Greetings to the Clue Community!

Hello again everyone!

I trust you all enjoyed a lovely Valentine’s Day yesterday.

As mentioned previously, these Dr. Clue Friday Icebreaker newsletters are now available on the web.  If you missed any of the last 6 or 7 issues, you can read them all by clicking here (or going to:



Dave Blum

Editor, Dr. Clue Newsletter


P.S. Please note our new office phone number:  707-566-7824



What is the value of team building?:

When I’ve asked this question to clients, they’ve responded with a broad variety of answers, such as:

–Team building helps people bond
–It raises morale
–It lets us blow off steam
–It allows folks to get to know people with whom they may not work on a regular basis
–It breaks down boundaries that may be keeping people apart

What strikes me about all these answers is the common theme:  behavioral change.    We expect our team building off-sites to effect some kind of change in our staff’s behavior.  For example:

  • If our people are low, we’d like to see their moods raised.
  • If our people are stressed, we’d like to see them become more relaxed.
  • If our people are in cliques, we’d like to see them socializing with people outside of their usual work/social groups.
  • If our people are fighting, we’d like to see them making peace.

As leaders and managers, these are valid, organizational goals!   It’s our job to monitor and boost productivity, which is governed (to a large extent) by the behavior of our team.  So we cajole, we nudge, and we inspire; we change things up, we get people out of the office, and we boost productivity.

It’s no longer good enough to schedule our team building events haphazardly, hoping that an injection of fun will somehow make things better in our office.   In this challenging economy, we have to act with much more intentionality!

As you consider a team building event for your group, please ask yourself these 3 important questions:

1) What is my group’s current level of productivity?
2) What specific behaviors are holding us back?
3) How can an off-site event bring about the new, desired behaviors?

As a thought experiment, imagine that your event is complete and you’ve achieved everything you wanted from the activity.   How are people now feeling (as compared to before)?   What are they doing that they weren’t doing before?

Answering these questions in advance will give you much more bang for your buck the next time you go shopping for a teambuilding provider (like Dr. Clue).


Dr. Clue News

If you’ve identified office behaviors that need to be shifted right now (see above) don’t let the current, unpredictable weather hold you back.  Rain or shine, there’s no time like now to start effecting those changes and boosting productivity.

Dr. Clue offers 25 indoor, museum treasure hunts; perfect for both winter cold AND summer heat.  Check out all our hunt locations here.
Please note:

Indoor Treasure Hunt Locations = Indoor Treasure Hunt Location

San Francisco Academy of Sciences treasure hunt and scavenger hunt    Dr. Clue London England Victoria and Albert Museum treasure hunt scavenger hunt for corporate team building  Dr. Clue Paris Louvre treasure hunt scavenger hunt for corporate team building  Dr. Clue New York Natural History Museum AMNH treasure hunt scavenger hunt for corporate team building

We also offer 4 indoor, philanthropic, community-service events that give back to needy populations, including:

All four of these indoor programs are ideal for hotel ballrooms and large office gathering spaces.

To reserve your date, drop us a line at, or call us at 707-566-7824.

Dr. Clue offers 100+ outdoor treasure hunt locations, as well. The spring is coming!  Check out all our guided hunt locations here.


In today’s issue of the Dr. Clue newsletter, we’ve got 3 more tricky puzzles to solve, an icebreaker that will ask you to choose your “exit strategy”, and an article that may (or may not) have you doing the wave.  Enjoy!Dave Blum
Editor, Dr. Clue Icebreaker NewsletterInterested in joining Dr. Clue’s affiliate program and making some passive income from your website?  Click here!

Frame Games

Last issue, we gave you these three tricky puzzles to solve:

rebus one_020113rebus two_020113rebus three_020113

Thanks to everyone who sent in a solution.  The correct answers were:

1) Red Herring
2) Washington ate here
3) Ready for the big time

Honorable mentions go to:

Kristy Achar
Julie Potter
Pauline Gehnrich

However, our First to Solve this week was: Lynda McDaniel!

Congratulations Lynda!


This week you’ve got three more puzzles to unlock!  Let’s see who can get them all the fastest and be named the “F2S” (first to solve).

Email me your answers to me ASAP at:

Good luck!

And don’t forget to check out our DIY Treasure Hunt Store: the low-cost way to transform ANY area into a team-building adventure


This Week’s Icebreaker

Bus Stop

Group Size:  3-50 people
Time:  5-10 minutes (not including debrief)
Set up Time: 60 seconds
Props:  Two shoestringsObjective:  group members make choices & express opinions in front of other people

1. Create an imaginary bus by laying two shoestrings on the ground in a parallel formation.  The two shoestrings should be 15-20 feet apart.
2. Ask the group to stand in between the two strings, facing you.
3. As the facilitator, you are the bus driver, standing at the front of your bus, facing your passengers (the group).
4. The shoestrings represent exits to the bus.
5. As the game proceeds, you will ask passengers to get off the bus using the left exit (shoestring) or right exit (shoestring), according to their  feelings about some specific words pairs.For example, you might say:   “Day time”/”Night time”

If people are “day time” people, they would cross the shoestring to the left; if “night time” people, they’d cross the shoestring to the right.

