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

Category: Engagement Page 1 of 19

Can you IMPROVE a Square Wheel?

A casual note in Slack to me from our marketing guy Amit got me thinking, so I responded and then felt I should write a blog about it. I had shared an old LEGO style, Too Busy to Improve image with him with a note that we want to change this to our new Divya illustration style.

Really too busy to improve the Square Wheels

Amit said, “…most times it’s only because we don’t know how to work them smoothly.” (referring to the Square Wheels on the wagon)

And my immediate response was, “Nah. The Square Wheels always need to be replaced with better ones. BUT, sometimes we see organizations implement Triangular Wheels because they can measure the improvement — “one less bump per revolution.” Square Wheels cannot be made into round ones. Yet the Round Wheels really are everywhere. Customers have them, workers have them, supervisors have them, consultants should get them from the three previous groups. Senior Leadership seldom has really good ones…”

So, my response got me thinking: maybe I might clarify my thinking about improvement and engagement and innovation.

Square Wheels® are simply things that do not work smoothly. We show the image of the wagon and ask people for their thoughts on how this might represent how things work in most organizations. Results from asking are simply amazing. People project their beliefs on to this “Organization Ink Blot Test*” and you get a pretty amazing number of thoughts about issues of systems and processes, innovation, leadership, culture and similar. A few people make funny comments like, “We’re not like that. We push our wagon uphill in the mud!”

Square Wheels image of how organiztions really work

Then, the next phase of the engagement is to ask the participants, “What are some Square Wheels that we might want to address” and let them discuss the things that do not work smoothly from their perceptions. These discussions are amazing, in that some of the ideas represent really good organizational improvement ideas and some represent only minor and easy to implement changes. Some are systems and process improvement thoughts and many are problems that have already been solved by top performers, the Best Practice kinds of things.

People have real and well-considered ideas in many cases. And everyone engages and offers their thoughts. A few things are seen as problems by an individual or two but those do not generate traction and the lack of consensus peer support for them tends to make them go away in the proposer’s mind (which can be really helpful to the team!).

And because the ideas are generated in group discussion, the active involvement serves to generate engagement and the cognitive dissonance that because there are Square Wheels, there must be some ROUND Wheels out there to address them. Too often, they start solving a Square Wheel problem before they have even finished the discussion of possibilities.

As to “fixing” a Square Wheel, I think that is not a functional possibility. Square Wheels can generate new ideas for implementing improvement but trying to fix an existing problem is not as effective as looking at a variety of possible solutions. Too often, we jump in to fix something without considering other possibilities.

Let me complete this post with another relevant thought. In a John LeCarre novel, he wrote, “A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.” And I think that is right. The people who have hands-on experience generally have a good sense of reality. While they view things from the back of the wagon and they may not have great overall perspective, they DO have a sense of what is happening in reality. I contrast this with the reality of isolation of the more senior managers, who may see things from the Big Picture much better, but they do NOT know the specifics and the details of how things work. Two things happen:

One is the reality of the long rope:

 

And another is that they may measure their impacts without considering all of the ramifications of their solution. I call that basic problem two different things, “The Cost of Human Capital” and  “One Less Bump per Revolution.” We can easily make changes that have significant negative impacts on people and we can always measure the wrong thing…

 

I hope that you have found this interesting and I am looking forward to updating this post with our new illustrations, which are powerful tools that can be used in zoom conversations to generate more active involvement, engagement and motivation to address some of the things that can be changed and improved in most organizations.

 

For the FUN of It!

Scott Simmerman, Ph.D., CPF, CPT – “The Square Wheels Guy”
Managing Partner, Performance Management Company – 864-292-8700
1520 S McElhaney Road, Greer SC  29651    USA
Scott@SquareWheels.com
SquareWheelsGuy (Skype)

 

Our new VIRTUAL version of our team building game is now available for demonstrations and developmental partnerships.

See a 2-minute video here:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cE6gDtZymwk

* This is also know as a Rorschach Test, more formally…

Square Wheels® is a registered trademark of Performance Management Company.
© – All illustrations copyright Performance Management Company, 1993 – 2022

“Use All Your Strength” – A Story on Learning and Improvement

A colleague shared a story in a blog which I saw years ago. With our recent release of the online version of our Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine team building game, I thought to share it here to illustrate one of the game’s key learning points. Dutchman is about optimizing results and collaboration, two of the main performance improvement themes:

A father and young boy were walking along a pathway, when they came across a large tree trunk that had fallen across the way.

The father encouraged the boy to go move the tree, to which the son replied he wasn’t strong enough.“Yes! You are,” said the dad. “If you use all your strength, I know you can do it.”

So, the boy summoned all he had, and, against the mighty forces of nature, he tried. And tried. And tried again. Finally, hanging his head, he went back to admit to his father that he just couldn’t do it.

“Did you use all your strength?” The man asked. The boy nodded he had. “No, actually son, no you didn’t,” the father said.

And as the boy looked up, puzzled, the Dad bent down and said … “You didn’t use me.”

With a man and his son, the situation is obvious. But what about organizations? How does the same story apply?

Let me illustrate within the framework and then broaden out into how people and organizations can improve results.

The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine starts by generating the challenge for teams, “to mine as much gold as we can.” The goal is to maximize the Return on Investment and the role of the Expedition Leader is, “to help teams be successful.” Simple enough. The Expedition Leader provides a map, resources, information and expects a return on that investment. Teams need to make decisions as to their strategy and plan, manage their resources and time, and reach the mine to mine gold, returning by the end of 20 “days.”

With a great deal of energy and a short planning time, they learn the rules as to how the game operates (in both a board game or in our new online, remote delivery framework), select the most important and necessary resources, gather information from other teams or game leadership, and implement their plan. Survival is critical — they must return by the end of Day 20 — but the goal is to optimize the time they spend in The Mine to generate the most gold.

The issues that stand out about using possible strengths is that people often choose to go it alone, do not ask other teams for information or to share resources. As a result of better planning, some teams gain more information to guide their choices and more resources to speed their journey or to reallocate their resources. (I will not get into specifics because I don’t want to give away game secrets!)

If they collaborate and share, they mine more gold. Often, these solo teams might mine 5 or 6 days of gold if they plan well. But the collaborating teams generally mine 8 to 10 days of gold simply because they know more and make different choices.

But another game reality, often prepared in advance for the debriefing, is, “Why don’t teams ask The Expedition Leader for help?”

The explicit game ROLE of the Expedition Leader is to help teams be successful, and their overall GOAL is to optimize the results of ALL the teams, since they are investing time, information and resources to all involved and having only one or two teams being optimally successful simply does not make sense. It is the OVERALL results that are what is important but teams often do a, “My Team, MY Team, MY Team” kind of decision making, one that is often is less successful. Collaboration between teams is a critical design feature of the game, as is the absolute power given to the EL to do whatever makes sense to optimize results, from giving teams extra resources to sharing critical strategic advice or extra tools.

People want to feel successful, and sometimes they feel that they need to go it alone.

But the reality is that teams make better decisions than individuals and even teams can benefit from collaboration with other teams and other people who have different information and different perspectives and even different ideas.

The goal in the initial design of Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine was to clearly show that collaboration between teams is beneficial, but the real world reality is that teams most often compete. Competition might be motivating, but it clearly decreases the ability for an organization to optimize results. Some people also really dislike competition and choose to opt-out early when things get competitive; they would much rather collaborate. And, it is a definite corporate reality that “Interdepartmental Collaboration” is an oxymoron in larger organizations.

So, the play of Lost Dutchman is designed to show players the benefits of doing better planning and resource management, collaborating and sharing information between teams, and actively asking the organization’s Expedition Leaders for advice. We want to make this one of the key desired outcomes for playing the game, to increase the collaboration between workers and their Expedition Leaders. We designed the game so that managers and supervisors can quickly learn how to deliver a powerful exercise, with many benefits around building a stronger and more collaborative team.

Like the boy in the story above, teams can ask for help from people who have more power and more resources. Most leaders in most organizations will help people succeed.

 

If you would like to see more about the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, click on this link.

If you would like to see more about the new, online virtual version of the exercise, you can:

 

Consider scheduling a team building event with the online version for your training team. We can assist you through our network of consultants or help your training department to add the capability of delivering the program internally. There are a wide variety of benefits and we can tailor a program to meet your specific desired goals and objectives. And note that an event with players from your HR and Training Departments will generate a very positive payback to impacting your overall corporate development efforts — the insights into how they might collaborate more effectively is one of my most fun adventures!

