Performance Management Company Blog

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

Play the Fool, Achieve Hero Leadership

David Riklin caught my attention a while ago with one of those quotes that says a lot more than it says. So, I added it into my catalog of Square Wheels® Posters and something to add to our Culture Wall idea of motivational and developmental Square Wheels themes.

Organizational alignment and culture change can look like this, in actuality:

(If you would like a free high res version of the above, email Scott@squarewheels.com)

Shared conversations about missions and visions, and shared perceptions about issues and opportunities can allow a group of people to align together to work on implementation. This builds teamwork and engagement.

Workplace conversations related to the perceived issues can be part of your effort to dis-un-engage people, to identify and remove those things that are decrease engagement and generate frustration or withdrawal. You can read more about Dis-Un-Engagement, motivation and workplace performance improvement here.

I’ve been playing with communications tools for 25+ years and these toolkits on Square Wheels are cheap and amazingly flexible. They are useful when getting managers to be more motivating and work great for innovation and creativity facilitation.

You can also see a cute animation of “Continuous Continuous Improvement” here:  https://www.squarewheels.com/

You can see us playing with Santa’s Performance Improvement Culture Wall in this cute little blog post.

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

See my 90-minute teambuilding game, The Collaboration Journey Challenge

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com
 See his poems and performance haiku poems at www.poemsontheworkplace.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

Square Wheels® is a registered trademark of Performance Management Company
LEGO® is a trademark of The LEGO® Group®

 

Where can I buy The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine?

Performance Management Company is the designer and main distributor of the team building simulation, The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine. We started using the exercise in 1993 and decided to package and sell very usable designs of this game without the normally required certification or annual licenses or per-participant fees.

Users would buy the exercise at a one-time coast, receive the delivery and training information in powerpoint, pdf and other common formats and access as much free support as they desired. Over the 26 years of distribution, we have packaged the training and support information so that very few questions are directed our way.

(I miss many of those conversations and even the people who promise to call me after a purchase generally never call! I can name names, but I won’t…)

Performance Management Company was started in 1984 by Dr. Scott Simmerman and Joan Simmerman. PMC was initially a training and consulting firm focused on people and performance, with customer service quality being a driving theme. You can read a good deal of the biography and details at this link on LinkedIn. We became a home-based business back in 1998, the same year that we started our initial website, www.squarewheels.com.

PMC has been supported technically by our son-in-law, Chris Fisher, who operates the websites and fixes all sorts of technical issues that Scott and Joan generate when doing blogs, designing websites, doing security, and fixing emails and dealing with hosting problems.

More recently, Jeff Simmerman has joined the business.

Jeff’s responsibilities have been around the redesign of the old Seven Seas Quest team building exercise to design a brand new game, Quest, with a Dutchman-like interface and a focus on what we call Dis-Un-Engagement or Disruptive Involvement. That game is in final design stages and we do not even have a web page for it yet, but Jeff has completed the delivery materials and is working with the printer to make it available very soon.

You can find prices for our various team building simulations by clicking on the link:

The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine team building game

including our four different versions of the Dutchman game.

You can find solid information on the RENTAL version of the exercise on our website, also.

 

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

See the powerful new teambuilding game, The Collaboration Journey Challenge

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com
 See his poems and performance haiku poems at www.poemsontheworkplace.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

 

Senior Managers SHOULD Deliver Team Building Programs

The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine (LDGM) was designed to allow the Expedition Leadership, the people delivering the game, to act very congruently with game’s goals and shared values.  User feedback says it accomplishes that elegantly and that Dutchman is the best leadership game on collaboration that exists in the world. Our initial design thinking was that untrained managers should be able to deliver the exercise because their choices in how to support it would be logical and straightforward based on the goals and the rules for play. They explain the rules (through powerpoint), allow teams to plan, support the play and then debrief around player and team behavior, performance, collaboration and engagement themes.

Generating real organizational change or aligning people to the new company strategies is always an issue – how does one generate real involvement and alignment and ownership among the management team and then among all of the key performers? Active involvement and engagement and understanding along with clear discussions about past and future choices for changes and behaviors is what generates impact and value.

The Design Idea:

  • Deliver a session as a team building event for the senior managers, knowing that you will need 3 of them for each 60 people in the main event. Debrief as to their group issues as seen in the play and then define their desired outcomes for the large event.
  • Spend 10 minutes on explaining the need for congruent behavior during game delivery, what constitutes how they operate to help teams be successful.
  • Spend 30 minutes on how to “bank” the game, how to process the transactions of each team each day.
  • Spend 20 minutes on how to “lead” the game from the floor, how to function as a co-expedition leader during the play of the main event itself, giving help, selling teams on the idea of getting a video, etc.

The idea is to allow the exercise to be used by managers with their people, to clarify the real goals and visions and to enable people to play as they should perform in daily work and to model desired leadership behaviors. It is great to have a presenter (trainer or consultant) deliver the game but so much more can be achieved when this is done by someone on the management team.

Note that we offer a very low-cost and fully-supported rental version of our Dutchman game for one-time use with large events. Contact us for more details.

