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

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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, it will speed play by shortening the game or shortening games in the future. ALL of us can help improve the skill levels and understanding of the wonderful game of pool if we work to support others.


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, EcuadorScott Simmerman’s 10-Ball Rules and Options

 

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!

Thoughts on Missions, Visions and Values

I am working with a consultant in India around impacting people and performance using our Square Wheels tools for communications and active involvement. In our discussion, she mentioned that her client wanted to generate better alignment to 13 values, including:

• Entrepreneurship
• Ambition
• Long term focus
• Ownership
• Hard work and Drive
• Rewarding Success
• Non-Conformist Intellectual Capital
• Openness and Transparency
• Continuous Transformation Spirit

They are also apparently in the process of fleshing out the meanings of the above, the desired behaviors that would make these more visible and impactful within the organization. When I took a moment to think about these, some alarm bells started ringing in my head as I remembered a similar kind of event way back when…

But changing organizational culture and creating meaningful and actionable missions and visions is also an art form, with a variety of potential problematic issues and possible unintended negative consequences. It is not fairy dust and a magic wand and something easily accomplished in a tops-down framework.

So, I started an email response and then thought, why not write a blog post that might be useful for this communication. The focus is on communicating visions and values needs to be done in a really organic, honest and impactful way. So, let me share a really good example of what to do and why:

The retiring chairman of a regional company was looking to leave a legacy of values as they were transitioning to a new management team. He wanted to keep what he felt were their people and performance strengths and put these into a visible statement of visions and values, to make his legacy into a very meaningful framework for the next decade.

From senior management discussions, the leadership team generated a list of bullet points as potential items for this new statement of mission. Logically, they wanted to test those themes with their management. My consulting company was tasked with running two-day “Leadership Development” sessions across the organization to discuss those values and discuss the behaviors that were essential and congruent. One of the resources we used was Max DePree’s “Leadership is an Art” book (1987) — a truly magnificent work that is eminently readable. (Here is one, used, for $5.)

One of Max’s numerous great quotes from the book that I have used for 30 years is,

“We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”


We were testing bulleted items in the context of both doing leadership development and discussing high performance management frameworks, to build on their existing strengths. It was a pretty elegant program design by my old colleague, Kenneth Junkins.

One such item was:

“We manage with uncompromising integrity.”

Sounds good. How was it judged? Not all that well, from the perspectives of these front-line managers who were probably not allowed to participate in as much decision-making as they would have liked. One of them reframed this, reworded it, to become:

“We manipulate with inflexible righteousness.”

Maybe this needed revisiting, do you think?

Since that time, this one incident has continued to remind me to actively involve the people who will be impacted by policies and procedures to check and verify, test and evaluate, before moving forward.

The concept of “Unintended Consequences” is reframed by legal people as a failure to be diligent and a failure to look at potential specific outcomes that are, in fact, predictable. Step cautiously, is my suggestion. Ask, evaluate, and be sure to get a variety of perspectives.

 

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.

Check out my Square Wheels Stupidly Simple Facilitation Toolkit, on our website. It is a complete program, for $25.

You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

Square Wheels® is a registered trademark of Performance Management Company

Contributing Improvement Ideas. The BOSS is the biggest issue

I plan on doing a whole series of posts around some survey results by my friend and colleague, Lynn Woods at IdeaSpies. Her data focuses on some of the issues around management and innovation and active involvement. My goal is to write a LOT more about this in coming blogs about people and performance and frame the issues around how we can facilitate ourselves out of this mess…

So, CAN people contribute more ideas to their workplaces? Not surprising. People do have ideas, if managers would bother to ask them, right?

Square Wheels Data on Active Involvement for Innovation

DO Managers value those ideas? Well, that data shows that the attitudes of the Boss don’t seem too supportive. Hell, over 10% said it is RISKY to do so. And, if the supervisor were actually interested, they would probably not be “too busy” or find it “too difficult.”

Square Wheels research on why people are not engaged

I am going to put almost ALL of this on the management and the perceived actual culture they have created for the workers. Is innovation and workplace improvement of systems and processes not important to the long-term, overall success of the organization? Is not employee motivation an important issue?

And what are we getting when the management team seems to make the sharing of worker ideas a RISK to the workers, to have them believe that their supervisor is simply not interested in those things?

The Most Senior Management should be VERY concerned about data like this, because their long-term success in innovating improvements and involving and engaging and aligning their people to strategic goals and objectives seems very much at risk.

