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SAMPLE Teambuilding Game: Focus Ring

It's called the "Focus Ring" because a team must focus their attention to succeed in this teambuilding exercise.

The goal is to transport a ball from point A to point B and then set the ball on top of the pedestal.

This is an ultra-portable teambuilding game for up to 10 people.  If you have more then 10 people, simply make extra Focus Rings and have multiple teams working at the same time.

Read Safety Warning


When you become a member of the IATF you'll receive immediate access to our growing online archive of teambuilding games plus you'll receive many other benefits.  CLICK HERE to learn more about the benefits of IATF membership.

Teambuilding Game: Focus Ring

  • Group Size: 4-10
  • Age Range: Elementary – adult
  • Intensity:  Mental=3, Physical=2
  • Time: 15-45 minutes
  • Space:  Minimal – Medium - Lots
  • Set Up Time: 90 seconds
  • Props: Focus Ring, pedestal and one ball to place on the pedestal


Using the Focus Ring, carry a ball from one point to another point and then place the ball onto the pedestal.

Set Up / Preparation

Each person in the group holds on to at least one string (depending on the size of the group, some will have more than one string).  The participants spread out like spokes of a wheel, holding on to the end of their string.  A tennis ball is then placed on top of the steel ring.


  1. Each participant gets to operate at least one string.
  2. Participants must hold onto the end of the string and no other place.
  3. Participants must stay at a distance of at least the length of a stretched out string (very important).
  4. If the ball falls off the steel ring the group must start again.
  5. If the pedestal falls over the group must start again.
  6. The group is successful when the ball is balanced on the pedestal and the ring is resting on the ground with no one holding onto a string.

Safety Warning

  1. Do not allow the participants to tie the string around their fingers or hands. 
  2. Do not carry balls that can damage the floor if they fall.
  3. If you ask the group to carry the ball through and around obstacles you must make sure the path they take is clear and safe.


  1. The Focus Ring activity gets its name from the fact that it requires a group to completely focus on the activity to achieve success.
  2. I like this activity because it’s so portable and you I can lead it with small and large groups.


  1. When a group works together to complete a task, the impact each person has can be profound.  In this activity, the ball can be caused to drop if even one person doesn’t do their job well.  This fact may prove useful to the group during the debrief (processing of the activity).
  2. I often ask a group to identify their most important goal and then ask them to identify the biggest obstacles to reaching this goal.  I then write the goal on the tennis ball using a marker and then place physical objects (tables, chairs, doors, etc.) in the path of the group – I even identify each obstacle with an index card (example: table = lack of adequate time).  Then I’ll make the group travel under the table, over the chairs, through the door, etc.  To debrief I’ll ask the group to describe how they handled each of the physical obstacles and how they may be able to use similar skills to handle the obstacles which are real to them in achieving their goal.


  1. Have the group transport the ball over, under or around chairs, trees, desks, doors, etc.
  2. Use a bigger ball such as softball to make this activity harder.
  3. Attach a marker to the center of the Focus Ring to allow the group to draw on a piece of paper as a team or take a multiple-choice test as a team (or draw a picture, etc.).  I call this variation “Robot Writer”. 
  4. Have two separate groups work together by placing their respective tennis balls on to a “dual pedestal” or candelabra.  For a really hard version, you can have four groups work together to place four balls on a four position candelabra.  Refer to the How To Make document for details on constructing these candelabras. 
  5. Rotate who can communicate verbally by announcing that only the people holding a certain color string can talk (orange for example). Allow them to talk for 1 minute and then change the color/people.  This variation allows everyone to talk and take a leadership role.


I learned this activity from Jim Cain who coauthored the book Teamwork & Teamplay.

How To Make It Directions

Click on the link below to download a set of "how to make it" directions. This is PDF document and is 7 MB in size.

Download FocusRingHTM.pdf


The images below show more complex versions of the Focus Ring activity. The first photos shows a pedestal which requires two teams of 10 people each to work cooperatively.  The second photo shows a pedestal which requires four teams of 10 people each to work cooperatively.

Another Sample Teambuilding Game Write-Up

CLICK HERE to view another sample teambuilding game write-up.

Focus_ring_pedestal_2 Focus_ring_pedestal_4

Lying team member stays on the team?

Randy Cohen has a column in the NY Times Magazine called "The Ethicist".  Readers of the magazine write in and ask Randy for his opinion on real life ethical dilemmas they are facing.

