Have you ever looked at a report/newsletter/publication of one type or another and at first glance it looked so overwhelming that you simply put it on the stack . . . you know the one . . . the stack of stuff you’re going to go through when you have time, even though deep down you know that you will never really get to it? Yeah, that one. So what’s the difference between the things that go in the stack and those that you actually read/respond to? My guess is white space. Really! White space makes things more appealing, more approachable, less intimidating. It allows you to breathe. (I’m not making that up . . . it’s a legitimate design philosophy!)
So how much white space is there in your leadership?
Do you come across so bursting at the seams with ideas/plans/stuff that you overwhelm people? Do they put your ideas “in their stack” to deal with once they get through the crisis of the day, but never really get back to it? Are you surprised/frustrated/disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm you receive for what you are sure is an awesome plan? White space.
White space doesn’t mean you dilute the idea, simply that you give it room to breathe . . . to hear what others are thinking about the plan, and how it might impact the other 57 things on their plate at the moment. White space gives focus and importance to the things held within it. White space may mean that you carve out dedicated time to discuss a concept rather than dump it on someone in a drive-by conversation. It may mean that you give people time to ponder and reflect before you ask for their input. White space requires distillation. It’s easier to include every detail rather than boil an idea down to the most important elements. White space requires discipline, and it makes an impact.
And what about you? Do you allow yourself white space? If you’re going full tilt 24/7, when do you have time to learn, to reflect, to renew? How many times have you had a great idea in the shower, or when you were “goofing off” or letting your mind wander. White space. How long has it been since you carved out time for letting your brain breathe? I’m not talking about vegging out in front of the TV or losing several hours to social media. I mean getting outside, or diving headlong into a good book; learning something new or cooking a gourmet meal. The great ideas are in there, just waiting for you to slow down enough for them to unfold.
And all it takes it white space.