For the past 35 years, I have been working on very similar themes of active involvement and ownership of improvement ideas in organizations and for the past 25 years, we have offered really inexpensive and effective communications tools to address these kinds of issues. You can see more information about our Square Wheels facilitation toolkits here:

square wheels facilitation toolkits for leadership development

Check this approach out. Use it on Spring Forward Monday to better involve your people. We even have an online facilitation skills course on Udemy that shares training frameworks, specific ideas and the worksheets and powerpoints to generate active involvement and improved communications,

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 our 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®


You can find a link to Lynn Wood’s data here: https://www.ideaspies.com/employee-innovation-survey-results2/.

Delivery Tips for Lost Dutchman Teambuilding Exercise

While delivering The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine game is straightforward, new users often have simple questions about how that game works or how it can be enhanced. Two customers were asking me similar questions yesterday so I thought that a blog post might allow a little more leeway for an explanation and also allow those interested in the exercise to learn a bit more before they make a purchase decision.

Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine makes the finals of the International Business Learning Games competition

There are different versions of the exercise that handle different group sizes, with the LD6 version handling up to 6 tabletops of players. If you are running a session with 20 players, you might choose to play with 4 teams of 5 or 5 teams of 4, for example. How do you decide?

  1. Having more players at a single tabletop will make the actual teamwork of the players a bit more challenging. Even though each player will have an assigned role, the more players, the more discussion and the more difficult the decision-making might be. Getting 5 people to agree is slightly more difficult than 4, in our experience.
  2. With more tabletops, you tend to generate more competition between the teams. Even though the goal is, “to mine as much gold as WE can,” teams will often compete rather than collaborate. So, if your desire is to focus on improving collaboration among the tabletops so that you can demonstrate that collaboration positively impacts results, you might play with more tables.
  3. If the focus is on personal communications and decision-making styles or similar in the debriefing, we might suggest the larger tables; you might play with 3 tables of 6 players if you only had 18. And we would suggest you never play with more than 6 players, since there simply is not enough work for that extra person and they often then become disruptive to the group overall. It does not generally seem to improve collaboration.

This same kind of design decision disappears in larger deliveries of 50 or more people, since there will be plenty of tabletops! And, with very large groups and the play in “pods” of 10 tables in each pod, you will often see competition happening between pods!

Weather plays a role in the game because it makes the resource consumption during play a variable. If a team chooses The Low Country Trail to go to the mine, they encounter wet weather which creates mud and increases consumption of Fuel. And the number of Arctic Blast that might occur, using up more Fuel and also Supplies, is also unknown. So, for a Battery, a team might choose to get one of the Weather Reports.

These Weather Reports are accurate, but only available on Days 5, 10 and 15 and are essentially useless since they are not available during the planning time before the game starts and play begins. While it is good information, it is not worth the cost. Each Weather Report COULD be shared between ALL of the tabletops if teams ever chose to do so — in my experience, they are very seldom shared. and teams often keep batteries and then do not use them during play. And they are ONLY available on those Days, not earlier.

The Videos are an essential part of the game design. Both are only available during planning time before the start of play and each contains resource cards and information that directly influences results. With 5 teams, we might play with 3 of The Mine videos available and 2 of Tortilla Flat. Thus, not all teams could directly acquire the resource cards and information about play.

Teams acquiring a Mine Video get resources that can replace Tent Cards, and thus relieve some of the limitations. Each team gets $750 worth or resources in their Grub Stakes, which is “limited but sufficient.” Adding Cave Cards allows a team to get more Supplies and Fuel and to even be able to share resources with other teams if they are fully collaborating. (Sometimes they will trade/sell another team a Fuel for a Gold if that team needs fuel to survive!)

Teams acquiring the Tortilla Flat Video get Turbochargers that allow them to move twice as fast for the rest of the game, and they get Turbos that could also be shared with other tabletops with the same effect. With two TF Videos in play, you would have one available for every team if they are shared.

Gold Cards have a couple of uses.

Most often, facilitators are choosing to use painted gold rocks along with gold mining pans for the tables to use to acquire gold when mining in The Lost Dutchman’s Mine. Teams like the heft of the rock and the gold mining pan adds a nice touch to the theme of gold mining at the tabletop along with the toy jeep and bendable figures and similar. But especially with a very large group, moving about with a large quantity of heavy rocks and the bulk of the mining pans is a delivery choice. The option is to give each team a Gold Card to symbolize the gold being mined.

