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Teamwork Exercise: Tell a Story about Your Past

Teamwork Exercise: Tell a Story about Your Past
:: Article Rating :: Leadership, Exercises, Team Building  


This exercise provides a structure which allows delegates to share their views, experiences and values regarding teamwork and leadership with others. This exercise works for both newly formed teams and more established ones. You can also run the exercise for delegates from different backgrounds as well as it helps to share experiences across industries and can be quite inspiring.


Based on your chosen Mission Card share an experience with the group.

What You Need

  • Mission cards as provided below. You may need to print duplicates to make sure you have at least one for each delegate.
  • A glass jar or container.
  • Timers. Delegates can use mobile phone timers for this, though you need to make sure they don’t get distracted by their phones!


  • If you have up to 6 delegates, run the exercise with everyone involved. Otherwise, divide the delegates to groups of 3.
  • Fold the Mission Cards and place them into the jar.
  • Place the jar in a place so everyone can access it.
  • Explain that each person must pick a Mission Card and then follow the instructions to share a past experience with others (either with their groups or with everyone depending on how you are running the exercise).
  • After picking up a Mission Card, delegates can swap their cards with another delegate if it doesn’t apply to them or they haven’t got an experience to share. They can only swap once and you should monitor these exchanges so that it is done quickly without taking too much time. Encourage them to stay with their cards and simply think hard to come up with an experience to share.
  • Each person has 5 minutes to share his story. This should be timed to make sure people don’t get carried away.
  • Continue until everyone has shared their stories.
  • Bring everyone back together and follow with a discussion.


Explaining the Exercise: 2 minutes


  • As one group of 8: 3 min selecting cards and possible swaps + (5 min * 8 people) = 43 minutes
  • As several groups: 3 min selecting cards and possible swaps + (5 min * N) = 18 minutes for groups of 3

Group Feedback: 10 minutes


Was there a pattern in negative experiences reported? Was there a pattern in positive experiences? What story was most interesting and educational? What was the most important lesson you learned in this exercise?

Mission Cards

Print and cut out each to form a series of Mission Cards.


Tell a story of when you had a horrible boss

Tell a story of when you had a great boss

Tell a story of when you had a horrible colleague

Tell a story of when you had a great colleague

Tell a story of when you had a horrible customer

Tell a story of when you had a great customer

Tell a story of when you were involved in a great project

Tell a story of when you were involved in a doomed project

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