Thoughts on Square Wheels One - A Compendium

Note - by clicking "back" on your browser, you can click on parts of the image and see responses related to those parts. Clicking on the Wagon Puller, for example, brings up ideas about leadership. This page is merely a long list of ideas compiled from different sessions.

Back to Key Themes

It is amazing that there is so much requisite variety and differences of viewpoint when people view the illustration. These are some of the responses we collected over a period of time. This is NOT the complete list, merely a compendium of some reactions.

There are general themes of:




Innovation and Creativity







Some 170 more specific reactions include:

We've always done it this way

Determined to use the old ways

Organizations don't think Solutions are in the wagon, already

The solutions are available but not being used

Old processes and information

No trust in the people behind you

Everybody yells at the guy in the front

No air pump - the tires are unusable.

No trust in the team

Air pumps haven't been invented yet

One person sets the direction

Lonely at the front - nobody to share ideas

Lonely at the front - nobody sharing information

One person has the vision

Leadership is deaf

Leaders see only what's ahead Support people are blind

All of them are blind to the possibilities

They can't see the forest for the trees

Round wheels belong to someone else

We don't use the tools that we sell

Changing directions is very difficult

We need to se the problem to find the solution

Traditions die hard Inefficiencies are everywhere

Need to change our paradigms

People work hard, not smart

Continuous improvement is possible

No tool for steering or changing direction

Don't just do something, stand there

Some work is just not much fun

Resources are always available

No vision of what is ahead from the back

No use of available resources

Poor planning for resource utilization

Lack of commitment to make real progress

The wheels have a wheely bad attitude

If only we mirrored our reality occasionally

The answer is in front of us, we just can't see it

Push, or get left behind

Working together can get it done

Jobs are designed harder than they need to be Human capital isn't valued

Not all technology works for you

Not all the ideas are usable

We need to step back from the wagon to discover possibilities for improvement

People aren't resisting change, they aren't aware of possibilities

People are choosing to be unaware of possibilities

Progress isn't simply about working harder

The rope is loosely tied, management may choke itself

There is no idea of where they are going or where they have been

Tried and true still works -- the Square Wheels still work

People need to step back every so often to look around

Internal resources for improvement are always available

We like to overpower rather than reduce obstacles to get things done

Leaders get isolated from the realities of the wagon and the journey

Workers have no vision of the goal

People are too busy pushing and pulling to get a vision of the goal

People are too busy pushing and pulling to make improvements

Square Wheels are the status quo; difficult to change on the fly

The team will probably meet its goals for productivity and cost

Communications are always difficult when people are busy

The manager may be too close to the work to see the possibilities

The wagon is hard to start and easy to stop

Stop. Think!

people make things work no matter what

Too busy with the work to focus on what will work

A few people are doing all the work and others are going through the motions

Leaders lose touch with what is going on

Good ideas are always available and innovation is always possible

People blindly and unquestionably follow leadership

A few do all the work

Work is rough going

The wagon gets more and more overloaded over time

Leaders have more of the vision but may not share it

Systems and processes get in the way of innovation and improvement

We're always overlooking the obvious

Re-engineering the Square Wheel

Reorganize, but within existing guidelines

Tools are always available

We can focus on the negatives of how it is done or the positives that there are possibilities for improvement

Working toward failure

Simple solutions always exist

We provide great ideas for others

Inefficiencies result from isolated engineering processes

Teamwork works

Doesn't everyone use Square Wheels?

Square wheels are easier to make and cheaper to build. It's an accounting / purchasing issue.

Competition is using round wheels and we don't have a clue

No sense reinventing the wheel, since they already exist

We actually like to use that which is familiar

If it didn't go thump, thump, how would we know we're making any progress

We push our wagon uphill

Real progress is slow

There is no emergency to change things

We could always add another person to make sure everybody is pushing

Is there a Big Picture?

Are we even on the tight road?

No creativity - everyone dressed the same

Not using resources properly

Steering is very difficult

Product effectiveness is not good

Pushers are following and not questioning

There is no real progress

No middle management -- good news!

There is a need for reorganization -- of the product

Not maximizing the people-potential

There is some forward progress

Leadership looks determined to move forward

Leadership is keeping its hands clean

To them, it's as if they are moving a load of garbage

They are not dragging anything - no anchors holding them back

They are at least on level ground and not moving uphill

It took a long time to get as advanced as Square Wheels

There is a follow-the-leader mentality

Even the Square Wheels don't work well together

It's really about Sacred Cows

Even the round wheels aren't efficiently used - badly stacked

It's really three High Potentials out taking a walk

We know that there are round wheels in the wagon

But there are no wheel hubs or rims

There's no air in the tires

We're too busy to stop

Continuous Unimprovement

At least there is no dead horse to kick

Too many wheels, too little time

This is a wheely stupid situation

Not enough horsepower

No testing of possibilities or alternatives

Reminds us of Windows 95, except this won't probably crash

People aren't provided tools or perspective

Closed minded organization, with no women

The organization is wheely behind the times

Leadership is asking the impossible / improbable

"Just work harder!"

"We've always used Square Wheels."

Just Do It!

Old technology works a little

It's also probably the hottest time of the day in the middle of Summer

At least it appears we're going in the same direction

Hard to get it rolling; why would we want to stop

Hopefully, the rope will break and things will stop

Execution without much planning

No Fun

Leadership thinks its job is pulling ahead instead of providing direction

Uneven contribution toward the task

The solution increases the load of the organization -- good ideas can be weighing negatively on morale and energy

Don't let the sound of your Square Wheels drive you crazy

There is a LOT of wasted energy and ineffectiveness

Step by Step, Inch by Inch, Slowly It Turns

Overloaded situation, but you ain't seen nothing yet

At least it isn't raining, too

If it didn't go Thump, how would we know we're making progress?

The wagon can do the job

It is all about Implementation and Innovation

We're not building much teamwork and camaraderie

We do not need to analyze this thing to death -- some things are obvious

We can't become better by staying the same

Blind workers following deaf leadership

Status quo modus operandi; rigor mortis in situ ridiculous

Going? Going. Gone. Not likely to survive in a Darwinian world

This must be a cartoon, it can't be real? Can it?

The solution is right at hand

No jack. Or, "NO!, Jack."

The Square Wheels are an advantage when going downhill

You can't cook off rubber tires; Square Wheels are better for survival situations, maybe.

Good effort, bad housekeeping

Overloaded with irrelevant asks

We also bought the cheapest Square Wheels we could find

No tools available to change the wheels

Brawn, not Brain, Hard, not Smart

People don't really understand the situation

Is it ignorance or apathy? They really don't know and maybe don't care

They could obviously go faster if they had a smaller wagon with fewer tires. Obviously

There are three staff people getting paid to study the process.

The team used the round wheels before the consultants suggested the Square ones

How can one build a sense of commitment with this situation?

They need a sign, "1-800 How's My Driving"

Just think, someone actually designed this thing!


Contact Scott Simmerman for a question or more information at

Back to: Try to identify some Square Wheels from the illustration!

Check out our articles, resources and other information

Check out Lost Dutchman!