Performance Management Company Blog

Ideas on People and Performance, Team Building, Motivation and Innovation

Month: February 2014 (Page 1 of 2)

Can Creativity be Taught? Illustrated Thoughts

My thought was to add a couple of thoughts to the blog I posted up yesterday about asking whether creativity can be taught. I guess the old phrase is, “Begging the question…” You can find that other blog here.

Let me illustrate a bit of my thinking as it relates to organizational creativity and continuous continuous improvement. I will do this using the one image and some context:

Square Wheels One - Things I need to do more celebrate 100

The above represent some simple thoughts or action plans on the issue of creativity and improvement. Nothing about this is rocket science.

Any sort of change or improvement requires some thinking, and some “considered alternatives.” If we continue to do things the same way, we will continue to get the same result. This holds true in so many work situations, even where the top performers are known to be doing things differently than everyone else!

Creativity and considered alternatives are all about perspective.

Square Wheels One all the things you won't see poem red

Creativity and considered alternatives are all about perspective, as well as the perception of the wagon puller’s commitment to even considering changes.

Square Wheels One Nothing is NOT poem

My belief is that everyone is creative and does think differently. The issue is simply one of sharing those ideas with others, including fellow wagon pushers and the leadership of the teams. We can be creative and we can generate new and better ideas and we can make improvements if we focus on making improvements. And there are some other issues on engagement – click on the image below to read about Spectator Sheep!

Square Wheels One and TS Eliot Shadow

Your thoughts?

For the FUN of It!

square wheels author

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 at scott@squarewheels.com

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/
Scott’s blog on Poems and Quips on Workplace Improvement is here.

Can Creativity be Taught? Is that the RIGHT Question?

My Simple Framework:

We should NOT think that we have to have people go through
some kind of creativity training in order to “be creative.”

There is a long thread of 60+ comments in a LinkedIn group on Learning and Education and Training that generated a good discussion. In part, some of the people seemed to take the position that creativity needs to be taught and people can be taught to be creative. Some people think it can be “stimulated, encouraged, challenged and fostered” by environments that encourage people to share their ideas.

But others took the idea that creativity = imagination and that the latter was not something that everyone engaged in as much as some. In other words, there is a lot of creative thinking going on about creative thinking.

CJ Stape, for example, added this thought which I thought was excellent: “Creativity has several dimensions including: fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration.”

And there were thoughts around the reality that the workplace for so many people is just not working well in actually asking them for their ideas and thoughts on workplace improvement. The statistics on engagement and involvement and motivation would tend to more than suggest that many workplaces are not very good when it comes to employee involvement on any kind of consistent basis. Large numbers of people are un-involved and dis-engaged.

And it is also true that not everyone can or will contribute equally to using creativity skills or doing creative problem solving to implement workplace ideas or innovation. But so what! That is what teamwork is for and what management should be doing, helping people make actual improvements and providing organizational support.

Should we really even be asking the question if creativity can be taught? That might imply that only some people have it and that one needs to go through some kind of training to be creative.

“Nope. Sorry. You are not allowed to be creative until you go through the Creativity Training Course offered by HR. We can get you into that in 2016. Should I put you on that list? Or, go online to the website: www.WeMakeMostThingsReallyInsanelyHard.com
(I wonder if there is such a website or if there should be!)
and sign up yourself.”

Seriously: I had a client — a big global bank you know by its initials — require people to go through a course on teamwork before they could be ON a team for process improvement. They HAD TO LEARN THE PROCESSES in order to contribute. Do you know how frustrated people were because they had ideas but were NOT ALLOWED to share them?

Everyone in the workplace can contribute good ideas, or help refine ideas to optimize their impact. The creatives can throw mud at the wire fence. The pragmatics can sort out the better ones from the less gooder ones and the Devil’s Advocate folks can help to challenge them from different perspectives to help refine them.

I often talk about Spectator Sheep as those who are not involved and engaged in the actual activity and who have perspective and who are not satisfied or agreeable to how things are really working.

