The Knot

Purpose: To demonstrate teamwork, leadership and communications.

Group Size: 7 and up. Groups should be 7 to 10 people. Form as many groups as needed.

Materials Needed: 2 blindfolds


  1. Tell participants the following:
    • The object is to untangle yourselves to form one complete circle (facing in or out).
    • Handholds may not be broken, but may pivot as the untangling proceeds.
    • You have 15 minutes to complete the task.
    • Two of the participants must be blindfolded.

  2. Ask participants to do the following:
    • Choose and blindfold two people.
    • Stand in a tight circle facing the center.
    • Each person, take the hand of someone across the circle from you.
    • With your other hand, take the hand of someone different across the circle from you.

  3. Test to see that they are set up properly by doing a "squeeze test":
    • Have someone squeeze one of the hands they are holding.
    • Each recipient of a squeeze must pass it on with their other hand.
    • To pass the test, each person should have been a squeezer and a squeezee...and the squeeze should end up back at the person who started it.
    • If these conditions are not met, redo the hand grasp and test until the group passes the test.

When ready, the team may start.

What to Observe:

  • How does their strategy develop - time to plan vs. action?
  • Do they jump into action or pause to get bearings?
  • Does leadership emerge in one person throughout or does it move around?
  • How well are they listening to each other?
  • What are the levels of celebration/frustration?
  • How are the "blind" persons included/excluded?

Debrief Questions:

  • How did you feel?
  • How would you describe the leadership?
  • Was the leadership supported?
  • How would you evaluate the strategies you came up with?
  • What contributed to the development of ideas?
  • What got in the way?
  • How was listening?
  • How was participation?
  • If you were sighted, how did you feel about the unsighted people?
  • If you were unsighted, how did you feel about what you were being asked to do?
  • What assets of the unsighted people were being utilized?
  • How can you apply this to work?

Potential learning points:

  • It takes a team to solve a problem.
  • Leadership often emerges according to who has the best view of the process at any given time.
  • Creative idea generation requires an environment of listening and receptivity in a group.
  • There are always people in the team who have less information, or don't know what's going on, yet they still are needed.

Variation: One pair of hands may be broken one time.


© Copyright 2009, Gerke Consulting & Development L.L.C.