Doing a wide variety of leadership and team building sessions all over the world for the past 30+ years, one of the most useful anchor points I have is that I do NOT know all the answers and should not be expected to. Heck, I should be able to even end sentences with prepositions and use dangling participles if that were the case.

Early on, though, I thought I needed to show my expertise, and have an answer for all things, but that is simply ludicrous.

I will share my opinions and thoughts when asked, but I also try to couch things in the framework that those are just thoughts and opinions… It is one of the reasons why I use my Square Wheels cartoons — they allow me to ask others for their thoughts and ideas. Yeah, I do have some anchor points and perspective, and I do use a variety of facilitation and organizational development frameworks and concepts.

SWs One - How Things Work

One reality is this one –

A Desk is a Dangerous Place from which to view the world.

I got that quote from a book by Jean LeCarre. I remember reading that in one of his hardback books and immediately writing it down. When trying to find it, however, it becomes impossible and I often think that others are simply repeating my reference as opposed to finding it on their own. But it is useful and it anchored the series of cartoons that I use to illustrate this concept:

Desk is Danger man + TriangleDesk is Danger Cost + Bump

IDEAS ARE GOOD. It is just that not every idea is a good idea. And one should not just go out implementing them without doing a little conversation, investigation and testing (“One Less Bump per Revolution” is one of my more favorite session punchlines!). I use this series pretty neatly in many of my leadership sessions. “A Desk IS a Dangerous Place from which to view the world.

Another quote I use often is the one that titles this writing:

Nothing Made Sense, and Neither did Anything Else!

I thought I read that one dozens of years ago in Joseph Heller’s book, “Catch 22.” Funny thing is that if you do go online, you will see LOTS of references to the quote, many linked to me, but many on the different quote pages that refer to the phrase coming from Catch 22.

On this page, for example, the first 25 quotes are all ripped off directly from my website writings, and unattributed to me — they were shared on a page a long time ago. Heck, they even kept some of the ones that I attributed to myself!
( ) — they call themselves “creative moves” but they shoulda maybe named the page, “outright theft. com” — same thing with this guy: and at  Ah well…

I just searched again, thinking that some things DO change and found the quote on page 18 of Heller’s sequel to Catch 22 – “Closing Time.” I must have read it there and simply got confused. The link to that page is here. And the whole quote is embedded in a longish paragraph that goes:

“…Men earned millions producing nothing more substantial than changes in ownership. The cold war was over and there was still no peace on earth. Nothing made sense and neither did everything else. People did things without knowing why and then tried to find out.”

Ah: “Nothing made sense and neither did EVERYTHING else.” I had it wrong all these years (and will probably keep using it my way!). And I wonder how many years it will take for my wrong attribution to get corrected. I think it might never happen with the “Truth in Internet” reality…

My next Quote Quest is to find if Tom Peters really said,

If we’re not getting more better faster than they are getting more better faster, than we’re getting less better or more worse.

My quote of Tom Peters’ quote is on the above referenced sites that have taken  quotes from my site, with no reference to having done that,  in addition to others that attribute my quoting him to him. No chance of finding if it was actually his, and I heard that in another consultant’s presentation maybe 20 years ago…

If you go to those websites mentioned, you can see a lot of the quotes that I use. They did a good job of lifting them from my site. But at least they are not (yet) stealing my cartoons.

Caterpillars can fly lighten up round


For the FUN of It!

Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools like Square Wheels. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and international consultant.
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Also published on Medium.