Interpersonal trust can be viewed as having five components: Truth, Respect, Understanding, Support, and Trustworthiness. This exercise was designed by Jim Lyness of the EDS Account Leadership Program to get team members to talk openly about their own feelings, attitudes, and level of personal trust. Here's how it works:
Two flip charts are positioned 30 to 50 feet apart. Then the number one and the words "Almost Never" are written on one flip-chart. On the other the number seven and the words "Almost Always" are written. Participants are asked to imagine a scale between one and seven, think about the statement: "We tell each other the truth", and to vote with their feet. That's is to get up and physically position yourself on the scale. The facilitator asks each group to declare where they and standing on the scale, ones, twos, etc. Then the facilitator chooses someone, looks them in the eye and asks "Why are you standing there? After hearing the answer, the facilitator moves on to the next person and asks the same question. All participants should be given the opportunity to answer the question on telling each other the truth.
Then the facilitator, makes the statement: "We respect one another", and instructs the team to vote with their feet. Again depending on time constraints and the size of the team, everyone might be given the opportunity to answer the question: "Why are you standing there?"
The statements and voting continue with "We seek to understand one another." "We support one another." And "We are trustworthy". Trustworthy means that we do what we say we are going to do and keep our commitments to one another. As the facilitator gets to the last two or three questions, it might be good idea to call on people randomly, planning to hear from only a portion of the team members.
At this point give the team a short break and do not attempt to process the exercise for take aways or learnings. The value of this exercise is that team members can calibrate each other team member's attitudes, beliefs and convictions on these very important team relationship dimensions. This will guide individual team members in determining the best way to deal with one another when these dimensions come into play later as the team continues to form.