Performance Management Blog

Nobody Ever Washes a Rental Car – some practical ideas about implementation, ownership and involvement

NOBODY EVER WASHES A RENTAL CAR is a quote that I have used in presentations for decades. Of course some people will wash one but that happens only after they really trash it and are embarrassed to take it back to the rental store. The quote is really about the issue of active involvement to generate ownership of ideas for implementation in the workplace. And it gets to a real issue about how people treat ideas.

It occurred to me that I should probably expand on this simple idea and theme a bit more, since it is an important one and I see that a lot of companies and leaders, “kinda sorta seem to get it.”  The overall data about involvement and engagement and alignment strongly suggests that we are not really getting this engagement job done very well. Thump. Thump.

There are a lot of blogs and slideshows and articles out there about the issues of engagement and implementation. The data on strategy implementation makes it pretty clear that leaders are not doing the job all that well. And my nearly 50 years of observing people and performance would suggest that little has really changed in this regard in workplaces in general. We seem to know what to do but we cannot seem to really get much done.

Simply put, managers are not involving and engaging people in their organizational change efforts. They continue to yell and tell instead of acting in a way to involve their people in the changes being done (to them). Managers still seem to believe that telling people about their ideas will be sufficient to generating actions on those ideas, that talk will equate to other people’s walk, something that is not likely at best!

So, I thought to illustrate that issue with a couple of cartoons that I think will be somewhat self-explanatory. Let’s start with this one:

Nobody ever washes a rental car, but they can show pride in their work.


Let me restate that key point one more time:

Nobody Ever Washes a Rental Car!!


The issue is simple. Are we really doing the things that we could do to generate ownership? Are we really getting our people to not be somewhat active actors but real participants in the overall change we desire?

In my many posts on themes of trust and trust building, I use a series of cartoons to illustrate the gap that exists between the view at the front and the view at the back as it relates to overall motivation. The view and perspective at the front (left) is different and leadership tends to be somewhat isolated. The view from the back is also important (right):

So what we need to deal with are those gaps in how we view things

Square Wheels - The View at the Front and the View at the Back

and find different ways to involve and engage.

  • We simply MUST pay more attention to the issues of involvement and engagement
  • We simply MUST do things to share the vision and align the participants in the journey
  • We simply MUST do things to get their understanding of the issues they face and the opportunities that exist for improvement

Otherwise, how can we expect things to change as we keep doing things the same way?

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools.
Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who is trying to retire!! He now lives in Cuenca, Ecuador.

You can reach Scott at

Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.


Square Wheels® is a registered trademark of Performance Management Company
The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine is a trademark of Performance Management Company
Square Wheels images © Performance Management Company, 1993 – 2023. All rights reserved.

Dr. Scott Simmerman

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of the amazing Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine team building game and the Square Wheels facilitation and engagement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced global presenter. -- You can reach Scott at and a detailed profile is here: -- Scott is the original designer of The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine teambuilding game and the Square Wheels® images for organizational development.

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