Social Contract


  • Time

    10-20 mins
  • Level

    3 (out of 5)

Have you ever worked in a very proactive team where everything went super smooth? Which behaviours within the team made it successful? And what about that time when the project was dragging along and your team just kept being stuck and things weren’t moving forward? Which behaviours could you recognise within your team back then? 
This exercise makes you think collectively of behaviours you want to strive and avoid within your team and the project you’re facing. In the end you’ll have a social contract which you’ve agreed to with all the members within the team.


  • Ask participants to think about 5 hindering and 5 helpful behaviours individually. 

  • Put participants in groups of 2. Ask them to share their lists and equally come up with a collective list of 5 hindering and 5 helpful behaviours.

  • Merge each duo with another duo, creating groups of 4 and let them repeat the same steps. Make sure to give them an extra instruction: they should highlight which helpful and hindering behaviours are most important (prioritising).

  • Now you can bring all the separate groups together into the main space.

  • Each group shares their single most important helpful and hindering behaviours out loud, as the facilitator you capture these on the flipchart. Leave room for conversation here before you write them down; you want to make sure the whole group understands the behaviour and can commit to it.

  • Ask the group if every individual feels willing to sign up to the list of supporting behaviors as a set of collective guidelines; ones that everyone will strive to live up to.

  • Finally, ask the group and briefly discuss: how will you make sure you live up to these guidelines? What can you do throughout the week to hold yourselves accountable as a group? Invite some suggestions from the group and encourage / challenge them to follow-through on their ideas.

🌐 In an online setting

Follow the same principles. When putting people in groups make sure to put them in breakout rooms, set a timer for the whole experience. They think individually first in the main space, then in breakout rooms in pairs. After a couple of minutes merge 2 groups with one another (don’t forget to send a broadcast message that you’ll be merging the groups). Depending on your group size you will bring everyone back to the main space. Each group should share their top voted hindering and helpful behaviour. The facilitator captures the behaviours on a whiteboard (or directly in your slides).


If it is not brought up by the participants, add the criteria of confidentiality -- that what is shared by individuals during this process is not to be shared outside of the space. 



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