 

Our role, as Expedition Leaders and game designers, is to help YOUR teams be more successful.

Make the choice and ask us for our help,

 

For the FUN of It!

Scott Simmerman, Ph.D., CPF, CPT – “The Square Wheels Guy”
Managing Partner, Performance Management Company – 864-292-8700
1520 S McElhaney Road, Greer SC  29651    USA
Scott@SquareWheels.com

SquareWheelsGuy (Skype)

 

Implementing Round Wheels to fix your Square Wheels

Ask a worker and they will share ideas for improvement. As a consultant walking around, this is a given and a simple reality. People doing the work know there are things that can be done differently that would have impacts on organizational performance. Some will even take the time to give you a list of them if they think you are really interested. (true.)

Many things do not work smoothly in their workplaces, which are the things that frustrate them and measurably lower productivity. And it is an exceptional manager who appears to be interested in making changes and improving work processes.

And this frustration and dissatisfaction about potential improvements causes all sorts of negative spins to impacting intrinsic motivation and employee turnover. Sometimes it is simple training that can smooth things out and sometimes is is the sharing of a best practice across all team members. Often it is about improving collaboration across departmental boundaries. But the act of ASKING goes a long way toward improving communications.

Discussing and implementing better ideas can send the message that what the workers see is actually important to managers. Often, what management sees as important and what management pushes through are different things — and that is most likely not going to lead to any sort of workplace engagement and performance improvement.

But the problem is often related to how the problem is discussed and presented. And people are BUSY, and often appear not interested in listening or considering new ideas. Maybe it looks like this:

 

Today’s Organizational Reality would conclude:

  • People do not fix or care that much about ideas that are not their own.
  • Bosses are busy, or at least too busy to spend time listening to ideas
  • Improvement may not be measured by the company
  • The improvement possibility is not related to your job or their job
  • The value and impact of the improvement is not thought-out or defined
  • Everyone has different perspectives on what to do differently
  • The idea is not well presented or framed as a business proposition
  • The idea not seen as cost effective or it may take time to address
  • Some interdepartmental collaboration may be required (needs IT or another department or something similar to implement)

 

What I suggest that supervisors and managers can do differently is to schedule some time to ask people for ideas.

But first, we want to engage and involve them and get them to “step back from the wagon and think out of the box” a little. This image below is a simple framework for the overall thinking about the issues and the opportunity:

SWs One Dis-un-engagement choice

 

Don’t Just DO Something, Stand There” and “The Round Wheels are already in the wagon” are two of the main operational metaphors. The process depends on people actively engaging with the metaphor and generating their own ideas about issues and opportunities.

If  you are interested in more details about how you might use the Square Wheels theme to address issues and opportunities with your people, click on the worksheet image below and view an older post of mine with more details. We are in the process of developing a whole series of tools for the remote workplace and for supervisors to use to engage their people through Zoom and similar tools.

Note that we moved from the original line-art images to using LEGO to illustrate and animate different themes and that we are now in the process of redoing the line art in a new and more colorful style. More to come, for sure!

For the FUN of It!

 

Dr. Scott Simmerman CPF, CPT 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.

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com

Scott’s detailed profile:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottsimmerman/


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

2-Minute Video on the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine ONLINE VIRTUAL game design

We roll forward and are actively doing demos of the new virtual design.

Here is a short video that overviews things:

Contact us if you want to see more or get involved, early-on, with the final development.

 

For the FUN of It!

Scott Simmerman Ph.D. CPF, CPT is still managing partner of PMC and collaborating with the team at PMC LLC, but also sort of retired…

Scott is developer of the incredible Square Wheels® tools and images
and the board game version of The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine

Scott has presented his concepts in 47 countries and collaborates with consultants and trainers worldwide.

You can reach him at scott@squarewheels.com and you can see his profile at LinkedIn

 

 

Dis-Un-Engagement and Remote Working – Issues of motivation and active involvement

The recent shift to remote working has generated a number of issues around employee engagement, active participation and the implementation of ideas for improvement. While employee motivation has been an issue since I started working on performance improvement back in 1978, the lessening of direct contact between managers and employees and between employees makes it even more difficult for keeping people aligned to workplace goals and performance expectations. A friend called home workplaces, “dank,” and it has been hard to get that word out of my head…

And we see this clearly in the US these days as The Great Resignation. The numbers of people leaving workplaces is unprecedented, and companies are having a horrible time replacing the lost knowledge and experience. I won’t bother to share numbers here because they are shared in so many different places; I will blog more about these statistics in other posts.

Most managers seem to be so busy doing that they find it very hard be changing, putting in the work of trying to find some ways to do things differently. I mean, most managers find it hard to do all the things they are supposed to do now, much less do even more things to make improvements, even when some simple ideas exist. They are the main point of leverage for all performance management and they are overwhelmed.

One thing we need to do is strip away some of the current “responsibilities” faced by supervisors to give them more breathing room. Maybe this is relieving them of some report that is really not impactful. Or, it is taking them out of some unnecessary meetings. If you don’t know what to do, ask them. They can tell you. Cut away 3 or 4 hours a week of unimpactful responsibilities. Then, and only then, try to add some things that will generate some real improvement.

What I would like to share a really simple concept that can have widespread, positive influences on the workplace, something that is easy to implement and that can generate the active involvement necessary to create active ownership of the results. The process could involve a few 20 minute online meetings with the work teams a week.

As a name, I call it DisUnEngagement.

Consider the reality that one cannot actually “engage” another person, nor can one “empower” them. It is simply an impossible task because it is the other person’s choice to be engaged or empowered. It is the same with a team, in that there is nothing you can do to engage them if they are choosing not to be engaged individually or as a group.

What you can do is identify the many different things that serve to un-engage people. They are numerous and different people are roadblocked by different things. It could be past history, it could be some personality conflict, it could be that the mission or goals or expectations are unclear, it could be a de-motivational issue.

But once those roadblocks can be identified, you can often work with them to minimize or remove them. That is why dis-un-engagement is a realistic activity; you can actually DO something to correct or improve it.

There are a LOT of tools and approaches that work to impact people and performance and which can remove roadblocks, directly and indirectly. And it is often the most simple and elegant that have the most impact. Keeping it simple keeps it useful and bombproof. Making the process visible and clear is even better.

If you look out at the world, you will see really bad statistics about engagement and morale and individual motivation and wonder about what the problems really are. But is engagement really that difficult? I think that most people are engagable and that this is not rocket science.

I’ve been playing with Dis-Un-Empowerment for thirty plus years — it is basically the idea of working and asking people and teams what things get in their way (generate a list of things that are roadblocks or that are un-empowering) and then working with that list to better understand the issues (as well as the individual beliefs and concerns) and then working with individuals (coaching) and teams to help manage them. It is really pretty simple when done as a facilitated process — Yelling and Telling will generate completely unsatisfactory results. (I discuss in detail in PMC Newsletter Four)

Our model for understanding and dealing with roadblocks to performance improvement

Dis-Un-Engagement is a similar concept. We can look at what workplace things are causing people to be un-engaged and simply work to remove them. The issues and factors are usually pretty clear and survey after survey gives you lists of the most common things that people say need to be done.

  • If people report that management does not seem to listen to them, what would your solution be?
  • If people report that they do not know what is happening in the company and that no one keeps them informed, what might be done?
  • If people say that the poor performers seem to not get any attention and that the bad performance is not corrected, might we come up with an action plan to deal with that perception?

Engage-Ability is a simple little framework about how engage-able ARE people in the workplace. And the answer is REALLY – they ARE really engage-able if we work at it. But we tend to make things so hard.

Consider the new employee and this simple factor: 85% of employee morale sharply decreases after their first 6 months on the job. (This is older data, but what has changed to indicate that this has improved?)
–Sirota Survey Intelligence, June 2006

That does not take a lot of analysis or conceptualistic cogitation. We DO things to people that generates “regression to the mean” and the new, enthusiastic employee is brought down to the average of everyone else. And a LOT of those people just do not seem to care, anymore…

According to an older analysis of its database of 5,700 companies representing 5,000,000 employees, Aon Hewitt reported that engagement levels indicate the workforce is by and large indifferent to organizational success or failure. That should concern us. A similar report from SHRM showed that employees were only moderately engaged at work, with an average score of 3.6 on a five-point scale. And according to Corporate Executive Board’s Human Resources Practice, only one in 10 workers were putting in high levels of discretionary effort. And there are lots and lots of current data pointing to the same basic problems.

