Performance Management Blog

AI, Implementation and The Shadow, Facilitation and Engagement

There are potentially large gaps when it comes to AI and implementation that we can call The Shadow, where facilitation and engagement are sub-optimized.

In my 45+ years of messing around with organizational development initiatives, there is always a gap between the idea and the reality of implementation. Good ideas are simply hard to accomplish when they require other people within the organization to actually support. 

For the past 30+ years, I have used both my Square Wheels® images and my team building game, The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, to help organizations generate real ideas for workplace performance improvement. The learning lessons embedded in Square Wheels® are obvious when you spend a moment thinking about how the image represents how things really work in most organizations:

Square Wheels One images since 1993 including 2022

The thing I regret is not really having a way to help organizations (and individual managers) actually put good ideas into play. There are a variety of reasons that we are all aware of, I believe.

In workshops and presentations over the years, I have used a lot of tools and anchors and something I was reading got me thinking (again) about this issue. My thinking is around teaching supervisors to learn facilitation / engagement skills by learning how to deliver Dutchman to their players to generate ideas and the cognitive dissonance needed for motivation to do something differently.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls The Shadow

From “The Hollow Men” by T. S. Eliot. It appears in the fifth and final section of the poem:

For me and in the context of impacting people and performance, the poem explores common workplace realities of disillusionment, meaninglessness, and the difficulty of making progress in the modern world. The lines quoted are often interpreted as meaning that the gap between our workplace ideals,dreams and aspirations to that harsh reality of worklife that is filled with doubt, fear, and uncertainty.

We NEED to do things differently and it is not as if my writing here will generate some new radical insight. We need to have real collaboration among people, and not have the predictable “Coffee Shop Collaboration” reality.

A reality of people performing on their phones and laptops

We NEED to begin to look differently at our workplaces.

And we MUST oe aware of the impacts that implementing AI will have on the existing collaborations and the collaboration across the organization in the future.

We need to take this new technology around ideas exploration and its ability to coach managers to better engage and motivate their people. My belief is that the past 50 years of “management development” have generated all the necessary ideas and information. The key is whether we can use this new technology to generate more collaborative thinking and more positive supportive behaviors to shine some light on this shadow.

Read the last past of this excellent article for the beginnings of some ideas around AI and collaboration. Then, consider working with me around the Lost Dutchman team building game to collaborate on a powerful tool for generating the motivation to collaborate across organizations.

I welcome your discussions,

For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott Simmerman, designer of The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine teambuilding game.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.

Here is a link to a press release about The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine teambuilding exercise and its 30 years of positively impacting people and performance.

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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