Columnists

Squirrel Spotting: Whiteboarding—A Love Affair

ColumnistsMar 22, 2022

Squirrel Spotting: Whiteboarding—A Love Affair

Peter Smith shares how a whiteboard can transform a team.

Peter Smith is an industry consultant, speaker, sales trainer and author. He can be reached via email at TheRetailSmiths@gmail.com.
I am a self-proclaimed whiteboarding addict.

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. 

 Related stories will be right here … 

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.
Peter Smithis an industry consultant, speaker, and sales trainer, and author of three books, “Hiring Squirrels,” “Sell Something,” and “The Sales Minute.”

The Latest

MajorsJun 27, 2022
George Holmes, Longtime Head Editor of JCK Magazine, Dies at 93

He first took a job at then Philadelphia-based Jewelers’ Circular-Keystone in 1963 and retired in 1996.

MajorsJun 27, 2022
Mayors, Analog:Shift Team Up With Goop

The lifestyle platform will stock fine jewelry and watches from the retailers on its website and in store.

CrimeJun 27, 2022
JSA Warns of ‘Pandemic’ of Distraction Thefts Nationwide

It cited two recent cases in California, plus incidents in Florida, Kansas, and Illinois.

Brought to you by
Preparing for Proposal Season with High-Quality, A.I.-Graded Natural Diamonds

Rare & Forever is helping to create an enjoyable diamond buying experience for the millions of newly-engaged couples.

IndependentsJun 27, 2022
Lewis Jewelers Set to Open New Ann Arbor Store This Summer

The 10,000-square-foot location allows for expanded collections from design partners while continuing custom design and other services.

Weekly QuizJun 23, 2022
This Week’s Quiz
Test your knowledge of the latest jewelry news with this quick test.
Take the Quiz
CollectionsJun 27, 2022
This Designer Has Found a New Way to Bring Gemstones to Life

Svetlana Lazar’s “Wishing Well” collection utilizes an innovative component to mimic the movement of water beneath them.

Supplier BulletinJun 24, 2022
AGTA GemFair™ Denver is the Place to Be in September!

Sponsored by AGTA

Brought to you by
Discover The Extraordinary Italian Jewelry In Las Vegas!

Experience all the Italian Jewelry market has to offer in Las Vegas.

Recorded WebinarsJun 24, 2022
Vegas Jewelry Recap: The Editors Weigh In

Watch the webinar in which National Jeweler’s editors talk about jewelry market week trends and their predictions for the rest of 2022.

MajorsJun 24, 2022
Banter by Piercing Pagoda Celebrates Pride with ‘SayGay’ Necklace

All proceeds up to $25,000 will benefit the It Gets Better Project, a nonprofit that supports LGBTQ+ youth.

CollectionsJun 24, 2022
Piece of the Week: Marie Lichtenberg’s Hidden Message Locket

It’s a reminder that life is best lived with discretion.

TechnologyJun 24, 2022
Cloud-Based POS Software Jewel360 Launches for Jewelry Retailers

The end-to-end software allows for real-time control over all sales, inventory, repairs, customer communications, and marketing.

EditorsJun 23, 2022
Antique Show Observations From a First-Time Attendee

Associate Editor Lenore Fedow shares her impressions of the Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show and a few of her favorite finds.

GradingJun 23, 2022
AIGS Launches Grading Report for ‘Santa Maria’ Aquamarine

The Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences aims to set a color standard for the trade name.

SourcingJun 23, 2022
Rough Diamond Sales Rise Again for De Beers

Sales were up 36 percent year-over-year in June and are pacing 24 percent ahead of last year at this point.

AuctionsJun 23, 2022
Auction House Freeman’s Appoints First Rep in Florida

Kate Della Monica, a senior specialist in the Jewelry and Watches department, will relocate to the Sunshine State.

Lab-GrownJun 22, 2022
LVMH Luxury Ventures Sinks Money Into Lab-Grown Diamond Start-Up

LVMH’s investment arm has taken a stake in Lusix, a lab-grown diamond company based in Israel.

AuctionsJun 22, 2022
Here’s How Two 100-Plus-Carat Diamonds Did at Auction

Sotheby’s New York put a colorless diamond and a fancy deep orange-brown diamond up for sale last week, with mixed results.

CrimeJun 22, 2022
Leviev Diamonds Launches Bracelet to Help ‘Tinder Swindler’ Victims

Profits will help them recoup financial losses.

MajorsJun 22, 2022
Swarovski Names First Non-Family CEO

Retail veteran Alexis Nasard will step in as CEO on July 4.

SourcingJun 22, 2022
Edward Asscher to Remain WDC President for Another Year

The organization also extended the terms of Vice President Feriel Zerouki and Treasurer Ronnie VanderLinden.

IndependentsJun 21, 2022
Jeweler Tommy Glatz, Known for Being Creative and Kind, Dies at 68

Glatz owned and operated Glatz Jewelers in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania for more than 40 years.

Events & AwardsJun 21, 2022
24 Karat Club of Southern California Will Honor These Industry Leaders

The organization will present three awards at its annual dinner, dance, and gala in October.

MajorsJun 21, 2022
David Yurman Hires Chief of People, Strategy

Former McKinsey partner Emily Yueh marks new president Evan Yurman’s first hire.

TrendsJun 17, 2022
Britney Spears Wore Over $500K of Stephanie Gottlieb Diamonds at Her Wedding

The New York jeweler also made the pop star’s wedding bands.

AuctionsJun 17, 2022
5-Carat Paraiba Tourmaline Ring to Hit the Auction Block

It’s predicted to sell for up to $484,000 during the Bonhams Hong Kong Jewels and Jadeite auction on June 22.

Events & AwardsJun 17, 2022
WJA Foundation to Offer Tech Scholarships for Women of Color

The recipient will receive up to $17,500 toward a tech-focused certification or program of their choice.

×

This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy