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

Tag: Involving and engaging people

Square Peg, Round Holes and Motivating and Engaging for Performance Improvement

This is a little ditty that Joan cooked up for an email to our customers and prospects and I thought it was really cute and well done. So, I thought to share it on Columbus Day, but it took us an extra day. Let me start with our Columbus Award, something which can be given posthumously (grin):

Christopher Columbus Award color

Know anyone who we need to send this to?

Okay. Back to business…

The title of the mailing is,


A “Square” Peg becomes a Round Peg!

Introducing Peg:

Square Peg Yellow

Peg is a workplace manager who thought she was managing well but usually came up short from her employees’ view. Many called her “Square” Peg because she always did what she’s always done. Prospects for change were bleak given as Peg did not communicate well and had no vehicle in place for others’ input and discussion.  

Her staff felt unmotivated and disengaged!

Peg’s View:

View Front color bPeg was pleased with and fully committed to her company’s vision of the future. However she felt that her staff didn’t have the same commitment and she had no clue as to how to get them on board sharing in her enthusiasm.

All was good from Peg’s view BUT it was only her view!

The Employees’ View: 

Square Wheels Image - View Back color redPeg’s staff described their view more like this. It was based on their not being keyed in on what was taking place. They were given no opportunity to give input about what improvements could be made and how they could be involved.

They were typical disengaged employees!

Square Wheels to the Rescue:  

Peg decided to set aside her square ways by using the Square Wheels Facilitation Toolkit as a means of reaching out to her employees. It sets up an interactive discussion of issues and ideas for improvement that really gets energy rolling.

Square Wheels Image simple thoughts

Everyone shares their perspective!

The New, Better View:

After their first Square Wheels session, the employees felt a change had occurred that left them feeling part of the vision, therefore, making them more motivated and part of the plan. They were given an opportunity to express their thoughts and realities about what was happening with their jobs and what could be improved.

Square Wheels Image with Mission

They became involved and engaged!

From a Square Wheel (Peg) to a Round Wheel (Peg):  

Round Peg blue donut yellowPeg was excited about the positive changes and feelings that stemmed from her going beyond her “square old way” of doing things and giving Square Wheels a try.

Staff morale was at a new high and even Peg enjoyed the result of being better connected with everyone, especially when she heard herself being called a “Round” Peg. A good thing!

Communication and motivation was filling the workplace!


If you feel your employees or your workplace could use some “Stepping back from the wagon” to get new ideas and inspiration in place, give one of our many Square Wheels Toolkits a try. Square Wheels is a simple, unique way to motivate and engage everyone in the workplace around organizational issues of communications, change, leadership, planning, performance improvement and other topics.


 square wheels authorFor the FUN of It!

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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 I came in contact with Square Wheels 13 years ago and since then I still have not found anything else quite like it. Being a trainer and facilitator in Singapore and regional countries, I’ve found that people of any culture would be able to identify with it. The Square Wheels One picture often helped to surface many organization and people issues and moved the session to a deeper level of open discussion and sharing. I highly recommend this very useful facilitation tool 🙂
Jason Ho, Singapore

Seriously? How things work in most organizations.

People say that I can pretty much say it all in one cartoon, so here is my attempt to show how things really work in most organizations along with providing ideas for how to solve issues of involvement, engagement, work happiness, innovation, process improvement, intrinsic motivation, leadership development and performance improvement.

Tell me what I missed, if you will, and please feel free to share this for sure.

SWs One Dis-un-engagement choice

Are we having fun yet?

We sell simple toolkits that help managers drive performance improvement. See our tools at

You Make The Call Pin Balloon Drawing Board



Scott small pic

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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Team Motivation – Participant Ideas and Reactions


Some simple ideas for involving and engaging people.

Motivating people is a chore, but a worthwhile one since it has so many impacts on so many aspects of people and performance.

Group dynamics often make motivating teams of people pretty straightforward, since groups like challenges and problem solving and peer pressures can generally work in your favor. Getting a team of people focused and aligned on an improvement process is often easier than working with individuals. Motivating individually can be pretty complex when you are looking to add extrinsic motivators to the mix. The intrinsic motivators are better, and these can also result from team efforts.

Our flagship team building exercise focuses on issues of collaboration and cooperation as well as having themes of planning and leadership. Team motivation is a critical component of driving success and generating positive energy.

We occasionally get a chance to play the game with groups of HR and training people, so we sometimes try to get their thinking on the links of the teambuilding game to the issues they see in the workplace. Sometimes, those perspectives are helpful, although we also recognize the reality that,

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

Desk is Danger Cost + Bump

In tabletop discussions, players brainstorm, identify and discuss possibilities that could be implemented in the debriefing, so as to generate responses, since the same dynamics occur as players talk about their missed opportunities, the similarities of the play to work, and what they might choose to do differently back on the job.

Facilitating with groups of 5 to 6 at a tabletop, you avoid the issues common to larger “committees” of people such as the domination of discussion by a single individual. People in small groups are much more likely to express their feelings, ideas and opinions, especially after a shared emotional experience.  Consensus and peer support is more likely to be generated, something critical to the need to build trust and to instigate and implement change.

Here is what people said to a few of these questions relating to team motivation:

People become energized by:

  • Shared Goals and Collaboration
  • Feeling Trusted and giving trust to others
  • Sufficient Resources
  • Understanding “How Things Really Work”
  • Shared Risks and Rewards
  • Challenges and Difficulty
  • Feedback on Progress
  • Time limits on Performance
  • Music, Hats, and Fun!

We become de-energized by:

  • Insufficient Resources
  • Unclear Procedures / Processes
  • Conflicting Goals & Objectives
  • Excessive Competition & Risk
  • Everyday Competition, Power & Politics
  • Systems and Procedural Issues
  • Lack of Deadlines

I always find it interesting to get the people doing the work to talk, in a collaborative way, about what they could choose to improve and why they would want to do it. There is a tremendous energy that can be tapped if they are engaged and involved and feel part of the initiative, rather than having things pushed on them. And having the group discuss such issues and opportunities often helps to generate the team motivation and drive to get things done.

See more about The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine at our main company website and on our informational site at

Note that there are also a LOT of posts in the blog that have all kinds of links to different aspects of team building. As I edit this page, I see that there are over 300 different posts, most of which are on issues of motivation and engagement.

You might find this post on intrinsic motivation to be of interest. Click on the image which is a link:

Intrinsic Motivation color green

You might also find this blog of images to be of interest:

See our poems and quips blog

Have FUN out There!

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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