What are Square Wheels? A Most Unique Presentation!

Square Wheels One

This series of illustrations is based on the general theme that most systems and processes do not operate smoothly or most effectively and that there are always better ways to accomplish things. People are a resource, but there are issues of communications, motivation, leadership and other obvious factors.

And there is another reality:

"The Round Wheels of today will become the Square Wheels of tomorrow."

The paradox of most systems and procedures is that we are all so busy pushing and pulling to meet our current goals that it is very difficult to step back and objectively view the situation to discover performance improvement opportunities. It is also a reality that leadership will be somewhat isolated from the support people and that perspectives will differ.

The presentation process involves an introduction and set-up and then the sharing of the illustration above as a visual and a worksheet. Tabletops of 5 to 6 people engage in a discussion of some of the key points about the illustration (there are many). But the goal is to get them interacting and sharing ideas. This is engaging and energizing but it also allows them to begin to relate the illustration to some of the issues and opportunities in their own workplaces.

The initial "What did you discover?" discussion is humorous. Often, someone would make a point, such as:

"We're not like that; we push our wagon uphill!"


"Those who lead see no need and those who DO have no clue!"


"The Round Wheels are already in the wagon, just like here.

We than transfer this energy and ownership into discussions of more specific issues within the organization through the use of other illustrations.

Some of these have specific themes and messages and most have a variety of meanings and linkages. We can address themes of missions and visions, communications, process improvement, systems thinking, employee involvement, leadership and a number of other topics. The cartoon series is very extensive, with over 300 illustrations.

Square Wheels are a wonderful vehicle for generating action learning, reflective perspective, participative involvement and generating a sense of ownership. And they change the language of performance in powerful but subtle ways, generating a sense of perspective and objectivity while tending to avoid the confrontational aspects of performance improvement discussions.

And as a general goal of most of Scott's presentations, the attendees are expected to share this cartoon and the process of engagement with their people. This facilitation is quite simple and straightforward and proven effective worldwide. It is this practice of training the attendee to deliver the presentation themes ("wheels within wheels") that adds leverage to Scott's programs and makes them very unique.

General themes of presentations include:

The proven effectiveness of Square Wheels is simply amazing. These illustrations:

The illustrations are powerful yet simple tools for leadership and change because they focus on accepted current business practices and the generation of new ideas for improvement. The illustrations also change the language of continuous improvement. They are inexpensive, easy and straighforward to use, and quite flexible in application and we've got lots of testimonials from users worldwide.

On the Psychology of Square Wheels:

Another interesting factor is that the illustrations have no reality. They do not represent, for the most part, any one situation and they operate much like a Rorschach or Inkblot Test.

People will project their own beliefs onto an illustration, thus allowing one to observe some of the organizational thinking patterns and culture from listening to reactions and responses. THis psychic ownership makes the concept a powerful tool for organizational development, leadership and communications.

Square Wheels are a trademark of Performance Management Company.
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Contact Scott Simmerman for a question or more information at Scott@SquareWheels.com