Teamwork Ideas Newsletter: July 2, 2007
TeleSeminar: Introduction to the Law of Attraction for Trainers and Facilitators with Michael Losier

Ask The Teamwork Coach - Trust is low, don't use that icebreaker!

June 15, 2007

Hi Tom,

I have a new internal client who has asked me to work with him on restructuring his management team. The manager's been in the position 2 months and his take on the team of managers who report to him is there is a lack of trust. He'd like to do an icebreaker to kick off the day's meeting/work with something leading to trust -- my concern is:

  1. I'd like to use an ice breaker that will build into the material and theme of the day;
  2. I'm concerned that any ice breaker with trust could go into a negative direction and I'd like the day to start upbeat.

Any suggestions?



June 15, 2007

Hi Sandy,

Based on the information you've supplied I would not advise this manager to lead an icebreaker. 

If he is sensing trust is low then he needs your help designing a system to address this issue. 

Leading an icebreaker could actually diminish the level of trust the team has in him especially if the manager is not skilled at leading and debriefing/processing the experience.

Do you know the book "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" by Patrick Lencioni?

The book has a simple and easy to administer team assessment.  Start with that. 

Have the team read the book and decide if they want to build a high performing team using the principles/model outlined in the book.

All meetings led by the manager should follow the guidelines presented in Lencioni's book entitled "Death By Meeting"

The experiential activities (icebreakers, team activities, etc.) need to be in alignment with where the team is going.  The disjointed, whimsical use of experiential activities hurts the team.

CLICK HERE for an example of how you can use experiential activities that are in harmony with the program design:

Is this helpful?

Tom Heck
Teamwork Coach


July 4, 2007

Hi Tom,

Well, yesterday was my big debut with the group I wrote you about.

The senior manager took my recommendation (thanks to you) to read the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team and in turn after he had read it, asked his management team to read it before our session yesterday!  They did – all but one – and they soaked it up.

The day was super – and I’m so excited yet this morning about the work that occurred.

And I’m excited because this was a new gig and career venture for me.  He liked my design of the day, the activities, the discussion, and I’m thinking this could be another path the Lord has put me on to serve.

Thank you for your personal email attention and quick response. I appreciate so much what you do.

This new venture of training with my coaching is so exciting.

I am looking forward to next spring when I retire from my current full time job and hope to have gigs like yesterday to work and coach on my own.

Thanks much!


*NOTE:  Name changed to "Sandy" to protect privacy.


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