Greetings to the Clue Community!

Dr. Clue News: 
Hello again everyone!   I trust that those of you here in the U.S. enjoyed a happy and safe 4th of July Weekend.  And for those of you north of the border, Happy Canada Day.

It’s been another couple of super busy weeks for the Dr. Clue team, with great treasure hunt programs taking place in:

  • Banff, Canada
  • Ventura, CA
  • Santa Monica, Ca
  • The Loop, Chicago
  • Navy Pier, Chicago
  • Old Philadelphia
Our Banff program was particularly challenging (in a good way) as we had to come up with clever solutions for working around the torrential rains that dumped down on Calgary during the third week of June — washing out the Trans Canada Highway (with floods and mudslides) and transforming downtown Calgary into an Olympic-size swimming pool.   But the hunt must go on, as we folks in the industry always say.  To their great credit, our 30 teams of leaders from Agrium Inc., went out in the downpour and completed their quest, rushing around downtown Banff armed only with umbrellas, puzzles, and a fully-loaded Android tablet.   And the best thing:  no one got hurt AND the tablets survived unscathed.   Take that, Canadian Rockies weather!Interested in learning more about our new Android Tablet treasure hunts?   Give us a call at 707-566-7824!

In today’s issue of the Dr. Clue newsletter, we’ve got 3 more puzzles for you to solve, an icebreaker that is quote enjoyable, and an article about why people change.  Enjoy!

Dave Blum
Editor, Dr. Clue Icebreaker Newsletter

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Frame Games

Last issue, we gave you these 3 puzzles:

Thanks to everyone who sent in a solution.  The correct answers were (clockwise from upper left):

  • A parting of the ways
  • Some are underpaid and overworked
  • Up to a Point
  • Bigger and Better

Our First-to-Solve was Julie Potter.  Congratulations Julie!

This Week’s Puzzles:

2) Here are 3 more frame puzzles (without the frames).  As always, let’s see who can get them all the fastest and be named the “F2S” (first to solve).

t  r  a
l  a  f
g  a  r






Email your answers ASAP at:
Good luck!

This Week’s Icebreaker

“Meaningful Quotes”

Set up:  None


    1. Divide your participants into smaller groups of four or five people who are sitting near each other, or if participants are sitting four-five to a table as in many training venues, ask them to work with their table-mates. (In many settings, participants have just sat down, introduced themselves to the others at their table, and they don’t take kindly to moving.)


    1. Tell the newly formed groups that their job is to think, as an individual, for a few minutes about the quote you give them and jot down notes related to these questions.
      –What does the quote mean to them?
      –How does the quote relate to the topic of the team building session, training class, or meeting?


    1. Then, ask the participants to share their answers with the members of their group. The facilitator should ask questions such as:
      –How similar or different were your answers?
      –Did anything meaningful occur for you during the discussion?


  1. After the participants complete their initial spontaneous discussion, ask the participants to share any thoughts or insights that highlighted their small group discussion with the larger group. Ask for a volunteer to start and lead a discussion for several minutes. Use the discussion as a segue into the opening of your session topic.

This meaningful quotes icebreaker takes 10 – 15 minutes with the initial unstructured discussion that the ice breaker generates. Total time will depend on the number of additional questions that you ask the group to discuss as part of the debrief of the ice breaker.

Applications of the Meaningful Quotes Ice Breaker

Here are sample quotes and the training classes, team building sessions, and meetings in which you can use them effectively to break the ice. Please note that many of these quotes fit multiple categories. Use your favorite quotes and your imagination to make this ice breaker work for you and your groups.

Change or Change Management Session:

  • “Everybody has accepted by now that change is unavoidable. But that still implies that change is like death and taxes it should be postponed as long as possible and no change would be vastly preferable. But in a period of upheaval, such as the one we are living in, change is the norm.” –Peter F. Drucker


    • “Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” –Vince Lombardi


  • ”You have to know one big thing and stick with it. The leaders who had one very big idea and one very big commitment. This permitted them to create something. Those are the ones who leave a legacy.” –Irving Kristol

Empowerment and Delegation

    • “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” –General George Smith Patton, Jr.


    • “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” –Theodore Roosevelt


  • “The great leaders are like the best conductors – they reach beyond the notes to reach the magic in the players.” –Blaine Lee


    • ”The companies that survive longest are the ones that work out what they uniquely can give to the world not just growth or money but their excellence, their respect for others, or their ability to make people happy. Some call those things a soul.” –Charles Handy


  • ”Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude.” –Ralph Marston

Goal Setting, Performance Development Planning, Clear Expectations:

    • “A river has to have banks to be more than a pond.” –Ken Blanchard


  • “Objectives are not fate; they are direction. They are not commands; they are commitments. They do not determine the future; they are means to mobilize the resources and energies of the business for the making of the future.” –Peter Drucker


    • “Management is nothing more than motivating other people.” –Lee Iacocca


  • “The only way to get people to like working hard is to motivate them. Today, people must understand why they’re working hard. Every individual in an organization is motivated by something different.” –Rick Pitino

Nonverbal Communication

    • “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson


  • ”The limits of my language means the limits of my world.” –Ludwig Wittgenstein

Team Work and Team Building

    • “You will find men who want to be carried on the shoulders of others, who think that the world owes them a living. They don’t seem to see that we must all lift together and pull together.” –Henry Ford


  • “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed. It is the only thing that ever has.” –Margaret Mead

(With thanks to Susan Heathfield)

———————————————————————-Featured Article

Change:  It’s Such A Pain!
By David Blum

Why do people change?  It’s a simple question, with a plethora of possible answers, such as:

People change because it’s good for them… They change because they’re forced to… They change because it’s just time…  They change for the sake of variety…

Change is a part of life, right?  It’s inevitable.  We change when we need to change, because change is variety and variety is fun.

