A particular problem in my company has not been addressed and continually rears its ugly head. I know it’s there, it’s frustrates the heck out of me and it creates real problems with my team, its performance and costs us a lot money each time it happens. But I don’t know where to start to address it, so I ignore the problem and deal with the problems I do know how to solve. But the problem does not go away.
You can begin solving these problems today, through a process called Whiteboarding. Whiteboarding is the use of a large white flip chart to write down in a large visible form ideas and information around an issue or business challenge.
Whiteboarding is a great way to help resolve an issue in your company. It is effective, it is cheap, and best of all it helps the leader use their team to resolve problems. Including your team in a Whiteboarding session gets more ideas from people who the problem affects; its gets more ideas and solutions out on the table; and because the key people the problem affects are involved in the analysis and solution, you get better buy-in from your employees when change in your company is implemented.
Whiteboarding begins by selecting a team of people key or stakeholders on your team. A stakeholder is a person who is involved in the problem or who the problem affects. As the leader you explain your concerns and the reason for the whiteboard session and what you want from the group. You want help to identify what the problem or challenge is and what solutions could solve the problem. Choose a facilitator-it can be you, and choose someone (“the scribe”)to write down the ideas on the whiteboard as they are contributed.
Begin a “ brainstorming” session where ideas are offered aloud by all participants. Start with identifying the problem, what it affects, and how we contribute to the problem as a team. Don’t discount any step in this process, because this is not about blame, it’s about identifying the true problem. If you don’t identify the problem, and what it affects in your business, you cannot develop solutions to the problem, right ?
All ideas are written down in bold markers on the whiteboard.
- No ideas are scoffed at
- We don’t challenge any ideas
- We all agree to be succinct and to the point
- We don’t attack each other personally
- As each page is filled up, number it, tear off and tape to the wall around the room for everyone to look at as the process unfolds
After the problem is identified open the session to the brainstorming of solutions. Here is where real the fun and excitement begins as the ideas and the energy from your team will absolutely amaze you. We are tapping into the collaborative thought of our team. We are creating an opportunity for our employees our team members to actively contribute to the success of the company. This is a simple and effective tool for leadership to get help on a problem.
You can do nothing wrong in a Whiteboarding session, if you follow the few simple rules above about how we accept ideas and input from the stakeholders. You are gathering key information and moving down a path to address the problem and improve your company. Give it a try today.