My take on things is that workers are making educated and calculated decisions about their workplace and how they are treated. They are trying to be like everyone else, in many cases. They are looking to see if the management cares for them and values their efforts.

People ARE engage-able. People can get more involved and committed to accomplishing things. People DO like to work in teams, when risks are minimal and the potential (personal and team) rewards are good. That does NOT mean money compensation, but it does mean that the intrinsic motivators are present.

And Trust is the Residue of Promises Fulfilled.

Making improvements will happen on an individual basis and be connected to the interface of supervisors and workers. Managers need to ask more (based on a lot of data) and tell less.

This ain’t rocket science, folks. It is basically about treating people well, giving them respect, providing training and fair compensation for their efforts and doing what we say we will do as organizational leaders. People ARE engage-able!

What we need are more of the management team willing to take the time to ask and listen and involve. Caterpillars can fly, if they would just lighten up!

 

Stay tuned. We are releasing an online version of The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine and we are redoing our different sets of Square Wheels images and our toolkits for involving and engaging people in workplace improvement. If you are interested in collaborating with us, or using our products and tools for your performance improvement initiatives, send us a note. We are VERY collaborative as a culture. I want to build some solid and easy to use tools for managing remote workers and actively involving them in productivity and performance.

 

When you are up to your axles in mud and surrounded by Spectator Sheep and alligators and sharks, it is hard to focus on making real progress. Have fun out there, too…

 

 

For the FUN of It!

Scott Simmerman Ph.D. CPF, CPT is still managing partner of PMC and collaborating with the team at PMC LLC, but also sort of retired…

Scott is developer of the incredible Square Wheels® tools and images
and the board game version of The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine

Scott has presented his concepts in 47 countries and collaborates with consultants and trainers worldwide.

You can reach him at scott@squarewheels.com and you can see his profile at LinkedIn

 

 

Social Media, Marketing and Change – Herding Cats

Change is continuous. Especially if you are a small business and online. We’re pretty unusual with PMC, since we have been a 2-person company since 1984, which is a very long time in the consulting and training marketplace. And, we’re changing again, Big Time, to bring out our old board game as a new online one, and updat.

I initially posted this blog back in 2011 as I was working to establish social media stuff and I thought an edit and an update might be interesting. Since then I had tried to retire to Ecuador with modest success, but I am still working half time and bringing our new products. We took my sole-proprietorship (PMC) and made it into an LLC, under Joan’s leadership. I took off for a life of relaxation and travel, basing myself in Cuenca. And then COVID…

But as I look back on it, it really was pretty wild back then. We’ve moved our PMC shopping cart four or five different times, with each new platform offering new benefits. We’re about to shift over to WordPress soon.

Like many people in small businesses, I use Facebook and now have numerous pages marketing my tools and talking about other things there, but I do not do any advertising with them. Twitter, Scoop.it, Pinterest all got a little of my time. Then there is this blogging on WordPress with two blogs and all my activities on LinkedIn. And, there are others including YouTube, List.ly, Discus, Digg, and more.

In a word, “Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.!!!!!!
   (…if that is a word.)

The Square Wheels in getting this stuff done have been everywhere, from having the new CSS templates default to medium gray letters on a dark gray background to insuring our old links from the old blog work and back-link accurately and stuff like that. And, changing the shopping cart also meant that we changed all the page urls, so we needed to do all that forwarding of old to new. There were hundreds of links from my old blog posts to the old pages on the old site that are now new pages on the new shopping cart that is changing again. (There are few things I hate more than a bad link.)

The most difficult thing was the converting the old page names to the new page names, which meant a few hundred changes here and there on my other pages that used those as links (that used to have working links to the pages on the old webpage). Making them a few at a time, and running the software that checks all the links from all the places was also a great deal of fun (not).

I know that we have old backlinks from other people’s sites that used to connect back to articles and the like on my site(s) that will not work any more.

In a word, “Square Wheels really ARE everywhere!”  (Hope you are having some fun, too.)

There is that, “Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.!!!!!! again.


We have spent the last 8 months doing a conversion of the features of our board game version of The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine into a new virtual version designed for remote workers and supervisor-led team building and performance improvement.

So, as Dilbert said, “Change is good. You go first.” Or, in reality, change is necessary and there is often nobody to do it except you. Git ‘er done!

You might like The Moose Joke  because all this process of improvement IS like going 50 feet farther than last year.

Download the Moose Joke

Social Media is forcing this old guy to be more social, I guess…

 

 

For the FUN of It!

Scott Simmerman Ph.D. CPF, CPT is still managing partner of PMC and collaborating with the team at PMC LLC, but also sort of retired…

Scott is developer of the incredible Square Wheels® tools and images
and the board game version of The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine

Scott has presented his concepts in 47 countries and collaborates with consultants and trainers worldwide.

You can reach him at scott@squarewheels.com and you can see his profile at LinkedIn

 

 


There are a whole lot of videos on our YouTube site at PMC864

Here is a file about our testimonials on our board game version of the Lost Dutchman team building game:

testimonials for Lost Dutchman Gold Mine slideshare

 

 

The Virtual Version of The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine teambuilding game

This is not so much of a blog post as it is an overview of progress about the conversion of our board game version of Lost Dutchman into an online version. It has been hard work doing the conversion and we are now in our eighth month of dealing with details. My son Jeff has been overseeing this with an amazing amount of creativity and focus. It is something that I could never have accomplished. He has built a really solid interface for game play online, with many opportunities for strategic planning and inter-team collaboration, with the Facilitator screen giving a solid overview of actions and progress.

An irony is that the software development company in India played the board game version of LDGM long before we engaged them in the design and development process. On Thursday, 24 of their team will play again, this time with the online version as what I hope will be our final beta-test delivery. The initial goal was to have the LDVirtual game have much of the same look and feel of the board game, since we will continue to sell both versions.

  • (I would LOVE to run the debriefing of the upcoming game with them as an actual team building exercise, since they played the game before and we should see improvements in their internal collaborations and their play this time around. But my guess is that their debriefing did not generate much action and followup, since it seems to have been played more as a team bonding event than one for teambuilding. Nothing wrong with having fun but I really think we can always generate improvement it the debriefing is done well. But this delivery is run as a diagnostic of the design, rather than as a teambuilding event.)

What I think we can do even better with the virtual version is to anchor some specific followup and organizational development activities as part of the overall delivery. We can play with 24 people, in 6 teams of up to 4 people each. And instead of playing and forgetting, my goals for the delivery is to generate a very solid debriefing about collaboration, communications, alignment and change, and then to have structured followup with the group in the weeks after the play to anchor in some of the ideas raised in the discussions around themes of motivation, dis-un-engagement, alignment to existing goals and objectives and to promote implementation of ideas for improvement.

With the online design, we can accomplish that by making a “game discussion” part of the following week’s followup and to help the group implement ideas for improving communications and teamwork that fall out of the discussion around the play of the game.

Doable, I think.

For that development purpose, I would love to have an organization to partner with on developing this process. Ideally, it would be one of our old board game customers looking to refresh the learning and reach out to their remote workers more effectively. The design of the game would easily allow a supervisor to run all their people in a single session, because it can play with 3 or 4 teams of 2 to 3 people (we think!) and have the same, effective interactions.

The game design is 99% completed and the debriefing rolls out from what we’ve been doing since 1993 with the board game. Designing the weeks-after followup needs to anchor to some real-world improvement opportunities, I think, and also have the buy-in of the managers involved to insure it aligns with their goals and objectives.

We do NOT want the game to be only a game, and we DO want the play to be an excuse to do an interactive debriefing, accomplish the goal of generating ideas for organizational improvement, and to provide a mechanism for easy followup on ideas and needs. The manager will have to learn some facilitation skills and we would need to develop some simple processes for followup and implementation.

Interested in collaborating? Ideally, we could work with a team of HR / Training people to tightly link the play of the game to the debriefing on critical, current issues and opportunities. You would work directly with me on this development, I think. We would support the licensing of game facilitators as well as support their training and development around delivery of the game.

 

For the FUN of It!

Scott Simmerman Ph.D. CPF, CPT is still managing partner of PMC and collaborating with the team at PMC LLC, but also sort of retired…

Scott is developer of the incredible Square Wheels® tools and images
and the board game version of The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine

Scott has presented his concepts in 47 countries and collaborates with consultants and trainers worldwide.

