Mar 31 2010

The Human Whiteboard Syndrome

The Human Whiteboard Syndrome

I am working on a project with someone now (not at Return Path) who is proving to be a very frustrating colleague with whom to collaborate.  He has a condition that a friend of mine once referred to as “The Human Whiteboard Syndrome,” which means that his thoughts always reflect the last thing he heard on any given subject.  

This condition is unhealthy.  It leads to the following symptoms:

  • Whiplash:  you send people in one direction one day, another direction the next day
  • Fatigue:  rework is exhausting for those who are constantly in fluid situations, especially if they don’t have full access to information flow
  • Headaches:  it turns out that constantly changing one’s mind is painful for ones self, not just others

If you suspect you have shades of this condition – act quickly and go see a doctor.  Fortunately, it’s not contagious, but it could lead quickly to your professional demise.  If you have friends or colleagues who suffer from The Human Whiteboard Syndrome, mention it to them politely but firmly and recommend they seek immediate treatment, which generally takes the form of seeking out and synthesizing information from multiple sources, making a decision, and then communicating it clearly and loudly.