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

Tag: Facilitation and Coaching

Intrinsic Motivation and Engagement – Training is NOT the answer

“A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.”

I read that in an old John Le Carre novel 20 years ago and it stuck with me. It is just one of those quotes that just makes some sense out of why so many things can be improved. Using my metaphor for how Square Wheels really work in the workplace, we have something like this:

ideas are goodconnected with:

Square Wheels ideas are good implementation

A reality of organizations and training globally is something like this:

Square Wheels Engagimentation Progress 700Mand that also relates to:

Square Wheels Engagimentation Progress Down 700M

Engagimentation is my term for Dis-Un-Engagement, which is acting to remove the things that people perceive as un-engaging. It is simple roadblock management when you reduce to the ridiculous, but it can be done in a way that actually generates intrinsic motivation and the sense that the organization is listening.

I think that the typical Training looks like this, an attempt to build individual strengths:

Muscle Building yellow cartoon

The reality of going back to work generally looks like this:

SWs One Muscle Puller yellow © border

Because we cannot generally address organizational structural and process issues in much of our training, and because of issues like resistance to change and a lack of overall workplace engagement, we have a wide variety of performance based issues. Here is an article on the problem of how we manage people and here is an article about workplace intrinsic motivation from other popular blog posts of mine.

One possible solution to these issues of ownership involvement and problem solving and intrinsic motivation would be better facilitation of ideas for performance improvement from the workers. We offer some simple cartoon-based tools for that purpose.

Square Wheels are simply great tools

Lastly, remember to have some fun out there!

See our poems and quips blog

square wheels author

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

Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott at

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest:
Scott’s blog on Poems and Quips on Workplace Improvement is here.

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Communications, Pressure, and Stepping Back from the Wagon

We use the metaphor of “Stepping back from the Wagon” as a way of saying that perspective and distance are often very useful tools for managing change and improvement and improving communications. If you are always seeing things from what NLP calls the “First Person Perspective,” it is very difficult to see things clearly and to identify opportunities.

In my work, I use the Square Wheels wagon and the image below as a tool to get people to look at things from a “Second Person Perspective,” from the position of a viewer. It’s the basis of our various Square Wheels Toolkits.

SWs One green color thin

And we play with different ways of seeing things, adding other metaphors and themes.

Discover the Road haiku

The idea is to generate a good learning opportunity and a chance to see things differently.

David Zinger sent out an email to his Employee Engagement membership that I thought was really pretty neat. It also hits on this theme of perspective. It is about a conversation and listening skills, too. Click on the image-link to see this short video

Google ChromeScreenSnapz001

It’s Not About the Nail is from Jason Headley on Vimeo.

One of my favorite exercises on the theme of organizational improvement, motivation and feedback builds similarly. I show leadership or managers the following illustration and ask them to brainstorm about what is happening, so they can share their thoughts on the situation:

Trial and Error 2

Take a minute and think about this.

What invariably happens is that the group will focus on all the things that are apparently done wrong or that should have been done differently. I elaborate on this theme with other illustrations and content information in this other blog post, but the idea anchors to these simple thoughts:

  • The reality is that we need perspective
  • The reality is the improvement is often incremental
  • The reality is that success will generate more success
  • The reality is that punishment or criticism will stop most improvement
  • The Big Ideas are often close at hand

A great deal about organizational performance improvement is simple to understand. People need goals and achievable goals are motivating. Coaching for incremental improvement is important and people require positive feedback in order to improve results. A focus on the negative will cause people to quit or simply stop trying. Teams can self-support the individual team members but the leadership must also support the team.

It is all about getting more done and continuous continuous improvement of the ways things work.

That is the approach we suggest for people using our Square Wheels cartoon toolkits and our team building simulations,

For the FUN of It!

Scott and I&I w title

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant. 
Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott at

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest:

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The Customer sets the price for our Square Wheels Facilitation Toolkit!

Please note: We stopped this promotion a while back. People continued to pay our retail price for the toolkit, understanding it was a great value as is. Thank you for that and have fun out there!

We just sent out a Press Release on customers setting their own price:

Taylors, SC – (5/10/12) Performance Management Company is supporting collaboration with its customers by offering them an opportunity to “name their own price” for the Square Wheels Facilitation Toolkit. This complete training package normally sells for $49.95 and contains:

  • A Facilitation Guide with instructions for use
  • A PowerPoint Presentation containing 64 slides, notes, quotes plus illustrations / cartoons
  • A variety of ready-to-use handouts for generating involvement and engagement including:
  • –a Worksheet for mind mapping ideas generated by the main Square Wheels concept
  • –a Round Wheels Worksheet for identifying ideas and opportunities for improvement
  • –a Key Learning Points Summary Handout of Square Wheels themes for implementation
  • The “Teaching the Caterpillar to Fly” article by Scott Simmerman, focusing on managing and leading change for organizations and individuals

Based on the Square Wheels One illustration that is a proven, powerful tool for promoting a participative learning approach, it allows people to “step back from the wagon” and disclose their views about how things are really working, engage each other in a creative discovery process and use the diversity of ideas and perspective to generate thinking, innovation and communications. It’s a great facilitation tool for leadership development skills, employee engagement, team building and motivation.

Why use Square Wheels? Round Wheels aready exist!

Dr. Scott Simmerman, creator of the Square Wheels illustration series, believes that “Nobody ever washes a rental car” and that people become more engaged and motivated if they feel a sense of ownership in the journey forward. Therefore, Scott hopes that by your setting the price for this Toolkit, you’ll enjoy a keener sense of ownership/motivation for its use.

You’ll find the Square Wheels Facilitation Toolkit (an Asian version is also available with some of the illustrations more “Oriental” in appearance) on our website at or go there directly with this link.

Scott J. Simmerman, Ph.D., is Managing Partner of Performance Management Company and has presented his Square Wheels Illustrations series for Organizational Improvement and Team Building Games such as “The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine” in 38 countries. The products are available at

People basically liked this idea, thinking that we have really great and simple tools for engagement and performance improvement. The amazing thing is that so few people paid only a little — most people paid the full price and a couple paid even more for it! THAT was most surprising. Guess they had seen the tool and felt it was a really good value.

If YOU need a great tool for involving and engaging people, give our Square Wheels tools a try. Click here for more information.

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. 
Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott at

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest:

Square Wheels® is a registered trademark of Performance Management Company. Materials copyright © PMC since 1993. All rights reserved.

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