You can reach him at scott@squarewheels.com and you can see his profile at LinkedIn

 

 

Thoughts on Flying Frogs and Human Performance – and some metaphors

Sometimes, you just have to jump.

Things come together to force you to do something and you need to act. And sometimes, it is easier to just step up and do things. Sometimes…

With plenty of things on my agenda, I opened an old email from an old friend in the UK. He sent me a story with the subject: “Saw this and thought of you.” So, I like what Geoff sent and jumped to do a blog post. Impulsivity is one of my behavioral traits.

Here is the basic story that Geoff sent me with a couple of minor changes:


Once upon a time, there was a man named Clarence who had a pet frog named Felix. Clarence lived a very modest life based on what he earned working retail but he never gave up his dream of being rich. One day, hit by sudden inspiration, he exclaimed, “Felix, we’re going to be rich! You will learn to fly!”

Felix was terrified at the prospect. “I can’t fly, Clarence! I’m a frog, not a bird!” Clarence, disappointed at the initial response, told Felix: “Your attitude isn’t helping matters. I think you can benefit from some training.”

So off Felix went to a three-day course where he learned about the history of aviation, the basics of aeronautical engineering (e.g., lift, thrust, drag, etc), gliders, parasailing and the lives of famous fliers. (For obvious reasons, the instructor did not mention Icarus, but they did talk about Why Geese fly in a V.)

After the training and on the first day of “flying lessons,” Clarence could barely control his excitement (and Felix could barely control his bladder). Clarence pointed out that their apartment building had 7 floors, and each day Felix would jump out of a window, starting with the first floor and working his way up to the top.

After each jump, Clarence and Felix would analyze how well he flew, isolate the most effective flying techniques and implement the improved process for the next flight. By the time they reached the top floor, Felix would surely be able to fly.

felixthefrog Felix pleaded for his life but his pleas fell on deaf ears. “He just doesn’t understand how important this is,” thought Clarence. “He can’t see the big picture.”

So, with that, Clarence opened the window and threw Felix out. He landed with a thud. They discussed and analyzed his performance…

The next day, poised for his second flying lesson, Felix again begged not to be thrown out of the window. Clarence opened his pocket guide to “Managing More Effectively” and showed Felix the part about how one must always expect resistance when introducing new, innovative programs. With that, he threw Felix out the window again. THUD!

On the third day (on the third floor), Felix tried a different ploy: stalling. He asked for a delay in the “project” until better weather would make flying conditions more favorable. But Clarence was ready for him: He produced a timeline and pointed to the third milestone and asked, “You don’t want to mess up the schedule, do you?”

From his performance appraisal feedback, Felix knew that not jumping today meant he would have to jump TWICE tomorrow. So he just muttered, “OK, let’s go.” And out the window he went.

Now this is not to say that Felix wasn’t trying his best. On the fourth day he flapped his legs madly in a vain attempt at flying. On the fifth day, he tried “visualization.” He tied a small red cape around his neck and tried to think “Superman” thoughts. It didn’t help.

By the sixth day, Felix, accepting his fate, no longer begged for mercy. He simply looked at Clarence and said, “You know you’re killing me, don’t you?”

Clarence pointed out that Felix’s performance so far had been less than exemplary; failing to meet any of the milestones he had set for him. With that, and knowing that there was one more floor, Felix said quietly, “Shut up and open the window.” He leaped out, taking careful aim at the large jagged rock by the corner of the building.

And Felix went to that great lily pad in the sky.

Clarence was devastated. His project failed to meet a single objective he set out to accomplish. Felix not only failed to fly, he hadn’t even learned to steer his fall; instead, he dropped like a sack of cement. Nor had Felix heeded Clarence’s advice to “Fall smarter, not harder.”

The only thing left for Clarence to do was to conduct an after-action-review and try to determine where things had gone wrong.

After reviewing all the records and giving the data much thought, Clarence smiled knowingly and said, “Next time, I’m getting a smarter frog!”


My friend Fred Nickols said this to me about when he used the story and asked participants these questions:

I first heard the parable of Felix the Flying Frog in the early 1970s. It appears in many places nowadays and its author is unknown. I think its staying power owes to the many points it illustrates – some subtly and some not so subtly. It has great utility as a discussion piece for use in reflecting on life in organizations – and life in general for that matter. Toward that end, you will find some potentially useful questions at the end of this version.

  • How did Clarence’s expectations get so out of line with Felix’ capabilities and how might better alignment have been achieved?
  • Why did Clarence reach so quickly for training as a solution?
  • What role did the power differential between Clarence and Felix play in shaping the course of events?
  • Why was Felix so compliant, even in the face of his own destruction?
  • What blinded Clarence to the role he played in the failure of his attempt to make Felix fly?
  • What talent did Felix possess that might actually have made Clarence and he rich and why didn’t Clarence see that?

There are lots of things to consider related to performance, capability, perspective, leadership and engagement. And Fred uses the parable in a great way.

And could Clarence have made some money by having a talking frog? He was too enraptured about flying…

The irony for me was when I read a LinkedIn discussion about, “Performance Management and Performance Appraisal differences,” with a group of young HR people chatting about what they think “performance management” is and talking about “managing performance.” It is my thought that a lot of managers think they fully understand the concept of people and work and motivation, but it feels like they are trying to teach Felix to fly.

Some said things like:

  • I see Performance Management oriented towards Indicators (much more quantitative) on the other side Performance Appraisals cover both, quantitative as well as qualitative, thus I see them as two different tools
  • Performance Management is a process, whereas, Appraisal is an activity (part of Performance Management).
  • Performance Management is a technique to measure the level of performance of an Employee. Its result is Excellent, Good, Average, Poor. Action is ‘IMPROVEMENT’  Appraisal Management is a technique to measure the result of a performance. Its result is used for ‘Salary Hike’ & ‘Promotion’
  • Performance Management is the policy guidance which will vary as per existing need, progress made and future demand of the company. Performance Appraisal is the periodical matching aspect of the prescribed criteria with the actual performance of the employee, for compensation and career planning purpose.

Me? I posted this up to explain that there are real differences in these things and that Performance Management has nothing to do with Performance Appraisal and that it was simply a substitution of words that were an attempt to cover up the appraisal and subjective evaluation and assessment of the person:

Performance Management was the term applied to the issue of Human Behavioral Improvement as used by people like Tom Gilbert, Aubrey Daniels, Ed Feeney and many others back in the mid 1970s to look at ORGANIZATIONAL performance. It was generally anchored to Skinnerian Operant Behavioral Psychology and applied systems for behavioral analysis (such as Feeney’s BEST Program: Behavioral Engineering Systems Training), the analysis of performance feedback programs, and the application of contingent extrinsic rewards to drive desired behaviors.

As pretty brief explanation is available at:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Performance_management

Tom Gilbert’s book, “Human Competence: Engineering Worthy Performance” is one of the critical works in the field, comparable to Peter Senge’s work on “Learning Organizations.”

In the mid 1980s, the phrase was co-opted by Human Resource people to try to make the concept of “Performance Appraisal” less offensive and less emotional, kind of like how “Re-Engineering” was used in place of the concept of “Downsizing.”

I say this, watching the name of the company I founded in 1984 – Performance Management Company – undergo a shift in anchor points from my focus on systemic organizational and human performance improvement to having people think we did performance appraisal systems. You can read a lot of different articles on human behavior at www.PerformanceManagementCompanyBlog.com

Many of us Old Guard still work in the area of best practices, organizational alignment to goals and expectations, refining performance feedback systems and using extrinsic and intrinsic reward systems to drive performance improvement. We also know that performance management is a difficult process to accomplish. And it seems like a shift back toward organizational improvement is happening once again.

But Performance Management sure isn’t Performance Appraisal, much like preparing a Christmas dinner sure isn’t popping a frozen dinner into the microwave. (grin)


So, I understand that this Clarence / Felix The Frog Parable as linking right up into the issues related to performance and capability. Could Felix fly? Yeah, we have this new drone technology where we could strap that little guy into a helicopter and fly him anywhere we want.

But a Talking Frog? Now THAT is really something.


Let me end this with a brief discussion of the thoughts of W. Edwards Deming, one of those really key old guys in the quality improvement and people performance leadership literature.

