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The Square Wheels Newsletter - Issue 12

Teambuilding with Square Wheels

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Main Article –

Teambuilding with Square Wheels

New: Square Wheels Mini-Toolkits
Update on Listbot

Jokes and all that

Real Ads - Maybe…
T-Shirt Slogans
Three Consultants...
Punny Stuff
You've had too much Quality Assurance when...
Definition of Outdoor Barbecuing

Closing Remarks


Teambuilding with Square Wheels

Funny, but some things are so obvious that they shouldn’t need to be mentioned. But then, there is always reality. Square Wheels are everywhere!

Linda called Joan (my partner and wife) asking about teambuilding and Square Wheels. Eric, her boss had seen Mike Robinson present the concept at the recent Association for Quality and Participation (AQP) National Conference and thought they might work well for them. Mike is at Corning and he and I have presented together numerous times; he has used the illustrations for 6 or more years and he is a great presenter.

Since we did not have a specific toolkit on Team Building, Joan thought to discuss how Lost Dutchman might be a better team building tool for them, since it is a team building exercise and Joan has helped me deliver it on many occasions.

But she and I have never really discussed how the Square Wheels illustrations can also work in this regard. So, I called Linda and discussed some possibilities about using the cartoons. A few minutes later, another call comes in asking why there haven’t been any recent newsletters (oops!) and I took a moment to ask her what she would like to see discussed. She said, "Team Building," which I took as a signal to write a newsletter and to discuss team building applications for the Square Wheels materials.

There are any number of team-related benefits in using the illustration(s). When I deliver Square Wheels One, I generally ask each person to spend a minute thinking about the main themes and key points to it before discussing with the others at their table. In this way, they solidify their own thinking.

Generally, this format tends to help the group be more creative, since they may have a broader variety of ideas and are less likely to go off in a single direction. This initial diversity of thinking gives us more possibilities, in many cases.

Now, when the group comes together to discuss, it is much more likely that everyone will have ideas to share and thus we begin to build a better and broader base. I anchor this feeling of team when I ask the table to share their ideas (often by writing them on an easel pad sheet or on a transparency) and presenting the ideas to the rest of the group.

Invariably, each of the tabletop teams will have a number of independent ideas, giving us both the tabletop consensus and the group consensus. I will use the discussion as an anchor point for creativity, pointing out how this worked and that everyone contributed to the overall understanding of the themes. I then take the time to cover some key learning points:

What I try to accomplish is to build on individual thinking with some group reinforcement of ideas. One can build this around specific brainstorming ground rules such as, "Every Idea gets written down" or just let things happen.

This individual / team / group think process then carries over to the discussion of what are some Square Wheels and what are some Round Wheels. Because the tabletops are challenged to work together to generate lots of ideas and we are working with small groups (5 to 6 people) with periodic group readout, individual differences are often lost in the task at hand. Tables form as teams to produce as many ideas as they can.

And because the teams develop a bit of ownership for the ideas, they are generally more motivated to try to solve some of the problems and implement some of the Round Wheels. Shared Risk and some Shared Successes are important aspects of any team initiative, as are shared goals and a sense of participative involvement. You can do all of this within the context of a simple discussion and you can do it outside of the normal training situations in meetings, team discussions, etc. The materials themselves are quite flexible in their application.

As a stand-along program, this is pretty simple and effective for improving team communications and for grounding teams on shared themes. It is not a formal team development tool such as one of the personality inventories or creativity training programs, but it gets a number of team-related things accomplished.

And with the language of Square Wheels focused on problems and things that do not work well, we effectively minimize the perceived personal attacks that can sometimes occur. The illustration produces dissociation and a focus on problems and thus is useful as a discussion framework

Email me if I can offer some specific suggestions about how you can use the materials in a team building or communications situation (mailto:scott@squarewheels).

New: Square Wheels Mini-Toolkits

I’m doing the final touches on two electronically downloadable mini-toolkits, which will contain some of the main cartoons, descriptions and ideas for use, facilitation skills tips and worksheets done in PowerPoint. Each will have about 10 of my most favorite illustrations including Square Wheels One, Mud, Caterpillar and Butterfly, Reflections, Reality of Change, Twaining and Continuous Continuous Improvement. Thus, they will be a very flexible packages of materials. Cost will be $29.95 for each.

For those of you who have used SWs One and found it effective, you will find these Mini-Toolkits on change and teamwork to be powerful tools for your toolkit. Email me if you are interested in them.


