Leadership Spotlight

The Black Dot 

Stock image of a person with a marker preparing to write on a whiteboard.


Take a fresh piece of white paper and make a black dot in the center. This dot can represent an issue troubling your agency. It could involve training, equipment, budgeting, personnel, or even community relations. You decide―it is your issue. It is your black dot. 

Now, take this piece of paper and show it to others. Ask them what they see. Chances are most persons will see only the black dot. Their eyes will focus and become fixated on it. As a leader you must see all the white around the black dot. Start to make notes. Fill in the white space with all the positives occurring within your agency. Think about all the effective efforts your personnel have made in the community. When is the last time you recognized someone in your organization for a job well done? Write down the changes you have made within your agency. Include your accomplishments. Note what others have accomplished. Leave room for possible solutions to your issue. Include your ideas in the white space. Keep thinking and writing.  

Within no time the white will fade, and the dot will become unnoticeable. Your issue will become workable. Involve others with your black dot. A fresh set of eyes may be all you need to make the impossible, possible. By taking on your issue in pieces and parts, you can develop strategies to chip away at it. In the end, the seemingly insurmountable black dot no longer exists―you have made progress. As a leader you have found ways to cope with and improve a situation.  

Next, grab a fresh piece of white paper. Place a black dot in the center. This can represent what is left pertaining to your issue. Fill the white spaces with new ideas and accomplishments. Make that black dot disappear.

Supervisory Special Agent Russell Kleber, an instructor in the Leadership and Communication Unit at the FBI Academy, prepared this Leadership Spotlight.