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The Clues to Success

Lisa Kiepert


Life lessons learned from a board game

During Christmas I was in a toy store and was pleased to see among the high-tech video games and toys were some old board games. One that caught my eye was Clue. I remember playing this game as a child with my family and how fun it was.  

Clue is a classic board game. A murder is committed in a mansion. There are multiple suspects, murder weapons, and a variety of rooms where the murder could happen. The players investigate the murder by gathering information. The winner is the player who through, the process of elimination, can figure out which three cards (murderer, weapon used, and location) are hidden within the secret envelope that holds the answer to the murder. If your accusation is incorrect, you lose the game and other players continue to play until they have solved the mystery 

The toy store trip down memory lane reminded me that Clue is more than a game about murder and who done it; there are valuable life lessons that can be applied in the workplace, especially in maintenance. 

Communication and Listening Skills 

In the game of Clue individuals communicate and listen to each other. They learn by doing so it will help them gather the necessary information to solve the mystery. Just like in Clue, maintenance personnel communicate with others and listen to what they have to say to have a clear understanding of the problem. 

Problem-Solving Skills 

Clue requires deductive reasoning and problem-solving skills to solve the mystery, which these skill sets are beneficial in maintenance. Similar to Clue, maintenance personnel determine the who, what, where, when, why, and how. This includes: 
  • What the problem is and what the problem is not 
  • Where the problem is and where the problem is not 
  • When the problem appeared and when it does not appear 
  • Specifying the extent of the problem and looking for patterns 
  • Identifying possible causes 
  • Evaluating possible causes

Strategizing Skills 

One of the main aspects of playing Clue is strategizing your next move. Just like Clue, maintenance personnel use information provided to them to piece together and plan their next move in solving the problem and preventing it from occurring again. 

Coping with Failure 

There are many stages in the game of Clue when you are incorrect, and you need to sit back and reevaluate what was previously thought. This reevaluation is an excellent way in teaching how to handle failure, showing that even though this time you didn’t get something right, you can try again. Maintenance personnel must remember it is okay to fail. Think of failure as just another step in the process until you succeed, just like Thomas Edison did when he patented the light bulb. He said “I didn’t fail 1,00 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”  


Maintenance personnel will face obstacles, just like in the game of Clue, and it is up to you how you will let those obstacles affect the outcome. Having determination will help you be successful. 


As maintenance personnel you are continually learning. Constantly growing, assessing, and evaluating. Take time to ponder your next steps. You may need to scream out some frustrations at times. But remember don’t let a failure conquer you. Continue to give it another try, just like Thomas Edison did, until the PROBLEM IS SOLVED. 

Thank you, Clue, for the valuable life lesson learned.