Vulnerability Exercise: Building the Foundation of Trust

Vulnerability builds a healthy foundation of trust within the team. As your team evolves and more people are added in, it is really important to keep the foundation of trust strong.

The foundational function of a team is trust. If you don’t have vulnerability-based trust, it is impossible to have healthy discussions and robust conflicts that result in commitments to outcomes. -Pat Lencioni Click To Tweet

A vulnerability exercise is best during a retreat, making it the first activity to set the tone for the rest of the experience.

In a vulnerability exercise, you and your team will reconfirm and discover things that you might be consciously or unconsciously aware of. The team will be able to trust each other by being vulnerable and honest.

It is an activity only for those who are open-minded and those who love growth and improvement. Although it might not be the most fun exercise, but it will be absolutely rewarding.

How to Do a Vulnerability Exercise

(PS – if you want more strategies on how to Grow Your Clinic, take the Assess Your Clinic Scorecard test now – it’s free!)

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Step 1

At the start of the activity, each individual will be asked to write down others’ biggest strength and weakness that they bring to the team. We are talking about the skills, and not so much about the personality traits or characters.

Do this privately, without anyone else knowing and without the intention of sharing. Just write them down, be it on a paper or in a phone.

Step 2

Once everyone had written others’ biggest strength  and biggest weakness, then and only then will it be revealed to them that they’ll be going to share their list publicly in the group.

And so, one would be in the hot seat and the rest of the group will take turns, look him in the eyes, and say what they think his biggest strength and weakness are, without giving context to it.

Since the giver couldn’t give context, the receiver couldn’t make any comment other than “Thank you.”

When people write down without realising that they are going to share it and actually tell that person, it will be brief and succinct which will be more honest and objective.

Everyone will have a chance in the hot seat.

Step 3

At the end, each then can actually provide some further context on what they have written. Each can ask for further clarification from someone if they felt that they need more context.

Some people might not be as open to receiving a negative feedback and might feel threatened in that environment. But what you really want in a team are those people who will face uncomfortable situations for the sake of growth.

Nevertheless, the individual will be able to improve on the feedback he or she gets from the team. And the other members will be able to provide value to where other may be somewhat deficient skill-wise.


None of us is perfect. We all have weaknesses we can work and improve on. And the people in your team must be the people whom you trust and be vulnerable with, to complement you on your lack and weaknesses.

You can check the podcast episode where Jack and Ben shared their experience on a vulnerability exercise at clinicmastery.com/podcast.

Keep in mind: do not lose sight of what is important, hold on to your vision! In the little things, starts excellence.

(PS – if you want more strategies on how to Grow Your Clinic, take the Assess Your Clinic Scorecard test now – it’s free!)

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