Get your employees to work together—and have some fun- executive affiliates

Treasure Hunt Adventures offers a fun and exciting way to foster group effectiveness. It’s based on the Scandinavian (and new Olympic) sport of orienteering, where a detailed map is used to locate flags in a forest. Treasure Hunt Adventures designs custom made maps for company, convention, school and park treasure hunts.  The object of the treasure hunt is to find the key to the treasure-filled chest. Members of the group have to work together to accomplish the goal. The key, which is hidden on the property somewhere, can only be found by locating clues that are circled on the map. Once the clues are all found and assembled, they will provide the players with a final riddle. Questions about your company can be added into the game—or general knowledge and trivia can be used. Excitement builds as everyone looks for the treasure (possibly T-shirts with your company logo on it). The focus of the hunt can be more physical or cerebral—whatever companies prefer. Treasure Hunt Adventures also offers a “Mission Possible” hunt. In this game, the team must defuse a “device” that was armed by a rival company. The hunt comes complete with spies, dark glasses, code words and a nail-biting countdown. The company also has a Great Central Park Treasure Hunt that can teach students geography or just be plain fun in learning the park and looking at the monuments. The map is $9.95 (available on Amazon.com), and once you finish the hunt you can claim a piece of “treasure” by mail. The company is planning to offer maps for several of the country’s large metropolitan parks in the near future. For more information, browse www.treasurehuntadventures.com.

Leave your ego at the door, please- executive affiliates

What’s one of the most powerful things a manager can do? According to the chairman of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, it’s to recognize the traits and skills you don’t have—and then have the good sense to go out and hire people who have them. Schultz, in a Fortune magazine article titled “The Best Advice I Ever Got,” says that Warren Bennis, a respected scholar on the subject of leadership, gave him the advice. Schultz says that over the years Bennis has been an invaluable source of guidance. “Early on … he said … that I needed to invest ahead of the growth curve and think beyond the status quo in terms of the skill base, the experience and the quality of the people around me. He also told me that the art of becoming a great leader is in developing your ability to leave your own ego at the door and to recognize the skills and traits you don’t possess and that you need to build a world-class organization.” Schultz says this was harder to achieve than you might think, because he also wanted to build a company with a conscience. He said he not only had to find people with the skills that complemented his qualities, but that he also had to be sure and attract people who thought the same way he did. “What tied us together was not our respective disciplines, and it was not chasing an exit strategy driven by money. What tied us together was the dream of building a company that would achieve the fragile balance of profitability, shareholder value, a sense of benevolence and a social conscience.”

How to know whether self-help advice is legit or bunk- executive affiliates

Are you leery of some of the self-help advice out there? If so, then you might want to consider the seven following tips by Stephen Kraus, author of Psychological Foundations of Success: A Harvard-Trained Scientist Separates the Science of Success from Self-Help Snake Oil. Kraus has a doctorate in social psychology from Harvard University (www.NextLevelSciences.com).  Here are his “Top Seven Signs a Marketer is Trying to Sell You Self-Help Snake Oil”: •  There are references to studies or statistics without documenting the sources used. Kraus says that footnotes play a big role in reliable information and science. And if they’re absent, you should be leery. •  Instant change is promised. Kraus says lasting change is a process that involves ups and downs. He says you make the decision to change instantly, but you should probably expect to grapple with some setbacks along the way. •  Effortless change is promised. Kraus says change that will be stable and lasting will probably take some thought and effort on your part. He says the old axiom that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, is a good thought to keep in mind when faced with evaluating self-help materials. •  Information about the Yale Study of Goals is offered. Kraus says this is a great story: The 1953 graduating class at Yale was interviewed. During the interviews it was determined that 3 percent of the class had specific written goals for their futures. After 20 years, that 3 percent was found to be worth more than the other 97 percent—combined. Kraus says there’s only one problem: The study never took place. It’s an urban legend. •  Promises of tapping the powers of the subconscious mind are made. Kraus says this is a sure sign that you’re dealing with marketers and not psychologists. •  Promises of eliminating fear forever are made. Kraus says forget it. You’re never going to be fear-free, because fear is important to our survival and is built into our lives for good reason—for instance, if you’re about to be run over by a bus, it’s a good thing to be afraid because it is a necessary call to action. •  The “fact” that people only use 10 percent of their brainpower is brought up. Kraus says this is one of the oldest urban legends in psychology—and it’s not true. He says that if someone removed 90 percent of your brain that you’d definitely notice—actually he says, you wouldn’t notice, because you’d be dead.