The Square Wheels Newsletter - Issue 9 -


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Main Article –


Article -

More on the Workplace: 22 Keys for Turning Work into More than Just Work

Question about Animations

PowerPoint Version of "The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine"

NEW - Seven Seas Quest – a team building game

Jokes and all that

The Boss's Basic Rules
Analyze Yourself Through Candy
Wife And A Mistress
Test Results And Quality Of Care
Top 10 signs you've joined a cheap HMO

Closing Remarks

Main Article:


How do you generate quality and productivity in the workplace? What do you do? And do you do it.

The focus needs to be on removing their perceived roadblocks – what I call Dis-Un-Empowerment. You discover these roadblocks by simply asking people what gets in the way. (Do a search on this on my website for more extensive writings).

More than that, it is about PEOPLE. Not a stunning revelation, perhaps, but I wanted to share some ideas about how you can help others better motivate and produce.

It isn't about slogans and stunts. Scott Adams, the Dilbert guy, captured the problem in a recent cartoon where a job applicant takes an interviewer to task over the use of the word "empowerment." As the job applicant says, "If you could really make decisions on your own it would never occur to you to invent a phrase for it."

And it isn't about tops-down, executive-driven themes of the month. It's got to be about people developing a stronger positive regard for their work and their workplace. It is about intrinsic motivation and not about external rewards. It is about feeling like one's efforts are appreciated.

It is about Choice and Choices.

Dr. W. Edwards Deming, the quality guru at least partly responsible for America's recent economic recovery, took a holistic approach to quality... and a holistic approach to management. He felt that improvements in quality led to improvements in productivity which led to lower prices, greater market share, and future growth. And his beliefs in quality were strongly grounded in People and Workplaces.

In my cartoon, "A Desk is a Dangerous Place from Which to View The World," I show a manager at his (and her) desk with an idea balloon with a wagon with Triangular Wheels. There are lots of interpretations. One is that ideas are the only way to consider possible changes. But not every idea is good or optimizing.

The name comes from the reality that a desk is not a good place to innovate; that some decisions might be made poorly because of a lack of input from the people doing the job. Things are complicated out there!

This first cartoon links beautifully to the second, which shows these Triangular Wheels actually IMPLEMENTED. One might think this not the best of ideas but there are some contrarian views. In fact, four names have been given to this cartoon:

These include:

-- Square Wheels to Triangular Wheels equals 25 percent cost reduction!

-- Another example of Cutting Corners

-- The Cost of Human Capital (nobody measures the impact on the people) and,

-- One Less Bump Per Revolution (and the irony that some measures might actually find this a "positive" improvement)

The keys are not difficult to understand. They are about involving people in sharing ideas about improvement. For me, it is about generating the active involvement of the managers in the linking of employee ideas to the workplace.

If you want copies of these two illustrations, email me a note requesting them and I will send them as Adobe Acrobat files that you can print.

And I hope that you find Tom Terez's ideas below to be supporting and engaging.

Remember –

"Nobody Ever Washes A Rental Car!"




More on the Workplace:


In this job-rich, quality-minded economy, everything has changed when it comes to workplaces and how they're managed. To get and stay ahead, organizations need to get and keep great employees. And they need to bring out the best in these people each and every day.

But how?

With this question in mind, Tom Terez spent two years conducting interviews and focus groups with people from all walks of life. His aim: to find out from them what makes a workplace more than just a place of work. The discoveries are profiled in his new book, 22 Keys to Creating a Meaningful Workplace.

The book sketches out broad themes that are refreshingly free of buzzwords. In a meaningful workplace, employees feel like they're making a difference. They're valued for their knowledge, skills, and interests. Growth is always under way -- the growth of the business and the individual. There's a sense of community and common mission, yet people feel comfortable expressing their individuality.

The keys themselves are organized into five categories: mission keys, people keys, development keys, community keys, and me keys. The mission keys, for instance, include purpose, direction, relevance (spending work time on mission-related activities), and validation (seeing the fruits of our labor).