Spectator Sheep Yellow round bordersYou can find two posts about engaging Spectator Sheep here and here.

For me, everyone is creative and just asking the question causes a problem. My approach is to share a cartoon and have people consider the possibilities. Then, they share their individual ideas as a small group and generate some consensus on the overall performance situation. Only then do we begin to even suggest that they consider ideas for improvements in their own workplaces! We allow the creative juices to flow with virtually no constraints — since NOT contributing ideas and being creative seems to be a learned response for many.

Only then do we allow the teams / tabletops to start thinking about performance improvement and process improvement in their work, sharing ideas about the best practices of individuals, the workarounds and ideas for roadblock management, etc.

We sell simple toolkits because we believe things are simple and straightforward when it comes to asking for ideas and allowing creativity to occur:

SWs Facilitation Guide $50

Is creativity a muscle that needs to be exercised? It is a ZONE that one has to achieve in order to operate effectively — do you have to be in the flow (link) in order to contribute? Can only some be expected to contribute to an organization’s process improvement process? It seems like that is a perspective held by some, but my view is that everyone can contribute to the group total, collectively and collaboratively — creative is additive and not exclusive.

I added some additional thoughts to this issue in a followup blog. You can access that by clicking on the TS Eliot illustrated quote below:

Square Wheels One and TS Eliot Shadow

Please feel free to ask for ideas and support at any time, within your organization or directly to me,

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott Simmerman

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 at scott@squarewheels.com

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/
Scott’s blog on Poems and Quips on Workplace Improvement is here.

Focusing Attention on Performance Improvement through Interactive Engagement

Yeah, I avoided the word “game” in the title and used “Interactive Engagement” as an alternative. It sounds a lot more impressive, right? I do it because it seems that many “serious senior executives” have an issue with how interactive learning is framed. So the choice of game, simulation, exercise, experience, and all those other labels sometimes come into play in decision-making.

The reality is that involvement and engagement are critical factors in any kind of performance. Fun can be fun but it is about anchoring experiences in some event to the choices that people will make about what to do differently. High performance is often accompanied by some level of ownership involvement and commitment to change.

If they feel some peer support and have some ownership involvement, they are more likely to do things differently. If people are un-involved and dis-engaged, they are probably providing “compliance-level performance” in the workplace and not giving you the productivity they might. That is one big reason I use experiential activities, anchored to business metaphors, for a lot of the developmental work we suggest.

We can call these engagement activities things like:

  • Game
  • Exercise
  • Simulation
  • Interactive Engagement Tool
  • Limbic System Brain Activation through Asymmetric Stimulation of Peripheral Receptor Cells

(How do you like that last one? After all, playing games involves kinesthetic movement as well as stimulation of sensory cells in the eyes and peripheral nervous system having to do with sensory nerve cell activation and kinesthetic movement, right? All this nerve cell stimulation rushes up the spinal cord into the midbrain of the participating animal to increase activity of brain cells and create new learning pathways, right? (grin) )

Yeah, games have a way of engaging us and linking to learning, if appropriately designed and implemented. And there is actually some game playing going on in the world. According to Jane McGonigal, author of “Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World,”  more than 3,000,000,000 hours a week is spent in gaming globally. (That is unreal!)

People love to play games and challenge themselves. What businesses need to do is provide more context for learning and organizational collaboration within the framework of engagement and team building. Focusing on realistic simulations and challenges can improve the skills and organizational cultural to allow more collective improvement. This is different than a focus on single-players beating others in some challenge.

PMC Creates Simulations that teach

Games can generate engagement because they generate focused behavior designed to have some kind of impact. Gaming often appeals to our intrinsic desires or our intrinsic motivation for self-actualization or accomplishment. People really do love achievable challenges, which is one of the bigger drivers of workplace performance improvement. They want to add skills and gain peer recognition for them — think of that auto-repair place and the various certifications that the mechanics can earn and wear on their sleeves. People WANT to achieve and they want their performance to count for something.

intrinsic motivation is about succeeding

McGonigal classified the intrinsic motivators into four categories:

  • achieving satisfying work,
  • experiencing success or the opportunity of success,
  • making social connections and
  • having purpose or meaning.