New Jokes

Real Ads - Maybe…

1. Illiterate? Write today for free help.
2. Auto Repair Service. Free pick-up and delivery. Try us once, you'll never go anywhere again.
3. Our experienced Mom will care for your child. Fenced yard, meals and smacks included.
4. Dog for sale: eats anything and is fond of children.
5. Man wanted to work in dynamite factory. Must be willing to travel.
6. Stock up and save. Limit: one.
7. Semi-annual After Christmas sale.
8. year old teacher needed for pre-school. Experience preferred.
9. Mixing bowl set designed to please a cook with round bottom for efficient beating.
10. Dinner special - Turkey $2.35; Chicken or Beef $2.25; Children 2.00.
11. For sale: antique desk suitable for lady with thick legs and large drawers.
12. Now is your chance to have your ears pierced and get an extra pair to take home.
13. We do not tear your clothing with machinery. We do it carefully by hand.
14. Great dames for sale.
15. Have several very old dresses from grandmother in beautiful condition.
16. Tired of cleaning yourself? Let me do it.
17. Vacation special: have your home exterminated.
18. Get rid of aunts. Zap does the job in 24 hours.
19. Toaster: A gift that every member of the family appreciates. Automatically burns toast.
20. For rent: 6 room hated apartment.
21. Man, honest. Will take anything.
22. Used cars: Why go elsewhere to be cheated? Come here first.
23. Christmas tag sale. Handmade gifts for the hard to find person.
24. Wanted: Hair cutter. Excellent growth potential.
25. Wanted: Man to take care of cow that does not smoke or drink.
26. And now, the Superstore -- unequaled in size, unmatched in variety, unrivaled inconvenience.
27. We will oil your sewing machine and adjust tension in your home for $1.00.

T-Shirt Slogans

1. Frankly, Scallop, I Don't Give a Clam. (seen on Cape Cod)
2 That's It! I'm Calling Grandma! (seen on an 8 year old)
3. Wrinkled Was Not One of the Things I Wanted to Be When I Grew Up.
4. Procrastinate Now.
5. Rehab Is for Quitters.
6. My Dog Can Lick Anyone.
7. I Have a Degree in Liberal Arts - Do You Want Fries With That?
8. Party - My Crib - Two A.M. (on a baby-size shirt)
9. Finally 21, and Legally Able to Do Everything I've Been Doing Since 15.
11. West Virginia: One Million People, and 15 last names.
12. FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION. It comes bundled with the software.
14. A hangover is the wrath of grapes.
15. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a cash advance.
16. STUPIDITY IS NOT A HANDICAP. Park elsewhere!
18. He who dies with the most toys is nonetheless dead.
19. Time's fun when you're having flies.......Kermit the Frog.
20. POLICE STATION TOILET STOLEN .... Cops have nothing to go on.
21. FOR SALE: Iraqi rifle. Never fired. Dropped once.
23. A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS, but it uses up a thousand times the memory.
24. The Meek shall inherit the earth....after we're through with it.
25. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
26. HAM AND EGGS - A day's work for a chicken; A lifetime commitment for a pig.
27. WELCOME TO MISSISSIPPI - Set your watch back 20 years.
28. The trouble with life is there's no background music.
30. Suicidal Twin Kills Sister By Mistake!
31. The original point-and-click interface was a Smith & Wesson.
33. Computer programmers don't byte, they nybble a bit.
34. Computer programmers know how to use their hardware.
35. MOP AND GLOW - Floor wax used by Three-Mile-Island cleanup team.
36. NyQuil -The stuffy, sneezy, why-the-hell-is-the-room-spinning medicine.
37. Quoting one is plagiarism. Quoting many is research.
38. My husband and I divorced over religious differences. He thought he was God, and I didn't.

Three Consultants...

While attending a convention, three consultants take a walk to discuss some common issues and concerns about their professionalism and the reality of working under pressure.

"Managers are always coming to us with their guilt and fears," one says, "but we have no one to go to with our own problems."

"Since we're all professionals," another suggests, "why don't we hear each other out right now? Do a little dialoging and practice our listening skills."

They agreed this is a good idea. The first consultant confesses, "I'm a compulsive spender and deeply in debt so I often overbill my clients as much as I can."

The second admits, "I have a drug problem that's out of control, and I frequently pressure my clients' managers into buying illegal drugs for me."

The third consultant says, "I know it's wrong, but no matter how hard I try, I just can't keep a secret."

Punny Stuff

1. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, but when they lit a fire in the craft it sank - proving once and for all that you can't have your kayak and heat it, too.

2. Two boll weevils grew up in South Carolina. One went to Hollywood and became a famous actor. The other stayed behind in the cotton fields and never amounted to much. The second one, naturally, became known as the lesser of two weevils.

3. A three-legged dog walks into a saloon in the Old West. He sidles up to the bar and announces "I'm looking for the man who shot my paw."

4. This guy goes into a restaurant for a Christmas breakfast while in his home town for the holidays. After looking over the menu he says, "I'll just have the eggs Benedict." His order comes a while later and it's served on a big, shiny hubcap. He asks the waiter, "What's with the hubcap?" The waiter sings, "Oh, there's no plate like chrome for the hollandaise!"

5. When she told me I was average, she was just being mean.

6. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused his dentist's Novocain during root canal work? He wanted to transcend dental medication.

7. A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. "But why?," they asked, as they moved off. "Because," he said, "I can't stand chess nuts boasting in an open foyer."

8. A doctor made it his regular habit to stop off at a bar for a hazelnut daiquiri on his way home. The bartender knew of his habit, and would always have the drink waiting at precisely 5:03 p.m. One afternoon, as the end of the work day approached, the bartender was dismayed to find that he was out of hazelnut extract. Thinking quickly, he threw together a daiquiri made with hickory nuts and set it on the bar. The doctor came in at his regular time, took one sip of the drink and exclaimed, "This isn't a hazelnut daiquiri!" "No, I'm sorry," replied the bartender, "it's a hickory daiquiri, Doc."