The gold cards can also be a simple discussion aid. I will often distribute them as:

  1. A reminder of the main theme of mining as much gold as WE can, the cards being something they can take with them.
  2. A communications tool where they can choose to put their name on the back and then writing something that they could choose to do differently after the workshop, which can then be returned to them a week later.
  3. A communications tool where they can write another person’s name on the card with a signed commitment of what they could try to do differently to support that other person’s efforts post-workshop. I might tell Bobby that I will have two of my people join two of his to solve some interdepartmental glitch or similar…

We designed The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine to be a flexible experiential team building exercise to generate powerful debriefings focused on improving organizational results. It has a variety of clean metaphors about behavioral choices that players and teams make and generates measurable results showing the benefits of collaboration versus competition.

———————————-

Some thoughts on Scarcity

One of the new purchasers will run her first game with senior managers in a workshop about Scarcity and how that mentality can affect things like collaboration and the optimization of overall results. We see that same kind of “hold the cards tightly” thinking after downsizing efforts and similar organizational trauma where some self-preservation thinking might come into play that overrides a collaborative culture.

We often refer to this as, “My Team, My Team, My Team” thinking, which is not focused on interdepartmental collaboration or helping overall performance of the organization.

Scarcity Mentality can be seen when teams get Spare Tires and Batteries before they leave, just in case. Spare Tires are a form of security for a “just in case” mentality and anyone asking the Expedition Leader if they might get one would find them advised they are not needed.

Scarcity mentality in the play of the exercise can revolve around the acquisition of Tent Cards and how any surplus Supplies and Fuel are treated by the teams. If one team is in dire need of a Fuel Card, they might trade one Gold Card (worth $2500) for a couple of $10 Fuel Cards. It is not uncommon and occurs when the survival of the first team is in question at the end of the exercise.

Of course, since the role of the Expedition Leader is to help teams be successful, that same team could also simply ask for assistance and you could give them a $10 Fuel Card to insure their survival and the contribution of their gold to the overall results.

If the teams are fully collaborative, they could share some of their Cave Cards and two of their Turbochargers if they had a video. With a scarcity mentality, they would most likely hold on to all of those cards and NOT share them with the other tabletops. This dramatically and measurably sub-optimizes your overall results.

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott Simmerman

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

 
You can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com

Mini-Survey: What Presentation Technology do you have available?

We are looking to make some “technological improvements” to some of our team building simulations and would like to know if those changes would impact your capability of delivering them.

For those of you with The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, for example, we are going to add the ability to use a video to present The History of The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine along with a tight presentation of how to access and use The Videos by a tabletop.

My questions are:

  • Do you have TWO lcd projectors?
  • Do you have a Document Camera?

Explanation and Background:

We will give users the option to use ours or do this themselves as they explain the exercise. As many of you know, accessing information and resources available in The Mine and Its Gold and the Tortilla Flat videos allows for improved play and results.

Users of our Professional Edition of the exercise know that we suggest that the presentation use a map of the territory along with colored dots to represent the location of each team each day. This feedback allows for more information to go to the tabletops about the decisions made, relative progress, and might lend them information about the availability of Turbochargers.

In the past, we have suggested the use of overhead projectors, which can be purchased for $50 and used reliably to show progress and also share a pod’s results. In the larger games of 15 or more tables, it was very inexpensive to use that OHP to show the map and share the results for the teams.

We are thinking about suggesting that every person delivering the exercise use a Document Camera to capture movement and to share the results summary but those would also require a large monitor (for smaller games) or an lcd projector for larger sessions. These can be purchased for $300 or less but they do require projection onto a screen or monitor. Rentals of these are often $1000 or more, so there is a potential cost issue.

For big corporations and large training departments, these are probably very simple questions. For an individual consultant using the game as a profit center, these can be considerable capital expenditures.

Thanks for any comments and suggestions, either in this blog or directly back to me. Have fun out there and note that we are making significant improvements in ALL of our team building games,

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott Simmerman

Dr. 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 our 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.

Santa’s Square Wheels Culture Wall

A Culture Wall helps to define the values, beliefs and behaviors that an organization or individual supports or aspires to accomplish. It serve the purpose of being a place of communications and consideration, where themes and ideas can be shared and discussed. And given that the Holidays are upon us, we thought you might find Santa’s Thoughts on His Culture Wall to be the gift of an idea worth considering for your workplace:

Season’s Greetings from Santa, the Elves and Reindeer!
   We’re happy to share news of our Workshop’s good year!
We’ve improved our production and general good cheer
  Cause we feel we can freely share our ideas around here!

To that effect, we’ve created something we all hold dear
   And that’s our 
Culture Wall that makes sense and is clear,
Because it displays valuable ideas to which we adhere–
And it hits home to all of us–Santa, Elves and Reindeer!
 
   Try creating your own 
Culture Wall of concepts you revere;
  You’ll find it supports a most gleeful working atmosphere!
       By inspiring us and acting much as would a reflecting mirror,
We examine our behaviors and generate ideas to pioneer.

So, he and his team discussed possibilities and came up with this as his anchor point for discussions about performance and innovation:

If you would find such a collection of posters and themes of interest, connect with us and we will work to make this a solid possibility for your organization. We are at the beginnings of putting a wide variety of images and quotes together into a working process. Let’s collaborate and roll things forward.

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott Simmerman

Dr. 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.

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.

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

Square Wheels Cartoons and Quotes Supporting a Gratitude Attitude

Joan generated her illustrated annual Thanksgiving Message to our newsletter subscribers so I thought to share it here for a more general audience. We wish all of you the best for these days and the whole year. So, here we go:


As Thanksgiving approaches, we’ve added our Square Wheels cartoons to some insightful quotes that support the idea that continually expressing gratitude and being thankful can lead to a happier, more productive and improved workplace.

Square Wheels One representing “How Most Organizations Really Work” is shown below, but if you’ll read further, you’ll find some inspiring thoughts for how gratitude and thankfulness can create a smoother journey forward for everyone:

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”  ― William Arthur Ward

Square Wheels and showing pride of ownership

 

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” — John F. Kennedy
Square Wheels cartoon about onboarding

“The more you practice the art of thankfulness, the more you have to be thankful for.” ― Norman Vincent Peale

Workplace Square Wheels LEGO image

 

“A moment of gratitude makes a difference in your attitude.”
― Bruce Wilkinson

Square Wheels LEGO image of celebration and gratitude

 

“The real gift of gratitude is that the more grateful you are, the more present you become.”  ― Robert Holden

Intrinsic Motivation comes from making improvement in Square Wheels
“Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.” ― Ernest Hemingway

mentoring the change from caterpillar to butterfly

And, a couple of other well-known characters have this to say:

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”
― Willie Nelson

“What if today, we were just grateful for everything?”
― Charlie Brown

Enjoy your Thanksgiving! And enjoy the remaining year,

 

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.

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

 

MORE on being “Too Busy” to implement new improvements

GENERALLY, most workers in most organizations will say that management does a pretty poor job of listening to them. And most supervisors feel that their managers generally do a pretty poor job of listening to THEM!

Being as I love using illustrations and images to represent the status quo, this common scenario seemed like a good subject to take on while also reframing some workable solutions.

Let me begin with my friend, Haken Forss’s, development of a LEGO-based scene of an old reality. I ran across his image online a few years ago which led to us having a very influential conversation about our businesses and how we illustrate and communicate.

My works around this started back in 1993 when introducing our illustration called Square Wheels One:

Square Wheels® is a registered trademark of PMC and © 119.

We had trademarked Square Wheels® and began using this image, worldwide, featuring it in my presentations and toolkits for facilitation and engagement.

Square Wheels One generated quite solid interactive discussions about workplace improvement and communications and teamwork, so much so that I have a collection of about 300 one-liners from this image alone. It was amazing how well it worked and how well the concept was remembered. It was a simply approach to changing the thinking about people and performance.

At some point, a colleague sent me a warning that my theme was being used illegally and that I should check it out. That began a really fruitful and positive interaction with the consultant (Hakan Forss) who generated this illustration and used it in a blog post:

We're Too Busy to implement improvement

Our conversations led to my using LEGO bricks and figures to represent a wide variety of the line-art scenes and situations that we produced in the over 300 Square Wheels representations drawn by Roy Sabean. And from there, we generated stop-motion animations and a broad variety of poster quotes, poems and haiku.

The anchor point for my thinking has always been people and continuous performance improvement. SO, let me take the image concepts and rampage through some ideas about what might be different in the workplaces of the world.

