Never Trust a Whiteboard

More will change in 2021 than in 2020.

Organizations fighting to stay afloat this year will lay anchor a new world next year. In the unknown of change, meetings will be called and brainstorming will commence with everyone’s trusty friend: the whiteboard.

Whiteboards live in boardrooms surrounded by staff freely ideating the future. You can hear it now:

“Someone get up there and take notes”

“No bad ideas!”

“Keep ‘em coming!”

“What else?”

“Say more about that!?”

I love whiteboards. But, you should not trust them. Why? Because whiteboards live where you do, surrounded by people who work beside you, meagerly capturing your ideas. A whiteboard can only capture what you already know. It’s an average representation of yesterday’s ideas. 

It’s fine if you’d like a multi-colored abstraction of the concerns of the folks you ride the elevator with. The future of your company is not in their heads. 

Your future lives with the people you serve. Their ideas weren’t invited to the meeting, and you aren’t squinting to read their handwriting.

To discover your organization’s future, you need not huddle in a room with the same people who created the old way to discover the new way.

You need to listen.

  • Listen to what matters to your customers.
  • Listen to the pain you’ve solved in the past.
  • Listen to how they want it solved in the future.
  • Listen to how they talk about you.

Your whiteboard can tell collect ideas. It cannot tell you what matters most.

Your whiteboard can make the old way better. It can only meagerly inform a new way.

Your whiteboard didn’t get you into this mess, and it sure can’t get you out of it.

Never start with the whiteboard. Start with listening. Then, come back and tell your whiteboard all about it.

Want to create a listening plan? I can help! Schedule a 15-minute phone call today.

3 thoughts on “Never Trust a Whiteboard

Comments are closed.

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: