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

Square Wheels and Round Wheels and Issues of Innovation

In my morning email was a note from Allan Mees along with a picture. His thought was that the picture he saw (apparently from Silverstone Fleet Management) reminded him of my Square Wheels cartoon themes:

Where is a wooden Square Wheel when I need one!

Yeah, I think we have all felt like this every once in a while. Pretty unmotivated… All those ideas we cannot implement, all those people that we cannot engage, and all those issues and opportunities. All those possibilities that remain unrealized.

For those of you readers not familiar with my work, this illustration below is called Square Wheels One and it anchors my basic thinking about possibilities and motivation and leadership:

A Square Wheels image about how things really work by Scott Simmerman

It is about managing resources and about implementation of workplace improvement ideas, among other themes. It is about possibilities for improvement, and it relates directly to engagement and motivation for performance improvement.

Maybe, just maybe, Allan’s pickup truck would have been better off if it was rolling around on Square Wheels, since a board and a hammer and a couple of nails might have gotten the guy back on the road. Ya think?

But then again, one wonders how the poor guy would feel thumping and bumping along on those wheels hour after hour, day after day…

I put the driver in the position of the caterpillars below, who feel all those thumps and all he needs is the perspective of the butterfly, ya think? That and a little help from his friends. Here is one of my old line-art illustrations about possibilities:

Square Wheels One with Caterpillars color

And I am reminded again of how a lot of people simply view work and working in the world of today:

Demotivated and dis-engaged people wishing things were different

Don’t you think that these guys would be interested in being more involved and engaged and in accomplishing something? I certainly do.

Isn’t there something — or maybe even many things — that we could do differently that would have positive impacts on our people?

Aren’t there a variety of different approaches to involving and engaging people in the workplace and generating more intrinsic motivation to get more things accomplished? It seems like we waste a lot of time in spinning our wheels and not motivating the people in effective ways and generating better organizational performance results.

Yeah, I also understand that I take a pretty simple view, but I also think that we can simply choose to do something differently to involve and engage people for workplace improvement. Click below to see our inexpensive and effective toolkit for opening up some communications:

=Square Wheels Icebreaker icon

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

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Scott’s blog on Poems and Quips on Workplace Improvement is here.



Square Wheels and really expensive alternatives to Round Wheels


Continuous Continuous Improvement found by The Caterpillar!


  1. Great questions, Scott. And you usually have good answers to them. I reposted this broadly.

    • Thanks, Gary. I DO like to poke a bit of fun at people every once in a while (yeah, like every minute of every day, actually!). There are always things that we can do differently. At the same time, we do need to have that perspective and stepping back helps. Right now, I am working up a BIG series of quips and poems on caterpillars and butterflies, something I have been playing with since before Christmas. For the Fun of It, of course. Have a great year and thanks for the support.

  2. Allan Mees

    Silverstone Fleet Management titled the photo – Happy Monday! It could be worse….
    From my perspective does the guy take all the tyres off the back of the car until he finds one that fits the bare hub only to discover that he doesn’t have a hydraulic jack or tyre lever in his toolkit. Or perhaps all the tyres are the correct size but his toolkit is sitting under the pile of tyres!

    • There are LOTS of issues around implementation and sustainability, feedback mechanisms and all that stuff. But the simple view is you gotta start somewhere if you expect anything to change. Wheeeeeee. Me, I think pushing downhill is a lot easier than pushing uphill!

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