1 – My first point is that nearly everyone identifies with the Square Wheels One image as a workplace reality. We show it as, “How might this represent what really happens in most organizations?” And very quickly, people and tabletops go from talking about their general perceptions about work and communications and structure into discussing  their perceived issues of lack of vision, continuous un-improvement, and the isolation of wagon pullers from their everyday realities. And it is funny how even very senior managers will often see themselves at the back of the wagon!

People often see themselves as victims of organizational non-progress, maybe.

2 – In Hakan’s image, someone appears with a different solution. But even the pusher at the back rejects this new idea. They and the wagon puller are too invested in the current operation to even consider the possibility of doing something differently. They are simply too busy trying to reach their shared goal of moving forward and “GO AWAY” seems to be the message. “We are NOT interested.”

I think that is a common reaction for many viewers of Hakan’s image. They readily relate to the perceived reality that they, too, are just too busy to consider things.

But is that really reality?

3 – Our initial redo of this idea, using the PMC style of LEGO scenes, looked like this:
Too Busy to Improve original art

We then thought to add the conversational bubbles, but in our view of how things really work in most organizations, the people at the back were NOT resistant to the idea. Maybe this is because in the PMC paradigm of the line-art and the LEGO, they had the cargo of ROUND wheels inside the wagon and were hands on enough to be a bit frustrated with how things were working and with general communications.

We believe that most Round Wheel ideas for performance already exist among the wagon pushers of the world, and that in many workplaces, those exemplary performing wagon pushers are already using round wheels in their Square Wheel world.

4 – Sitting with Joan and playing with powerpoint, our first edit generated this as a reality of perceptions around this scene:Too Busy to make improvements says the boss of Square Wheels

Some person with a new idea suggests it to the manager who is simply too busy to even consider doing something differently. It is not a hostile kind of reaction, just indifferent. This was our first take on a caption, somewhat influenced by Hakan.

But we added one more comment, the “Really” that is coming from one of the wagon pushers. This could be a reaction of disbelief? But one that might not be heard by the wagon pusher.

Maybe.

5 – Some continued reflection and reframing and integrating the image with thinking about people and performance then generated what I think is a more realistic commentary, one where the workers would appreciate an opportunity to make improvements but where that common issue of listening between the pushers and puller is problematic. (Plus, there is that issue of rejection of ideas by managers.)

So, the image reshaped itself to look like this and become one of my posters:

Poster Square Wheels Too Busy to Improve

Susan, in this image, is obviously not an outsider, like the character I see in Hakan’s image. She is someone who works for the wagon puller but also maybe someone whose ideas are not highly valued. Research shows that many workers are discounted in this way.

In my father’s trucking business, he had one truck driver who was always stopping by businesses on his way home looking for new business and sharing those contacts with my father, but these contacts were not followed up by my dad, based on how he reacted to Orin’s notes and comments when I listened to their conversations. My dad would actually tell me to tell Orin that he was not around!

I think a lot of bosses discount the ideas of their employees. On the other hand, look at the reaction of the wagon pushers: Might they be interested in doing something more better and faster?

This is just an idea that bubbled up as I played with these ideas. There are always things we can do to go #morebetterfaster and to accomplish more.

If you want to reflect on the theme in the poster or place it in your workplace for contemplation and discussion, simply send me an email to receive an email of it as a high resolution image.

Email me at Scott@SquareWheels.com,

 

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.

 

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

Legacies and Consultants – Will We be Remembered?

At age 70, one might start thinking about a legacy. Sure, it will be nice to be remembered by family and maybe a few good friends.

But I’m not looking forward to a tombstone with some chiseled words. It is not at all important that I wind up somewhere in the dirt under a tombstone where very people once knew who I was or what I did. I’d rather my ashes were spread on one of the rivers I have boated or at the top of a mountain I have climbed or something like that.

As I wandered in the cemetery where my father and some other relatives were buried a few years ago, I understood that I knew little about them or what they did during their lives. Each did lead a life, interacted with others, contributed to their communities, etc. My step-grandfather was mayor of my home town, but his stone is really hard to find out there among the others… I’m probably the only person who knew from others what a great pool player my father was in his youth — even my Mom (age 99) did not know that.

At long while back, I was speaking with another owner of a small business training / consulting company and we hit on, “The Legacy Thing” kind of discussion. The fact that some of our old  training friends had died and were not remembered (he did not know Gene Calvert who wrote a great book called High Wire Management) nor of Dr. John Keenan, nor was he aware that my friend, Mel Silberman, had died (see my comments on Mel on my blog here).

He and I were discussing my intellectual property (aka my business, Performance Management Company), and what kinds of things had that staying power. I have high hopes that some of my team building games, such as, The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine will “stay in play” but my biggest hope was that the Square Wheels metaphor would continue to be known and used long after I’m gone.

It seems amazing to me that we have passed the 25th anniversary of releasing both those products and that they are still actively sold worldwide. Heck, we recently refreshed the Dutchman game with new LEGO scenes and completely redid the Square Wheels tools to be tightly linked to the serious playing with LEGO community. We have hundreds of “posters” using quotes, poems, haiku around our images and even a bunch of animations around workplace scenarios. And it is also neat that my son and my son-in-law are actively involved in the business.

Square Wheels metaphor for organizational improvement

I’ll never have a park or a bridge named after me and those would probably be gone after a while, too. But wouldn’t it be nice to leave something behind that people saw as valuable and useful? Wouldn’t it be neat to know that you somehow helped to positively change someone’s life in some way through something you shared?

I think a lot of us live through our children, which is certainly an interesting process at times! And most of us are quite proud of our grandchildren or, in my Mom’s case, her great-grandson. He is now old enough to remember her, which is pretty neat.

My goal is to have some impact and leave some footprint – some would say, “Yeah, like those dinosaur prints in Texas,” thereby inferring that I am a dinosaur and maybe stuck in the mud a little. (True)

dino_longtracks_t

It is about leaving a footprint, in so many ways. It is about making the world a slightly better place and doing some good. We should all be doing that.

main-px82-u3-12c

So, I guess I am asking for your help in that regard.

What should I be doing with my Square Wheels themes
so as to maximize their impact?

Do I engage some sculptor to do a massive Square Wheel Wagon in granite kinda like Mount Rushmore? But really? A 60 foot head?

rushmore

How do I get there from here? What are some of your ideas? How can more of us collaborate to produce new products, like a Coaching Toolkit or a series of images and quotes for a Culture Wall or similar? Would more animations be a fun thing?

 

 

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.

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

 

Teamwork, Thinking, Learning and Active Involvement

Experiential exercises have significant impacts on individual and organizational learning and development. Experience, as well as research, says that participating and practicing is 15 times more impactful than sitting in a classroom. So, no wonder we are seeing more and more people use experiential exercised to generate reflection, teamwork and learning.

Being involved and engaged is, well, being involved and engaged.

The visual, auditory and kinesthetic anchors for memory are all hooked up and operating, making the connections needed for later processing, storage and retrieval of the experiences.

A temptation was to go off into a “neuroscience” kind of explanation, since that is all the rage these days. I have a doctorate in behavioral neurophysiology from Chapel Hill back in 1977 and have been consulting on people and performance since 1978, and

None of this neuroscience stuff is all that practical
when one needs to simply learn about behavior. 

Sure, it sounds really good, but is it really helpful to know how that amygdala you have is involved in your emotions or how the hippocampus is involved in distributing neuronal impulses or even how the Broca area of the dominant cortex or the Wernicke area of the posterior section of the superior temporal gyrus are involve in speech? (grin) . (This is all true, but so what!)

Motorola University in 1996 published an interesting chart that I reproduce here not knowing how to get permission for use but thinking that it can generate some useful thinking:

Learning Pyramid

Me, I would have flipped it upside down, so that Teaching Others was at the top but that is MY learning and memory preference showing up, I guess. And, there is a good deal of controversy over the numbers and the meanings, something I will choose not to get into for this post. Let me simply state the obvious:

Being involved and actively engaged in the learning process helps generate better retention and understanding.

Learning, linking and understanding are neurologically determined — the brain is what controls the process and it is good that it is semi-automatic (since if it required much thinking or typing, not a lot of us would ever get it!).

Our brain uses chemical and physical changes in proteins and membranes to build the electrical circuits that make all this “living large” stuff possible. It works pretty seamlessly, and when it doesn’t, we all realize the consequences (Alzheimer’s, dementia, aphasia, coma, and the like. Heck, even growing older has measurable negative impacts for most of us. I was going to cite a reference, but I forgot what it was…).

What our brain does is encode our experiences into memories. If there is some boring lecture going on, guess what is probably not going to be recalled? If you are energetically participating in some mental or physical challenge, doesn’t it make sense that more things will be remembered?

