Hello again everyone!

Yes, times are still tough; budgets remain limited; resources are tight. The Dr. Clue Friday Newsletter is here again with more Dr. Clue news, teambuilding tips, articles, and puzzles.  Please do spread the word–and let us know what you think & how else we can serve you.

Our ongoing promise:  to keep delivering this helpful, free newsletter until the economy flips firmly back to the positive.

Best wishes!

Dave Blum

Editor, Dr. Clue Newsletter

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


Dr. Clue News: 

Spring Hunt Schedule Filling Up Fast!:

  • Have a meeting coming up this spring?
  • Wondering how you can build your team while simultaneously getting to know the host city?

Our signature treasure hunt, 1/2-day programs are the perfect way to help your people get to know each other better while working together on a fun, interactive project — out and about in the local community.

Our recent clients are saying:

“I had a lot of fun getting to know my co-workers and walking around in the beautiful weather.”

Stacy Tsukayama

BioMarin, San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf Hunt


“What I loved about the treasure hunt was the tour of [of the city] and seeing new places. Wonderful experience and great team building.”

Heather Morrison, Carolinas Healthcare

Charlotte, Uptown Hunt

“It’s the 4th time I’ve used Dr. Clue – so productive for the team.”

Michele Calope, Bristol-Myers Squibb

Baltimore Inner Harbor Hunt

Our spring schedule is filling up fast!  To reserve your date, drop us a line at drclue@drclue.com, or call us at 707-566-7824.

Dr. Clue offers 120+ treasure hunt locations, all over the world. Check them all out on our guided hunt locations page.

In today’s issue of the Dr. Clue newsletter, we’ve got 3 more tricky puzzles to solve, an icebreaker that is “blameless”, and an article that is sure, as a rule, to be “golden”.  Enjoy!Dave Blum
Editor, Dr. Clue Icebreaker Newsletter

Interested in joining Dr. Clue’s affiliate program and making some passive income from your website?  Click here!


Frame Games

Last issue, we gave three tricky puzzles to solve
Thanks to everyone who sent in a solution.  The correct answers were:

1. Mixed metaphor
2. Man in the moon
3. Forgotten heroesHonorable mentions go to:
  • Tyson Thomas
  • Kristy Achar

However, our First to Solve this week was:  Alyssa Zeff

Congratulations Alyssa!


This Week’s Puzzles:

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


Email me your answers to me at: dave@drclue.com

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:

Who Started It

Before any group can change its norms, people must agree to abstain from the “blame game”.  Everyone is responsible for group behavior (not just one person).  This game shines a light on group behavior and all its machinations.Process:  Have learners stand in a circle.  Start things off by pointing at someone across the circle.  That person must now point to someone else across the circle, who must then point to another person, etc.  No one must point at anyone who is already pointing at someone else.  Carry on until everyone is pointing at someone and no two people are pointing at the same person.  You may all stop pointing at this point.

Now tell everyone to fix their eyes on the person they just pointed at.  Tell them it is their job to keep watching that person, who is their Role Model.

Learners have one job: watch their Role Model closely and copy that person’s actions.  Ask your learners to stand perfectly still. The only time they may move is if their Role Models move.  In fact, if the Role Model does anything–coughs, twitches a finger, anything at all–the learner must repeat that motion once, and then be still again (unless, of course, the Role Model moves again).

Start the game and let it go for about 5 minutes.  Gradually, small movements will occur here and there.  Anytime one person does it, the action will be repeated around the circle endlessly — usually exaggerated with each repetition.  In the end, everyone in the circle should be wagging their heads, moving their arms, scrunching their faces, coughing, giggling and generally acting like a bunch of crazy people.

Debrief:  What just happened? (We were supposed to stand still!)  What were some of the movements you observed?  Who started each one? (People will likely argue about this.)  Who is sure it was your Role Model who started a given movement?  How does this game model what your group may do in real life?  What are the costs of playing the “who started it” game at work?  What would you be willing to do to change this norm?

The point:
To be sure, it’s important to get to the bottom of things when the “blame game” has taken over your department.  What is often forgotten, however, is that everyone is responsible for the perpetuation of the behavior.  Setting a norm like “we refuse to continue gossip when we hear it” or “we will only talk about a person when they’re in the room with us” can go a long way towards nipping this kind of thing in the bud.  Games like “Who Started It?” highlight how easily a small spark can turn into a wildfire if no one interrupts the behavior.  In the end, it doesn’t matter who started it as much as who stopped it.

