I stated playing with some of the Square Wheels cartoons and doing some short poems over the past week or so. I guess it is kind of like taking a break, but I am also playing with my creative thinking and the like. Doing these “poems” has been fun, but will certainly not win me any awards!

One of the best of the cartoons in my series has always been one that I call, “Intrinsic Motivation,” since it seems to capture so much about improvement and self-generated motivation to succeed. As I played with this in workshops and generated a lot of conversations and comments, what stands out is the reality that implementing your ideas generates a lot of the right stuff. Ideas and themes about intrinsic motivation might include:

  • Making things work more smoothly, better or faster
  • Taking Pride in one’s accomplishments
  • Succeeding in the challenge of putting a round wheel on the wagon, probably not with a lot of support from the leadership
  • Doing something good even though it may not get noticed by others
  • Doing something for the right reason and for the Big Picture
  • Simply feeling good about oneself when you succeed at something you challenged yourself to do
  • Feeling positive about making an improvement that impacts others or that may lead to other impacts on people and an organization
  • Using a new idea successfully

The list actually goes on and on, but the above tend to be the main frames for why implementing a Round Wheel in a world full of Square Wheels is simply a good thing to do. Questions are often along the lines of, “Will that one wheel actually make any difference or be noticeable?” and my reactions have been along the lines of making any improvement is a positive action and while one wheel may make little overall impact, implementing the first one is a lot harder than implementing the second or the third.

One begins to change the culture, just a little, by having a success and feeling that you made a difference. Will the leadership know? Maybe not. Should they know? Of course. And they may figure out something has changed positively, eventually. Maybe it will simply take another person at the back of the wagon to do the same thing on the other side…

But making a difference IS making a difference. It has to start somewhere…

Thus, my little poem:

Intrinsic better and better poem

Innovation can occur anywhere, and implementing innovations is critical to long-term success for most organizations and workplaces. Improvements can be little things or big things, but building a culture willing to try to do something differently will have a variety of positive benefits. Consider the culture where any change or any improvement is not supported. Yeah, that can look something like this:

No Headway poem rat cageor this one:

Big Foot Smush

If we want to motivate people, we need to ask for their ideas and generate their engagement and involvement in workplace innovation. Just bring in “workers” to do the same constrained job, day after day, will get you what we seem to have already gotten in so many workplaces, the dis-engaged and the un-involved.

There are LOTS of ways to do things differently.


For the FUN of It!

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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