All four are relevant and important but I think a really good experiential activity can help accomplish the latter (and most important) factor if that experience can be neatly and elegantly tied to the workplace and the expectations and goals. We can do more to involve and engage people into a collective, collaborative and supportive peer group working to make improvements in how things are accomplished.

It is not so much winners and losers, but the issue of generating the maximum collective result, what we refer to repeatedly in The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine as,

The Goal is to Mine as much Gold as WE Can
and optimize overall ROI.

There are a lot of really good tools out there, and lots going on in the development of individualized online learning courses (MOOCs) to support desired personal development.

Focusing on using experiential learning to involve and engage teams of people to allow them to focus on Mining as much gold as WE can is the prime driver of our Lost Dutchman game. We think that the energies generated can help work groups better support organizational development initiatives and that the intrinsic motivation can have positive spill-over to issues of personal growth and development.

But all we can do is provide the tool and our support. Our users have to provide the context and the environment to move things forward.

Ivette Helal Dutchman Testimonial

Let us know if we can be of any assistance to you — and recognize that you are dealing with ME, not some big corporation or salesperson. If we can develop a tie-in to your overall objectives and goals, we are most willing to do that,

For the FUN of It!

Scott Debrief

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 at scott@squarewheels.com

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/
Scott’s blog on Poems and Quips on Workplace Improvement is here.

Daylight Savings Time – Myths, Realities and Impacts

I’ve been playing with Spring Forward Monday as a proposal to take some time and celebrate employee involvement and to ask for ideas to improve organizational performance and productivity. You can find more about that idea here:

Spring Forward Monday Square Wheels toolkit logo

And I had read a good bit about the day, but not really known much. Here is what I found out, much to my surprise.

I was thinking that it was an American phenomenon and that it occurred only in the US, proposed by Ben Franklin or Franklin D. Roosevelt or someone a long time ago.

The modern idea was actually first proposed in 1895 by an English-born New Zealander. It was first implemented by Germany and Austria-Hungary on April 30, 1916.  Many countries have used it at different times and it has been more consistently implemented since the energy crises of the 1970s, according to Wikipedia.

It is currently used worldwide (see graph from wikipedia below). A few countries have gone to permanent DST, such as Argentina, Iceland and Russia. It simply changes the times of sunrise and sunset, but that is really for early risers.

Colors are northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere DST countries

Colors are northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere DST countries

When implemented, clocks are moved ahead one hour sometime in the Spring and moved back in the fall so that there is more apparent daylight in the evenings and less in the mornings.  A study in Indiana, which has been in and out of the system, found that it actually raised electricity bills significantly when implemented…

On the other hand, it benefits sports and retail sales but makes the July 4th fireworks shows occur later for the little kids!

With the cellphone and automatic clock issues, many of the old clock resetting problems have gone away. It is estimated, however, that time lost to setting clocks in the US is about $1 billion and estimates are that the loss of sleep causes $450 million in health problems.

Setting clocks ahead means that workers are actually arriving at work an hour earlier than they had the previous week. That clock-shifted biological time does have impacts, just like you would see if you were working an hour earlier that day (duh!). The “nine to five” workday is actually “eight to four.”

This is a modern day, industrial issue, for the most part. Ancient societies were much more attuned to the actual sunrise and sunset and agricultural societies remain tied to the sun and not the time.

The truth about Ben Franklin is also interesting. Franklin is known for publishing the old English proverb, “Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” During his time as an American envoy to France, he anonymously published a letter suggesting that Parisians economize on candles by rising earlier to use morning sunlight.This 1784 satire also proposed taxing shutters, rationing candles, and waking the public by ringing church bells and firing cannons at sunrise. Franklin did not propose Daylight Savings Time but he was known for tweeking a few cheeks now and again!