9. A hungry lion was roaming through the jungle looking for something to eat. He came across two men. One was sitting under a tree reading a book; the other was typing away on his typewriter. The lion quickly pounced on the man reading the book and devoured him. Even the king of the jungle knows that readers digest, and writers cramp.

10. There was a man who entered a local paper's pun contest. He sent in ten different puns, in the hope that at least one of the puns would win. Unfortunately, no pun in ten did.

11. A woman has twins, and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named "Amal." The other goes to a family in Spain; they name him "Juan." Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his mom. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Amal. Her husband responds, "But they are twins - if you've seen Juan, you've seen Amal."


**Contributed to Swenny's E-Mail Funnies by Lois Magee, Trenton, NJ**

Did you hear about the terrorists who took a whole courtroom full of lawyers hostage?
They threatened to release one every hour until their demands were met.
* * * * * * *
Did you hear that the Post Office just recalled their latest stamps?
They had pictures of lawyers on them... and people couldn't figure out which side to spit on.
* * * * * * *
How can a pregnant woman tell that she's carrying a future lawyer?
She has an uncontrollable craving for baloney.
* * * * * * *
How does an attorney sleep?
First he lies on one side, then he lies on the other.
* * * * * * *
How many lawyer jokes are there?
Only three.... The rest are true stories.
* * * * * * *
How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb?
How many can you afford?
* * * * * * *
How many lawyers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Three. One to climb the ladder. One to shake it. And one to sue the ladder company.
* * * * * * *
If a lawyer and an IRS agent were both drowning, and you could only save one of them, would you go to lunch or read the paper?
* * * * * * *
What did the lawyer name his daughter?
* * * * * * *
What do you call 25 skydiving lawyers?
* * * * * * *
What do you call a lawyer gone bad?
* * * * * * *
What do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 50?
Your Honor.
* * * * * * *
What do you get when you cross a bad politician with a crooked lawyer?
Chelsea Clinton.
* * * * * * *
What do you throw to a drowning lawyer?
His partners.
* * * * * * *
What does a lawyer use for birth-control?
His personality.
* * * * * * *
What happens when you cross a pig with a lawyer?
Nothing. There are some things a pig won't do.
* * * * * * *
What's the difference between a lawyer and a vulture?
The lawyer gets frequent flyer miles.
* * * * * * *
What's another difference between a lawyer and a vulture?
Removable wingtips.

You've had too much Quality Assurance when...

1. You ask what the Cafeteria's core competencies are.

2. You decide to reorganize your family into a "team-based organization."

3. You consider dating as test marketing.

4. You can spell "paradigm."

5. You actually know what a paradigm is.

6. You understand how your business calculates its overhead costs.

7. You write executive summaries on your love letters.

8. Your Valentine's Day cards have bullet points.

9. You think that it's actually efficient to write a 50-page presentation with six other people you don't know.

10. You celebrate your wedding anniversary by conducting a performance review.

11. You believe you never have any problems in your life, just "issues" and "improvement opportunities."

12. You end every argument by saying "let's talk about this off-line."

13. You can explain the difference between "re-engineering," "down-sizing," "right-sizing," and "firing people's butts."

14. You actually believe your explanation in number 13.

15. You talk to the waiter about process flow when dinner arrives late.

16. You refer to your previous life as "my sunk cost."

17. You refer to your significant other as "my Co-CEO."

18. You believe the best tables and graphs take an hour to comprehend.

19. You insist that you do some more market research before you and your spouse produce another child.

20. At your last family reunion, you wanted to have an emergency meeting about their brand equity.

21. Your "deliverable" for Sunday evening is clean laundry and paid bills.

22. You use the term "value-added" without falling down laughing.

23. You ask the car salesman if the car comes with a white board and Internet connection.

24. You give constructive feedback to your cat.

Definition of Outdoor Barbecuing

It's the only type of cooking a "real" man will do.

When a man volunteers to do such cooking, the following chain of events is put into motion:

1. The woman goes to the store.
2. The woman fixes the salad, vegetables, and dessert.
3. The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils, and takes it to the man, who is lounging beside the grill, drinking a beer.
4. The man places the meat on the grill.
5. The woman goes inside to set the table and check the vegetables.
6. The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is burning.
7. The man takes the meat off the grill and hands it to the woman.
8. The woman prepares the plates and brings them to the table.
9. After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.
10. The man asks the woman how she enjoyed "her night off." And, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there's just no pleasing some women.


Two elderly ladies had been friends for many decades. Over the years they had shared all kinds of activities and adventures. Lately, their activities had been limited to meeting a few times a week to play cards.

One day they were playing cards when one looked at the other and said, "Now don't get mad at me...I know we've been friends for a long time....but I just can't think of your name! I've thought and thought, but I can't remember it. Please tell me what your name is."

Her friend glared at her. For at least three minutes she just stared and glared at her. Finally she said, "How soon do you need to know?"


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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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