The Square Wheels' Guy was Good to the Last Drop

by Chris New
Philadelphia Chapter of the OD Network

As I made my networking calls with Philadelphia Region - OD Network members over the summer, it became clear that Scott Simmerman's presentation last June made an impression. He had become "The Square Wheels Guy."

That in itself is a lesson in Marketing. To become known for one thing is what the big corporations strive so hard to do. GE brings good things to life; BASF doesn't make the things, it makes them better; Dow helps you do great things; Chevy is like a rock; Ford is built Ford tough. I'll spare us and resist the temptation to squeeze out the last drop.

The first part of Scott's presentation focused on using what looks like a simple cartoon. He placed the cartoon on an overhead projector. After some discussion, the cartoon exponentially took on a life of its own. The wagon was the organization, the leaders were pulling and could see ahead; the employees were pushing and couldn't see; the square wheels werenít working very well; the round tires in the wagon were useful resources already available as better solutions. Along with those observations came many ideas of organizational issues. The cartoon had become a metaphor. (We got every drop of that, or so we thought.)

Then, Scott added overlays depicting different environments for the wagon (e.g. placing the wagon in mud representing the muck of corporate politics); and close-up shots (e.g. the pushing employees' hands with added handcuffs). There were lots of thoughts, lots of ideas.

In summary, we really had a complete metaphorical drawing of an organization and its environment. It was elegantly simple and adaptable. What started out as a cartoon had become a useful and surprisingly elaborate tool for organizational diagnosis. The drop had become a ripple.

In the second part of his presentation, "Working Home, Selling Globally," Scott spoke of how he turned his business into a low overhead firm with a global network of consultants using Square Wheels. Scott spoke of his consulting experiences and of how he is trying to delicately walk the balance between partnership and profit, global coverage and franchising. Square Wheels( is well packaged in that it is useful and clear. If you look at his website, you will see Square Wheels( everywhere. There is no doubt about the product.

Without much thought, the Square Wheels metaphor is not only an organizational analysis tool, but it is also a brand identity through which Scott is beginning to reap the benefits of an interconnected globe. The ripple is becoming a wave on which we all should ride into the next millenium.


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