Lost Dutchman is one of the truly great team building exercises, and one that works well with really large groups. My largest session is 600 people, but Wipro in India reported running a delivery with 870 people in one room at one time — and with a solid debriefing linked to their specific issues and opportunities. The exercise scales up nicely, needing only 3 people for each 60 participants. And, if the managers are actually demonstrating their active support for the lessons being learned and leading in a manner congruent with improving collaboration and teamwork, there are even more positive outcomes.Behavior changes when we can change behavior; people’s beliefs and attitudes will become congruent with the choices they make and what they do. Getting senior managers to collaborate will improve collaboration.

 

Generating real organizational change or aligning people to company strategies is a common organizational issue – how does one generate active involvement, understanding and alignment among the management team and cascade that to the key performers?

Delivering a large group team building event using the Dutchman exercise actually represents a unique and unparalleled opportunity to build executive teamwork:

  • Senior managers generally love challenges, and what better challenge than having them learn to facilitate a program that generates alignment of their own people toward the organization’s goals and objectives.
  • Senior managers often “talk team,” but they operate their own groups in a way to isolate them from real inter-organizational collaboration. We hear the term “silo” enough to know that it represents real organizational reality. So putting them into a situation where their teamwork together is required for effectiveness makes it easier to get these behaviors down the road. Working as a team generates teamwork, especially when there is followup and discussion about the impacts.
The image is called "My Team, My Team, My Team." You can see why...

The image is called “My Team, My Team, My Team.” You can see why…

  • Instead of some unknown people running around during a facilitated event, why not have managing managers walking the talk and supporting teamwork and sharing resources and behaving congruently?

In the Dutchman exercise, the expressed goal is, “To mine as much gold as we can and to generate an optimal Return on Investment.”

We get the managers aligned and congruent with the above as part of the game and as part of the debriefing on what changes need to be made to impact and optimize organizational results.

Dutchman was designed to be easy to facilitate — As part of my initial thinking about how it should play, I did not want my company to need a staff of people to do licensing or certification nor did I want to make the exercise too hard for players to understand. I also wanted non-training people (managers) to be able to deliver the game — we have had many line managers run the exercise over the years with great success. (You can see 30+ testimonials by clicking on the image below.)

A testimonial on The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold MineDutchman has had 25+ years of polishing Dutchman to make it into a very straightforward team building program. It is easy to prepare for and to deliver, with minimal surprises.

Dr. Scott Simmerman facilitating team building gameThis design gives me the ability to put my executive coaching hat on, debriefing them with the goal of improving the senior leadership teamwork with real purpose. It also enables me to run really large groups with only ME being required for delivery.

Imagine the staffing needs to run a typical experiential exercise for 300 people versus the ability to deliver a senior manager team building session plus the large teambuilding event with only my active involvement and participation. Simplicity and effectiveness!

We generate a much higher likelihood of behavioral change and implementation of organizational improvement after the event, since the managers have a really powerful hands on collaborative experience in working with each other to maximize the results of the event itself.

The debriefing of that senior manager session focusing on discussing the kinds of behaviors these senior managers would like to see from the people at the large event helps tie things together. The focus on the shared missions and visions and the generation of alignment to goals, objectives and expectations becomes quite clear. This can be done internally or with a trusted outside facilitator or coach. We can support many different scenarios.

Having these real Senior Managers in this game delivery role is a perfect leadership learning lesson on how to implement change and support high performance. One cannot simply TALK about what leaders and players should be doing; they have to behave consistently and congruently to actually generate results.

I hope that this framework has been informative and helpful.

We sell the Dutchman game directly to end users looking for a high-impact, low cost training tool and it comes in different versions for different size groups. We deliver the game to companies wanting outside facilitation. And, we rent the game for one-time use.Rent The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine team building game

Have more FUN out there!

Design Thinking: Who ARE those customers

Attending an Agile workshop this morning, my thinking was on Design Thinking and how many of those processes neatly support the Agile approaches to innovation and implementation. What we are seeing so often is an active resistance to even the basic ideas around implementing improvements. But, as I have seen since starting my consulting and training efforts back in 1978, “What else is new?”

The critical success factor often seems to be “perspective” or “reflection.” Outside of the technical and the processes involved, nothing gets done until things get implemented. The viewpoint of the leader, the wagon puller, often remains the same as it has always been and they are often not going to embrace the improvement initiative. They are looking forward at what needs to be accomplished today much more often than they are reflecting on the ideas of others about what might be improved in the future.

The workplace thus seems to roll forward along these lines:

Design Thinking and Implementation in the workplace of reality

As I shared in another blog, there are a variety of reasons for why people do not share ideas for improvement in most organizations, and very few GOOD reasons…

Square Wheels research on why people are not engaged

(Click on the image to see more about this original research)

The statistics are about workers’ perceptions of managers but the reality is that this also reflects the managers view about their managers and their managers view of the senior managers…

The simple summary is that managers need more reflection about how their workplaces perform and the understanding that many people are motivated by participating in workplace improvement initiatives. Managers can facilitate the generation of ideas and can benefit when those ideas produce positive impacts. We can see that in Agile kinds of improvement initiatives where teams quickly design and test new frameworks for implementation and they can be seen in design thinking kinds of initiatives focused on new products, change and productivity.

