Sample Agenda- Developing Trust

Take a look at the Developing Trust Overview.


Sample Agenda: Developing Trust

Time Needed:  100-120 minutes
Purpose:  For participants to begin to identify behaviors that demonstrate trust to various people
Materials: Flipchart/whiteboard and paper/pen for taking notes

Session Introduction (10 minutes)

  • Welcome to the session
  • Overview of agenda
  • Goals for the session

Select your opening prompt

Here are some questions that have been successfully used for enhancing communication:

  • What is trust?
  • What’s important to me?
  • What is respect?
  • What is honesty and integrity?
  • Create an image of an ideal team.
  • What is important in our work today?
  • What do you hope to get from the session today?

Starting the Conversation (23 minutes)

2 minutes for instruction
5 minutes for creating images
16 minutes for sharing

Ask participants to quickly go through their image sets to find pictures that speak to the opening prompt:

  • What is trust at work? (or alternative selection)

There are no rules about how participants can go about this part of the process. They can select as few or as many photos as they wish, and assemble them any way they wish on the bordered area of the computer screen in front of them. The only limitation is time; they should finish selecting and arranging their images within 5-6 minutes.

Ask individual participants to share a brief story of their images. As each person shares, ask other participants to listen carefully to each individual and notice how people describe behaviors that demonstrate trust.  After each member is finished talking, have the others call out the kind of behaviors they heard. Have someone make a list for each person.

As participants are sharing their stories, ask clarifying questions if they are needed. You can do this yourself, or explain the types of questions that participants are welcome to ask of each other and allow them to become active questioners. Some examples include:

  • Can you tell me more?
  • What would be another example?
  • Is this what you mean? (then restate in your words)

Deepening the Conversation (10 minutes)

Ask participants to begin to discuss what they have heard from each other. Some suggested questions:

  • What questions has this raised for you?
  • Where are the similarities?
  • How often do we see the most common behaviors?
  • How often do we see the least common behaviors?
  • What’s the possible impact?

Narrowing the Conversation (20 minutes)

Note: This exercise is designed to be used if everyone is in the same room. If your team is working remotely, then modify it accordingly.

Collect the lists of behaviors that demonstrate trust. Mix them up and pass them back to the group so each person has one. Work first in small groups of 3-4 to begin looking for categories of what trust is at work, with the ultimate goal of integrating the lists into one.  Add stars to any items that appear multiple times. Underline categories that contain the most starred items.

While recording the responses on the wall on a flipchart or whiteboard, ask the small groups to share the categories of behaviors that are underlined first, starring those that are identified by multiple groups. Continue until there are no more new categories from the small groups.

Use questions to help narrow the information such as:

  • What are the most important behaviors expressed consistently?
  • What are the key points?
  • What is priority?

Assessing the Conversation (10 minutes)

Ask participants if they believe the list covers everything that is important. Talk about what might be missing. Add anything the group thinks is important.

Applying the Conversation (25 minutes)

Ask participants what they can do to show trust more effectively at work. Use questions such as:

  • What can you do to demonstrate trust to your colleagues?
  • What are things that happen inadvertently that can erode trust?
  • What can we do to minimize trust erosion?
  • What can we do to rebuild trust when it is damaged?
  • What can we commit to doing that maintains and builds trust?

Make a list of ideas and commitments to be copied for distribution to the group. Ask how they are going to follow up to make sure that the commitments are kept.

Debriefing the Conversation (12 minutes)

The debriefing section is where you help the group pull together everything they have done. It is a critical step and worth every minute invested.

Ask questions such as:

  • Did anything stand out to you about trust?
  • Did you gain any insights?
  • Were you surprised by anything you heard?
  • Did you notice anything you could easily do to make it easier for someone else?

Closing (5 minutes)

At the end of the session, provide guidance to the participants about how to carry
the work forward after the session.


Building Great Teams is also available in a printed version.