Knowing that something might be useful later adds an important touch — helping someone hang a backpacking hammock works quite well when you know that you will be hanging your hammock the next day. Learning to start a fire with fire sticks or a flint striker is remembered when you know you will head off on a survival venture that afternoon.

Memory is about storage and subsequent retrieval. It is about encoding and categorizing and accessing the meaningful information later. Knowing the context for that learning is generally helpful.

In some of my team building deliveries, the group might have been through a course or a series of lectures on something or other. Let’s say that the subject is Project Management and the participants are shown a methodology for gathering information prior to planning a program. When we play The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, the funny thing is that the “learned” information or skills are often NOT transferred to the information gathering tabletop processes required to produce high levels of game performance.

So, in the debriefing, we review the choices made, generate discussions as to how the tools could be used, and then often project future scenarios or even do some problem solving whereby those tools are used. This kind of active debriefing process generates a motivation to learn and the kind of VAK needed to anchor the skills in place. We also encourage a diversity of ideas and reinforce differences in thinking styles, since these generate better options so often. The debriefings often focus on divergent thinking and questioning ideas. And this is MUCH different than simply lecturing them on what happened and what they should have learned. Their reflection makes it theirs and not yours.

Most people in most organizations are not observed to actually apply things they learned into workplace performance change and improvement. This learning transfer issue is a common problem with classroom training — people KNOW how to do things but choose to keep doing them as they did before.

Implementing change without changing feedback and measurement systems is also pretty hard to accomplish. Coaching can work, but coaches are often not available immediately after training has occurred.

What we suggest is an active kind of situation to involve and engage people, one that sets up a solid discussion of behavioral choices made along with thinking about possibilities. That activity might include projection, team-based agreement on desired future behaviors, some discussions about how improvements might be measured, personal commitment to doing things differently combined with some level of followup and coaching, and other things to help to anchor in the learning as well as generate new, sustainable behaviors in the future.

Generally, people remember their own behavior, and they tend to remember their mistakes and bad choices a bit more easily than all their good reactions and responses. In Lost Dutchman, we try to generate energy and emotion in our activities by adding pressures of time and scarcity of resources or some level of competition. Ideally the competitive situation has a balance of collaboration and cooperation built-in.

If organizations can better use these kinds of engaging activities, they can expect more learning to occur and more commitment to change to result.

Some ideas:

non-agreement bliss poem

Thumbs Up teamwork poem

My team, My way poem copy

 

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.

 

 

 

The Square Wheels Controversy – LEGO or Line-Art?

Since 1993, I have been presenting workshops internationally using a series of line-art images around the concept of Square Wheels. They can represent things that work but that do not work smoothly and they beg the question about what round wheels can replace them. Users and audiences consistently tell us that this is the best metaphor for organizational improvement or personal growth that exists anywhere.Testimonial on Square Wheels metaphor use

Generating the understanding that Square Wheels represent how things really work is incredibly easy and people get the concept readily. Cognitive dissonance then becomes one of the driving forces underlying the subsequent generation of Round Wheel Ideas for Improvement. The gap between the impact of the SWs provides motivation to decrease dissonance and improve the idea.

The controversy exists between our use of the old line-art drawings by Roy Sabean and the newer LEGO scenes, as you can see below:

Square Wheels metaphor for organizational improvement

We did a short online survey of users and the reactions were split as to which image was preferred. We asked our LinkedIn network as to their reactions and the feedback was also split. Some people prefer the old image and some prefer the new one, and there are a number of factors that underly this split.

People who prefer hands-on kinds of experiential exercises might prefer the LEGO, since they can bring the metaphor into connection with other elements or frameworks like LEGO Serious Play®. Others prefer the line art for its elegant simplicity. Other people’s reactions are mixed.

I do not think that there would be actual differences in application and usages, which can include facilitating innovation and creativity, aligning goals and values, generating active involvement and for coaching workplace improvements. We have extensive experience with both and they work seamlessly.

Facilitating discussions of issues and opportunities can also function as a team bonding or even a team building process if one then uses the discussions as an impetus for planning and then implementing new ideas.

The LEGO versions make generating stop-motion animations an easy and interesting process and we have a workshop design to use phones and inexpensive animation software to capture storylines around process improvement. The LEGO scenes make for more colorful posters and worksheets.

We would love to have your comments on the different approaches and we will send you one of our LEGO animations in exchange for a comment and signing up to our blog. Your input would be valuable and useful,

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 Square Wheels-based 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®

Square Wheels metaphor about performance improvement

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