The December 24, 2006 issue has the following story:

When a co-worker of my husband's found out she had breast cancer, many of her duties were distributed to her peers to allow her time for treatment.  In September, it was revealed that she'd been faking the illness, but she continues on the job as usual.  My husband and many of his colleagues feel betrayed and angry by her deception and management's inaction.  What should be done?

There are two transgressors in this situation: the co-worker AND management.

To go through with such a lie as this, the co-worker is guilty of moral and/or mental problems and, like Randy, I can't imagine management knew of the lie in advance or condoned it.

In a situation like this Management has an amazing opportunity.  They can pull together and ask themselves what they did to create (or attract) this situation.

Yes, the leadership of the team (managers, ceo, etc.) is responsible for attracting people who will lie and hurt their fellow team members.  It's leadership that sets the tone, creates the rules, hires the staff, etc.

There are no victims in this story. 

No victims.

Not even the team members that feel betrayed and angry from the deception.  They aren't victims because they chose to join the team.

What type of people and situations is your team attracting?  Are you enjoying what you are attracted as a team?

What you experience as a team is a result of the collective level of consciousness of your team.

Though Randy Cohen doesn't address the concept of who created this situation in the first place, you can read his response to the "Cancer Chicanery" ethical dilemma HERE

Teambuilding Game: Human Taffy

This teambuilding game is not for the weak of heart.  And yes, I admit you will be hard pressed to get a group of execs or businessmen participating in this one.  But for the right group of people and the right training situation, this teambuilding game is WAY fun.

This game can get out of control fast if the wrong group is playing.  Make sure to discuss safety with the group because if the participants aren't being safe someone WILL get hurt.  Read this safety warning HERE.

Would you like to lead this teambuilding game with your group?

I'll send you the complete teambuilding game write-up!  Just subscribe to my free teamwork ideas e-newsletter (see the form in the right hand column).  In addition to receiving a free teambuilding games e-book, I'll regularly send you complete and detailed lead-it-yourself instructions to teambuilding games like the one above.  The lead-it-yourself instructions include: 

  • Setup & Preparation directions
  • Rules
  • Comments and insights about the teambuilding game
  • Debriefing suggestions
  • Variations
  • Detailed "how to make it" if props are involved
  • Video clips and photos

Over time you'll receive over 100 new and different lead-it-yourself teambuilding game write-ups for FREE. 

CLICK HERE for a sample teambuilding game write-up.

Do you need immediate access to my growing online archive of lead-it-yourself teambuilding games?  When you purchase my popular Multimedia 3-CD Training Bundle, I'll immediately send you the password to my online archive of teambuilding game write-ups.  Learn more HERE.

>> Lead consciously.  Learn how HERE

Teambuilding Game: Consensus Ropes

The Consensus Ropes teambuilding activity is used to help teams discern best practices around decision making. 

As you'll see from the video (below), this teamwork exercise is setup to require the team to reach a consensus as to which of the five ropes is the one that acts like a key ring to the other ropes.  The group may not move forward until everyone is on board with the choice.

The game can be presented in a way that requires more refined consensus building skills (see printable instructions below).



Would you like to lead this teambuilding game with your group?


When you become a member of the IATF you'll receive immediate access to our growing online archive of teambuilding games plus you'll receive many other benefits.  CLICK HERE to learn more about the benefits of IATF membership.

CLICK HERE to view a sample IATF teambuilding game write-up which includes:

  • Setup & Preparation directions
  • Rules
  • Comments and insights about the teambuilding game
  • Debriefing suggestions
  • Variations
  • Detailed "how to make it" if props are involved
  • Video clips and photos

Continue reading "Teambuilding Game: Consensus Ropes" »

Does God Want You (or Your Team) to be Rich or Poor?

In a recent post on his blog, James Ray asks "Does God Want You to be Rich or Poor?

This got me thinking...

Does God want your team to be rich or poor?  To prosper or be impoverished?

Like James Ray, I believe the answer to this question is ... BOTH.


How could this be the answer? 

God wants whatever you (and your team) want.

You and your team are creating your experience. 

You create your experience by what you habitually focus on.

What you habitually focus on is what God wants for you.

James Ray explains...

Quantum physics proves that we create and attract whatever is the focus of our attention. If you focus your energy and attention on poverty and make it righteous, that's how it is in your world. Conversely, if you focus your energy and attention on prosperity, more of that energy will flow to you.

A team's focus and attention is - primarily - determined by the questions they ask themselves on a habitual basis. 

For example, when the team encounters a major challenge and then habitually asks disempowering questions like:

"Why does this always happen to us?"
"Whose fault is this?"
"How are we going to survive this?"