Deming was really clear in his writings that he felt that merit pay, incentives, numerical targets without discussion of methods, quota systems, and annual performance appraisals are some of the most highly counter-productive management practices. He clearly thought that Performance Appraisal was one of the Seven Deadly Sins of management and lots of us have lots of good examples of how appraisals screw things up for people.

Deming said, “Evaluation of performance, merit rating, or annual review… The idea of a merit rating is alluring.The sound of the words captivates the imagination: pay for what you get; get what you pay for; motivate people to do their best, for their own good. The effect is exactly the opposite of what the words promise.” (W. Edwards Deming, “Out of The Crisis”)

 

There are lots of issues with evaluation and being evaluated that do NOT contribute to organization improvement and operational effectiveness. Many of these are deadly when it comes to implementing teamwork and innovation. So find those talking frogs.

Get your people to talk. Get out there and talk about what things are not working well and what might be improved. The Round Wheels are already in the wagon! Just DO it!

SWs One 300 © green words

For the FUN of It!

Scott Simmerman Ph.D. CPF, CPT is still managing partner of PMC, but sort of retired…

Scott is developer of the Square Wheels® images and the board game version of The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine

Scott has presented his concepts in 47 countries and collaborates with consultants and trainers worldwide.

You can reach him at scott@squarewheels.com and you can see his profile at LinkedIn

 

I need a co-author and front person for a business on managing and leading change

If you are reading this, you are probably familiar with at least some of my works. My thoughts now turn to “leaving a legacy” and generating some ways to more permanently embedding my theme of Square Wheels® into the business literature. At age 73,

  • I am motivated by the idea of writing a book and making performance tools available to the global business community.
  • I am not motivated by the idea of marketing a book, doing webcasts, giving presentations, and driving sales discussions.
  • making money is NOT my personal motivation, since I have the resources I need already to do what I want to do.

SO, I am looking for someone interested in working closely with me to develop the materials, redoing my business development toolkits, promoting the concepts and generating income from those activities.

Since, 1993, I have been delivering workshops and presentations around the concept illustrated below:

The core idea is to generate engagement by asking, “How might this illustration represent how things really work in most organizations?”

The illustration works as a Rorschach inkblot, in that there is no reality to the illustration but people readily project their ideas on to the image. And a group of people will generate a lot of ideas, not always around how “most organizations” really work but around how THEIR organization works. Square Wheels represent the things that exist but that do not work smoothly. And the round wheels are already in the wagon, so it is not about invention. I have written extensively about the image and its impacts and you can see other blog articles by clicking on the link below:

My overall idea is to develop a book and packages of materials that can be used in classroom training or by supervisors interested in involving and engaging and motivating their people more effectively. The book might be like One Minute Manager or Cheese or similar but it could wrap around my unique visual tools and metaphors. I know of no other metaphor with as much proven power to generate active involvement than the Square Wheels images and I have over 300 different line art versions focused on different themes and issues. I have also developed a parallel set of images and stop-motion movies using our LEGO versions of these ideas.

The basic idea is for me to assist someone in this collaboration who:

  • ideally is already experienced in business consulting and the delivery of workshops and presentations
  • believes in using metaphors and stories for organizational development
  • already has publishing experience and who likes marketing and sales
  • is interested in co-writing a book and acting as primary author,
  • wants to develop a business around managing and leading change, focused on organizational development and training others to facilitate organizational improvement,
  • who is interested in building a 20+ year business around marketing and sales of products and services to trainers and consultants, internationally
  • who is committed to coaching and themes like innovation, leadership, performance improvement, and personal development

 

I have a LOT of the materials already available and have presented workshops and other programs internationally since 1993 around themes of service quality, innovation and creativity, organizational performance improvement, and change and motivation. The title of the works may focus on my theme of Teaching The Caterpillar to Fly or around Square Wheels. Click below to see some of the writings around the change metaphor of caterpillars and butterflies that I have extensively developed:

We have been selling a variety of different toolkits for facilitation, including programs on managing and leading change, what managers can to to improve engagement, quality improvement and other topics, including icebreakers and simple tools for involving and engaging people. We have different websites focused on these tools and on teambuilding and other frameworks.

I can be prolific, but I do not want to start a new business and begin marketing a book at this time.

Care to collaborate?

 

For the FUN of It!

Scott Simmerman Ph.D. CPF, CPT is still managing partner of PMC, but sort of retired…

Scott is developer of the Square Wheels® images and the board game version of The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine

Scott has presented his concepts in 47 countries and collaborates with consultants and trainers worldwide.

You can reach him at scott@squarewheels.com and you can see his profile at LinkedIn

 

 

 

Announcing PMC LLC, a new organization arising from Performance Management Company

Founded in 1984, PMC WAS FOCUSED ON BRINGING SIMPLE BUT EFFECTIVE TOOLS TO IMPACT PEOPLE AND PERFORMANCE THROUGH ENGAGEMENT AND COLLABORATION.

Performance Management Company was founded in 1984 by Scott J. Simmerman, Ph.D., who was its Managing Partner. It operated with Scott and Joan Simmerman collaborating to provide consulting and training services to different organizations. Combining his work experience in business consulting and retail management with a doctoral degree in psychology and a university teaching fellowship from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, Scott initially created Performance Management as an organizational consulting business.

By the late 1980s, Scott was presenting on service quality and change at global conferences and Joan was coordinating operations while he traveled to destinations like the Mideast, Africa and Asia.

Through the years, the company’s base had evolved from consulting and presenting workshops to creating and selling products supporting management and organizational development to organizations and individuals worldwide. PMC was dedicated to collaborating with a worldwide network of trainers and consultants to help create new ideas and different applications for two main products. One focus was anchored to a single cartoon called, “Square Wheels One

From that single illustration (below), Scott created the interactive Square Wheels® Illustration series consisting of over 300 line-art images packaged in many different toolkits, made available as complete turnkey training packages focusing on engagement and innovation. Scott also developed Square Wheels-based team building board-game exercises.

From that initial concept, materials continued to transform into LEGO-based illustrations, stop-motion animations, illustrated quotes and different “posters” and a variety of other things. One of Scott’s premises is that if people enjoy a learning experience they will more readily retain key learning points and these interactive programs around Square Wheels are incredibly memorable and easily targeted to real business process improvement applications around themes of innovation and creativity. Collaborative problem solving using these images, metaphors and themes directly link to motivation, team building and engagement.

Design Thinking and Implementation in the workplace of reality

Lost Dutchman

Our flagship product was the fun and fast-paced teambuilding exercise, “The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine.

It was an interactive “board game” created to be a world-class organizational development tool, with clear links to strategy implementation, organizational alignment, inter-organizational collaboration and change management interventions. The design was such that it effectively ran with even very large groups of people and it was often used for programs of 200+ people. Serious learning points such as collaboration, communication and quality are entwined with participants having a good time. It has, hence, become one of the leading teambuilding experiential simulations in the world.

We sold it to individual consultants along with corporate trainers, and one guess is that we are probably approaching a million players. It is pretty amazing, actually.

You can find testimonials here:

testimonials for Lost Dutchman Gold Mine slideshare

 

So, in 2019, Scott decided to license his intellectual property to Joan, who organized PMC LLC. He moved to Cuenca, Ecuador and “retired.” And then COVID hit and the basic training business went through some radical shifts. Changes were needed and new materials needed to be developed.

So, Scott “unretired” and supported the shift of products to remote delivery and helped Joan form Performance Management Company LLC to handle the license for PMC intellectual property. Son Jeff then came on board to work with Joan and Scott — and Jeff did amazing work to develop Lost Dutchman Virtual with a pretty amazing interactive design. As of today (September, 2021), the exercise is playable and we are working with our colleagues at The TEAM Approach to fine tune the basic delivery and to develop both a general debriefing as well as one linked to the DiSC tools. (The game is that flexible!)

We still need to develop the training support materials, different debriefing approaches, and to create the online materials to introduce the exercise / instruct players how to operate the game interface. We release the game very soon for general play, being in the beta-testing mode at the moment.

 

As designed, one licensed Facilitator will be able to operate and debrief the exercise for up to 6 teams of up to 4 people each, with the interactions paralleling the wonderful features found in the board game version. The game can also play with multiple pods, allowing for a common debriefing of many more players that 24. One Master Facilitator will be able to develop their network of certified global instructors. We will also customize the development of materials for our corporate clients so that they can more easily align to their missions, goals and cultures.