(with thanks to “The Big Book of Humorous Training Games, Tamblyn and Weiss, 2000)


Featured Article

The “Golden Rule” at Work – Re-Examined

By Dave Blum

One of the most popular axioms in western culture is the Golden Rule, loosely summarized as “Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.” Although valid in general (who doesn’t want more love, respect and kindness?), the Golden Rule is flawed when it comes to personality styles and preferences.  People just aren’t all wired alike; they have different needs, different ways they want to be treated. And this is particularly true during times of stress.  At work, it is the leader’s task not only to know how he, himself, prefers to be treated in times of hardship, and how his staff might react in the pressure cooker, but also what each of his teammates might need in order to recover from the crisis and get back on track.


Eastern philosophy speaks directly to this phenomenon. In Buddhism, it’s posited that people respond to challenging situations with five typical, habitual behaviors.  These five responses (or “hindrances”) are: 1) Aversion 2) Desire 3) Sloth & Torpor 4) Restlessness and 5) Doubt.   The Five Hindrances arise whenever we’re faced with stress; a skillful leader must quickly and accurately identify and interrupt his team members’ hindrances if he hopes to pull his team through the crisis.


Let’s say your development team has been working on an important account for months but has consistently missed its deadlines.  The client is now threatening to withdraw from its agreement, potentially costing your company millions of dollars in revenue.  The five-person team reacts to this threat as follows:


Jim (aversion/anger):  “How could the client be so petty!  We only missed the latest deadline by a few days.  I have half a mind to call and give them a piece of my mind.  And while I’m at it, I think I’ll have a stern talk with Gerald, who’s really been lollygagging the last two months. If anyone’s responsible for this mess we’re in, it’s him!”


Gerald (desire): “Whew, what a rough week!  I’d think I’ll head down to Dewey’s after work for a cold one.  Maybe a big burger and fries to go with it – yeah, I really deserve a treat on a lousy day like this.”


Mariah (sloth/torpor): “Blah! I don’t see how I can get up and go into the office tomorrow. I’ve got a few sick days saved; I’m staying curled up in bed, away from the cold, cruel world.”


Alex (restlessness/worry):   “This is terrible!  Without that account, what’s going to happen to our department?  Or to my job?  I’ve got a family and a mortgage. It could be months before I find another job like this. Years maybe!  This is very, very bad.”


Tanya (doubt):  “Could this all be my fault?  I was a day late on my report.  Was I wrong to join this department in the first place?  Should I have stayed at my last job?—at least there we didn’t have such high-profile clients.  I don’t think I’m ready for the big time.”


Do you recognize yourself anywhere above?


For each teammate, a habitual response to stress leads to a specific, archetypal behavior.


  • Jim goes directly to aversion, often manifested as anger.
  • Gerald falls into desire, often expressed as pleasure seeking.
  • Mariah reacts with sloth/torpor, often characterized by a de-energized retreat.
  • Alex responds with restlessness, often signified by mental agitation and worry.
  • And Tanya’s reaction is all about doubt, directed firmly at herself.


As the team leader, Jim’s task is now two-fold.  First he must recognize and step out of his own aversion/anger pattern:  not an easy thing to do.  Clearly, he’s not going to solve any of his team’s problems until his own mind has returned to equilibrium.  A lengthy work out at the gym might be in order, or perhaps a long walk with a friend, or even some meditation. Once his own mind is calmer, Jim can then assess and diagnose the symptoms of each of his teammates, identifying their specific hindrances and working to interrupt those behaviors.


  • Gerald (desire) will need convincing that work will soon be fun again.
  • Mariah (sloth) will need reminding that the workplace is safe, and that problem solving can be energizing
  • Alex (restlessness) will need assurance that everything will be all right and the world isn’t ending.
  • Tanya (doubt) will need confirmation that her abilities and judgments are, indeed, sound — at least most of the time.


It’s important, as well, for Jim to let people feel their emotions.  He might say:  “Take the weekend to do what you need to do and feel what you need to feel.  That’s understandable!  Then on Monday, let’s shake it off, roll up our sleeves and put on our thinking caps.  With clear minds, we can solve anything!”


There is no magic prescription for diagnosing and navigating people’s hindrances.  We are human, after all; we’ve have had a lifetime to develop our particular habits of mind. Sometimes hindrances just have to run their course.  But as a team leader, understanding what to expect from your teammates-under-pressure, and being ready with an appropriate response, is absolutely crucial.


The new Golden Rule, then, is: Do unto others as they would have done unto themselves.”


As always, thank you for being a part of the Dr. Clue Community!Dave Blum, Editor, The Dr. Clue Team building Newsletter & the Friday Icebreaker

Feel free to contact us 707-566-7824
or email Dave personally at drclue@drclue.com