The Round Wheels already exist,
but need to be implemented more better faster.

The Round Wheels of Today will become
The Square Wheels of Tomorrow.

You can take a 30-minute online facilitation skills training program, called The Square Wheels Project at Udemy for $20, complete with handouts and powerpoint presentation tools.

Scott Simmerman's Square Wheels Project for Performance ManaagementOr, you can purchase a simple toolkit with a wide variety of supporting instructional ideas around facilitating workplace improvement.

Both of the above are designed for supervisors and both of these are easily embedded into communications and training initiatives to support organizational improvement. We have been working with Square Wheels as tools to impact people and performance since 1993 and can do a variety of things to support any kind of innovation and implementation initiative.

 

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

See a fun animation about innovation and improvement here.

See another great teambuilding game: The Collaboration Journey Challenge

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

Square Wheels® is a registered trademark of Performance Management Company
LEGO® is a trademark of The LEGO® Group®

 

 

 

 

Why is “Lost Dutchman” such a great team building exercise?

Active involvement generates ownership, and it is generally true that

Nobody ever washes a rental car.

So, if you are looking to generate commitment to change and to have better alignment to shared goals and a higher level of collaboration among work teams and departments, then it makes sense to use a business simulation to drive organizational improvement, right? And, we are not talking about some lightweight team bonding kind of activity that has little or no real connection to the workplace or that will have no measurable impact.

The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine was first released back in 1993 and since that time, it has proven itself to be one of the very best team building exercises in the world. Unlike so many other “team building activities” out there that are fun and interesting but that do not link well to organizational development and real change, the Dutchman game focuses on measured results and rewards the tabletops for planning and executing actions connected to optimizing impacts.

Tabletop teams can choose to gather information or collaborate with other teams and share resources and do the front-end work that leads to optimal outcomes. Or, they can choose to compete and work on their own. (Which of these would generate the best outcome in your organization?)

The design of the game is elegant and the behaviors that are generated are seen to reflect the actual operating cultures of the organization. The introduction, planning and play take less than two hours, leading to powerful and realistic debriefing discussions focused on actual issues and opportunities.

Game materials are sold at a one-time cost, with no required train-the-trainer or certification or annual licensing, making it a great package to incorporate into on-boarding kinds of events or for integration into leadership development or management training opportunities.

Plus, it is a really great exercise for events needing to get people talking about best practices or other kinds of approaches to optimize and implement organizational improvements.

Contact us if you would like more information. We have users of the simulation working on themes of strategy implementation, innovation and workplace creativity, selfless leadership and a wide variety of different kinds of developmental work.

Dutchman is but one of the amazing active experiential learning tools supported by me,

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

 

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com
 Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

 

Thoughts on Missions, Visions and Values

I am working with a consultant in India around impacting people and performance using our Square Wheels tools for communications and active involvement. In our discussion, she mentioned that her client wanted to generate better alignment to 13 values, including:

• Entrepreneurship
• Ambition
• Long term focus
• Ownership
• Hard work and Drive
• Rewarding Success
• Non-Conformist Intellectual Capital
• Openness and Transparency
• Continuous Transformation Spirit

They are also apparently in the process of fleshing out the meanings of the above, the desired behaviors that would make these more visible and impactful within the organization. When I took a moment to think about these, some alarm bells started ringing in my head as I remembered a similar kind of event way back when…

But changing organizational culture and creating meaningful and actionable missions and visions is also an art form, with a variety of potential problematic issues and possible unintended negative consequences. It is not fairy dust and a magic wand and something easily accomplished in a tops-down framework.

So, I started an email response and then thought, why not write a blog post that might be useful for this communication. The focus is on communicating visions and values needs to be done in a really organic, honest and impactful way. So, let me share a really good example of what to do and why:

The retiring chairman of a regional company was looking to leave a legacy of values as they were transitioning to a new management team. He wanted to keep what he felt were their people and performance strengths and put these into a visible statement of visions and values, to make his legacy into a very meaningful framework for the next decade.

From senior management discussions, the leadership team generated a list of bullet points as potential items for this new statement of mission. Logically, they wanted to test those themes with their management. My consulting company was tasked with running two-day “Leadership Development” sessions across the organization to discuss those values and discuss the behaviors that were essential and congruent. One of the resources we used was Max DePree’s “Leadership is an Art” book (1987) — a truly magnificent work that is eminently readable. (Here is one, used, for $5.)

One of Max’s numerous great quotes from the book that I have used for 30 years is,

“We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”


We were testing bulleted items in the context of both doing leadership development and discussing high performance management frameworks, to build on their existing strengths. It was a pretty elegant program design by my old colleague, Kenneth Junkins.

One such item was:

“We manage with uncompromising integrity.”

Sounds good. How was it judged? Not all that well, from the perspectives of these front-line managers who were probably not allowed to participate in as much decision-making as they would have liked. One of them reframed this, reworded it, to become:

“We manipulate with inflexible righteousness.”