We think that the exercise will be truly outstanding for remote workgroups, helping to build communications, teamwork and alignment to a group’s missions, visions and goals. Players will be remote, operating through the interface, but there will be multiple ways for individuals to collaborate as a team and for teams to collaborate with each other to optimize group results. The goal is, “To mine as much Gold as WE can,” which has always been the focus of play. It is not about winning, but about maximizing overall results and a return on the Expedition Leader’s investment of time and resources.

SO, PMC becomes PMC LLC and Scott gives way to Jeff and Joan for the continuing focus on team building and organizational development. For the moment, contact Scott at my email address and I can help you get more information about these products and services. AND, remind me to change that when I get the chance to retire again!

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott Simmerman CPF, CPT is still managing partner of PMC

Scott is developer of the Square Wheels® images and the board game version of Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine

Scott has presented his concepts in 47 countries and collaborates with consultants and trainers worldwide.

You can reach him at scott@squarewheels.com and you can see his profile at LinkedIn

 


Websites www.SquareWheels.com and www.PerformanceManagementCompany.com are the training and development websites for Performance Management Company LLC where Square Wheels toolkits and teambuilding games are sold and various exercises and links to other products are shared. All products sold and presentations come with a satisfaction guarantee or monies are returned. PMC works enthusiastically with purchasers of its products to help support their success and satisfaction.

Joan and Jeff Simmerman operate Performance Management Company LLC out of Greer, South Carolina, USA

Users of PMC products include a global mix of Fortune 100 companies and multi-national organizations as well as small businesses, schools, universities and independent consultants.

Scott is maybe available to do speaking engagements and facilitations for keynotes, conferences, workshops and retreats, but he now travels from Cuenca, Ecuador. People remember his presentations because they are unique, interactive and engaging. This adds up to his consistently being a top-ranked and internationally recognized presenter. His topics can include themes of Change, Team Building, Motivation, Productivity, Innovation and Communications, all within a general framework of leadership.

Since Scott began sharing Square Wheels and Dutchman, he’s delivered workshops, retreats and seminars in India, South Africa, Egypt, England, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, The Philippines, Saudi Arabia, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Mexico, Canada, Mauritius, New Zealand, Dubai, Japan, South Korea and all around the USA — 47 countries in all.

Square Wheels® is a registered trademark of Performance Management Company and the images are copyrighted by PMC.

Rules and Options for 10-ball pool, playable with CSI and BCA and APA frameworks

We started playing 10-ball with a local group and it was confusing because different players had played with different rules and it got pretty ugly. There are a lot of different ways to play this great game of pocket billiards, and there should be different options designed for different leagues. I guess I looked at 40 different pages on different pool sites and I got the motivation to create a single set that combined the most logical rules but also shares some different options.

I will post the rules here in text but also include a word document that you can modify to suit your own needs, pointing out some different possibilities. Should you have a question, feel free to ask in the comments and I will try to clarify as best as I can.

I will also share Rob’s Rule Number One for the benefit of readers:  “Make your shot.”

Following the above,  you will find that this speeds play and eliminates some of the controversy.

Here are the general rules and options for playing 10-ball that mesh with CSA, BCA and APA rules for the game:


Ten Ball Rules and Options

By Scott Simmerman

10-ball is a rotation game like 9-ball, where the lowest ball on the table is struck first. One key difference is that all shots are called shots. Making the 10-ball as a called shot in the called pocket wins the game.

There are any number of options as to how to structure your rules, focusing on whether unintended balls pocketed stay down or get pocketed, whether an intended ball plus the called 10-ball can both be called on a single shot, whether the 3-foul rule is utilized, or whether a player can simply allow his opponent to keep shooting in the event of making an unintended shot and even how the 2 and 3 balls are racked.

This document covers many rules of play for 10-Ball games for the average-skilled player and is meant to be an overall compendium of rules of this game with options. You can download and modify these, making your desired changes for your local rules. Please attribute the general information to me.

1.0 – Play – General Rules

1.1 – Ten-ball is a rotation game like 9-ball. A “good hit” is when the player first connects with the lowest-numbered ball on the table and drives any ball to a rail. Failure to contact the lowest-numbered ball or to contact a rail is a foul and results in ball-in-hand anywhere on the table for the opponent.

1.2 – Balls do not have to be pocketed in order since combinations and caroms off the lowest ball are legal shots, if called. A ball pocketed counts as a ball hitting a rail.

1.3 – A “bad hit” occurs when any ball not the lowest numbered is contacted first. This results in ball-in-hand for the opponent. Ball-in-hand is always “anywhere on the table.”

1.4 – When placing the cue ball in a ball-in-hand situation, contact with another ball is considered a foul and the other player gets ball-in-hand. A player can move the cue ball around until satisfied of its position, but they cannot contact the ball with the tip of their cue.

1.5 – If a player makes a legal shot, they continue play until missing, committing a foul, playing a safety or winning the game. After a miss, the incoming player must shoot from the position of the cue ball left by the opponent. A foul gives the opponent ball-in-hand from any location on the table.

1.6 – (Fouls are the standard fouls depending on local rules, which sometimes allow casual inadvertent contact with object balls on the table by clothing or hands or from side-hits from cue sticks. Generally, any bridge contact with a ball is a foul. Double-hit fouls on the cue ball can be called to league preferences.)

1.7 – Any called shot must be clearly understood as such by the opponent or a referee. It is the responsibility of the player to clarify the shot to the opponent before shooting. Obvious shots need not be called.

1.8 – Most of the same rules apply as in 9-ball. This means that in order to establish a legal hit, the cue ball must contact the lowest numbered ball first, and at least one ball must then hit any rail or be pocketed.

1.9 – A scratch is when the cue ball is pocketed and results in ball-in-hand anywhere on the table.

1.10 – Shots have to be called, which means that the player must call a ball and the pocket in which to make the ball. It must be clear to the other player which shot is being called. You are calling only the ball and the pocket, and not the ball’s journey into that pocket; the details of that called shot are not important.

1.11 – Combinations or carom shots may be called to pocket a ball other than the lowest numbered ball.

2.0 – Breaking –

2.1 – Breaking first may be decided by a lag, coin-flip or league rules. Generally, players alternate breaks although local rules could allow for winner breaks if desired.

2.2 – The 10 balls are racked in a triangle as in the game of 8-ball but using balls 1 through 10 as object balls, with the 1-ball positioned on the foot spot, and the 2- and 3-balls placed on the bottom corners of the triangle (non-specific). The 10-ball is positioned in the third row, middle of the rack and other balls are placed randomly.

2.3 – If the 10-ball is pocketed on the break, it is spotted and the player will continue his inning. One cannot win the game with a 10-ball made on the break. Object balls made on the break remain pocketed, even when the shooter scratches and opposing player gets ball-in-hand.

2.4 – Balls knocked off the table on the break are spotted.

2.5 – If the player pockets one or more balls on a legal break, he continues to shoot. The game ends when the 10-ball is pocketed on a called, legal shot.

2.6 – As in 9-ball, the player breaking must hit the 1-ball first (the head ball in the rack) and cannot do a second-row break or other alternative. The cue ball must be struck from anywhere behind the head-line of the table. At least 4 balls must be driven to a rail or the other player has the option of shooting from the current cue ball position or asking for a re-break by the first player.

2.7 – If a ball is driven off the table, it is spotted and the opponent now shoots from the current position of the cue ball. If the cue ball is driven off the table, it is ball-in-hand for the opponent.

2.8 – For balls that are close together, a player from another team can be asked to view or film the hit or to call potential double-hit cue stick fouls.

2.9 – Players should mutually agree that a ball is frozen to a rail when that situation arises. If an object ball is frozen, the cue ball must hit the rail in such situations or the object ball hits another rail. It is a ball-in-hand foul if either does not occur. A double-hit on the cue and object ball counts as a legal hit if the rail is struck by one of the balls.

2.10 – If any ball hangs in a pocket, the ball is considered to be pocketed if it drops in 5 seconds or less after coming to complete rest. If a hanging ball drops in the pocket after being at rest for 5 seconds or more, the ball is returned to the original position and the incoming player may begin their inning.

3.0 – The Push Out –

3.1 – The player who shoots immediately after a legal break may “push out” to move the cue ball into a different position. The cue ball is not required to contact any object ball nor any rail but it can. The player must clearly announce the intention of playing a push out before the shot, or the shot is considered to be a normal shot requiring contact with the lowest numbered ball and a rail or it is a ball-in-hand foul.

