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Protocol Toolkit Item: 9e


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This simple group protocol focuses on all participant’s essential contributions and leadership. The tower of shared leadership represents how individual members contribute to the success of the whole.


  • Building blocks, such as Legos™


15-30 Minutes


In preparation for this activity, facilitators must be sure there is the same number of building blocks as participants. Each participant will have a building block and will walk up to the tower building space and add their block to the tower. As participants add to the tower, they will share one-word (or short phrase) connections (described in subsequent steps).   Note: If the group is large, the following should be considered:
  • The protocol will take longer to complete.
  • Each participant will need to speak into a microphone so they can be heard.
  • The tower building space will need to be where all participants can see what is being built.
  Virtual Implementation
  • A virtual implementation option might be to use a shared whiteboard, Jamboard, Padlet, or Google presentation slide. Participants can create squares and rectangles to use as building blocks and put them together virtually on the displayed whiteboard. All participants must have access to the virtual whiteboard so they can place their blocks on the tower. 
  • Important Note: Jamboard does have a limit (currently 50) on the number of people who can access and add to a file. Google has a limit of 100 people, and currently, Padlet has no limit to the number of people who can access and edit.
  • Participants will take turns un-muting and sharing their word as they contribute to the virtual tower.


Step 1:

Introduce Protocol (2-5 min) Share the following information with participants:
  • The group will build a tower using building blocks, and each participant will contribute to building the tower by placing a building block on it.
  • In addition, each person will reflect on their connection to the group, initiative, or project and will share a one-word (or short phrase) connection with the entire group as they contribute to the building of the tower. 
  • Facilitator(s) should describe how participants will line up and walk by the table with the building blocks, select one, and then walk up to the tower building area. They will place their block on the tower and share their connection word/phrase.
Note: Given any space limitations, building blocks can be provided to participants beforehand. For example, blocks can be handed out at the meeting check-in table; blocks can be set at each participant’s seat before the meeting begins, or facilitators can distribute building blocks right before the protocol starts.

Step 2:

Building of the Tower (10-15 min)
  • Before participants stand and line up, the facilitator(s) should ask participants to consider the following question:
    • “In a word, what keeps you connected to our work and the partnerships in this group, initiative, or project?”
    • Give participants 2 minutes to think about their response and to prepare to share their word.
  • Instruct participants to line up and walk to the table where they select a building block and then walk one at a time to place their building block on the tower and share their word with the group.
  • Participants should be listening to others as the tower is being constructed.

Step 3:

Protocol Closure (2-5 min)
  • Facilitator(s) should conclude the protocol by pointing out that the group has constructed a tower of individual blocks to create something bigger and stronger. 
  • Each block represents the person who placed it there and their connections to the whole group.
  • Like the tower, the group is comprised of individuals who share in the leadership and outcomes of the group, initiative, or project.

Resources & Further Reading

Examples of Use

  • Other questions can prompt participants to develop a word (or phrase) to share. Other options can be:
    • “What is one strength you bring to the group, initiative, or project?”
    • “How will you contribute to the leadership and success of the group, initiative, or project?”
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