Maybe this needed revisiting, do you think?

Since that time, this one incident has continued to remind me to actively involve the people who will be impacted by policies and procedures to check and verify, test and evaluate, before moving forward.

The concept of “Unintended Consequences” is reframed by legal people as a failure to be diligent and a failure to look at potential specific outcomes that are, in fact, predictable. Step cautiously, is my suggestion. Ask, evaluate, and be sure to get a variety of perspectives.

 

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

Check out my Square Wheels Stupidly Simple Facilitation Toolkit, on our website. It is a complete program, for $25.

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

Square Wheels® is a registered trademark of Performance Management Company

Purpose, Blind Spots, and Next Questions

Three new “posters” using the same Square Wheels One image all came together in my head this morning, as a way to tell a real story about what managers need to consider doing differently to impacting people and performance. These are all part of my “culture wall” thinking about how we can share images and ideas to get everyone thinking about innovation and improvement. Plus, keeping it simple!

The first thought is about clearing the way about what we are doing and why. What IS our purpose in working and rolling things forward? And are we really making any good progress in that regard?

What is the real purpose of our works?

Sure, we can all work hard at pushing and pulling and meeting our goals and desired outcomes, but are we doing things in the best and brightest way? Do the wagon pushers share the same goals and purposes as the wagon puller? Are we communicating the desired overall outcomes clearly and are we taking advantage of all the available resources?

The next idea is the simple concept that we all have blind spots in how we view the world around us and that we can make better decisions the more we see and consider. Are we taking advantage of hindsight and considered ideas about how things are really working or are we letting our biases and past experiences blind us to new realities and new paradigms of operation?

Do we have blind spots in how we think about performance and teamwork?

The idea and inspiration for the above came from an excellent article about thinking  and making smart decisions published on Farnham Street. There are all sorts of anchors to ideas for doing things more better faster and for making better decisions by expanding the visible universe.

In other words, “Don’t Just DO Something, Stand There!”

The last idea in this short series anchors to the idea of continuous continuous improvement and the reality that we need to KEEP changing and improving, that this is not a one-stop-shop kind of endeavor.

Asking The Next Question is the key to continuous continuous improvement

Asking one question is a really good idea. And asking a followup question about implementation or next steps or other issues and opportunities is what will help to generate that active involvement, trust in listening and acting, and generating real improvement. There are LOTS of available ideas around improvement in your workplace, if only the managers would ask (and then listen) and the employees felt better about offering their thoughts. And there are some pretty simple things to do to improve innovation if we can change some perceptions and behaviors.

We have been focusing on the issues around active involvement in workplace improvement since 1978 and playing with these simple ideas of using metaphor and facilitation to help impact people and performance. I wish that we had somehow had more impact, since the issues and opportunities seem so straightforward.

Square Wheels metaphor for organizational improvement

 

Why can’t managers simply ask their people for ideas about improvement? It would go such a long way and have so many positive impacts…

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

Square Wheels resources explained on our website.

See the powerful Square Wheels teambuilding game, The Collaboration Journey Challenge

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com
 See his poems and performance haiku poems at www.poemsontheworkplace.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

Square Wheels® is a registered trademark of Performance Management Company
LEGO® is a trademark of The LEGO® Group®

 

 

Contributing Improvement Ideas. The BOSS is the biggest issue

I plan on doing a whole series of posts around some survey results by my friend and colleague, Lynn Woods at IdeaSpies. Her data focuses on some of the issues around management and innovation and active involvement. My goal is to write a LOT more about this in coming blogs about people and performance and frame the issues around how we can facilitate ourselves out of this mess…

So, CAN people contribute more ideas to their workplaces? Not surprising. People do have ideas, if managers would bother to ask them, right?

Square Wheels Data on Active Involvement for Innovation

DO Managers value those ideas? Well, that data shows that the attitudes of the Boss don’t seem too supportive. Hell, over 10% said it is RISKY to do so. And, if the supervisor were actually interested, they would probably not be “too busy” or find it “too difficult.”

Square Wheels research on why people are not engaged

I am going to put almost ALL of this on the management and the perceived actual culture they have created for the workers. Is innovation and workplace improvement of systems and processes not important to the long-term, overall success of the organization? Is not employee motivation an important issue?

And what are we getting when the management team seems to make the sharing of worker ideas a RISK to the workers, to have them believe that their supervisor is simply not interested in those things?

The Most Senior Management should be VERY concerned about data like this, because their long-term success in innovating improvements and involving and engaging and aligning their people to strategic goals and objectives seems very much at risk.

For the past 35 years, I have been working on very similar themes of active involvement and ownership of improvement ideas in organizations and for the past 25 years, we have offered really inexpensive and effective communications tools to address these kinds of issues. You can see more information about our Square Wheels facilitation toolkits here:

square wheels facilitation toolkits for leadership development

Check this approach out. Use it on Spring Forward Monday to better involve your people. We even have an online facilitation skills course on Udemy that shares training frameworks, specific ideas and the worksheets and powerpoints to generate active involvement and improved communications,

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

See the our teambuilding game, The Collaboration Journey Challenge

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com
 See his poems and performance haiku poems at www.poemsontheworkplace.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

Square Wheels® is a registered trademark of Performance Management Company
LEGO® is a trademark of The LEGO® Group®


You can find a link to Lynn Wood’s data here: https://www.ideaspies.com/employee-innovation-survey-results2/.

