Skip to main content

Looking for a practical way to build trust within a team?

Try the ‘HHH’ (Hero, Hindrance and Highlight) activity – it can be used by anyone who is a team leader or facilitating a team building session. Originating from author Brene Brown, it’s a simple but powerful exercise for building vulnerability based trust.

The team leader goes first. Be authentic. If you fake it, people will pick up on it.

Then, each person takes it in turn sharing the following:

When they were growing up…..

  • A Hero: Someone that has inspired them. Who are they and what did they do?

  • A Hardship: What’s the most challenging thing they’ve been through?

  • A Highlight: What’s their greatest achievement?

High performing teams are built on a foundation of trust. If you trust your team mates, you can have honest and difficult conversations with them. When there is trust, you can disagree and challenge each other knowing that it won’t be taken personally or be used against the other person in the future.

It’s a simple exercise that only takes a few minutes per person. Time well spent – good luck!

Note: Richmond football club first did this exercise at the start of 2017. They continued it every fortnight throughout the season. It took the players to a new level of vulnerability and connection. That year they won the premiership. Senior Player Brandon Ellis doesn’t think the result would be the same if they hadn’t gone through the transformation as a group that this exercise allowed.

It started with their coach Damien Hardwick. He had regular heart-to-hearts with the team in the off season and openly shared his leadership failings in 2016. He was honest. He was raw and he was vulnerable. This public declaration was then spontaneously followed by the team captain and the rest of the team. Their guard was down. They let people in. The team has openly talked about a special bond in 2017 where every player feels as valued as the next guy. “You wouldn’t know that anyone was better in terms of talent than anyone else” was a recent comment from one of their players.

Scott Erskine

Scott Erskine

Scott has successfully delivered leadership and performance solutions for management across a number of industries including retail, resources, construction, government and finance and has worked with organistions such as BHP Billiton, Woodside, Rio Tinto, Veolia, Western Power, GESB, Ramsay Healthcare, Police & Nurses Mutual Banking, Flight Centre, and the Australian Defence Forces.