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

Dance of Death, and other images of the workplace

I will blame my old friend, Bernie DeKoven, for this blog! (grin)

Bernie writes under the framework of Deep Fun and focuses on generating more fun in work and life as a practical matter of choice. I will let him comment more on his focus below. But you can see more about his thinking and a game frame using the image below by clicking on it.

This cartoon was done in 1493 for the Black Death Plague

I saw his post on this illustration and I had a different name / frame for the image. My email back to Bernie called the image, “Middle Management.”

Here is the worker, with no possibility of upward mobility, being “managed” by the middle managers, who also have limited upward mobility possibilities. As companies continue to become more efficient and more productive and use software for more and more operational processes, the requirement for skilled employees and for additional training and development becomes increasingly limited.

At least, that is one way of looking at things and looking at statistics, especially if one is focused on the older workers, those over 55 along with the shenanigans to limit access to things like social security and Medicare and similar resources for old age…

Another image that I have used before is this one. You can see some of my earlier thoughts on intrinsic motivation and innovation by clicking on the image:

Doom and gloom

Do you really think the average person wants to simply sit around and accomplish nothing? I think that goes against all the things I have learned about motivation over the years. But I DO think that people can be pushed and punished and beaten down repeatedly to make them less likely to try. That fear of failure and the loss of ambition and goals will generate conditioned helplessness.

An official publication of the US Army in how to sabotageThey can be dis-engaged and un-involved. We see that all the time in the workplace. But they can also take that abuse and become motivated to engage in organizational sabotage — there are many cases and examples of people becoming motivated to “get even.”

(see a detailed blog on this situation by clicking on the image of The US Army’s Field Manual to Strategic Sabotage (seriously) )

Motivation is a funny thing, and I would hope that we could do a better job of involving and engaging people in the workplace.

We need to pay attention to the choices we make about how we deal with people. And it is not rocket-science, it is about asking for their ideas and input on what might be done differently.

=Square Wheels Icebreaker icon

We can take the time to think about what we do and how our actions are perceived.

Stopping and Supporting Improvement, a Square Wheels image by Scott Simmerman

We can have more fun.
We can lighten up in our management style.
We can allow people some room to grow.

So, choose to rock and roll!

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. 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 quips and quotes on Poems on The Workplace is here.

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



Engaging Senior Managers in Large Group Teambuilding Events


Poems and Haiku on People and Performance – Square Wheels themes

1 Comment

  1. Though I concur with your moment of sobriety (a temporary one) re. life in the workplace, I needs must also take the opportunity of your somewhat honorable mention to share a bit more of my current work with your audience.

    I have three websites going: (wherein you found my post – – wherein you found the image which you herein shared), – the homepage of which is a massive (or at least half-massive) collection of games worthy of your reader’s many ilks; and – housing several business-application-worthy games, especially, might I mention: this one and, peut-etre, this: Enjoi!

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