Teamwork Challenge™ | Teamwork Training Activity

Lots of teamwork lessons in Northgate's classic 'planks & oil drums' activity. Competitive activity, perfect for looking at the four stages of team development. Builds in excitement as the session progresses!

Learning Objectives

  • To organise a team and plan ahead
  • To share data
  • To solve problems together
  • To work under pressure
  • The four stages of team development

Five-Year Repeat Use Licence

This Northgate training activity comes with a five-year licence for repeat use with up to 24 participants per training session within the licence-holding organisation. Please ask for a discount on multiple licences to use with larger groups. Also includes access to the Northgate Trainerhub (see below for details).

  • Participants

    3-24 (up to four teams of 3-6 per team)

  • Timing

    1.5 hours + debrief

  • Uses a computer?

    Not required

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  • World delivery

    (1-5 working days)



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The Activity

Teams must get across the aircraft hangar using oil drums and planks (scaled down to table-top!) but there are challenges along the way. The longer the route, the more the challenges, but the shorter the route, the more difficult the challenges.

Teams have a set of wood planks (5cm!) and a floor-plan of the hangar, showing the position of the oil drums. At various points on the plan are red and green lines. Plan your route, knowing that if you cross a green line you must solve an 'easy' challenge, cross a red line and you face a 'difficult' one. Choice of route is crucial as you are not the only team in the race. Completing the challenges involves managing information on 48 different data cards that are dispersed among team members.

A great opportunity for a well-organised team to get ahead - but then again, some very chaotic beginnings can, as the team learns to pull together, end in highly successful performances. Highly motivating and clearly demonstrates the forming, storming, norming and performing stages of team development. We strongly recommend it!

Trainer's Role

  • Divide participants into teams.
  • Introduce the activity.
  • Issue materials (floor plan, 'planks', Team Briefs, set of 48 data cards) and allow groups 20-30 minutes to plan their strategy.
  • Start the activity and stand by to issue relevant Task Cards. When teams finish, give them a Team Analysis sheet.
  • Lead a Debrief, focusing on the key issues.

Pack Contents

  • Trainer's Notes
  • Team Briefing Sheets
  • Route Planners
  • Sets of Wood Pieces ('Planks')
  • Sets of Datacards
  • Sets of Task Sheets
  • Floor Plans
  • PDF files for printing optional forms and re-printing Route Plan forms

This activity is for face-to-face classroom use. It is supplied as a hard copy pack and the digital files are supplied via the Northgate Trainerhub.

Northgate Trainerhub

Benefits of the online Northgate Trainerhub include:

  • Easy-to-access resource library which stores all the digital files for the activity in one place
  • Immediate access to upgrades made to the activity over the five-year licence term
  • Access to an online Trainer Forum where you can post questions, share experiences & network with other Trainers
  • Access to free activities and icebreakers
  • Unlimited Trainer logins for all Trainers based at the licence-holding site

I used 'Teamwork Challenge' with 150 people at a work-readiness conference. The learning points included team motivation, time-keeping and problem-solving. An excellent exercise to show the effectiveness of a well-coordinated team. It worked extremely well!

Sheila Hancox, Education Business Partnership

'Teamwork Challenge' is a highly engaging teamwork activity that promotes learning in a fun and interactive manner. Excellent value for money! I used it with a cross-section of managers within a logistics organisation at a conference on teamwork. The best learning points included: to read the brief; to plan and stick to the plan in all phases of the exercise; having clearly defined roles, including that of leader, helps to achieve success.

Jane Caven, Managing Director, Sagegreen Human Resources Ltd

We used 'Teamwork Challenge' for a team building/development day. It is thought-provoking, and leads to satisfaction when planned actions equalled results. Northgate Activities are well researched and good reference materials, when used in team challenging situations, after team building days.

Carolyn Sanders, Office Manager, Northamptonshire County Council

We regularly use 'Teamwork Challenge' in our training sessions - it always delivers!

Giles Smith, Head of People Development, PGL Group

We recently ran 'Teamwork Challenge' during a problem solving / strategy day for one of our clients. A great session with lots of useful learnings!

Jon Davies, Managing Director, Get the Edge UK Training & Consultancy

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