Then the team will find itself creating MORE of these types of experiences.

Conversely, if the team chose to focus their attention on the positive by asking questions like:

"Where is the opportunity in this situation?"
"What can we learn from this?"
"How can we use this to grow stronger as a team?"

Then, because the team's focus is on their desired outcome (opportunity, continuous learning, team strength) they will attract MORE of that.

God (Spirit, Universe, etc.) wants for us what we want for ourselves.

This Universal Law is often referred to as the "Law of Attraction".  You can learn about this law in the movie entitled "The Secret".  Also, Dr. Joe Vitale writes about this law in his book entitled "The Attractor Factor" (CLICK HERE to listen to the audio interview with Dr. Vitale).

So the question I have for you is...

What experience is your team creating?

Audio Interview with Dr. George Kohlrieser -- Lessons about teamwork from a hostage negotiator

When you think of conflict, what comes to mind? 

Fighting? Aggression? Hatred? Fear? Struggles? Battles?

This is how most think of conflict.

17809 But hostage negotiator turned professor of leadership Dr. George Kohlrieser says effective leaders (and hostage negotiators) have trained themselves to look at the positive side of conflict:  opportunity, energy, passion, creativity, and engagement.

Not only that, Kohlrieser says you’ve got to learn to like dealing with conflict.  He goes so far as to say teams must be able to have intense arguments (constructive fights) if they are to make the shift from “good team” to “great team”. 

0787983845 Kohlrieser is the author of “Hostage at the Table – How Leaders Can Overcome Conflict, Influence Others, and Raise Performance

In this audio interview Kohlrieser shares an empowering view of conflict and then explains where conflict comes from and how you can lead your team through it and enjoy – and benefit from –  the process.

Click on the link below to listen to the 45 minute interview:

Download dr. George Kohlrieser sm.mp3

Here's what others are saying about this book:

"George Kohlrieser's brilliant book offers a unique and penetrating perspective on how people can free themselves from being held hostage to their self-imposed limitations. Hostage at the Table is filled with inspiring stories and the depth of Kohlrieser's insights that will enable the reader to become a fully empowered leader. It is a must-read."
-- Bill George, author, Authentic Leadership; former chairman & CEO, Medtronic

"In Hostage at the Table George Kohlrieser brings his unique expertise in the emotional land mines of negotiation to the challenges of leadership. Leaders everywhere will find much of practical use in this smart and engaging look at the emotional undercurrents that make or break an organization."
-- Daniel Goleman, author, Emotional Intelligence

Teams In Trouble: The Team As Victim – How To Help A Team Get Unstuck And Reclaim It’s Power

Student Only Area


The manager was at her wits end. 

The team was clearly stuck.

Everyone was frustrated. 

But what was the source of all this trouble?  The manager was unable (or unwilling) to say. 

Had I met with team members in advance I would have quickly realized the problem.  But I was young and didn’t think to meet with some of the key team members.

Fast forward to game day.

The team walks in the room.

You could hear it right off.

They were using the language of the victim.

At first I thought it was just the “normal” resistance to training. I was wrong.  This group was so wrapped up in their victim mentality they couldn’t see what was happening to them.

When we launched into the first big challenging exercise of the day the group practically attacked me.  It was what I wanted.  Having intuited what was going on with the group, I deliberately put myself in a position of authority during the activity and the group let their anger fly. 

That one activity became the launching pad for an amazing discussion that helped them take a look (a scary look) at what they had become. For the first time they realized how deeply they had adopted the role of victim, individually and as a team.

On Wednesday December 13, 2006 at 3 pm EST my colleague Michael Goldman of and I will share strategies and techniques we’ve successfully used to help teams release themselves from the oppression of victim mentality and reclaim it's power.

At the end of the call Michael and I will provide you with detailed written instructions so you’re ready to begin assisting the teams you serve.

This is an exciting collaboration between Michael and myself as we bring you the best of both worlds:  teambuilding games and facilitation skills.