3.2 – Any ball pocketed on a push out does not count – local rules say it could be spotted or it could remain pocketed (except the 10-ball, which is spotted).

3.3 – Following a legal push out, the incoming player is permitted to shoot from the current cue ball position or to pass the shot back to the player who pushed out. Rules can spot any made ball or leave it in the pocket.

3.4 – A push out is not considered to be a foul as long as no rule is violated. After a player scratches on a break shot, the incoming player cannot play a push out.

4.0 – Safety Shots –

4.1 – A safety shot includes a legal hit on the object ball.

4.2 – Any un-called ball made on a safety is spotted and the opponent begins play with the cue ball in its current location. A called ball on a safety causes the object ball to remain pocketed with the opponent shooting from the current location of the cue ball.

4.3 – A player can call a safety and make a called legal shot but they do not continue shooting. The ball remains pocketed and the opponent must shoot from the location of the cue ball. A safety does not have to be called but there must be a legal hit on an object ball. (You can require safeties to be called if your scoring system – as in APA rules — records each shot taken and each inning played for handicap generation purposes.)

5.0 – Options and Local Rules:

5.1 – If a player pockets only the wrong ball, or pockets the nominated ball in the wrong pocket, the ball might stay down or might be spotted on the foot spot. The player loses their turn and the opponent now shoots. (An alternative is that the opponent then has the choice of taking the shot or handing it back.)

5.2 – Pocketing a called shot and another ball results in both balls remaining pocketed. (Local rules allow for that second ball to be spotted but play is faster if both balls remain pocketed.)

5.3 – Balls inadvertently moved can be moved back to its original position or left in their new location – the choice is made by permission of the opponent. If replaced, balls should be placed back to their original position as closely as possible, as agreed by the players or referee.

5.4 – If the 10-ball is pocketed by a player’s hand or cue, it is a ball-in-hand foul and the opponent has the option of placing the 10-ball back to its original position or having it placed on the foot spot. Opponent shall continue with ball-in-hand.

5.5 – You can play “rack your own” or allow the opponent to rack.

5.6 – A player mis-cueing on the break can re-break and not forfeit the break to the opponent. (I mean, if the player miscues 3 or 4 times, get real and let the other player break! Enough is enough and breaking in 10-ball for average players is no real advantage.)

6.0 – Shots on the 10-ball:

6.1 – There are two different rules for this situation and you will need to clarify this for your local 10-ball rules. Some leagues play where only one ball may be called per shot. Thus, a player cannot call a ball and simultaneously call a 10-ball carom or combination – they can only call the intended ball or the 10-ball. In the one-called-ball scenario, missing the 10-ball while pocketing a legally-hit ball is a miss and the other player now shoots. Any ball pocketed this way is spotted and the game continues.

6.2 – A better option is that a player making a called object ball and a called 10-ball can to continue to shoot if pocketing the called ball – they should not be penalized for attempting to win the game.

6.3 – Rules should allow a player to call a shot and also call an attempt on the 10-ball in a kick, carom or combination. If the player makes the called shot but misses the 10-ball attempt, they continue shooting and the ball remains pocketed. Making a called shot on the 10-ball ends that game. Many players are experts at playing multi-way shots where they may be attempting to pocket more than one ball on a given shot, so allowing two called shots is acceptable.

6.4 – The object ball need not be made if the 10-ball is called and pocketed, since the game is over.

6.5 – Jump shots and/or Masse shots are allowable, depending on local rules. Rules about allowable jump cues should be local decisions or venue decisions.

6.6 – If a called shot is made, any additional unintended ball remains down. Should the called shot be missed, any unintended ball pocketed is spotted. Or, local rules can allow for that other ball to remain potted. Play is faster if such unintended balls remain pocketed.

6.7 – Fouls and other problems may only be called between the two players and not by team members or observers. (Or not. It depends somewhat on the skill levels of the players and the nature of the culture of the league.)

6.8 – A player attempting a shot on the 4-ball when the 3-ball is still on the table might be warned by his teammates. (Or not.)

6.9 – League etiquette should suggest that a player committing a foul calling that foul on themselves even if that was not noticed by the opponent, or warning an opponent when they are about to commit an inadvertent foul on a numbered-ball. Local rules could allow observers to make such comments.

6.10 – Breaking down the playing cue-stick or putting on a jacket or engaging in other actions (including comments or remarks) suggesting that the game is over is generally the sign of resignation or concession of the game or match. (A player should verify that resignation before continuing play.) Conceding a game is never encouraged.

6.11 – If players are highly skilled, the Three Foul Rule may be used. A player fouling three consecutive times on three successive shots without making an intervening legal shot causes that player to lose the game. The opponent must give a warning of this situation between the second and third fouls. A player’s inning begins when it is legal to take a shot and ends at the end of a shot on which he misses, fouls or wins, or when he fouls between shots.

7.0 – Coaching and Time-Outs –

7.1 – Generally, either the player or the team captain can call one time-out per game. If the player is a novice, two time-outs per game can be allowed by league rules. The goal of the time out should be to briefly discuss shooting options and a reasonable limit on time is appropriate. (Two minutes can seem like a very long time!)

7.2 – The coach cannot place the cue ball for the player but can indicate where it can be placed.

7.3 – A team captain can refuse to allow a player-called time out if they desire, with no penalty.

7.4 –  A coach can “mark” the table with chalk or a coin or similar to show the shot, so long as that mark is removed prior to the player shooting.

7.5 – Coaching is a behavior that should be encouraged in league play because coaching can improve the skills and knowledge of the players. Generally, taking time to coach will speed play over time by shortening a game or shortening games because of improved play.

ALL of us can help improve the skill levels and understanding of the wonderful game of pool if we work to support others with technique, strategy and overview.


I hope that you find these rules to be of help and that they are adaptable to your league play. There are options for how the 10-ball game is played and my search for one complete set of rules was not successful.

Thanks to all the people who have posted 10-ball rules online and I trust that this compendium of possibilities is useful to everyone playing this fine game.

For the FUN of It!

Scott J. Simmerman, Ph.D. CPF CPT, from Cuenca, Ecuador

 

Scott Simmerman’s 10-Ball Rules and Options – downloadable Word docx file

 

Thanks to Brian and Diane Brown for their editing and comments about this document.

June 13, 2021

A Joke on the issues of Implementing New Ideas

We’re playing around with a bunch of new  tools to help supervisors manage their remote workers and overall team more effectively, wrapped around our Square Wheels® images. And, in my framing work, I thought of an old joke that I wanted to share about some of the difficulties in implementing improvements.

And, in thinking about that, I thought to share it with my readers.

So, here goes:

This guy was driving down a dirt road when he looked to his left and a three-legged chicken was running next to the car. Interesting, he thought but he also thought he would drive faster. He sped up but so did the chicken. So, he sped up a bit more but so did the chicken. Finally, he’s doing over 50 miles per hour and the chicken is staying with him.
Then, all of a sudden, the chicken speeds up and cuts in front of him and runs onto this farm road.
Well, the guy slows down, backs up and goes down the road to reach the farm house where a farmer steps off the porch and comes up to the car.
“Man, did you see the speed of that chicken?”
“Yep.”
“And did you see that it has three legs?”
“Yep. We breed them that way.”
“Why?”
“Well ever have people over for dinner and you want three drumsticks?” 
“Sure. That actually makes good sense. How do they taste?”
“Well, we don’t rightly know. We’ve never been able to catch one…”
(speaking of Square Wheels, I have been unable to get the correct formatting on this post. Sorry.)
The theme is that sometimes, what appears to be a really good idea can be pretty hard to actually implement.
What really good “3-legged chicken” ideas might we have to run around? How might you use this joke to lighten up a difficult meeting about implementing changes within an organization? How can you use the joke to stimulate a discussion about your organization’s issues and opportunities?
  • What plans might the farmer and driver make?
  • How do we make a great idea into a success by doing a better job of planning at the start?
… and so forth.

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products like Square Wheels®.
Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful effective learning tools.

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com
 See his poems and performance haiku poems at www.poemsontheworkplace.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

Square Wheels® is a registered trademark of Performance Management Company

Play the Fool, Achieve Hero Leadership

David Riklin caught my attention a while ago with one of those quotes that says a lot more than it says. So, I added it into my catalog of Square Wheels® Posters and something to add to our Culture Wall idea of motivational and developmental Square Wheels themes.

