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The Square Wheels Newsletter - Issue 8

More Ideas on Managing and Leading Change - Implementation

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More Ideas on Managing and Leading Change - Implementation

Time Management Techniques by Warren Wint

Free Cartoons

Jokes: (click here to skip right to the Jokes!)

Bad Luck and Chain Letters
A Little Perspective
Why Sales People Will Always Make More Money than Engineers
Wasting and Not Wasting Your Time
Many teenagers flunk quiz on knowledge of Constitution
Five Belgians in an Audi Quattro arrive at the French border.

Are you a professional?
Guru Haikus

Last Comments

Main Article:

More Ideas on Managing and Leading Change - Implementation

In the last issue, I suggested four factors that all work jointly to influence the probability of change occurring in any individual or group.

In this model of change, these factor include:

1. The current level of discomfort with the way things are now.

2. The attractiveness of the vision of the future (Gene's "purpose")

3. The individual or group's previous success with change

4. The level of group or peer support for the change.

Please check out the last issue of my newsletter to see a more detailed discussion of these factors. ( )

For change to occur, we need some discomfort with the way things are (in my model, labeling some things as Square Wheels and identifying round wheel potential solutions).

We also need an engaging vision of where we are headed, one that captures our attention and generates some movement.

We also need to build some trust among the people and some support among the team. If there is an individual history of failure, individuals are less likely to want to take risks -- and change seems risky for many.

We also need to engage people and get them working together.

For implementation, it is important to remember that most groups of people have a history within the workplace. If the past efforts have been seen to be unsuccessful, you may have a "long row to hoe." There may be some issues among the individuals as it relates to group process and there may be individual issues surrounding change itself.

Generating improvement is not about "Training Fairy Dust" or any other silver bullet solution. It is simply a matter of generating ideas about improvement and a level of ownership among the individuals and the team about what might be done differently.

One of my main closing points in presentations is a very simple concept:

"Nobody Ever Washes a Rental Car."

People cannot be expected to support and care for things that they do not own.

Mike Robinson had a couple of quotes that we used at the AQP Conference:

"Nothing corners better, accelerates more quickly or handles difficult terrain better than a rental car."


"So you know the difference between a Humvee and a rental car? You can take a rental car ANYWHERE!"


So, how does one improve implementation?

One of my personal learning experiences had to do with perspective on involvement. When I was a rookie consultant, my results were exceptional. (An article on my work with First Chicago was published by the AP nationally, for example). But over the course of a couple of 8 years, my effectiveness seemed to gradually diminish. I was doing things better and faster, but the results were not as significant

I blamed it on clients becoming more sophisticated.

Looking back 5 years later, I realized the paradox. When I didn't know much, it was easy to heavily engage the client's personnel in discovering, analyzing and implementing solutions. As I became more of an expert, I slowly speeded the discovery and recommendation process and did less and less to include the people as my expertise became greater.

Eventually, I was able to quickly analyze the problem and generate solutions, taking a couple of weeks instead of a couple of months. And the reports and recommendations were much more elegant!

The problem was that nobody (other than me) had any ownership and thus nobody (other than me) did much to make these initiatives successful. They became "Scott's Program" and as soon as Scott was gone, so was "his" program.

Success and impact were not a matter of expertise; it was most definitely a matter of ownership and involvement.

Today, I teach people how to fish and will seldom do things for them when they can do things themselves. It may take longer and generate more "mistakes" but it will also generate a much better longer term impact. That is why I teach by cartoons -- they are generative and involving as opposed to being "The Answer."

From the perspective of improving YOUR implementation, I would suggest that you take a look at the change model shown above and link it to the issues and opportunities involved in getting others actively involved in generating impact and change.

Do things WITH people rather than TO them (as we often do in training) and have them leave with a sense of teamwork and collaboration, with some specific ideas about what they can do differently, and with a bit of followup about the results that they obtained. Ideally, have the same group re-assemble to talk about successes a couple of weeks after the training

Followup is the real Breakfast of Champions.

And don't ignore the impact of initial success on long-term improvement (again, part 3 of the change model). Creating initial success is important in creating long-term success.

Mike Robinson shared some research that supports this nicely. Basically, his results showed that over a number of organizations, about one in seven people would be champions, about 5 of seven would be neutral, and about one in seven non-supporters.

(Those non-supporters are known as Spectator Sheep in the Square Wheels model of organizational behavior: They stand on the sidelines watching what is going on and not being involved AND voice their opinions about how things are working: "Naaaaaaaaaaa. Baaaaaaaa.")

Mike also found that if a project were successful, 2 or 3 of the neutrals would shift into the supporter camp. If unsuccessful, 3 or 4 would shift to the non-supporter camp (and thus make change and continuous improvement even harder!!).

Selecting those projects that had a high likelihood of success, and then communicating those successes throughout the organization, is a critical factor in creating a supporting environment for change and improvement. If those initial efforts are thought to be unsuccessful (from whatever perspective), they increase the difficulty of moving forward.

My own consulting approach is also to seek out the "Spectator Sheep" and ask them for their ideas, since they generally had a different perspective on things and often had lots of ideas about what might be done differently. Funny, but I often got my best ideas for what could be done to improve the organization from these people who were dissatisfied with the way things worked now. (Go figure -- or as my son used to say, "Duh." )

Obviously, the Spectator Sheep had thought about what was not working well and what needed improvement. Plus, they had a significant interest in making improvements since they were dissatisfied with the way things were.

So, the (il)-logical next step was to include these same Spectator Sheep in the design and implementation teams. While that was hard politically, the sense of ownership and active involvement got them motivated (driven?) to make improvements.

Lack of involvement and ownership is a primary cause of a lot of resistance to change. Generating peer support and a sense of vision can be relatively straightforward.

Hope this helps.



Article by Warren Wint at: -- Reprinted with permission

The following time management techniques and strategies are designed to help you manage your time and gain greater control of your life

Clear your desk and plan your activities for the next day.

First list your time specific items, e.g. meetings and then write down the tasks you have to complete.

Once you have prioritised your tasks, make a to do list and work through the items in priority order.

Ensure that you have given yourself sufficient time to complete your to do list, taking into account your daily interruptions.

Do difficult jobs first, when you are at your best. Look after minor jobs when you are tired.

Fix deadlines for all jobs and stick to them. A task should only take the time set aside for it.

Do not postpone important matters that are unpleasant. Jobs rarely get more pleasant by being postponed. Do it now!

Try to arrange set times for jobs such as going through the mail, talking with your manager or staff, computer input, etc.

Try to fix definite times when you would not like to be disturbed, and make the system work except for genuine emergencies.

Plan your telephone calls. Make a brief note of what you want to say and what you want to find out. It saves time later.

If you have several phone calls to make, do them all in a burst.

When you start a piece of work, try to finish it without interruptions. If you have to finish it later, you will lose time picking up where you left off.

Arrange your breaks at times when you cannot work effectively.

Plan some time for discussing routine matters with your colleagues. Then you avoid interrupting each other all the time.

Learn to say No. Get used to asking yourself Am I the right person for this job?

Monitor how you use your time, and make conscious changes to your behaviour.

Stress and fatigue are rarely caused by the things you have done, but by the thought of what you haven't done!

Make a habit of finishing the main job of the day before you go home.



'Paper talk' alone can cost you an hour a day in looking for things and constant distractions.

Many people have developed the habit of their office becoming a giant 'to-do' list; papers; some day stacks; files; letters; in-trays; phone messages, etc. lying around all screaming LOOK AT ME', DEAL WITH ME. Here are some useful hints for silencing the 'paper talk'.

Put any in/out trays in a drawer or behind you on a credenza (or even outside your office) but not on your desk.

Make it a real IN-tray, not a miscellaneous file.



Discard all non relevant documents (up to 85% of the documents retained by an organisation will never be looked at again).

Remove all items from desk (each piece of paper on your desk will distract your attention 5 times a day).

Reorganise your shelves; give preference to cupboard and shelves rather than filing cabinets (25% space saving).

Identify, reorganise and re-label all your files clearly.

Avoid fat files by all means; you ale better off sub-dividing subjects and grouping these sub-files into a large filing box.

Use colour coding facilities (eg. red/marketing, green/customers, etc)



Never hold on. Instead agree a time to ring back or leave a message and your phone number.

If someone is unavailable find out the best time to call back, or leave your number.

If you need to make regular calls agree upon a mutually beneficial time.

Learn to leave clear messages on other people's answerphones.

Always leave your name and phone number if you want them to ring you back.



If possible train your PA or a member of your staff to screen calls and refer them to others.

Let the caller know your time constraints.

Always keep a pen and pad by the phone.

If you get a call asking for information you don't have immediately to hand, don't look for it: arrange to call back later.



If you have an unexpected visitor:

Establish at the start why they have come to see you.

Stand when they enter the room, so that they also remain standing.

If it's necessary for you to deal personally with them suggest a later meeting, at your convenience.

Whenever possible, suggest a meeting in their office.

Set time limits to your discussion.

Avoid engaging in small talk.

If you have a secretary/PA, agree a clear policy about who can have access to you and who they should deal with.

If you really can't get them out of your office, leave the office yourself.

Jokes and the Like


Bad Luck and Chain Letters

**Contributed to Swenny's E-Mail Funnies by Perry Olson, Anoka, Minnesota**

If you send this message off to 20 people within the next 4 days, and each of them send this letter off to 20 other people within 4 days...

In 40 days, approx. 10 trillion of these messages will cross the Internet.

>From day 40 to day 44, an additional 200 trillion of these messages will cross the Internet, at an average of 50 trillion messages per day.

>From day 44 to 48, an additional 4,000 trillion of these messages will cross the Internet, at an average of 1,000 trillion messages a day, 41.7 trillion messages per hour, 694 billion messages per minute, or 11.6 billion messages per second.

Of course, the Internet will have ground to a complete halt way before then, and a good thing too, because by day 44 (assuming each man, woman and child in the world is tied to the Internet) you would have to respond to about 2 chain mail letters per second, sending off 20 responses each second, giving you 5/100 of a second to send each message. If you drop the ball, you will break about 1,800,000 chain letters per day, bringing almost two million times the bad luck upon yourself than if you broke the first chain letter to begin with.

The logical conclusion? It is better to break the initial chain letter and receive one dose of bad luck than to continue the chain letter, and by day 44, receive 1,800,000 doses of bad luck.

I knew one poor fellow who ended up in such a circumstance. He ended up having 287,345 heart attacks, losing 5,137 wives, got fired from at least 100,000 jobs, and was run over by a truck. His Visa card was also revoked. Nobody liked him anymore. He finally ended up committing suicide 459 times, but he was so unlucky, he was never successful. Finally, he resigned to the idea of not dying, and was immediately hit by a meteorite and vaporized. But his cells went on to experience even more bad luck.


A Little Perspective

**Contributed to Swenny's E-Mail Funnies by Caroline McGowan, Minneapolis, Minnesota**

Pythagorean theorem: 24 words.

The Lord's prayer: 66 words.

Archimedes' Principle: 67 words.

The 10 Commandments: 179 words.

The Gettysburg address: 286 words.

The Declaration of Independence: 1,337 words.

The US Government regulations on the sale of cabbage: 26,911 words



Why Sales People Will Always Make More Money than Engineers

This is basic physics:


Power = ---------



We all know that knowledge is power, so:


Knowledge = ---------



Time is money, therefore:


Knowledge = ---------



Or, restated:


Money = -------------



In other words, the less you know the more money you make regardless of the amount of work you do.


Wasting and Not Wasting Your Time

by Lynn Hummel, Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, in the Detroit Lakes Tribune, May 21, 2000 issue and contibuted to Swenny's E-Mail Funnies by Swenny. (By the way, Lynn is an author / attorney and is a friend of Swenny's.)


Waste of Time

1. Unless you are interviewing for a very important job or hoping to get a member of the opposite sex to marry you, it is a waste of time to worry about trying to impress another person. I've tried it many times and could never get the hang of it.

2. It is a waste of time to have a watch with four dials and a special section that tells you what time it is in London, Tokyo and Sydney.

3. It is a waste of time to play golf. If you want exercise, you can get as much exercise in a vigorous half hour hike as you can in four hours of golf. As H.L. Mencken (you can look him up--it won't be a waste of time) once wrote: "If I had my way no many guilty of gold would be eligible to any office of trust or profit in the United States.

4. It is a waste of time to lose your temper. (Golfers, please take note.) That will only make the situation worse. Besides, a recent survey at the University of North Carolina found that anger prone men and women are three times more likely to have a heart attack than their calm friends and neighbors.

5. It is a waste of time to admire show business celebrities and sports stars. Beauty and fame are skin deep. Your average friend or neighbor (while admittedly not as good looking) will provide you with a vastly superior model of friendship, loyalty, morality, and good sense. Your average star handles fame and wealth about as well as your average lottery winner.

6. And while we're at it, it is a waste of time (and money) to invest in the lottery. You are more likely to discover the Fountain of Youth in your backyard or find the cure for dandelions than you are to win the lottery.

7. It is a waste of time to try to understand members of the opposite sex. Just appreciate that there are fundamental differences and enjoy the difference.

8. It is a waste of time to argue politics with your friends. Nobody ever changes anybody's mind and political differences are stressful to friendship.

9. It is a waste of time to cheer for the Minnesota Twins. Face it. Kirby Puckett is gone. Baseball talent is not available at bargain baseball salaries and if you like to win, the Minnesota Twins will only break your heart.

10. It is a wast of time to worry. Planning, preparation and action solve problems--worry just aggravates them.

There you have 10 sure-fire ways to waste your time. Now here are 10 ways not to.



Not a Waste of Time

1. It is never a waste of time to call your mother. If you don't have anything to tell her, she'll have something to tell you.

2. It is never a waste of time to laugh, especially if the joke is on you.

3. It is never a waste of time to vote for the underdog. A vote based on conscience is a vote well cast. (I never thought I'd quote Jesse Ventura, but there you have it.)

4. It is never a waste of time to lead off first base. You'll never get to second (or anywhere else) if you don't take chances.

5. It is never a waste of time to stay in school. It's easier to stay there than it is to go back.

6. It is never a waste of time to go to a school activity--a concert, a speech, a debate, a gall game, a teacher conference, or an art exhibit. You kid will tell you he doesn't want you there, but he doesn't really mean it.

Even if you don't have kids in school, going there is not a waste of time.

7. It is never a waste of time to plant a tree. It's an easy way for all of us to make the world a little better place and to leave our mark.

8. It is never a waste of time to go to church. You may find food for thought there--and sometimes they have pancakes.

9. It is never a waste of time to talk to your kids--unless you do all the talking.

10. It is never a waste of time to read a good book, but remember, that fact that the book is long and seems boring doesn't mean it's not a good book.


There you have it. If you considered the last three minutes a waste of time, give me a call or drop me a line and let me know about it. I'll consider it time well spent.




10. You take your paycheck to the bank and the teller bursts out in hysterical laughter.

9. The Red Cross calls and offers you emergency assistance.

8. Your only charge cards are for the Salvation Army, and thrift stores.

7. You work full time and you still qualify for food stamps.

6. You empty out your piggy bank and then cook the bank and serve it for your Easter ham.

5. All you can think about morning, noon and night is clipping grocery coupons.

4. You file your income taxes and the IRS returns them stamped, "Charity Case -- Return To Sender."

3. You set the world record for mailing $1.00 rebate requests to Young America, Minnesota.

2. You pay all your bills, put your remaining $1 bill into your billfold and it goes into shock.

1. You get arrested for taking the coins out of the fountain in the mall.



Many teenagers flunk quiz on knowledge of Constitution

By Cassandra Burrell - ASSOCIATED PRESS (September, 1998)

Only 41 percent of American teen-agers can name the three branches of government, but 59 percent can name the Three Stooges.

And 74 percent can name the city where cartoon character Bart Simpson lives (Springfield), but only 12 percent know where Abraham Lincoln lived (Springfield, Ill.), the National Constitution Center said Wednesday.

The group is building a museum in Philadelphia designed to make Americans more familiar with the Constitution.

There is some good news: Nearly 74 percent know that Al Gore is vice president. But that's well below the 90 percent who know that Leonardo DiCaprio was the male star of the move Titanic."

Too few Americans have even a basic working knowledge of their government, especially the Constitution, Philadelphia Mayor Edward Rendell told a Senate Appropriations Committee panel.

"I believe that building this museum and reversing this tide of ignorance is absolutely critical to the health of our democracy, said Rendell, who is chairman of the center. "The Constitution doesn't work by itself. It depends on active, informed citizens."

Groundbreaking for the "experiential" museum is scheduled for Sept. 17, Constitution Day, 2000. Rendell is asking Congress to approve a $20 million contribution toward the museum this year, and the center hopes the government eventually will contribute half the $130 million cost.




The Washington Post asked its readers top take an ordinary word, place a portion of it in "air quotes" and then redefine the word. Some winners:

G"angst"er: Someone torn by inner conflict, and bullets.

Gyn"ecological": Of or describing a natural woman.

"Bra"ggadocio: Excessive pride in one's cleavage.

"taxi"dermist: Someone who stuffs cabdrivers.

H"air"cut: The futile trip to a barber taken by balding men.

A"limo"ny: How ex-wives get big new cars.

Automo"bile": A vehicle associated with road rage.

Nin"com"poop: CEO of a failed Internet company.



A nationwide telephone survey of 600 teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 found that:

Less than 2 percent recognize James Madison as the father of the Constitution, while 58 percent know Bill Gates as the father of Microsoft.

Nearly 95 percent can name the actor who played the Fresh Prince of Bel Air (Will Smith) on television, but only 2 percent can name the chief justice of the United States (William Rehnquist).

Twenty-five percent know a least one of the constitutional rights the Fifth Amendment protects. Nearly 64 percent know what "The Club" protects.

Eighty-one percent know that the musical group Hanson is made up of three brothers. Twenty-one percent know how many members are in the Senate (100).

More than 75 percent know what city has the zip code 90210 (Beverly Hills), but only about 2 percent know in what city the Constitution was written (Philadelphia).


Five Belgians in an Audi Quattro arrive at the French border.

The French customs agent stops them and tells them, "It's illegal to put five people in a Quattro."

"Oh, no," says the driver, "Quattro is just the name of the automobile. Look at the papers. This car is designed to carry five persons."

"You can't pull that one on me," replies the French customs agent, "Quattro means four!"

"Oh, you are so stupid!" says the driver in disgust, "Call your supervisor over!"

"He can't come." replies the agent, "He's busy with the two French guys in the Fiat Uno."



Bureaucracy seems to continue to expand in every aspect of the economy. Things keep expanding, continually, until they become incredibly bloated.

Some statistics:


The Gettysburg address is 286 words, the Declaration of Independence is 1,337 words, and the Holy Bible is only 773,000 words. However, the tax law has grown from 11,400 words in 1913, to 7,000,000+ words today.

There are at least 480 different tax forms, each with many pages of instructions. Even the easiest form, the 1040E has 33 pages in instructions, and all in fine print.

The IRS sends out 8 billion pages of forms and instructions each year. Laid end to end, they would stretch 28 times around the earth.

Nearly 300,000 trees are cut down yearly to produce the paper for all the IRS forms and instructions.

American taxpayers spend $200 billion and 5.4 billion hours working to comply with federal taxes each year, more than it takes to produce every car, truck, and van in the United States.

The IRS employs 114,000 people; that's twice as many as the CIA and five times more than the FBI.

And it is not simple or EZ. More than 60% of taxpayers must hire a professional to get through their own return.

Federal and State taxes eat up more than 38% of the average family's income; that's more than for food, clothing and shelter combined.

The above from Just 4 Laughs! But it is not that funny, methinks.


Are you a professional?

**Contributed to Swenny's E-Mail Funnies by Norma Swenson, Lake Park, MN**

The following quiz consists of four questions that tell you whether or not you are qualified to be a professional. This is from the Test of Professional Consulting Professionals of the Department of Redundancy Department:

Scroll down for the answers. The questions are not that difficult. You just need to think like a professional.


1. How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?

The correct answer: Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe and close the door.

This question tests whether or not you are doing simple things in a complicated way.


2. How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?

Incorrect answer: Open the refrigerator, put in the elephant and shut the refrigerator.

Correct answer: Open the refrigerator, take out of the giraffe, put in the elephant and close the door.

This question tests your foresight.



3. The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All the animals attend except one. Which animal does not attend?

Correct answer: The elephant. The elephant is in the refrigerator!

This tests if you are capable of comprehensive thinking.

If you did not answer the last three questions correctly, this one may be your last chance to test your qualifications to be a professional.



4. There is a river filled with crocodiles. How do you cross it?

Correct Answer: Simply swim through it. All the crocodiles are attending the animal meeting!

This question tests your overall reasoning ability.


If you answered four out of four questions correctly, you are a true professional. Wealth and success await you.

If you answered three out of four, you have some catching up to do but there's hope for you.

If you answered two out of four, consider a career as a hamburger flipper in a fast food joint.

If you answered one out of four, try selling some of your organs. It's the only way you will ever make any money.

If you answered none correctly, consider a career that does not require any higher mental functions at all, such as law or politics.



Guru Haikus:

I work on my own.

The wage slave toils in a crowd.

Who is more alone?


A guru always

praises client ideas.

Even when they suck.


Dan Pink

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Scott Simmerman, Performance Management Company
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