A separate chapter is devoted to each key, complete with action ideas and assessment tools so readers can apply the information directly to their own work situations. And all 22 keys are brought to life with real stories about people and organizations.

One example is Albany Ladder, where everyone shares a deep sense of purpose. Groups of 20 employees come together for a four-day program where they delve into the company's history, learn more about their mission, and explore how their role fits in the larger organization.

Another one of the 22 keys is ownership, and it's thriving at Cast-Fab Technologies. On his first day there, the new owner put an end to time clocks and special parking for senior executives -- and went on to create a new culture where employees work in teams, freely shaping what they do and how they do it.

Yet another key is dialogue. At PQ Systems, every work day begins with a quick morning meeting that involves all 40 employees. They talk business, but they also talk about things like whose son or daughter just graduated, or what happened at yesterday's company softball game. The conversation keeps everyone close together.

It takes serious effort to create these kinds of work environments, but the impact goes straight to the bottom line. Meaningful workplaces, like many of the ones in Fortune magazine's annual collection of "100 Best Companies to Work for in America," routinely outperform other organizations on the stock market.

There's also an ongoing war for talent. Companies need to attract and keep the best and the brightest so they can compete effectively. In a recent study by McKinsey & Co., three-quarters of the executives reported insufficient staffing levels. With jobs being so plentiful, people who don't feel fulfilled in their workplaces can easily move on -- at a turnover cost to the losing company that sometimes tops $30,000 per employee.

The question just might be: Can we afford not to create a meaningful workplace?

(Tom Terez is a consultant, speaker, and author of the new book 22 Keys to Creating a Meaningful Workplace. Visit for book excerpts and more information. His other site,, includes ideas and online tools. He also can be reached at


Questions on animations

I will be animating the Square Wheels illustrations for presentations and web training. Anyone interested in more information or collaborating, please get back to me. Would you like animated .gifs? Flash? PowerPoint?

If you like our materials, PLEASE feel free to mention the website or our newsletter to other trainers, managers and consultants who might find this of use. We try to constantly update the site and guess that most of you don't even know that there are thousands of jokes that have been uploaded, for example.

We LOVE those testimonial notes.

We've been shipping the PowerPoint delivery version of The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine for about three months. Essentially, the disk contains all the materials you need to print cards, print forms, deliver the exercise from a computer projection unit and debrief the exercise, along with very detailed instructions and training shows. Feedback continues to be strongly positive although we have continued to improve the game.

Cost is $695 and we guarantee satisfaction. We still have the $2,995 deluxe version available that can handle large groups (the cd version will work for up to 6 teams of 6 people).

We're now preparing to upgrade the deluxe version into a Professional Model that will sell for $6,995. These make tremendous team building tools for consultants and meeting planners looking for a high-impact exercise for large groups. We have handled 600 people with this game and could easily do 1000 or more if the situation presented itself.

Details at

Our newest exercise, Seven Seas Quest, is a team building simulation involving sailing ships, The South Seas, and teams. The focus is on planning and collaboration. The play is fast and furious, it is very inexpensive to accessorize, and it is a nice addition to Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine. Cd-based, but packaged for Powerpoint presentation software or transparency delivery. Retail price will be $795. Wholesale pricing.

Details at

Jokes and Humor


1.The Boss is always right!

2.In the impossible hypothesis that a subordinate may be right, becomes immediately operative.

3.The boss does not sleep; he rests.

4.The Boss is never late; he is delayed elsewhere.

5.The Boss never leaves his work; his attention is required elsewhere.

6.The Boss never reads the paper in his office; he studies.

7.The Boss never takes liberties with his secretary; he educates her.

8.The Boss is always chief, even in his bathing togs.

9.Whomsoever may enter the boss's office with an idea of his own must leave the office with the boss's ideas.

10.If, in your lamentable ignorance, you fail to grasp the truth, fear not; return to Rule 1.