You can read a lot more about Daylight Savings Time at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_saving_time and there are a number of research reports that analyze various economic impacts.

It is not always a great day, but it is an opportunity to choose to do something differently:

Square Wheels One Daylight Savings haiku Will Spring

If you are looking for a tool to use with your people to better involve and engage them, we have a very special price on a special toolkit designed for this day. For $5.95, you can rock and roll! Click on the image below to find out more:

Spring Forward Monday Square Wheels toolkit

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott Simmerman

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 at scott@squarewheels.com

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/
Scott’s blog on Poems and Quips on Workplace Improvement is here.

 

Alternate Versions of our Spring Forward Monday Square Wheels engagement tools

We have created some alternative versions of our toolkit and handouts for employee engagement. One way to acquire the free handout shown below, one that uses a different version of our Square Wheels One illustration (with alternative characters than our fat white guys with hats version) shown below.

If you look closely at the image, you can see we are using Version 2 of the image:

SWs One copyrighted V2 small

instead of the regular or main version that we display on most of our materials:

Square Wheels One copyrighted V1 small

Thus, there are differences in the handout from the worksheet shared yesterday.

Spring Forward Monday Square Wheels Worksheet Handout V2You can acquire the pdf of this handout by clicking the link below:

Spring Forward Monday — What are SWs
Worksheet Handout – V2

The idea is a simple one to use. You can simply hand out the worksheet and ask how the illustration at the top right might represent how things work in most organizations and then, after they discuss that a bit, ask them for some ideas as to how this works in their work group.

This would work and it is free. Just download the pdf and print a worksheet for each person. Use it to ask them for their ideas about what might be improved that would make a Spring Forward Difference.

As a value-added alternative, you can click on the worksheet image and go to a very special offer of a complete toolkit, including images in powerpoint, a facilitation guide, multiple worksheets and other supporting information including images you can use for promoting the idea within your organization. All for the pretty outstanding and astounding price of $5.95!!

This IS a complete set of tools that we sell for $50…

Spring Forward Monday Square Wheels toolkit

Have FUN out there and DO make an impact.

Dr. Scott Simmerman

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 at scott@squarewheels.com

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/
Scott’s blog on Poems and Quips on Workplace Improvement is here.

Free Engagement Worksheet Tool for Spring Forward Monday

We’ve been using Square Wheels as a simple tool for employee involvement and engagement for 20 years and in our attempt to help get Spring Forward Monday started, I offer up a free handout worksheet here. Get a pdf file of the worksheet by clicking on this link:

Spring Forward Monday — What are some Square Wheels –
Handout Worksheet

You will get a handout that looks like this:

Spring Forward Monday Square Wheels worksheet

The idea is a simple one to use. You can simply hand out the worksheet and ask how the illustration at the top right might represent how things work in most organizations and then, after they discuss that a bit, ask them for some ideas as to how this works in their workgroup.

This would work and it is free. Just download the pdf and print a worksheet for each person.

As a value-added alternative, you can click on the worksheet image and go to a very special offer of a complete toolkit, including images in powerpoint, a facilitation guide, multiple worksheets and other supporting information including images you can use for promoting the idea within your organization. All for the pretty outstanding and astounding price of $5.95!!

Have FUN out there and DO make an impact.

Dr. Scott Simmerman

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 at scott@squarewheels.com

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/
Scott’s blog on Poems and Quips on Workplace Improvement is here.

Teambuilding with The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine

We’ve been selling the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine game for twenty years now and I continue to feel that this is the best program in the marketplace niche in which it appears. And it continues to surprise me that the exercise seems as fresh to me today as it did 10 years ago when the materials were fully developed, fine-tuned and polished. I guess I am also surprised that the opportunities for improving inter-organizational collaboration are still evident everywhere and corporate team building seems to continue to be an area of high leverage for impacting productivity. Companies should have made more progress than they have!

