Squirrel Spotting: Whiteboarding—A Love Affair
Peter Smith shares how a whiteboard can transform a team.
I’m not embarrassed to say that working remotely during COVID made life just a little less interesting, absent the entire wall of whiteboards that graced my office.
I meet fellow whiteboarding addicts from time to time and the discovery that there are more of us out there usually elicits knowing smiles and a mutual desire to investigate what about whiteboarding each of us finds most interesting.
At its core, whiteboarding can be a microcosm of who we are as leaders, managers, and influencers.
The benefits of comprehensive and inclusive whiteboarding touches on many of the central elements of business, and the effects of a great whiteboarding session can be transformative.
For starters, whiteboard sessions underscore two of my favorite mantras: “control the controllable” and “focus on the big rocks.”
Even the biggest whiteboard offers finite space, so the exercise demands a hierarchy of priorities. It mandates that we start with the “big rocks,” before descending through the less obvious, but occasionally informative, data points.
A second aspect of whiteboarding is the opportunity to lay out the facts in a very visual way.
To quote late U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”
Having the facts and data on the whiteboard provides both a hierarchy of importance and, one of the best deliverables of whiteboarding, an opportunity to make visual connections in a way that is not always apparent when pouring through digital data.
In Dr. A. K. Pradeep’s book, “The Buying Brain, Secrets for Selling to the Subconscious Mind,” he wrote: “Your brain collects data from the visual cortex, processing what each of your eyes are seeing, turning that information into three-dimensional, stereoscopic imagery and simultaneously matching that with data streams flooding forth from the auditory, olfactory, and tactile centers.”
Whiteboarding, quite literally, engages a different area of our brains and facilitates a processing of both the data and the aesthetics in a neurologically different way.
Neuroscience research, in fact, has shown that visual processing accounts for 50 percent of what our brain does at any given moment.
Whiteboarding is also a great team-building exercise. Having the right people (three to four is probably best) involved in the process facilitates a level of cognitive, emotional, and physical activity not typically present in PowerPoint presentations or other less collaborative exercises.
The act of having different people physically approach the board, make notes and suggestions, point out data points and connections, and ask probing questions is a fabulous way to engage a small team.
One of my favorite questions to ask the team while whiteboarding is, “If a year from now, this hasn’t worked, why might that be?” Or, better yet, “Tell me why this won’t work.”
The end result will always be better for challenging assumptions, and healthy debate should be strongly encouraged.
In Ray Dalio’s “Principles,” he wrote, “Thoughtful disagreement is not a battle; its goal is not to convince the other party that he or she is wrong, and you are right, but to find out what is true and what to do about it.
“It must also be nonhierarchical, because in an idea meritocracy communication doesn’t just flow unquestioned from the top down. Criticisms must also come from the bottom up.”
Inviting devil’s advocacy shows respect for your team. It says that you are not looking to be the smartest guy in the room. It is also a good way to challenge inherent biases, especially from the most senior people.
In “The Wisest One in the Room,” authors Thomas Gilovich and Lee Ross wrote, “It continues to be a wise practice to assign someone the role of devil’s advocate, but it is not as widely used as it needs to be.”
A culture that demands devil’s advocacy is also a great way to avoid groupthink, a particularly insidious practice when otherwise smart people align with bad decision-making, with potentially terrible consequences.
In the coming weeks and months, I look forward to consulting with vendors and retailers. I’m also excited about doing some in-store sales training based on my last book, “The Sales Minute.”
I’m looking forward to the variety of projects that working with different companies can bring but, mostly, I can’t wait to meet your whiteboard.
He first took a job at then Philadelphia-based Jewelers’ Circular-Keystone in 1963 and retired in 1996.
It cited two recent cases in California, plus incidents in Florida, Kansas, and Illinois.
Rare & Forever is helping to create an enjoyable diamond buying experience for the millions of newly-engaged couples.
The 10,000-square-foot location allows for expanded collections from design partners while continuing custom design and other services.
Svetlana Lazar’s “Wishing Well” collection utilizes an innovative component to mimic the movement of water beneath them.
Sponsored by AGTA
Experience all the Italian Jewelry market has to offer in Las Vegas.
All proceeds up to $25,000 will benefit the It Gets Better Project, a nonprofit that supports LGBTQ+ youth.
It’s a reminder that life is best lived with discretion.
The end-to-end software allows for real-time control over all sales, inventory, repairs, customer communications, and marketing.
Associate Editor Lenore Fedow shares her impressions of the Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show and a few of her favorite finds.
The Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences aims to set a color standard for the trade name.
Kate Della Monica, a senior specialist in the Jewelry and Watches department, will relocate to the Sunshine State.
LVMH’s investment arm has taken a stake in Lusix, a lab-grown diamond company based in Israel.
Sotheby’s New York put a colorless diamond and a fancy deep orange-brown diamond up for sale last week, with mixed results.
Profits will help them recoup financial losses.
The organization also extended the terms of Vice President Feriel Zerouki and Treasurer Ronnie VanderLinden.
Glatz owned and operated Glatz Jewelers in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania for more than 40 years.
The organization will present three awards at its annual dinner, dance, and gala in October.
The New York jeweler also made the pop star’s wedding bands.
It’s predicted to sell for up to $484,000 during the Bonhams Hong Kong Jewels and Jadeite auction on June 22.
The recipient will receive up to $17,500 toward a tech-focused certification or program of their choice.