Delivery Tips for Lost Dutchman Teambuilding Exercise

While delivering The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine game is straightforward, new users often have simple questions about how that game works or how it can be enhanced. Two customers were asking me similar questions yesterday so I thought that a blog post might allow a little more leeway for an explanation and also allow those interested in the exercise to learn a bit more before they make a purchase decision.

Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine makes the finals of the International Business Learning Games competition

There are different versions of the exercise that handle different group sizes, with the LD6 version handling up to 6 tabletops of players. If you are running a session with 20 players, you might choose to play with 4 teams of 5 or 5 teams of 4, for example. How do you decide?

  1. Having more players at a single tabletop will make the actual teamwork of the players a bit more challenging. Even though each player will have an assigned role, the more players, the more discussion and the more difficult the decision-making might be. Getting 5 people to agree is slightly more difficult than 4, in our experience.
  2. With more tabletops, you tend to generate more competition between the teams. Even though the goal is, “to mine as much gold as WE can,” teams will often compete rather than collaborate. So, if your desire is to focus on improving collaboration among the tabletops so that you can demonstrate that collaboration positively impacts results, you might play with more tables.
  3. If the focus is on personal communications and decision-making styles or similar in the debriefing, we might suggest the larger tables; you might play with 3 tables of 6 players if you only had 18. And we would suggest you never play with more than 6 players, since there simply is not enough work for that extra person and they often then become disruptive to the group overall. It does not generally seem to improve collaboration.

This same kind of design decision disappears in larger deliveries of 50 or more people, since there will be plenty of tabletops! And, with very large groups and the play in “pods” of 10 tables in each pod, you will often see competition happening between pods!

Weather plays a role in the game because it makes the resource consumption during play a variable. If a team chooses The Low Country Trail to go to the mine, they encounter wet weather which creates mud and increases consumption of Fuel. And the number of Arctic Blast that might occur, using up more Fuel and also Supplies, is also unknown. So, for a Battery, a team might choose to get one of the Weather Reports.

These Weather Reports are accurate, but only available on Days 5, 10 and 15 and are essentially useless since they are not available during the planning time before the game starts and play begins. While it is good information, it is not worth the cost. Each Weather Report COULD be shared between ALL of the tabletops if teams ever chose to do so — in my experience, they are very seldom shared. and teams often keep batteries and then do not use them during play. And they are ONLY available on those Days, not earlier.

The Videos are an essential part of the game design. Both are only available during planning time before the start of play and each contains resource cards and information that directly influences results. With 5 teams, we might play with 3 of The Mine videos available and 2 of Tortilla Flat. Thus, not all teams could directly acquire the resource cards and information about play.

Teams acquiring a Mine Video get resources that can replace Tent Cards, and thus relieve some of the limitations. Each team gets $750 worth or resources in their Grub Stakes, which is “limited but sufficient.” Adding Cave Cards allows a team to get more Supplies and Fuel and to even be able to share resources with other teams if they are fully collaborating. (Sometimes they will trade/sell another team a Fuel for a Gold if that team needs fuel to survive!)

Teams acquiring the Tortilla Flat Video get Turbochargers that allow them to move twice as fast for the rest of the game, and they get Turbos that could also be shared with other tabletops with the same effect. With two TF Videos in play, you would have one available for every team if they are shared.

Gold Cards have a couple of uses.

Most often, facilitators are choosing to use painted gold rocks along with gold mining pans for the tables to use to acquire gold when mining in The Lost Dutchman’s Mine. Teams like the heft of the rock and the gold mining pan adds a nice touch to the theme of gold mining at the tabletop along with the toy jeep and bendable figures and similar. But especially with a very large group, moving about with a large quantity of heavy rocks and the bulk of the mining pans is a delivery choice. The option is to give each team a Gold Card to symbolize the gold being mined.

The gold cards can also be a simple discussion aid. I will often distribute them as:

  1. A reminder of the main theme of mining as much gold as WE can, the cards being something they can take with them.
  2. A communications tool where they can choose to put their name on the back and then writing something that they could choose to do differently after the workshop, which can then be returned to them a week later.
  3. A communications tool where they can write another person’s name on the card with a signed commitment of what they could try to do differently to support that other person’s efforts post-workshop. I might tell Bobby that I will have two of my people join two of his to solve some interdepartmental glitch or similar…

We designed The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine to be a flexible experiential team building exercise to generate powerful debriefings focused on improving organizational results. It has a variety of clean metaphors about behavioral choices that players and teams make and generates measurable results showing the benefits of collaboration versus competition.

———————————-

Some thoughts on Scarcity

One of the new purchasers will run her first game with senior managers in a workshop about Scarcity and how that mentality can affect things like collaboration and the optimization of overall results. We see that same kind of “hold the cards tightly” thinking after downsizing efforts and similar organizational trauma where some self-preservation thinking might come into play that overrides a collaborative culture.

