Rules of Engagement


A creative alternative to the group contract exercise and can be used during the forming stage of the team development process. This exercise provides an opportunity for team members to identify how they want to work together by setting up a rules of engagement contract.

Resources: Plain white t-shirts, flip-chart paper and pens
Time: 15-20 minutes
Group Size: 8-16 people

Rules of Engagement Instructions

  • Open the workshop by asking group members to consider how they want to work together and the importance of teamwork. Allow group members an opportunity to reflect for a moment before discussing as a group.
  • When discussing teamwork, use questions to lead the group to identify both the positive and negative characteristics of a team
  • Divide the group into smaller sub-groups (2-3 members) and give each group a plain white t-shirt (flip-chart can also be used).
  • Hand out some coloured pens and give the groups 10 minutes to decorate their t-shirts with pictures, words and symbols that answer the following 3 questions:
  1. What does teamwork mean to us?
  2. Why is teamwork important?
  3. How are we going to ensure we work well as a team?
  • Allocate approximately 3 minutes for each group to present and discuss their t-shirt.
  • Take some time to review the exercise. Try asking some of the following questions:
  1. Can you identify any common themes in all the t-shirts?
  2. What do we need to do to work well as a team?
  3. What happens when things don’t go to plan? Will you always be successful?
  4. What is the most important aspect or trait of a team?
  • Next, get your team to discuss, identify and agree their top ten team values (1 to 10 of importance). Get a group member to write these down.
  • Discuss each value with the team and then display their values sheet on the wall as a visual reminder throughout the workshop.

Tips and Guidance

If you don’t have any t-shirts available (or the budget), you can easily replace with standard flip chart paper.

This exercise can be used at the start of a team development workshop to front-load the session or during as a reflective learning tool.


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