Leadership Inspirations Activities

Split or Steal

You must decide if you are going to “split” or “steal”


10-20 minutes

Team Stage

Storming, Norming, Performing

Type Of Activity

Experiential Activity


Red and green index cards, prizes



This activity is based on the “Prisoner’s Dilemma” and asks groups to make a difficult decision. This activity explores themes of trust, honesty, and decision-making. Please be aware that the nature of this activity is higher risk and you should be prepared to thoroughly debrief the activity and help group members process their feelings.



  • Break your group up into two teams. If you have an especially large group, break them up into four groups and pair them up.
  • Give each team one red card and one green card. 
  • Choose compelling prizes for your group (pizza party, donuts, etc). It’s important that these prizes are something your group would really like! Make sure that there are enough prizes for everyone but only if the prizes are split in half. 


  • Tell everyone that they have the chance to win whatever prize you have chosen. 
  • They have two options: to “Split” (green card)  or “Steal” (red card).
    • If both groups choose to Split, they get to split the prize.
    • If both groups choose to Steal, they get nothing. 
    • If one group chooses to Split and the other chooses to Steal, the group that chooses Steal gets everything.  
  • Ask each group to take a few minutes to talk in their own groups about what they want to do.
  • Then, allow groups time to talk with each other. 
    • Facilitator Note: During this time, you may find groups make promises to each other, question each other’s honesty, or negotiate.   
  • Let small groups reconvene for a final discussion before making they must make a decision. 
  • Instruct groups to choose either their Split or Steal card, but not to reveal it yet. 
  • Count both groups down so that they reveal their decisions at the same time.
  • After the decisions have been revealed, divide up the prizes accordingly. 
    • Safety: This activity MUST be debriefed. Depending on the outcome, groups may have a lot they need to process together.


  • For a lower risk exploration of trust, try the Mole Game.
  • You may decide to play this game in pairs, but be aware that this is a much higher risk version of this activity. Be prepared to lead a restorative discussion afterwards.


  • What was the goal of this activity?
  • Did your group do well? What could have improved?
  • How did your group make decisions? Was it effective or ineffective?
  • How did your group manage conflict that arose?
So What?


  • What are you currently accountable for as an individual and a group? Who holds you accountable?
  • What is effective accountability? Are our methods as a group effective?
  • What role do you play in your own accountability and the group accountability?

Group Dynamics

  • What are the traits that make someone successful on this team? What are the traits that make someone unsuccessful on this team?
  • What motivates our group?
  • How does our group dynamic affect the way we get work done?


  • When has your group worked well together in the past? When have they not worked well together?
  • When has (something that happened in the activity) happened in the past with your group?
  • What habits or actions make a successful or effective team? What are your group’s opportunities for growth when working together?
Now What?
  • What does this activity tell you about the strengths of your group? The areas for improvement?
  • What’s one commitment each person can make?
  • What are three lessons the group has learned that they can continue to work on?
  • How can we implement these lessons in our school/organization?
  • What can you do differently moving forward?