole picture and not just the “critical information.” Participants identify what is needed to break through limitations, think creatively and focus on the most efficient way to come to a decision.
Outcomes  >  Communication  •  Perspectives  •  Trust Building

Learning Maze

The Learning Maze applies to every area of our lives, and the meaning each group discovers is always different. The maze helps groups identify how the team treats mistakes (beeps) and who discovers when a mistake is made. Stepping into the unknown is necessary for any team to grow and move ahead, and the only question they can answer is how well they ar doing in the process. This is a good event for uncovering team processes and discussing trust and support issues.
Outcomes  >  Coaching  •  Communication  •  Group Processes

Let Go My Ego

The power of each person to influence the success of the team is never clearer than in this activity. Participants must overcome frustration and resist the temptation to blame each other in order to accomplish the task. they learn that in the face of challenge it is often easier to sacrifice integrity and behave opposite of their intention. The exercise helps participants choose healthier ways of reacing. The team members must work through frustrations and differences of opinion to solve this magically difficult event.
Outcomes  >  Coaching  •  Critical Thinking  •  Perpectives  •  Teamwork

Magic Carpet

The purpose of this exercise is to inspire team members’ ownership and accountability for change. This is a great opportunity for team members to voice their commitment to change to the rest of the team. The challenge itself is simple, fun and a great physical metaphor. It is a fun and powerful event to do near the end of a program when participants are beginning to see the value of their own learning.
Outcomes  >  Communication  •  Group Processes  •  Integrating Change  •  Teamwork

Orange Ball Race

This exercise shows the necessity of each person’s role and responsibility in order for the team to succeed. The team will also see the benefit of efficience and how each person is a link in the chain.
Outcomes  >  Collaboration vs. Competition  •  Problem Solving  •  Teamwork

Perfect Square

The Perfect Square is an easy event that can be very powerful. The focus is on leadership skills and the degree of group participation in the exercise reveal interesting dynamics that allow participants to learn from one another. The activity demonstrates interdependence while highlighting how difficult, but important, reaching consensus can be.
Outcomes  >  Communication  •  Group Processes  •  Teamwork

River Crossing

River Crossing requires clear communication as well as the passing of critical information from person to person. This event will show what happens when there are gaps in communication and the resulting frustration will be a source of long dialogue. The goal of the exercise is to have the entire team involved, demonstrate the power of teamwork and show the interdependence teams have. This is a fun activity that your group will not forget.
Outcomes — Coaching  •  Communication  •  Problem Solving

Search and Rescue

The art of cooperation is something we are taught as children but still have a hard time applying as adults. The goal here is to have the entire team involved, demonstrate the power of teamwork and show the interdependence teams have. You may use many variations of this activity to achieve different outcomes.
Outcomes  >  Coaching  •  Communication  •  Critical Thinking  •  Problem Solving

Supply Chain

The purpose of this exercise is to physically demonstrate the metaphor that every member of a team is an important link in the chain. This event is also a good way to examine individual team member’s sense of value and accountability to their team.
Outcomes  >  Communication  •  Problem Solving  •  Pure Fun

Team Shackles

The purpose of this exercise is to challenge a team’s belief that something is impossible. It is also a great way to explore people’s willingness to ask for help or give help if it will benefit the whole team.
Outcomes  >  Helping Groups Discover the Benefit of Sharing Information

Tied In Knots

This simple exercise is designed to help the group practice consensus building and decision making. Everyone can participate and it is a great precursor to more complex problem-solving exercises or workshops. The exercise can be run equally well inside or outside. It has been designed to run on a conference room table or in any small room, and is a great event to start off a meeting in which the group will have to make a decision together or solve a problem.
Outcomes  >  Consensus Building  •  Group Decision Making  •  Problem Solving

Traffic Jam

This exercise explores leadership issues within the team, and the communication difficulties inherent in how groups are structured (in a line).
Outcomes  >  Communication  •  Leadership Group Processes

Trust Walk

This is one of the most powerful and, ironically, one of the simplest events. Trust Walk is about leading, following, trusting and communicating. Many leadership styles emerge during this event. Some find it difficult to be responsible for another person’s safety and others find it exhilarating. To trust or give up control can be very hard for some people. Whatever the experience, the Trust Walk is a powerful learning opportunity.
Outcomes  >  Communication  •  Leadership  •  Trust Building

Warp Speed

One of the kit’s best initiatives, this exercise can be used indoors or out and works well early or later in a training session. It requires successive levels of thinking outside the box for success.
Outcomes  >  Coaching  •  Collaboration vs. Competition  •  Icebreaker  •  Group Processes  •  Teamwork

Who Are You?

This activity is designed to help participants experience the different levels of communication. While simple on paper, the experience is powerful as the participants move through the levels of communication. Using this activity at the beginning is best. Total time needed is approximately 10 to 15 minutes and should not exceed 25 minutes.
Outcomes  >  Communication  •  Helping Groups Discover the Benefit of Sharing Information

Win Win Win

This event demonstrates the effects of competition within groups and the power of collaboration. Unless groups identify a common goal, they will compete against each other and ultimately fail as a group. If the teams all collaborate instead of compete, they will be able to achieve the highest score possible.
Outcomes  >  Collaboration vs. Competition