Power of the Pen - Leading from the Whiteboard

Power of the Pen - Leading from the Whiteboard


Hello! Welcome to Whiteboard Wednesday. We are so glad you're here.

At the Whiteboard Academy, we’re on a mission to help others unlock awesome through visual thinking. We’re helping transform business culture and changing the way that companies innovate to bring ideas to life. Our online workshops and corporate trainings are showing facilitators, teams and leaders how to harness the POWER of the PEN!

For over twenty years, we have worked with companies large and small as innovation strategists. We have seen company cultures elevated, leaders promoted and literally millions of dollars saved by using the power of the pen to capture & refine ideas at the whiteboard.

Gone are the days when leaders will succeed by standing at the back of the room with arms crossed while their teams present ideas, and they secretly hold the veto card in their back pocket. 

Today’s rising leaders are at the front of the room, leading the conversation from the whiteboard.

They are encouraging collaboration and participation from everyone in the room.

Look around and notice all the whiteboards in offices and meeting rooms across the world sitting empty and quiet. Those are missed opportunities as organizations keep circling and passing right by their big aha moments.

Not anymore. Change begins today. YOU have a choice! You can sit back at your next meeting and zone out, or you can lean in and engage and encourage others by listening with a pen.

Imagine if someone were holding space for the ideas in the room. Imagine if everyone in the room was empowered to contribute ideas without the fear of being wrong. Imagine if everyone were invited to help drive the company strategy, if there was a culture of innovation and courage and a shared sense of team performance.

That is exactly what happens when you learn to unlock the POWER of the PEN. The process of listening and capturing ideas in a visual way. When you step up and write on the whiteboard, you invite and encourage others to join in the conversation. People feel heard. They want to contribute. They want to be part of something bigger than themselves. And it all begins by picking up the pen.

Here are three tips you can use today to begin to harness the POWER of the PEN:

  1. GOOD TOOLS MATTER. First of all, you need to have good, bold markers. Nothing is worse than dead markers! A set of fresh whiteboard markers costs a couple of bucks, but the value is orders of magnitude more. Bold marks help invite bold ideas, and people can see what’s happening from everywhere in the room. 

    Is your team worth the tiny investment of fresh markers? Plus, imagine the response when you show up to your next meeting with your own whiteboard markers. It shows that you expect great things to happen. And they will.

  2. SOMETHING BEATS NOTHING. The next word of encouragement is that it doesn’t have to be good. Just pick up a pen and start. It’s not about art, it’s about ideas. Stick figures work perfectly fine. No one is expecting fine art at the whiteboard, people expect it to be fast and messy. The whole beauty of the whiteboard is that you can erase it and add to it. That’s the point. 

    Once people see SOMETHING, then they can add to it. Together, you can make the ideas better. Once you can point to the ideas on the whiteboard, it allows your team to say YES AND here’s how we can make it even better. And consider this, if you don’t pick up the pen, the alternative is NOTHING, just a blank whiteboard.

  3. PRACTICE MAKES PROGRESS. Once you experience a meeting like this, when you start to harness the power of the pen, you won’t ever want to meet without a whiteboard. Your team will become more empowered to share their ideas, you will be given more opportunities to lead, and a shared sense of collaboration will grow. 

    As you practice capturing ideas in a visual way, you’ll build a visual vocabulary that you can draw from. A mental library of icons and simple graphics that you can use to represent ideas. Keep at it. Remember, no one is ever good at something when they're first starting out. But, like riding a bike, soon it will become second nature. Be sure to check out our Top 50 Business Icons for some inspiration.

You’re doing great! Keep it up!

We invite you to book a discovery call with Muddy & Diane to discuss having the Whiteboard Academy train your team how to unlock awesome through the POWER of the PEN.

UNLOCK AWESOME at WORK. You got this!

Cheers, Muddy and Diane 
Co-Founders, Whiteboard Academy

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