We often refer to this as, “My Team, My Team, My Team” thinking, which is not focused on interdepartmental collaboration or helping overall performance of the organization.

Scarcity Mentality can be seen when teams get Spare Tires and Batteries before they leave, just in case. Spare Tires are a form of security for a “just in case” mentality and anyone asking the Expedition Leader if they might get one would find them advised they are not needed.

Scarcity mentality in the play of the exercise can revolve around the acquisition of Tent Cards and how any surplus Supplies and Fuel are treated by the teams. If one team is in dire need of a Fuel Card, they might trade one Gold Card (worth $2500) for a couple of $10 Fuel Cards. It is not uncommon and occurs when the survival of the first team is in question at the end of the exercise.

Of course, since the role of the Expedition Leader is to help teams be successful, that same team could also simply ask for assistance and you could give them a $10 Fuel Card to insure their survival and the contribution of their gold to the overall results.

If the teams are fully collaborative, they could share some of their Cave Cards and two of their Turbochargers if they had a video. With a scarcity mentality, they would most likely hold on to all of those cards and NOT share them with the other tabletops. This dramatically and measurably sub-optimizes your overall results.

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.

 
You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com

Strengthening Fellowship for a Healthy Workplace

Fellowship can be defined as that friendly feeling that happens among people who are joined for a common purpose. While many people may think of this in terms of their church, synagogue or temple, it should be considered a crucial element of workplace happiness and engaged employees.

Healthy workplaces happen when people are able to enjoy working together in an environment that builds camaraderie and supports the addressing of problems, finding new solutions, trying out new strategies and celebrating successes. Fellowship, therefore, fits right in as a cornerstone of workplace health and happiness.

You’ll find many suggestions for creating a healthy workplace but at PMC, we’ve enjoyed watching how our team building game, The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, strengthens fellowship as people spend time together, share a fun and unique experience, work towards a common goal and enjoy being away from a typical day at the office. And, that includes the healthy aspect of getting away from the technology and screens encountered each day!

Energize teamwork with The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine team building exercise

The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine exercise is an experiential interactive board game that delivers an additional valuable team-based insights and discussions through its hands-on play. Players learn about collaboration, communications, strategic planning, leadership and other enriching information in an unforgettable way and the game structure allows for powerful business-improvement oriented debriefing discussions. It works exceptionally well with very large groups.

People play in team tabletops of 5 or 6 and there is energy, laughter, discussion, decision-making, movements, understanding and learning taking place during the game play and from its powerful debriefing session.

What are you waiting for? 

You’ll find that Dutchman is surprisingly reasonable regarding cost and planning time. You can either Rent or Purchase the exercise depending upon what works best for your situation. Another plus is that you can facilitate the game in-house, yourself, for any size group, without the need to hire a master presenter.

People love a non-threatening change of pace and research shows that fellowship and playing games improves physical and mental health, lowers stress and blood pressure, produces endorphins and boosts our immune system. Set up a fun and beneficial learning environment and increase fellowship and motivation with The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine. It’s been used, worldwide, for over two decades and remains just as appreciated and relevant today as it was originally.

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott Simmerman

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

See my newest teambuilding game, The Collaboration Journey Challenge

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com
P
oems and performance haiku at www.poemsontheworkplace.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.S


Mini-Survey: What Presentation Technology do you have available?

We are looking to make some “technological improvements” to some of our team building simulations and would like to know if those changes would impact your capability of delivering them.

For those of you with The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, for example, we are going to add the ability to use a video to present The History of The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine along with a tight presentation of how to access and use The Videos by a tabletop.

My questions are:

  • Do you have TWO lcd projectors?
  • Do you have a Document Camera?

Explanation and Background:

We will give users the option to use ours or do this themselves as they explain the exercise. As many of you know, accessing information and resources available in The Mine and Its Gold and the Tortilla Flat videos allows for improved play and results.

Users of our Professional Edition of the exercise know that we suggest that the presentation use a map of the territory along with colored dots to represent the location of each team each day. This feedback allows for more information to go to the tabletops about the decisions made, relative progress, and might lend them information about the availability of Turbochargers.

In the past, we have suggested the use of overhead projectors, which can be purchased for $50 and used reliably to show progress and also share a pod’s results. In the larger games of 15 or more tables, it was very inexpensive to use that OHP to show the map and share the results for the teams.

We are thinking about suggesting that every person delivering the exercise use a Document Camera to capture movement and to share the results summary but those would also require a large monitor (for smaller games) or an lcd projector for larger sessions. These can be purchased for $300 or less but they do require projection onto a screen or monitor. Rentals of these are often $1000 or more, so there is a potential cost issue.

For big corporations and large training departments, these are probably very simple questions. For an individual consultant using the game as a profit center, these can be considerable capital expenditures.

