There was a woman I knew in graduate school who could read upside down. Which is a pretty useful skill for a labor negotiator, especially in the days when a lot of the people assumed that the young woman across the table from them was “just a girl.”

Needless to say, she collected a lot of opposition strategy that way.

I was thinking about this the other day after I met with someone who had whiteboard-painted one wall in his office.

I love Dry-Erase boards. Maybe it’s the list maker in me. Or because I need a place to park random ideas for blog posts before they fade away. Or the mini-creative-me who wants to doodle away white spaces. Evernote is great, but it doesn’t stare back at you. (Yes, my to-do list is pretty long this morning.)

But here’s the problem: you don’t always want your strategy in plain sight.

It’s not really about the whiteboard, or the upside-down writing, or even the really clueless people who talk business on mobile phones in airports and coffee shops. Because I’m hyper-aware of this (and, as the daughter of a diplomat, I’m really good at keeping people’s secrets secret), I tend to point out when I see potential competitive intelligence staring at me.

For the record, there wasn’t anything like that on the whiteboard wall the other day. But what about your bulletin boards and whiteboard walls?

Photo by emdot (Flickr).

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