We have been playing with the concept of Square Wheels as a descriptive tool for organizational improvement since 1993. And, we routinely find that the Square Wheels represent things that thump and bump along for most people, such as dealing with companies like Charter Communications (over and over, thump thump…  I wish they would fix the problem I first reported in June!) and with company automated call directors when you call in (“Please listen to this entire message, since our system has recently changed…”) and all that…

When we present Square Wheels One, we commonly get LOTS of examples of what might be happening. I’ve actually collected over 300 different responses to the illustration, many of which I have reported elsewhere and in powerpoint slides and in other media.  Often, they represent problems in making smooth forward progress:

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BUT, wooden Square Wheels are not always problematic for everyone or in all situations. Sometimes, a Square Wheel represents a better solution:

  • It is better for cooking hot dogs than rubber tires
  • It works better for helicopters
  • It is better to use Square Wheels when descending steep hills
  • They are easier to stand on if you have to look far forward
  • They represent better opportunities for improvement

And, yes, SQUARE Wheels are better for shooting cannons.

But generally, most people would agree that implementing Round Wheels in the workplace is a far better idea than continuing to frustrate people with the constant thumping and bumping of the Square ones. Giving people a chance to implement solutions is intrinsically motivating, especially when they do this in small teams and get the recognition from others in the organization about the positive impacts of those improvements.

Have fun out there and get things done!

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

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