Here are the details:

Title of This Special TeleForum:

Teams In Trouble # 11: The Team As Victim – How To Help A Team Get Unstuck And Reclaim It’s Power

Time of the Call:

Wednesday December 13, 2006 at 3 pm EST (New York City time zone)

What You Get:

  1. 75 minute LIVE TeleSeminar with experienced leaders Michael Goldman and Tom Heck.
  2. Clear and detailed notes on how to lead the teambuilding game and the facilitation process. 
  3. License to use the teambuilding game and facilitation process with the groups you directly serve. 
  4. Recording of the TeleSeminar in mp3 format.
  5. Save $25 (a 50% discount) on Teams In Trouble Vol. 1 multimedia training CD.  Discount only available to those who register. This CD contains recordings and class notes from FIVE Teams In Trouble TeleSeminars.
  6. Time with Michael and Tom during the Q&A session.  This is your time to ask questions about how to apply the lesson with your team.  A Q&A session like this normally costs $600/hour

Cost to you: $37

Register Here

CLICK HERE to register.  Registration closed.

Teamwork Lessons From The World of Long-Distance Bicycle Racing

Peloton The Tour de France is a 23-day 2,700 mile bike race.

It's not just any race though.  It is considered by many to be the most grueling athletic event in the world.

And it can teach us a lot about teamwork.

Anyone who follows sports knows of Lance Armstrong who won the tour a record 7 times.  But Lance could have never done it without a strong, dedicated, and finely tuned team.

In June 2006 Paul Hochman wrote an article for Fortune Magazine entitled "Pack Mentality" in which he shares the lessons of teamwork taught through long distance bike racing.  CLICK HERE to read the article. 

Illusion of Teamwork

Does your organization work as a team? 

Or is their an illusion of teamwork?

One way to to tell if you have an illusion happening is if your office/building is filled with fancy framed pictures of people climbing mountains, or sailing ships and the word "TEAMWORK" is prominently displayed on the pictures AND your teamwork training budget allows for a raft trip every three years.

Can an illusion work?  Yes, but only for so long.

A man became lost while driving through the country. As he tried to read a map, he accidentally drove off the road into a ditch. Luckily he was not injured, but his car was stuck deep in the mud. So the man walked to a nearby farm to ask for help.

"Warwick can get you out of that ditch," said the farmer, pointing to an old mule standing in a field. The man looked at the haggard mule, and then back at the farmer who stood there repeating, "Yep, old Warwick can do the job."

The man decided he had nothing to lose. The two men and Warwick made their way back to the ditch.

The farmer hitched the mule to the car. With a snap of the reins he shouted, "Pull, Fred! Pull, Jack! Pull, Ted! Pull, Warwick!" And the mule pulled the car from the ditch with very little effort.

The man was amazed. He thanked the farmer, patted the mule, and asked, "Why did you call out all of those other names before you called Warwick?"

The farmer grinned and said, "Old Warwick is just about blind. As long as he believes he’s part of a team he doesn’t mind pulling."

In this story, the illusion works because the horse (team member) is kept in the dark.  In other words, the horse is lied to.

But illusions can be so much fun and amazing...

Fun and amazing illusions are best left to artists and magicians.  Businesses (teams) that use illusion them will end up like Enron.

Spotting -- How to reduce the likelihood of injury during teambuilding games that require participants to be off the ground

The Importance of Spotting

Some of the activities presented at this website require participants to lift each other off the ground.  This can be dangerous both for the lifters and the person being lifted.  For this reason, you as the leader must be able to convey the importance of proper spotting. 

Spotting is the art of protecting a team member's head and upper body from the impact of a fall.   Spotting does not mean you catch a person when they fall.  It does mean you create a cushion, effectively slowing down their fall. 

Amoebaelectricfence_2 Effective spotting requires all participants pay close attention to whats going on.   If the group or any member of the group is not ready to participate in an activity that requires spotting, choose another activity that doesn't require spotting.   

To be effective spotters, participants must have a high degree of trust.  If participants have been involved in horseplay or are using language (or other forms of communication) that take away from the feeling of trust, then you must reconsider any activity that involves spotting. 

Spotting is a difficult task to teach because the potential spotter usually doesn't recognize her importance until she actually has to support a falling body.

The following are pointers for teaching spotting:    

  1. Explain the concept and meaning of spotting. 
  2. Practice spotting with participants before they actually need to use the skill in an activity. 
  3. Promote the attitude that teasing and joking about not catching someone has no place in your program.
  4. The activities described at this website involving lifting require a minimum number of 2 spotters and depending on the skill and ability level of your particular group, more spotters will be necessary.  Supervise spotters closely. 
  5. The leader must model spotting. 
  6. A good spotter shares the responsibility of spotting equally.  It is easier and safer to work as a team when spotting. 
  7. Spotters should stand in a balanced position, holding hands up in a ready position.   The spotter's focus must be on the participant. 
  8. Spotters must cushion a fall, not catch and hold, and should move with the direction of force.