Thanks for any comments and suggestions, either in this blog or directly back to me. Have fun out there and note that we are making significant improvements in ALL of our team building games,

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott Simmerman

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

See our new teambuilding game, The Collaboration Journey Challenge

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com

See his poems and performance haiku poems at www.poemsontheworkplace.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

Santa’s Square Wheels Culture Wall

A Culture Wall helps to define the values, beliefs and behaviors that an organization or individual supports or aspires to accomplish. It serve the purpose of being a place of communications and consideration, where themes and ideas can be shared and discussed. And given that the Holidays are upon us, we thought you might find Santa’s Thoughts on His Culture Wall to be the gift of an idea worth considering for your workplace:

Season’s Greetings from Santa, the Elves and Reindeer!
   We’re happy to share news of our Workshop’s good year!
We’ve improved our production and general good cheer
  Cause we feel we can freely share our ideas around here!

To that effect, we’ve created something we all hold dear
   And that’s our 
Culture Wall that makes sense and is clear,
Because it displays valuable ideas to which we adhere–
And it hits home to all of us–Santa, Elves and Reindeer!
 
   Try creating your own 
Culture Wall of concepts you revere;
  You’ll find it supports a most gleeful working atmosphere!
       By inspiring us and acting much as would a reflecting mirror,
We examine our behaviors and generate ideas to pioneer.

So, he and his team discussed possibilities and came up with this as his anchor point for discussions about performance and innovation:

If you would find such a collection of posters and themes of interest, connect with us and we will work to make this a solid possibility for your organization. We are at the beginnings of putting a wide variety of images and quotes together into a working process. Let’s collaborate and roll things forward.

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott Simmerman

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

New teambuilding game, The Collaboration Journey Challenge

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com
 See his poems and performance haiku poems at www.poemsontheworkplace.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

Square Wheels® is a registered trademark of Performance Management Company
LEGO® is a trademark of The LEGO® Group®

Square Wheels Cartoons and Quotes Supporting a Gratitude Attitude

Joan generated her illustrated annual Thanksgiving Message to our newsletter subscribers so I thought to share it here for a more general audience. We wish all of you the best for these days and the whole year. So, here we go:


As Thanksgiving approaches, we’ve added our Square Wheels cartoons to some insightful quotes that support the idea that continually expressing gratitude and being thankful can lead to a happier, more productive and improved workplace.

Square Wheels One representing “How Most Organizations Really Work” is shown below, but if you’ll read further, you’ll find some inspiring thoughts for how gratitude and thankfulness can create a smoother journey forward for everyone:

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”  ― William Arthur Ward

Square Wheels and showing pride of ownership

 

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” — John F. Kennedy
Square Wheels cartoon about onboarding

“The more you practice the art of thankfulness, the more you have to be thankful for.” ― Norman Vincent Peale

Workplace Square Wheels LEGO image

 

“A moment of gratitude makes a difference in your attitude.”
― Bruce Wilkinson

Square Wheels LEGO image of celebration and gratitude

 

“The real gift of gratitude is that the more grateful you are, the more present you become.”  ― Robert Holden

Intrinsic Motivation comes from making improvement in Square Wheels
“Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.” ― Ernest Hemingway

mentoring the change from caterpillar to butterfly

And, a couple of other well-known characters have this to say:

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”
― Willie Nelson

“What if today, we were just grateful for everything?”
― Charlie Brown

Enjoy your Thanksgiving! And enjoy the remaining year,

 

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

See the powerful new teambuilding game, The Collaboration Journey Challenge

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com
 See his poems and performance haiku poems at www.poemsontheworkplace.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

Square Wheels® is a registered trademark of Performance Management Company
LEGO® is a trademark of The LEGO® Group®

 

Best Value for Big Team Building Event Simulation

This is about RENTING the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine exercise for a single large event. It has to be the Best Value Ever for such a situation.

Collaboration and Teambuilding with LDGM


It is common for my network of users to run highly interactive experiential team building events with very large groups of 200 people or more. Presenters purchasing Dutchman have the goal of doing events over time and making money from supporting performance improvement initiatives and we have supported people in this business for 25 years.

Dutchman is one of the very best games on Earth focused on organizational culture change through collaboration and alignment to shared goals and visions. It is a game designed for debriefing, with measured results and outcomes focused on optimization of overall results. (We have user surveys that are highly supportive of this view.)

We designed it to scale up for large groups and events from the very beginning, for it to be very straightforward to deliver and debrief and to generate significant positive outcomes.

Originally developed in 1993, The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine team building exercise has been polished and fine-tuned to generate active involvement and alignment to key issues around leadership, teamwork and communications, with a major focus on collaboration between teams.

It has developed into a very unique program, delivered worldwide by consultants and trainers, some of whom have run more than 30,000 people through the exercise or who have used it for more than 20 years.

I will share some links to user-generated video testimonials at the end. What I wanted to accomplish here is to show you why the RENTAL of this exercise would make very good sense for your next large team building event. This is a full-blown business simulation with measured results and exceptionally clear debriefing frameworks unlike most things in the marketplace. This is something that YOU can deliver with our free support; the reality is that few people who get our delivery and support materials find it necessary to contact me for free support, which I would prefer they do so I can confirm some details. And it IS free! 