We have active consultants working with corporate team issues, worldwide, and the opportunities for trainers and internal consultants to use this exercise and approach seems like an untapped opportunity. After all, don’t these internal people see an advantage to using a bombproof exercise that generates the precise competitive behaviors that need to be better blended with collaboration and engagement opportunities as well as the need for inter-organizational alignment?

A recent conversation with an outdoor training organization in Asia resulted in a potential collaboration with that firm and networking them to three other global experiential training companies who have blended my programs into their other offerings. It seems like the collective idea of sharing and the learning about positioning team building simulations into the other kinds of corporate teamwork programs is a simple and straightforward one. I am glad that my network continues to be quite collaborative in sharing ideas for delivery and marketing.

You can find a pretty solid description of the Dutchman game in this slideshare overview, which shares key design features and benefits.:

Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine overview slideshow

You can also find a solid video about how I debrief the exercise and link the behaviors exhibited to the organizational issues here. This is not a marketing video but a candid discussion of what I see as organizational realities and potential ways to impact performance improvement opportunities:

Debriefing Ideas and Frameworks

An overview about how we use our Square Wheels illustrations as tools for debriefing the Lost Dutchman team building exercise is found by clicking the icon below:

Debriefing LDGM with Square Wheels

Hope you find this information and the links of use in evaluating our Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine game into your corporate team development. We are more than happy to discuss specific issues and desired outcomes for your improvement efforts at any time,

For the FUN of It!

Scott Simmerman Lost Dutchman Debrief

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 at scott@squarewheels.com

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/
Scott’s blog on Poems and Quips on Workplace Improvement is here.

Daylight Savings Square Wheels Haiku – a Poll

I continue to play with spinning ideas around business haiku and people and performance. So, thinking about the end of Winter, the idea of Daylight Savings hit me. Daylight Savings Time starts at 0200 hours on Sunday, March 9, 2014 meaning the time change is less than a month away and we will have more early morning darkness with longer evening light here on the East Coast.

And that whole thing about time changes got me thinking of doing a haiku poem around the Square Wheels One image and focusing on the reality of workplace change, since this time change is done every year and it is always the same thing… Many think it is also a real hit on productivity and has large economic costs to the US, estimated to be between $400,000,000 and $2,000,000,000 every year (yeah, go figure; someone seems to).

So here are 6 slightly different Square Wheels Business Haiku on which your input would be appreciated:

SWs One Daylight Savings Business Haiku 1 - 3and

SWs One Daylight Savings Business Haiku 4-6

Which do you like the most? You can see each in slightly larger detail below.

Haiku 1:

SWs One Daylight Savings haiku Winter choosing

Haiku 2:

SWs One Daylight Savings haiku just like how

Haiku 3:

Square Wheels One Daylight Savings haiku Winter more work

Haiku 4:

Square Wheels One Daylight Savings haiku Bring Change

Haiku 5:

Square Wheels One Daylight Savings haiku Jump Forward

Haiku 6:

Square Wheels One Daylight Savings haiku Will Spring

Your vote would be helpful with my getting a better understanding of the reactions to the illustrations and the haiku.

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott Simmerman

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 at scott@squarewheels.com

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/
Scott’s blog on Poems and Quips on Workplace Improvement is here.

National Day of Celebration in the workplace – Spring Forward Monday

In the past two days, we have had an interesting time discussing different thoughts around a Spring Forward Monday — it’s a great idea to celebrate what is normally a pretty rough day for many workers. Monday, March 10 is the day after we institute Daylight Savings Time in many places in the US.

There is nothing “light” about Daylight Savings!