Other Potential Word Pair choices might be:

  • Spend Money / Save Money
  • Shark / Dolphin
  • Chocolate cake / Chocolate ice cream
  • Run / Walk
  • One friend / Many friends
  • Triangle / Square
  • Deep Sea Diving / Sky Diving
  • Something New / Something Old
  • Art class / Math Class
  • Little kid / Big Kid
  • Read / Watch

After reading each word pair, pause and allow the two groups to see who chose what.  The bus driver then says “Back on the bus!” and everyone steps back on — returning to the area between the shoestrings.

Rules:   Passengers must get off the bus when a stop is made (ie. you must make a choice!)

Comments:  This activity is good for the beginning of a program, as it lets you quickly and easily learn more about a group.

Debriefing:  How did you make your choices?   Were your choices effected by the choices of others (ie. how other people moved)?  How were you surprised by the choices other people made?   What was difficult about this game?   Were you always clear about your choices — and if not, how did you make your choice?  How did you feel about the people standing with you on your side of a shoestring?  How did you feel about the people standing on the other side of the bus?

The Point:  Great teams do not achieve success consistently through luck.  Long-term success is achieved through the choices we make, both as individuals and as a team.  Sometimes we make choices consciously and sometimes without much thought at all.  The choices we make on a daily basis create what is known as destiny.  By becoming aware of our choices, we can decide whether they serve us or not.  Each choice we make leads us either closer or further form our life’s mission or purpose.  This activity allows us to closely examine our choice-making process. It also allows us to think about the effect of society on our decisions.

(with thanks to Tom Heck: www.


Featured Article

“The Wave” of Team Decision Making
By Dave Blum

A few days ago, I watched a fascinating movie from 2008 — “The Wave” — available widely on DVD, Netflix, etc.  Although the film takes place in Germany (with an all-German cast), it’s actually a dramatization of the true story of an unusual teaching experiment conducted by Ron Jones at his Palo Alto, CA high school in 1969.    As the “The Wave” begins, young teacher Rainer Wenger finds himself compelled to teach a one-week course on the topic of “autocracy” — not his favorite subject.  After his first class — taught in the traditional, lecture manner — fails to inspire much interest from his students, Rainer decides to try an experiment.  During his next session, he suggests people see what living in an autocracy might actually feel like.  For the rest of the week, they will address him as Herr Wenger.  They will stand up when speaking (standing apparently helps blood circulation).  They will wear a uniform to class — a simple white shirt and blue jeans.   And they will come up with a logo, a salute, and a name for their “movement”.   What follows is equal parts fascinating and horrifying.   “The Wave”, as their class is called, takes on a life of its own.  A student begins to shadow “Herr Wenger”, acting as his body guard.   Events are scheduled — for Wave-members only.  Non-Wave members are even beat up.   I won’t spoil things by telling you how it ends up, but you get the idea.    Even in today’s modern Germany — so passionately committed to avoiding another Third Reich — fascism remains an ever-present, enticing, sociological possibility.   And this was just a movie!   The real thing actually happened, right here in the democratic USA — during the rebellious 1960s, no less!

As it turns out, I was lucky enough to attend a screening of The Wave” at a theater in Northern California with Ron Jones in attendance to answer questions.  Jones confirmed that the events in the film were essentially accurate (except for the very end).  His students did, indeed, become this powerful, unified, aggressively-superior clique, all within the course of 5 days.

For the students in the Wave, there were clearly some benefits derived:

  • Their intelligence was piqued and their interest ignited.
  • They felt neat, organized and disciplined.
  • They felt a sense of community (something many were not experiencing in their home lives).
  • They felt the power of numbers.
  • They were given a purpose.
  • They felt individually empowered.

Energizing stuff.   And of course, dangerous as well, in the wrong hands.  The cost of this experiment was the students surrendering their freedom of thought…their ability to challenge authority.  By reaping the benefits of the Wave, the students traded in their basic, human rights: as people, as individuals.  And as the violence escalated, no one was willing to “go against the flow” as things got further and further out of hand.

As a team building leader and coach, viewing “The Wave” got me thinking about the groups I work with.  So often, I observe managers urging their teams to become unified via hatred of another group, company or division.  To aid in this effort, they create a team name, a team logo, and a team purpose.  And this method is highly effective in the short term:  as long as they don’t cross the line into aggressive behavior (which I HAVE seen happen!)

So what can we do build our teams without creating mini-fascist states?

I believe the key is to employ participatory decision making, whether that takes the shape of majority vote, consensus, or something else you can come up with.    There are no sheep in a high-performance team.  All participants have to challenge authority: assertively but constructively, within respectful, agreed-upon channels and procedures.

And we can’t unify via hate.   Organizations, like societies, are made up of a variety of different groups and teams.  Although acting independently to achieve their own results, teams are also part of something bigger.   During times of crisis, they may even need to coordinate with other teams and groups, for the common good.  Where will they be if they detest their counterparts on other groups? Look at the current gridlock in the US Senate!

The team leaders’ challenge, then, is to bring his/her team together using a different inspiration, one that unifies via camaraderie and positivity vs. dislike of others.

I advise you all to give “The Wave” a viewing.  You may just reconsider your own, current “wave” of team leadership.

As always, thank you for being a part of the Dr. Clue Community!

Dave Blum, Editor, The Dr. Clue Friday Icebreaker newsletter

Feel free to contact us at 707-566-7824 with your thoughts and comments,
or email Dave personally at