You will not be able to approach the low cost or the high likely impacts of such an event on the culture of your organization and the links to themes of alignment to shared values or to strategy implementations and communications.

This is fun, and easy to deliver. But it is an extraordinarily powerful team building event, one that can change the levels of collaboration within large organizations.

Why rent the game?

  • Very LOW per-participant costs as viewed against the marketplace
  • Very HIGH probability of reaching your desired outcomes of improving teamwork
  • Very HIGH likelihood of any negative outcomes or problems from a very controllable timeline for delivery and environmental issues.
  • There is no need to hire an outside facilitator and it is often better when one of your actual leaders plays the role of Expedition Leader.
  • There is no certification fee or licensing fee or per participant costs and ALL the necessary training materials are included with the rental, plus there is free direct support from ME, the developer of the exercise!
  • There are no long-term obligations or annual fees, but you DO have the option to purchase a version of the exercise for future use at a discounted fee.

The Benefits of Playing with a large group

  • Very few simulations support large groups of people and are easy to deliver
  • There are no “winners” and every team’s results count toward the goal of, “mining as much Gold as WE can.
  • Just as there are no winners, there are also no losers. Each and every team contributes to the overall results (as they do in the real world) and all the teams are engaged and have fun. These factors make the debriefing more engaging and all players are much more likely to be actively involved in tabletop and group discussions.
  • Some teams are more successful than others and you can talk about the underlying reasons for those successes as well as question them as to why they chose not to help some of the underperforming teams. It is a realistic but extraordinarily powerful dynamic for workplace improvement.
  • Debriefing is structured for tabletop discussions around issues and opportunities, and there can be sharing of key ideas if desired.
  • Ideas about improvements and implementation are a natural part of the discussion process and these ideas can easily be incorporated into strategic and communications plans.
  • Teams very often do not ask for any help or assistance of the Expedition Leadership team, which is a fundamental reality in most organizations. It is a really good connection to issues like Selfless Leadership and to overall organizational cultures. We generally want players to ask the leadership team when they can benefit by that help, right?

Here is a matrix offering prices — yes, we do publish actual prices! — and some thoughts on needed support based on number of tabletops of 6 people each.

Costs and staffing requirements to rent The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine

If you are running a large program, we can also support that. Our preference would be that you have already played through a delivery. Often, for very large deliveries, we will run an exercise specifically for the senior leadership team as a planning and team building program. Those senior managers then form the basis of your delivery team for your larger session. You can give them special white hats and all those kinds of things that increase the likelihood of them following up and implementing the best ideas. You can read more about these ideas in this blog post. We would package and price those frameworks on a special basis, so ask us for details if that represents an opportunity.

The largest delivery for one group at one time in one room was 870 players!

The above chart is for illustrative purposes only, insofar as how to staff the delivery support. The price is inclusive of all necessary delivery materials – you get what you need to deliver the program one time, plus extensive training and support materials. Online and telephone support is free!

Optional accessories like hats and bandannas can be purchased separately.

You are not purchasing the game for continued use and all rights regarding the Intellectual Property remain with Performance Management Company. You are acquiring the materials for a single session (plus any training of support staff) and ALL materials must be returned to PMC immediately after delivery. Purchasing options are also available, since this exercise is outstanding to integrate to ongoing team development and leadership training.

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

See the powerful new teambuilding game, The Collaboration Journey Challenge

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com
 See his poems and performance haiku poems at www.poemsontheworkplace.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

 

The landing page for the rental of Lost Dutchman is here: https://www.performancemanagementcompany.com/online-store/RENTAL-OF-THE-SEARCH-FOR-THE-LOST-DUTCHMANS-GOLD-MINE-p73093716

View the overview and the details of our survey of LDGM users here:

Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine Team Building Exercise – Survey Results

Read about how to actively involve senior managers and the benefits of doing that in this blog:  https://performancemanagementcompanyblog.com/2015/04/01/engaging-senior-managers-in-large-group-events/

 

 

 

Business Haiku on Supervisors, Training and Facitation

Here is a business haiku (5, 7 and 5 syllables) that is congruent with my thinking of the issue of supervisors and the critical need for some disruptive, bottoms-up thinking from the workplace. Are we giving our supervisors the skills needed to involve and engage their people in workplace improvement? Are we allowing them to coach performance improvement and generate the intrinsic motivation needed for long-term personal growth and success?

All I can read from dozens of sources says that the answer is NO. Supervisors are bombed with responsibilities and few of them seem able to focus time with their people to actively involve and engage them.

Does this make any real sense in the long-term?

So, here is a simple Haiku and supporting images.

supervisors and disruptive engagement training

Consider.

The Square Wheels Project is an online facilitation skills training program for supervisors and team leaders interested in gaining some new skills to better involve and engage their people for the continuous continuous improvement of workplace practices. It is simple and straightforward,

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

See the powerful new teambuilding game, The Collaboration Journey Challenge

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com
 See his poems and performance haiku poems at www.poemsontheworkplace.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

Square Wheels® is a registered trademark of Performance Management Company
LEGO® is a trademark of The LEGO® Group®

 

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