Organizational alignment and culture change can look like this, in actuality:

(If you would like a free high res version of the above, email Scott@squarewheels.com)

Shared conversations about missions and visions, and shared perceptions about issues and opportunities can allow a group of people to align together to work on implementation. This builds teamwork and engagement.

Workplace conversations related to the perceived issues can be part of your effort to dis-un-engage people, to identify and remove those things that are decrease engagement and generate frustration or withdrawal. You can read more about Dis-Un-Engagement, motivation and workplace performance improvement here.

I’ve been playing with communications tools for 25+ years and these toolkits on Square Wheels are cheap and amazingly flexible. They are useful when getting managers to be more motivating and work great for innovation and creativity facilitation.

You can also see a cute animation of “Continuous Continuous Improvement” here:  https://www.squarewheels.com/

You can see us playing with Santa’s Performance Improvement Culture Wall in this cute little blog post.

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

See my 90-minute teambuilding game, The Collaboration Journey Challenge

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com
 See his poems and performance haiku poems at www.poemsontheworkplace.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

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

 

Where can I buy The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine?

Performance Management Company is the designer and main distributor of the team building simulation, The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine. We started using the exercise in 1993 and decided to package and sell very usable designs of this game without the normally required certification or annual licenses or per-participant fees.

Users would buy the exercise at a one-time coast, receive the delivery and training information in powerpoint, pdf and other common formats and access as much free support as they desired. Over the 26 years of distribution, we have packaged the training and support information so that very few questions are directed our way.

(I miss many of those conversations and even the people who promise to call me after a purchase generally never call! I can name names, but I won’t…)

Performance Management Company was started in 1984 by Dr. Scott Simmerman and Joan Simmerman. PMC was initially a training and consulting firm focused on people and performance, with customer service quality being a driving theme. You can read a good deal of the biography and details at this link on LinkedIn. We became a home-based business back in 1998, the same year that we started our initial website, www.squarewheels.com.

PMC has been supported technically by our son-in-law, Chris Fisher, who operates the websites and fixes all sorts of technical issues that Scott and Joan generate when doing blogs, designing websites, doing security, and fixing emails and dealing with hosting problems.

More recently, Jeff Simmerman has joined the business.

Jeff’s responsibilities have been around the redesign of the old Seven Seas Quest team building exercise to design a brand new game, Quest, with a Dutchman-like interface and a focus on what we call Dis-Un-Engagement or Disruptive Involvement. That game is in final design stages and we do not even have a web page for it yet, but Jeff has completed the delivery materials and is working with the printer to make it available very soon.

You can find prices for our various team building simulations by clicking on the link:

The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine team building game

including our four different versions of the Dutchman game.

You can find solid information on the RENTAL version of the exercise on our website, also.

 

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott SimmermanDr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.

See the powerful new teambuilding game, The Collaboration Journey Challenge

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com
 See his poems and performance haiku poems at www.poemsontheworkplace.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

 

Senior Managers SHOULD Deliver Team Building Programs

The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine (LDGM) was designed to allow the Expedition Leadership, the people delivering the game, to act very congruently with game’s goals and shared values.  User feedback says it accomplishes that elegantly and that Dutchman is the best leadership game on collaboration that exists in the world. Our initial design thinking was that untrained managers should be able to deliver the exercise because their choices in how to support it would be logical and straightforward based on the goals and the rules for play. They explain the rules (through powerpoint), allow teams to plan, support the play and then debrief around player and team behavior, performance, collaboration and engagement themes.

Generating real organizational change or aligning people to the new company strategies is always an issue – how does one generate real involvement and alignment and ownership among the management team and then among all of the key performers? Active involvement and engagement and understanding along with clear discussions about past and future choices for changes and behaviors is what generates impact and value.

The Design Idea:

  • Deliver a session as a team building event for the senior managers, knowing that you will need 3 of them for each 60 people in the main event. Debrief as to their group issues as seen in the play and then define their desired outcomes for the large event.
  • Spend 10 minutes on explaining the need for congruent behavior during game delivery, what constitutes how they operate to help teams be successful.
  • Spend 30 minutes on how to “bank” the game, how to process the transactions of each team each day.
  • Spend 20 minutes on how to “lead” the game from the floor, how to function as a co-expedition leader during the play of the main event itself, giving help, selling teams on the idea of getting a video, etc.

The idea is to allow the exercise to be used by managers with their people, to clarify the real goals and visions and to enable people to play as they should perform in daily work and to model desired leadership behaviors. It is great to have a presenter (trainer or consultant) deliver the game but so much more can be achieved when this is done by someone on the management team.

Note that we offer a very low-cost and fully-supported rental version of our Dutchman game for one-time use with large events. Contact us for more details.

Lost Dutchman is one of the truly great team building exercises, and one that works well with really large groups. My largest session is 600 people, but Wipro in India reported running a delivery with 870 people in one room at one time — and with a solid debriefing linked to their specific issues and opportunities. The exercise scales up nicely, needing only 3 people for each 60 participants. And, if the managers are actually demonstrating their active support for the lessons being learned and leading in a manner congruent with improving collaboration and teamwork, there are even more positive outcomes.Behavior changes when we can change behavior; people’s beliefs and attitudes will become congruent with the choices they make and what they do. Getting senior managers to collaborate will improve collaboration.

 

Generating real organizational change or aligning people to company strategies is a common organizational issue – how does one generate active involvement, understanding and alignment among the management team and cascade that to the key performers?

Delivering a large group team building event using the Dutchman exercise actually represents a unique and unparalleled opportunity to build executive teamwork:

  • Senior managers generally love challenges, and what better challenge than having them learn to facilitate a program that generates alignment of their own people toward the organization’s goals and objectives.
  • Senior managers often “talk team,” but they operate their own groups in a way to isolate them from real inter-organizational collaboration. We hear the term “silo” enough to know that it represents real organizational reality. So putting them into a situation where their teamwork together is required for effectiveness makes it easier to get these behaviors down the road. Working as a team generates teamwork, especially when there is followup and discussion about the impacts.
The image is called "My Team, My Team, My Team." You can see why...

The image is called “My Team, My Team, My Team.” You can see why…

  • Instead of some unknown people running around during a facilitated event, why not have managing managers walking the talk and supporting teamwork and sharing resources and behaving congruently?

In the Dutchman exercise, the expressed goal is, “To mine as much gold as we can and to generate an optimal Return on Investment.”

We get the managers aligned and congruent with the above as part of the game and as part of the debriefing on what changes need to be made to impact and optimize organizational results.

Dutchman was designed to be easy to facilitate — As part of my initial thinking about how it should play, I did not want my company to need a staff of people to do licensing or certification nor did I want to make the exercise too hard for players to understand. I also wanted non-training people (managers) to be able to deliver the game — we have had many line managers run the exercise over the years with great success. (You can see 30+ testimonials by clicking on the image below.)

A testimonial on The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold MineDutchman has had 25+ years of polishing Dutchman to make it into a very straightforward team building program. It is easy to prepare for and to deliver, with minimal surprises.

Dr. Scott Simmerman facilitating team building gameThis design gives me the ability to put my executive coaching hat on, debriefing them with the goal of improving the senior leadership teamwork with real purpose. It also enables me to run really large groups with only ME being required for delivery.

Imagine the staffing needs to run a typical experiential exercise for 300 people versus the ability to deliver a senior manager team building session plus the large teambuilding event with only my active involvement and participation. Simplicity and effectiveness!

We generate a much higher likelihood of behavioral change and implementation of organizational improvement after the event, since the managers have a really powerful hands on collaborative experience in working with each other to maximize the results of the event itself.

The debriefing of that senior manager session focusing on discussing the kinds of behaviors these senior managers would like to see from the people at the large event helps tie things together. The focus on the shared missions and visions and the generation of alignment to goals, objectives and expectations becomes quite clear. This can be done internally or with a trusted outside facilitator or coach. We can support many different scenarios.

Having these real Senior Managers in this game delivery role is a perfect leadership learning lesson on how to implement change and support high performance. One cannot simply TALK about what leaders and players should be doing; they have to behave consistently and congruently to actually generate results.

I hope that this framework has been informative and helpful.

We sell the Dutchman game directly to end users looking for a high-impact, low cost training tool and it comes in different versions for different size groups. We deliver the game to companies wanting outside facilitation. And, we rent the game for one-time use.Rent The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine team building game

Have more FUN out there!

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