Leigh Ann Rodgers

Break the Ice with The Four Quadrants Activity

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30 - 1203 + Low

The Four Quadrants is a tried and true team building activity to break the ice with a group or team.

It is EASY to prep for and set up. It can be MODIFIED to work with any group and/or topic (just change the questions). It is FUN, COLORFUL and works every time!



To break the ice with a group or team.




    The steps to facilitate The Four Quadrants activity:

    1. Give each participant a piece of flip chart paper and some markers.
    2. Ask them to divide their flip charts into four quadrants.
    3. Ask them to DRAW (not write) their response to four questions (one for each quadrant).
    4. Give them about 5-10 minutes to work individually.
    5. Then, regroup and give each person 4-10 minutes (depending on your time frame) to share their chart and responses with the group.

    Here are the questions Cheryle used with our group:

    1. What do I bring to the group?
    2. What do I need from the group?
    3. What is your hobby?
    4. What is your vision for this group?

    You can change the questions to work with any group. For example, below are questions Michael Barrett, Resonance LLC used with a non-profit Board of Directors. He said when they shared their charts with each other some were moved to tears.

    1. What do you BRING to this organization?
    2. What do you NEED from this team?
    3. What LEGACY do you want to help create through this organization?
    4. What is one event that FUNDAMENTALLY shaped your life?

    I used the questions below with a team that was working on improving how they communicated to each other when under stress. It was remarkable how much they opened up and learned about each other even though many had worked together for years.

    1. A current challenge I am facing outside of work…
    2. The types of things that stress me the most at work…
    3. What I need you to understand about me when I am under stress…
    4. What I need you to do when I am under stress…

    Other questions you could insert:

    • Defining moment (personal or professional)
    • Moment of pride (personal or professional)
    • Worst fear (for the group, personally or professional)
    • Desired outcome for this day/session/series of meetings
    • Greatest challenge for this group
    • Greatest success for this group

    This activity is so wonderful because you can write any four questions that you think will work for your group. Or have fun with it and let them come up with their own questions. Just think about what you want your group to know about each other.

    What four questions will you use to get your next group engaged and sharing with one another? Please share your ideas by commenting on this method below.

    Tips for running this activity online

    • Pick an online whiteboard tool that allows to use a large, zoomable canvas (e.g. Mural or Miro)
    • Users can either draw their quadrant on paper and upload an image into the board, or draw it digitally
    • In the reflection step, invite users to navigate to the quadrant of the person speaking
    • If you don’t have an online whiteboard tool, you can use Slack or Google docs to share and comment on the created images
    • If using video conferencing software alone, invite the participants to share their screen and show their digital image, or hold up their physical drawing for the group to see
    • If you want to add a fun extra dimension, encourage people to sketch quickly and if using digital tools, allow no deleting or erasers. Bad drawings can be fun to try and decode as a team.


    I learned this from an amazing Master Certified Facilitator, Cheryle Maurer of Performance Consulting LLC. She facilitated our MasterMind group through this process and we all loved it and learned new things about each other.

    Source and further ideas for the questions

    You can get more suggestion for the questions at the original source of this activity on the Better Teams blog together with more team building ideas.

    Comments (18) (4.0 avg / 1 ratings)

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    • great to try

      8 months ago
    • This is really awesome in getting team to appreciate each other . I have used it in an inception

      about 1 year ago
    • Thanks for sharing this! I'm using it as a way to get a management team who are working on coaching skills. Q1 will be their strength, Q2 will be what they are working on personally, Q3 is to help them replicate the feeling of pride with their coachees, and Q4 is to remind them of their "why" (why they love what they do). Here are the questions I am using for the group: What do I bring to the organization? What do I need from this team (or that you are personally working on as a growth goal)? A moment of personal pride. Favorite moment since you joined the organization.

      over 1 year ago
    • Thanks for sharing. I like it a lot especially now we are in remote working mode.

      about 2 years ago
    • I like this idea alot. I am going to use this to start of discussions about a learning contract and psychological safety in a group of delegates who will be working together over several months. I usually just do a group discussion for a learning contract, but I think this, as a first step before that discussion will help break the ice and help them be more open about what they want and need from the group and how they can support each other to stay in their stretch zone.

      about 2 years ago
    • I used this at the beginning of the session as part of the participants' self introduction. The questions made them more humane and a little vulnerable. It was good. Thank you.

      over 2 years ago
    • Good idea! Thank you!

      over 3 years ago
    • very nice, thank you!

      over 3 years ago
    • i LOVE THIS

      almost 4 years ago
    • super

      almost 4 years ago
    • This is pretty awesome. I like the layout of it.

      almost 4 years ago
    • about 4 years ago
    • Great questions and a fun format! I like how the pieces fit together. A variation -- You could also have people build their answers out of pipe cleaners, play dough, legos, etc. Building something out of Legos or making a shape with pipe cleaners is fun (and you don't have to deal with the "I can't draw" stress reaction from people). Plus it's fun to have pipecleaners or Legos on the tables for people to play with. :)

      about 5 years ago
    • A great effective method! .!I used this method with different set of questions in two different groups of participants as an ice breaker at the start of the program. The participants liked the activity and they were so excited when they were explaining. I used it to introduce the participants themselves. Thanks for sharing.

      over 5 years ago
    • very simple and useful

      almost 6 years ago
    • Thanks - inspirational. Should call it a teambuilding activity more than an icebreaker though. But that doesn't make it less useful. :-)

      almost 6 years ago
    • Very useful!!!Thank you!

      about 6 years ago
    • Super👍🏽

      over 6 years ago