Team Building and leadership expert michael cardus

DiSC Box

DiSC Team Building learning activity

  • People have completed a DiSC profile & have their profiles with them
  • One rope ~75 feet long masking tape also works
  • 8-10 carpet squares OR
  • Pieces of paper also work. Be cautious of the paper sliding
  • Drawer Liners
  • Be Creative!
  • 2 Hula Hoops or Rope Rings (ropes tied in loops works nicely)
Group Size:
  • This version is meant for Adult & Corporate audiences. For youth variations contact mike.
  • 8-20 people – for larger groups make 2 or more Corporate Box areas.

The task objective is for groups on the opposite sides to exchange places, with no errors (violations, variations, defects, etc…) in the shortest time possible – while only stepping on the carpet squares when inside the DiSC Box.

The secondary objective is to highlight and reinforce what was learned using the DiSC and how it can be applied/ transferred into their lives, teams, organizations, communities.

Engaging people and the team in a situational environment where they are asked to observe their behaviors and preferences as well as those of the peers.

Connecting the content of a DiSC program to an appropriate situation where people can experience, reflect, and process how the team and individuals affect those they work with.


Prior to beginning this activity an explanation of DiSC the various profile styles and preferences should be covered. Additionally (if the group is comfortable with sharing) each person should know their dominant style and the dominant styles of the other people.

Develop the teams before the activity.

The teams will be broken into their dominant DiSC style; D’s together, I’s together, S’s together, C’s together. Ensure that there are at least 2 people per DiSC team. If there is only 1 person, place someone whose secondary style is that teams.

For example, Marcus is the only high D person. The DiSC reports show the variations of each style in each individual’s behavior. Alice’s primary is a C, yet her D is very close, I am calling that her secondary behavior. Place Alice with Marcus.

Set up the area as shown below;

You can choose to label the DiSC areas or not.

Creating the box into a rectangle creates a feeling of unfairness that will lead to interesting processing and reflection during the activity.

DiSC team building activity Equally, allocate the carpet squares to each of the teams.

Instructions and Facilitator Script:

Following a content discussion of DiSC, explaining the various styles and exploring the team members and dominant group style, it is beneficial to get the people moving.

Ask people to go to the side of the box where their dominant DiSC behavior is.

The 4 teams will start standing outside of the box – give each team 2 to 3 carpet squares per/team.

The objective is for groups on the opposite sides to exchange places, with no errors (violations, variations, defects, etc…) in the shortest time possible – while only stepping on the carpet squares when inside Box. Meaning that each group must change places with the group on the opposite side as quickly as possible, while NEVER stepping on the floor when inside the box.

  • D & S – exchange locations
  • C & I – exchange locations
Guidelines are as follows;
  • The boundary and rings inside must remain just as they are they cannot be moved.
  • Only 3 feet may be on a square at any given time.
  • The rings may serve as “planning zones” (you can step inside them) and once occupied they must ALWAYS be occupied by 2 people within 5 seconds – someone must be stepping into the planning zone as someone is stepping out within 5 seconds OR the planning zone is lost.
  • Loss of human body contact with a square results in loss of that square.
  • You must enter the box from the side you started on
  • You must exit the opposite side from where you started
  • You may not “scoot” or “ski” across the box
  • NO JUMPING – unsafe and you may get hurt
  • Squares cannot be thrown
  • If anyone violates the guidelines and procedures that entire group must return to their starting corner.
 Connections and Concepts:

One concept that I always hope emerges is the idea of sharing resources amongst other departments, teams and people. Once all the teams share and group their resources to create a diagonal line – from one corner to the other (making two triangles) the violations and times are significantly reduced. What a great idea for reflection and transfer to the team and organization or community.

Generally, that does not happen – because people are placed in small teams (silos or departments) and are separated by space (building, physical locations, geographical separation) it becomes “each team for themselves” competition.