**Contributed to Swenny's E-Mail Funnies by Carter Olson, St. Paul, MN**

If you were buying candy and you had to make only one choice among the following, which would you choose?





Okay, now, let's see what the "research" says about you ......

BABY RUTH - Sweet, loving, cuddly. You love all warm fuzzy items. A little nutty. Sometimes you need a little treat like an ice cream cone at the end of the day.

3 MUSKETEERS - You are adventurous, love new ideas, are a champion of underdogs and a slayer of dragons. When tempers flare up, you whip out your saber.

BUTTER FINGERS - Smoothly articulate, you are an excellent after-dinner speaker and a good teacher. But don't try to walk and chew gum at the same time.

SNICKERS - Fun-loving, sassy, humorous. Everyone enjoys being around you. You are a practical joker-others should be cautious when shaking hands with you.

HERSHEY'S - Romantic, warm, loving. You care about other people and can be counted on in a pinch. You tend to melt and get gushy if held too close.

ALMOND JOY - Sexy, always ready to give and receive, very energetic, and really like to get into life. The opposite sex is always attracted to you.

CLARK BAR - You like sports, whether baseball, football, basketball, or soccer. If you could, you would like to participate, but enjoy watching sports. You don't like to give up the remote control.

GOOD 'N PLENTY - You are a very fun loving person who likes to laugh. You are fun to be with. People like to go to the movies with you. Children find you amusing.

ENERGY BAR - You are very active. You are so active, life is passing you by. Get a life!!!!

CHOCOLATE COATED RAISINS - You go to the bathroom.



**Contributed to Swenny's E-Mail Funnies by Carter Olson, St. Paul, MN**

An architect, an artist and an engineer were discussing whether it was better to spend time with the wife or a mistress.

The architect said he enjoyed time with his wife, building a solid foundation for an enduring relationship.

The artist said he enjoyed time with his mistress, because of the passion and mystery he found there.

The engineer said, "I like both."


Engineer: "Yeah. If you have a wife and a mistress, they will each assume you are spending time with the other woman, and you can go to the lab and get some work done.



Mr. Smith goes to the doctor's office to collect his wife's test results.

Receptionist: "I'm sorry, sir, but there has been a bit of a mix-up and we have a problem. When we sent the samples from your wife to the lab, the samples from another Mrs. Smith were sent as well and we are now uncertain which one is your wife's. Frankly, that's either bad or terrible."

Mr. Smith: "What do you mean?"

Receptionist: "Well, one Mrs. Smith has tested positive for Alzheimer Disease and the other for AIDS. We can't tell which is your wife."

Mr. Smith: "That is terrible! Can we do the test over?"

Receptionist: "Normally, yes. But you have an HMO, and they won't pay for these expensive tests more than once."

Mr. Smith: "Well, what am I supposed to do now?"

Receptionist: "The doctor recommends that you drop your wife off in the middle of town. If she finds her way home, don't sleep with her."



**Contributed to Swenny's E-Mail Funnies by Mike Wheeler, Albuquerque, NM **

10. Annual breast exam conducted at Hooters

9. Directions to your doctor's office include, "take a left when you enter the trailer park.

8. Tongue depressors taste faintly of Fudgesicles

7. The only proctologist in the plan is "Gus" from Roto-Rooter

6. The only item listed under Preventative Care is "an apple a day."

5. Your "Primary care physician" is wearing the pants you gave to Goodwill last month.

4. Office dressing gowns have holes in the back AND front

3. The only expense covered 100% is embalming

2. Prozac comes in different colors with little "m"s on them

And the number 1 Sign you've joined a Cheap HMO:

1. You ask for Viagra. You get a popsicle stick and duct tape.

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Newsletters will be published roughly monthly. This can also be found archived on our website in the Newsletter section.

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Comments, thought, ideas and suggestions are always appreciated,


For the FUN of It!

Scott Simmerman, Performance Management Company
864-292-8700 or


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