Square Wheels

a cartoon for generating innovation and creativity

This series of illustrations represents the simplest and most powerful way we know of to involve and engage people in process improvement and implementing change. And confirmation of this has been consistently received from users since 1993, when we started selling small sets of illustrations as facilitation tools.

Since then, Scott Simmerman, the creator of the Square Wheels tools, has presented workshops and seminars worldwide (38 countries so far...) on themes such as Change, Team Building, Process Improvement and Motivating People -- programs that receive exceptional praise. And we have distributed toolkits of these materials to thousands of trainers and consultants, developing a solid worldwide reputation for excellence.

After all, what could be simpler than showing the above illustration to a group of people and having them share their ideas about how this represents what happens in most organizations?

This is especially so when it's presented as an interactive exercise (or a series of exercises) focused on improving communications, quality, and teamwork. This facilitation approach is fundamental to implementing change, generating participative involvement and developing leaders.

The Square Wheels / Round Wheels / Wagon metaphor is business-focused. It is not about penguins or moving cheese. It is easy to engage people in thinking about their workplace and how things work, thus making it easy to begin generating active involvement and ownership. It is just so much simpler! One cartoon and a 10-minute discussion of some key points and you can readily bridge to how things work in the jobs at hand and simply build a whole process improvement discussion. And there is much less resistance from people who are asked to implement their own ideas rather than someone else's.

"Square Wheels" is a series of illustrations available in a variety of different bundles, each containing powerpoint slides, pdf-based handouts and packaged with instructions and ideas for facilitation and delivery.

Presented interactively, the facilitation and illustrations allow for easy communications, giving participants a chance to "step back from the wagon" and gain important perspective based on reactions and ideas stemming from the cartoons and from their colleagues.

Consider the many benefits for using these illustrations to focus on the simple reality that many systems and processes could operate more smoothly or more effectively. Communications about process improvement and change are often difficult and leaders realize that there are always better ways to accomplish things! These are great tools and easy to use! They initiate dialogue allowing opportunities for discovery. They are also inexpensive and quite flexible in application.

Click here to go to see all of our Square Wheels Toolkits and Bundles

YOU can readily use Square Wheels themes as improvement tools because:

• They work! Seamless and Bombproof. You can easily develop an interactive and engaging training programs focused on problem identification and idea generation that will generate active involvement, engagement and teamwork. Make some transparencies and photocopy handouts contained in the books.

• The approach is simple and effective! We've packaged the ideas for non-trainers (simple ideas for straightforward delivery and discussion). We know they work because we get feedback from hundreds of managers and other satisfied users. They get their people focused on problems and possibilities.

• The illustrations are powerful. The nature of these materials makes sessions highly successful. You use the illustrations to ASK people for their ideas. By asking and involving, they will generate ideas and understanding.

• The cartoons are flexible! There is no specific, underlying rigid model, but a series of illustrations that you can anchor to your organization's key issues and opportunities. The nature of the materials allows people to quickly understand the key ideas and concepts.

Square Wheels illustrations are a great vehicle for facilitating interactive discussions, developing creative problem solving skills and for improving communications among people at every level of the organization. We have over 300 illustrations in the series with many possible uses and applications. I construct bundles of these in guided powerpoint packages based on the programs that I deliver. So, you get up to date bundles of what I am currently using in my own highly rated workshops and seminars. Lastly, your satisfaction is guaranteed or your money is returned!

Square Wheels One (the main illustration):

We present this to people with the question,

"How might this illustration represent how things really work in most organizations?"

Square Wheels One - by Scott Simmerman

We then allow participants to consider possibilities and make some assumptions. Most interesting is that we have collected more than 300 different thoughts and beliefs about the cartoon! Some people focus on mechanics, some on the interaction of the people, some on the irony that they are carrying the solutions and many on the simple fact that they are working harder and inefficiently.

A Leader is pulling a rope in front and the team is pushing from the back. The wagon body can represent the organization, the Square Wheels are the things that work, but not always smoothly, and the Round Wheels - already inside the wagon - represent the ideas that could make the wagon or organization operate more smoothly. But communication is difficult and visions are critical!

This Square Wheels One illustration introduces people to the idea of using a cartoon to represent the organization and its processes. This first illustration generates lots of discussion and ideas without causing defensiveness to occur. After all, it's only a cartoon! Other illustrations in the series are then used to lead the group on a journey of creativity, quality, teamwork and communications with a goal of generating active involvement and participation.

With humor and creativity, these tools create an environment for "stepping back from the wagon and gaining new perspective," which helps minimize resistance to change, making improvements more likely.

The approach was developed over the past 13 years and is practical for non-trainers. These great OD tools are used by consultants, trainers and managers in all kinds of organizations including Fortune 500 corporations, large and small businesses, industries, state, city and federal agencies, schools and universities and anything in between -- worldwide!

These illustrations are available for purchase in a number of frameworks, including powerpoint presentations and bundles of materials focused on different topics. There are even two team building games that combine perfectly with the illustrations to make teaching more powerful. In each of these, we clearly explain how the illustrations they contain can be delivered and provide ideas for implementation. Explicit examples are given to present and discuss each illustration and concept. There are corresponding handout pages you reproduce as needed from pdf files.

The tools are easy to use:

People will walk away from your presentation with ideas, energy and ownership!

(click here to see our main bundle of facilitation tools)

Square Wheels are proven tools for leading to better communications and organizational development, and because of their "cartoon" nature, they are bombproof and make sessions highly engaging and successful. You use these illustrations to ASK people for their ideas. By asking and involving, they will generate ideas and understanding. And by their active engagement, they develop a sense of ownership.

After all, "Nobody Ever Washes a Rental Car!"

Ownership is a critical success factor in implementing any innovation or change process.

The Process of Using Square Wheels:

Click Here to see what most commonly happens to people when first exposed to Square Wheels

Click Here to see a client user's session summary notes (posted herein with permission)

You can find an extensive blog about people and performance at www.PerformanceManagementCompanyblog.com

You can find poems, quips, quotes, posters, haiku and all other kinds of things at our illustrations blog, www.PoemsontheWorkplace.com

Click here to go to a page dedicated to Scott's thinking on Managing and Leading Change

Scott's best writing on Change and Square Wheels: "Teaching the Caterpillar to Fly" - the paradox of trying to support the process of individual or organizational change and performance improvement.



Click below to play with the main themes of the illustration

Square Wheels One - Interactive -- a place to learn

Newsletter of Square Wheels Tips, Ideas for Team Facilitation

Newsletter Archive

Thoughts on Using Square Wheels for Team Meetings from the Square Wheels Newsletter, Issue 2 Improving team meetings

Testimonials on Square Wheels

improving communications next on The Tour

Scott is a consistently top-ranked presenter on change and leadership.

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Square Wheels™ illustrations are protected by copyright. Images cannot be downloaded without specific permission.
Square Wheels is a trademark of Performance Management Company

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