GUEST BLOGGER: Jinnie Lee Schmid, Performance Improvement Specialist

Here’s a team activity that is pretty targeted in it’s purpose – to help team members recognize and reward each other – but ticks all these other marks, too: easy, inexpensive, short, creative, tactile, interactive, and possibly physical. I’ve used this successfully with both intact, internal teams, and teams of seasoned external consultants. It’s great for social and creative personality types (ENFP, high I, Blue, etc.), but also quick and casual enough to engage other types of team members. Give it a try!

Time: 15-30 minutes


  • Smooth rocks, small to medium size – at least 1 per person.  (Note:  Buy a bag at the hobby store…source from your own backyard…or, have the team do a quick scavenger hunt outside)
  • Paint pens and/or Sharpies in a variety of colors and tip sizes – 1 or 2 per person


  1. Instruct participants to think of at least one team member they would like to recognize (for behaviors or accomplishments) and why
  2. Distribute rocks and pens, at least one per person (ideally extras of each)
  3. Instruct participants to draw something on a rock, which they will present to the colleague(s) they want to recognize.  Some examples include…
  • You Rock
  • U Got This
  • You’re #1
  • Thanks!
  1. Allow 5-15 minutes for participants to create their masterpieces
  2. Allow 5-15 minutes for team members to mingle and present their recognitions, publicly or privately

This activity is infinitely adaptable in terms of setting, duration, materials, focus, etc.  I’d love to hear (in comments below) how you would use it!

About the Author:  Jinnie Lee Schmid’s entire career has focused on improving employee performance and engagement, applying skills and solutions including instructional design, facilitation, coaching, talent management, performance management, change management and communications. She is the founder and principal of Change Navigators, LLC which has been in business since 2000. Her home and office are in Northeast Atlanta, GA where she enjoys training her dog [and her husband :-)] and doing pet assisted coaching with seniors, grievers and hospice families. Learn more about Jinnie at

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12 Responses

  1. Awesome – this rocks, Jinnie! For a smaller group I might even find a really big rock and have it passed around the table with everyone adding too it as they go so everyone has a chance to recognize each other. Could be great for an end of year/fiscal/project activity!

    1. LOVE THAT, Christina! Kindof like when they have everyone at a wedding reception sign a picture or a bowl 🙂 Just as important to celebrate and commemorate milestones at work and that’s a great way to do it. Thanks! – Jinnie

  2. Thanks for sharing! I’ve also done this as an individual reflection activity. Each person gets two rocks. One in which you want to write an intention of a word/feeling that no longer serves you (which eventually, you throw back out into the world). The other is an intention/feeling that you want to draw more into your life.

    I have my rock of “courage” still with me since my last women’s retreat. 🙂

    1. This is such a great idea, Annalyn! I love that it adds both another kinesthetic part to it as well as emotional. It was obviously impactful for you and others. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thanks for sharing this! Love that it is a tactile and creative experience that gets the team thinking positively!

  4. I love this activity! A great way to get in some creativity and supporting others. I could see this being used in an elementary school. My kid’s teachers in the past have them write them on post its. I like this idea better. I will definitely share with them.

    1. That’s great! Say hi to the gang we facilitated for at Kennesaw Charter Math & Science Academy!

  5. I love this concept, Jinnie! And I wonder how one manages the possibility (likelihood?) that some people might receive multiple rocks of appreciation and others none? Or maybe you have the good fortune of working with teams in which people are equally valued😉?

    1. This is a GREAT question, Martha – and definitely something that it would be wise for facilitators to think about beforehand. I think the easiest solution would be for the activity leader to make at least one rock for each participant, some or all of which could be done prior if time would be a factor (save 1 or 2 to do during work time). I will actually add that to the instructions because I think that’s a wise thing for anyone to do when leading this activity – you know us, facilitators and trainers, we like to have backups for our backups for any and every eventuality! Plus I think it would be great recognition for each team member to have a rock from their manager or instructor, in particular, to keep on their desk.

      I will say that this has never happened to me while leading this activity. But it does remind me of a similar problem that occurred with a different activity I’ve experienced (not led)…which I’ll save for a future blog post if Leigh Ann is interested 😛

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