A whiteboard is a portal to a better future.
When you gather your team around a whiteboard and grab a handful of markers, you're beginning a powerful process. Strategy sessions can shape organizations, ministries, even cities.
Yet they often fall flat. The conversation solves nothing and only generates lists. Members of your team disengage out of boredom or frustration. Opportunities slip off into the night.
But it doesn't have to be this way.
I've noticed that drawing - the simple act of shifting from word and lists to word-pictures - has had a huge impact for my teams.
Here's what drawing can do for your strategy development ...
Focuses the conversation
If you have a busy and active ministry or business, I'm sure you can find a dozen topics to talk about in a strategy session. Kicking ideas around. Brainstorming. I love doing these things. But they can pull a team off topic.
One of the major reasons people hate developing ministry or business strategy is because you have a lot of conversations that lead to very little action. Talk and talk. You get out the ingredients to make a dozen meals, but don't put anything into the oven.
Drawing pictures provides a visual focus for the conversation. The whiteboard becomes an anchor. If the conversation starts to drift, a squiggly line or a circle or a question mark can bring it right back.
Pictures are also a little more concrete than conversation. Pushing your team to draw problems and solutions forces them to be more descriptive, more in depth, more creative.
[For an illustration of this, check out my post from last week: A Simple, Sample Strategy Session]
Includes the whole team
Anyone can grab a marker. And this is a wonderful thing. Strategy sessions shouldn't have spectators. We want everyone engaged.
Participation can be free flowing, various members jump up and draw as ideas come to them and as the conversation rolls around. This works great on creative teams.
But participation can also be solicited.
- How should we draw X?
- Mark where on the graph you'd place yourself.
- Grab a marker and rank our options
This is something we all need. Deeper insight. Into our problems. Into our options. Into our pathways forward.
Drawing gives you visual markers to see where your conversation has gone (and where it hasn't). Drawing helps you explore multiple lines of action at once (like in the strategy session and the Mega versus Missional conversation). Drawing can also help you choose the right next step (as Andy Stanley said "A good step is easy, obvious and strategic).
What's keeping you from drawing in your strategy sessions?