The cost to health of US citizens from losing that one hour of sleep when we spring forward was calculated to be $433.982,548 by an economics analysis firm. And when we add in even just the clock changing time, it escalates to more than $1 billion. Take the lateness to work, the above average grumpiness of the workers, and all that other stuff, it has got to be a $10 to $20 billion hit to productivity. (One wonders how many facebook posts will complain about having to work that day…)

So, let’s Reframe The Game — Let’s make this dreadful day into Spring Forward Monday and use it as a reason for supervisors and managers to have conversations with their people about workplace issues and opportunities. The research shows that these kinds of discussions are not very prevalent and that many people feel that no one listens to their ideas in the first place.

I share some ideas around this theme on YouTube — you can see it by clicking on the haiku below:

Square Wheels One Daylight Savings haiku Jump Forward

This was my idea, based on my work using simple tools for improving involvement and engagement for workplace improvement. But accomplishing the goals of Spring Forward Monday certainly do not require any tools; what we need are more conversations about issues and opportunities.

If we can help you in some way, check out our special offer on a toolkit here. But we simply hope that supervisors everywhere will simply take the time to ask for ideas and listen for answers.

Spring Forward Monday Square Wheels toolkit

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott Simmerman

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 at scott@squarewheels.com

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/
Scott’s blog on Poems and Quips on Workplace Improvement is here.

Daylight Savings Improvement Day – Spring Forward Monday

On Sunday, March 9, at 0200 hours in the early morning of 2014, most of the United States will engage in an exercise called Daylight Savings Time and we will move the clocks forward an hour, making it darker early in the morning and extending daylight in the evening.

It has some historical anchors, but various sources estimate the actual cost in lost productivity to be somewhere between $400 million and $2 billion, with people generally losing an hour of sleep in addition to having to adjust all the manual clocks in their life. (Most cannot remember how to reset the clocks in their cars!)

So, as an alternative to the lost productivity and in recognition of the need to improve workplace productivity and involvement and engagement, I am going to propose we create and celebrate Spring Forward Monday, where supervisors and managers should spend some special time with their people working on the issues of productivity and alignment.

The basic idea is pretty simple:

Things may not be working smoothly. And some round wheels are already in the wagon. So, let’s take a bit of time to stop pushing and pulling and talk together about some of the perceived issues and opportunities and how we can implement some changes and improvements. Most people feel that managers do not listen to ideas, so let’s use this special day for this special purpose: communications!

SWs One 2 Haiku brown and green

So, we want to choose to do something that looks more like this to better involve and engage everyone in the workplace and hear their ideas for improvement:

Spring Forward Monday Square Wheels toolkit logo

We want to engage all those feet in moving things forward, more better faster.

The conversations could focus on shared goals, missions and visions, and alignment kinds of things to clarify expectations and provide performance feedback or it could focus on themes of issue identification and opportunity implementation.

You can view a 3-minute video on the basic idea of Spring Forward Monday by clicking on the image above or by clicking on this link.

There should be lots of positive impacts for something special like this, including the simple recognition that ideas for improvement already exist and that we should be choosing to do some things more better faster.

Click here to find more information about this specially priced, $5.95 Square Wheels Engagement toolkit by clicking on the link below:

Spring Forward Monday Square Wheels toolkit

For the FUN of It!

square wheels author

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 at scott@squarewheels.com

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/
Scott’s blog on Poems and Quips on Workplace Improvement is here.

Business Haiku – Teambuilding Thoughts by Scott Simmerman

Here are a few more of my haiku that focus on the theme of improving performance and collaboration within organizations.

Square Wheels Free Land Haiku Crashes expected

You can find thoughts on team building by clicking on icon

Teamwork IS possible, but the teams need alignment and shared goals, along with an understanding of the issues of collaboration and best practices. Each team, rolling with great enthusiasm, is not the optimal design for success.

Square Wheels View Top Haiku from above aligned

Find ideas on alignment by clicking on icon

Leadership is about involving and engaging people on the journey forward, working to clarify goals and expectations and to generate synergies within organizations and between departments. Maybe it looks somewhat like this:

View Front Haiku beauty

Find some thoughts on motivating people by clicking on image

With the understanding that the View of the Front and the View at the Back generally both looking something like this:

square wheels illustrations view front back

The non-engaging reality of the View from The Back is certainly something that needs to be addressed in many workplaces. Lastly, we close with something like this:

Mentoring Butterfly Haiku transformation

Find ideas on coaching – click on the image

PMC sells simple tools for involving and engaging people in workplace performance improvement. They are simple to use and highly impactful.

PMC Creates Simulations that teach

For the FUN of It!

Scott Simmerman Lost Dutchman Debrief

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 at scott@squarewheels.com

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/
Scott’s blog on Poems and Quips on Workplace Improvement is here.

Square Wheels? What the heck are those engagement tools about…

I have been playing with a video that explains more about how my Square Wheels illustrations are used for facilitation of performance improvement and employee engagement. The learning curve on doing videos is a round wheel that I am trying hard to implement, using screencasting software. Guess if I can figure out one feature a day, I will eventually be okay with those things.

To build the video, I built a short slideshow in powerpoint. So, I thought to make it available on SlideShare.

SWs Slideshare Cover Picture

If you are not familiar with the toolkits we offer to supervisors, consultants and trainers, check out this simple overview. We sell simple to use, powerpoint-based toolkits that work great to engage people in sharing their ideas for continuous improvement of workplace processes. They are simple and elegant tools for impacting how things roll…

I also uploaded a video that elaborates on the above slideshare. That is on YouTube and it basically narrated the ideas and themes included in the slides. You can see that by clicking on the image below:

Square Wheels The Movie Logo Must DO

Managing and Leading Change poems - Part OneAND, I also uploaded a three-part, illustrated slideshare program of some of my best quips, quotes, poems and haiku on the subject of change. You can find them here:

On our website, you can have lots of simple, inexpensive and highly effective tools available for you to use to facilitate improvement in your organization and we can certainly collaborate with any organization to customize tools for specific applications like strategy implementation, mission statement development and alignment, performance coaching and similar. You can find our basic Facilitation toolkit by clicking on the image below:

SWs Facilitation Guide $50

And I thought you might like this haiku:

SWs One Haiku outside the work team

Have great day out there and make a difference today,

For the FUN of It!

square wheels author

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 at scott@squarewheels.com

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/
Scott’s blog on Poems and Quips on Workplace Improvement is here.

The Moose Joke: Scott Simmerman's Best Closing Storyline for Presentations

Here is what I think is the best closing storyline out there, after attending a whole big bunch of sessions for training and development or team building programs. This is the narrated version, with my comments about delivery and anchoring the joke / story to the session’s desired outcomes or key learning points.

The Moose Joke Story for Closing Presentations

Any comments and suggestions and reactions would be most appreciated, for sure!

For the FUN of It!

Scott Debrief

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 at scott@squarewheels.com

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/
Scott’s blog on Poems and Quips on Workplace Improvement is here.

Implementing Round Wheels to fix the Square Ones

People often talk about things that do not work smoothly in their workplaces, the things that frustrate them and lower productivity. And this frustration and dissatisfaction about improvements causes all sorts of negative spins to impacting intrinsic motivation. It can send the message that what the workers see is important and what the management sees as important are two different things — that is most likely not going to lead to any sort of workplace engagement and performance improvement.

But the problem is often related to how the problem is presented.

Reasons include:

  • People do not fix or care that much about ideas that are not their own.
  • Bosses are busy, or at least too busy to spend time listening to ideas
  • Improvement may not be measured by the company
  • The improvement is not related to your job or their job
  • The value and impact of the improvement is not thought out or defined
  • Everyone has different perspectives
  • The idea not well presented or framed as a business proposition
  • The idea not seen as cost effective
  • Some interdepartmental collaboration may be required (needs IT or another department or something similar to implement)

SWs One Dis-un-engagement choice

What we suggest that supervisors and managers do is to ask people for ideas. But first, we want to engage and involve them and get them to “step back from the wagon and think out of the box” a little. We do this by using the a general projective tool, the SWs Brainstorm Sheet:

Square Wheels One Brainstorm worksheet

What we do is show them the main illustration and ask small tabletops of 5 to 6 people to brainstorm a bit. What they do is project their beliefs onto the illustration and the group process gives them lots of personal involvement and support and lends itself to more creative thinking and brainstorming. The idea is to get them actively involved and working together around ideas.

You can read a bit more about this theme by clicking on the worksheet icon above to go to another blog post on possibilities thinking.

What we want to do is move the discussion from the general ideas about how things work to some specific issues that they see in their workplace and to then brainstorm more about potential solutions that might be implemented. We eventually move toward a worksheet like this to take specific Square Wheel issues and generate some round wheel possibilities:

Square Wheels to RWs worksheet

Once we define the issues and opportunities, refine our thinking about how an improvement would impact people and performance, and do some discussion about costs and timelines and the required involvement of people, processes and procedures, we can make a good case for change. It is that kind of detailed thinking that needs to be cascaded upward in the organization. People can earn the right to do more as they roll down the road…

The key is to get the wagon rolling downhill a bit!

Square Wheels image Intrinsic feel really good PGHope that helps,

For the FUN of It!

square wheels author

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 at scott@squarewheels.com

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/
Scott’s blog on Poems and Quips on Workplace Improvement is here.

The Blame Frame, Innovation and Intrinsic Motivation

In one of my LinkedIn groups, this question was posed:

Any advice on how to wisely handle the coaching of a team where the senior figures in it never get tired of playing the ‘blame game’?
So I chimed in with:

I’ve been using Square Wheels cartoons as discussion tools for 20 years now. Two come to mind for this situation and “illustrate” the issues to everyone pretty neatly.

The first illustration shows a horse pushing the Square Wheel wagon with the people on the hill in the background. I show the cartoon and ask tabletops to discuss what is going on and to generate as many ideas as they can. I allow them 5 minutes or so to brainstorm and then I go around to the different tables asking them for one thought.

Trial and Error yellow

You can easily get 20 reactions projected onto the illustration, with prominent ones like “cart before the horse” and a number of comments about what they should have done better or differently. People also project thoughts like, “the four people are about to run away over the hill” and “the people all feel pretty stupid.”

I then reframe the illustration around things like innovation and trial and error and the need for perspective and reflection. A common theme of mine with the cartoons is, “Don’t Just DO Something, Stand There!” Look from a distance. Keep trying.

What I then do is overlay a “Blame Frame” over the illustration and allow the group to discuss the impacts of focusing on errors as opposed to focusing on opportunities.

Square Wheels Trial and Error with Blame Frame

We get about 5 or 6 negative reactions to each positive one during the idea sharing. Very few people will put a positive spin on what they are seeing. So, we actually catch them being negative and talk about those impacts, the real impacts of negativity and blame, on the issues of innovation, engagement, and motivation.

I don’t have to tell anyone much of anything; they figure it out all on their own as they reflect on what they just did and even how the response of others then reinforced their own negativity. Sometimes, they even reject the positive spins that someone might put on it.

For me, the kinesthetic and the self-induced awareness are keys in generating the cognitive dissonance they need, individually and collectively, to change their future choices. The reality and reframing is really something along these lines:

Trial and Error Murphy's Law words
The key is perspective. The key is to look and consider possibilities for continuous continuous improvement. Simple. Step back from the wagon!

Oh:  “Boss spelled backwards is self-explanatory.” That is also a useful dynamic to anchor. We get a lot more with intrinsic motivation that comes from success. Blame only makes the Boss feel better.

—————–

If you like this overall approach, please note that I did a similar but differently-focused blog along similare themes back in 2012 that you might find interesting. Click on the image link below to see those writings:

Elegant Solutions

For the FUN of It!

square wheels author

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 at scott@squarewheels.com

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/
Scott’s blog on Poems and Quips on Workplace Improvement is here.
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