DiSC Behaviors that you will notice:
  • Dominance D’s High need for control – Low need for affiliation; Rush into action very little to no planning. The planning you will notice will take place in a flurry of individual activity. Quick to move and share their opinions, slow to listen and discuss ideas. Will measure progress by the results they achieve. Become quickly frustrated once they fail to see results on an individual basis. Generally are the ones with the most violations and restarts. They are accepting of violations and just move on to try another variation for achieving results.
  • Influence I’s High need for control – High need for affiliation; Very active and participatory planning period. You will hear a lot of talking and checking for group and facilitator approval and acceptance. Measures success by the amount of praise or applause they get. Focus on achieving results because I’s thrive from recognition of achievement from others. Tend to not see the plan all the way through. Will be great at starting, will lose passion towards the end.
  • Steadiness S’s Low need for control – High need for affiliation; Will wait and plan in their small group. Will ask the facilitator lots of clarifying questions and will want more concrete steps and answers. Have a fear of disappointing others so they may be hesitant to take risks which will appear as passivity. Will measure progress by the amount of appreciation they are shown in their progress. The fast moving and time pressures of this initiative will be very uncomfortable for the S team members.
  • Conscientiousness C’s Low need for control – Low need for affiliation; Will be the earliest people to find a pattern in the initiative. C’s are the people who are able to map out challenge situations and processes mentally. They care about accuracy and high standards. Will keep feelings and emotions to themselves and think through what they are saying and doing before they communicate it out loud. Measure progress by being right, not just getting it done – getting it done right. Will ask the facilitator questions about guidelines not to work around them, they ask the questions to ensure that they are followed correctly. Will become upset when other groups violate rules and vary off the guidelines.

For more information on DiSC behaviors I highly recommend Engagement is Not Enough by Keith Ayers. In chapter 6 Why People do What They do he provides the BEST explanation of DiSC and people that I have ever read.

When facilitating this variation to highlight DiSC content I frontload the initiative to remind people to be aware of their styles and observe the style of the other teams. Purposely I speak about this before I explain the guidelines. This is done intentionally so when involved in action of the activity people’s real work and team behaviors present themselves. Once the action starts people stop thinking about “how am I acting” and quickly fall into habitual behaviors and actions. When processing DiSC box this creates an environment for the facilitator to ask people to re-examine their behaviors and how it affected their individual progress and that of the teams.

Processing & Reflection:

DiSC box is rich in its ability to transfer the content of a DiSC workshop into a project simulation spectrum. Here are some sample questions to start the discussion;

  • What sort of planning took place? small groups? Large groups?
  • What was shared between groups?
  • How do you feel about copying what another team did?
  • How did each team D,I,S,C re-group after losing resources?
  • Which group or groups were quick to take action?
  • Why was that?
  • Does that happen in the office, board room, meeting room, etc…?
  • What do you think causes that to happen?
  • Which group or groups had the least violations of the guidelines?
  • Why was that?
  • Do the people in that group tend to behave that way in work, meetings, interactions, etc…?
  • What can we learn from that?
  • Did anybody feel frustrated with the activity?
  • Is there a way that the group could have all worked together as one organization / team?
  • Where did each team find success D? i? S? C?
Partner Share;

Then I would recommend partnering a D with an S and I with a C (if you have odd numbers group of 3 are fine). Allot about 10-15 minutes for each pair to process using Story Line

Allow for group discussion then conclude with a wrap up of the learning and action plans for the future or move on to what you have planned next.


  • Originally learned this Activity from Chris Cavert’s Affordable Portables called Corporate Box.
  • Inspiration drawn from First Steps Training & Development.
  • And mentioned earlier Keith Ayers Engagement is not Enough
  • Give less carpet squares to the teams
  • Make the rectangle larger or smaller
  • Make an octagon, pentagon, decahedron
  • Instead of explaining all the guidelines make a team handout and create a “memo” type message of relocation or transport of labor
  • Mix the teams up – Place D & S and C & i on teams
  • Place a guideline that no talking can take place while inside the box

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