But is change really inevitable?   How is it that we trainers put together these fantastic sessions, with ample, juicy opportunities for insight and behavioral change, and our participants just don’t get with the program!

Clearly it has something to do with habit.  My dad, Walter, for example, was the ultimate creature of habit, about as resistant to change as they come.  For as long as I can remember, he wore the same shirts (striped, short-sleeved, baggy) and the same non-descript, blue pants.   A typical day for Dad would inevitably include a cup of instant coffee (Folgers) every morning with his eggs, another cup at lunch with his bagel (Noah’s) and cream cheese, and a glass of red wine (Gallo) every evening with his dinner – concluding with a scoop of ice cream (most likely vanilla) just before bed.   And this pattern continued until late into his life when he was diagnosed with diabetes and had to make some changes.

I propose that change — true change, that is, not mere cosmetic, style decisions — arises primarily from the dual partners of fear and pain. Whatever our situation, something is NOT working for us and it’s terrifying to imagine that this sorry state of affairs might continue –forever!

So why do people change jobs?  For exactly the same reason: because something about their work situation is painful or scary.   Perhaps it’s your boss, who is verbally abusive.   Or your duties, which are a huge mismatch with your skills/personality.  Or your pay, which will never let you realize the story you’ve laid out for your life (home, family, cushy retirement, etc.).  Whatever the explanation, you swap jobs because work is causing you pain and you’ve had it up to here.

And yet, even ongoing, low-level pain and fear may not be enough to inspire a change.  We human beings have this amazing capacity to put up with things, far beyond their expiration date.  Call it inertia, toleration, turning the other cheek…   “Okay sure, my job may stink, but trying something new is even scarier.  What if I make the jump and I fail?  That’s even more frightening!  I’ll just stay here for awhile and ponder my options”

Lasting change, it seems,requires post pain/fear AND a catalyzing event, something (or someone) that shocks you out of your rut and prompts you to new action.  In my dad’s case, it was a doctor telling him that he had to modify his eating habits if he wanted to keep on living. In my own case, it was a friend’s stern words.  You see, back in 1995, I was feeling pretty sick and tired of my going-nowhere job at a non-profit job agency in downtown San Francisco. It wasn’t just the pay, which at $11.75 an hour was barely paying the bills.   Rather, it was the monotony of my work: the same boring duties every day, without variation.  No writing, no speaking, no creativity…   Was this to be my lot in life, to the end of my days, never expressing my skills, my interests, my abilities?  How depressing!    But even then, did I do anything about it? Not for a really long time!   After all, my job was easy.  It was stable.  And best of all, I didn’t have to take it home with me.  What changed everything, however, was a catalytic conversation I had with an entrepreneur buddy of mine, Scott, who stated strongly that I was trapped in a holding pattern.   Looking at Scott’s life as a sole proprietor (environmental architect) — so full of energy, innovation and optimism – I couldn’t help but thinking, “Here I am, fed up with my life, dreading the future and hating myself.   I want what Scott has!”  And so I changed my lifestyle, and Dr. Clue was born.

Last month, I experienced a similar catalyzing event coming on the heels of an ongoing pain.  It was the day after my 50th birthday, and there I was, with my girlfriend, watching this great documentary called “Forks Over Knives”, a powerful exploration of the health benefits of a plant-strong, whole-foods, vegan lifestyle.    Now, I should explain that I’d been moving more towards vegetarianism for quite a while at this point, but not particularly for my health.  Rather, I was disgruntled with a larger, personal struggle – my own persistent battle of the bulge.   No matter what animal-based diet I tried, I just couldn’t shed the extra pounds I was carrying without practicing the dreaded “portion control” and starving myself, or so it seemed.    And then I watched “Forks Over Knives” which, to my surprise, suggested that I could pig out on “the right food” and the pounds would roll off of me.  To be sure, my ongoing situation (tight clothes) was causing me distress, but I needed the catalyst of the movie to spur me into action.   (Personal Note: I’ve been vegan for a month and a half now, have lost 10 pounds and feel fantastic).

So what does this all mean for us trainers and change-agents in the workplace?   Clearly we need to cue into the pain and fear of the people we serve.  But here’s the rub:  more often than not, the call for change in our organizations comes from on-high, far removed from our training participants.   Does this sound familiar?:

CEO:  “We need to do something about the lack of productivity in our office.  I’m getting grief from our stakeholders about our low
numbers.   What kind of training can we throw at the problem that will remedy this situation and get everyone off my back?” 

The problem with change initiatives that come plummeting down from the boardroom is that it’s often the initiators who are feeling the pain and fear and not, necessarily, the participants themselves.  Let’s say you’ve received a memo from your supervisor that you need to attend a department-wide course in conflict resolution.    Clearly, the mandate for this has come down from the suits upstairs, or your boss, or your boss’ boss.  But what’s in it for you?   What pain are you feeling?

This, I believe, is our biggest challenge as trainers:  getting buy in from participants who aren’t yet experiencing the aggravation and the terror for themselves.

Can we be the catalysts?   Perhaps. Much depends on our ability to help our trainees get in touch with their own feelings, their own disatisfactions, their own fear and pain.  What is THEIR story, and how does this training jive with what’s going on in THEIR lives.    There can be no second-hand change.   It has to visceral.  It has to be personal.  And it has to be right on time.

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