The past month has been quite a journey, even before I head off to Mumbai once again. My passport expired as did my one-year, multiple-entry business visa to India. SO, I put the passport into “The System” and got it back quickly. Then came the application process for the entry visa. It was one of these “in the mud” kind of weeks:

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Scott, talking about being up to your “axles in mud,” with Spectator Sheep. This situation sure felt like that!

Online, it gave me some options so I applied for the 10-year, multiple-entry business visa, since it was the same price as the 5-year one and not too much more expensive than the 1-year, the application requirements were as before as were the timelines.

But in this case, I ran up into “the processor bureaucracy.” To make a long story short, it has taken me nearly a month, with me making 4 phone calls, repeatedly sending things, changing one or two words in the application letter (I am a one-person company but the letter from my company to the embassy has to be from someone else in my company verifying my honesty and abiilty to pay any debts occurring in India) and there was an issue with the words “training” and “contract.”

I will be going there to market my organizational development tools (Square Wheels and Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine) and to meet up with my exclusive representatives to look at new product development and marketing. I am going to present to some large conferences to model the delivery of the tools. We have a contract that protects my intellectual property, mostly. BUT, the person reading the application materials was MOST CERTAIN that I was going to India for employment, and thus, I must complete an Employment Visa. And having “a contract” proved to her that I was an employee and not the owner of my own company doing business with another company. Her ignorance was most amazing, actually, and combined with her unwillingness to listen, caused me (and probably many other businessmen) a great deal of anguish.

That employment descriptive document had things like me having to receive an annual salary of at least USD $25,000 and that my sponsoring company had to assert that I was uniquely qualified and that there was no one in India who could do my job. (I cannot imagine how that would actually be accomplished). In reading it, we would have to LIE on the application for me to qualify for one of those employment visas.

With me being totally truthful on all things, and with the processor actually losing my passport in their mailroom, I finally made that one perfect phone call to the right person who said, “I can fix this!” and she did, using the information that they already had. It proves the value of the empowered employee when it comes to customer service.

UPS now has my passport and I get it today. This is after a MONTH of them diddling around with this processor company’s people (absulute power corrupts absolutely?) and making mistakes and losing things. And, this put a great deal of pressure on all of us, given the commitments we were making to deliver large programs in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. 

Anyway, it looks like things are all in order, that the trip will be a “go” and the tickets and time not wasted.

Now, I am putting a lot of materials together that will recombine the Square Wheels tools into a program on strategy implementation, something that is a critical issue for most large organizations. I am building on the work of my long-term friend and associate, Robin Speculand in Singapore, and focusing on using his Compass model and his general information, combining his approach with my tools for generating engagement and involvement and alignment, and using the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine exercise as a tool for changing behavior and generating commitment to missions and visions.

It will be a unique program for me. I have worked on implementation themes for 30+ years, but never linked these tools in this manner. We are redesigning the play of Dutchman to allow for mid-game restructuring and communications, which will improve its effectiveness around the strategy and vision themes.

And, I will get another newsletter out on this today.

Sure has been an interesting journey to India, this past month, and I have not even left the US yet!

Square Wheels are everywhere! So are the Round Ones.
  (And thanks to Jennie at Travisa for helping me out when all others failed…)

And I am really looking forward to working with the illustrations and games again in India.

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For the FUN ot It!

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Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant. 
Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott atscott@squarewheels.com

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