Thought leader Dan Pink recently shared a post in which he described his favorite pencil. It does not have an eraser, so I am sure it would not make my list, but it started me thinking about writing implements in a way I had not done before.

There is something for everyone, even when just considering pencils and not the many other choices that abound for hand-written communication. CW Pencil Enterprise is an entire store dedicated to selling just pencils and their accessories. And who knew that an elite pencil sharpener could cost over $500? I could buy boxes and boxes of my trusty Ticonderogas for that price and just toss them when the tip was dull!

I am not a connoisseur of pencils, so what I know about them, and what I want to know about them, is very limited. But for others, choosing the right one is an art. To start, the Pencil Enterprise’s blog shares a handy chart of what all those letters on pencils mean. From there, you can learn more about the graphite/clay composition of the lead, the wood, the width and so on. 

All this reminded me of the concept that experts notice nuances whereas non-experts only can observe broad characteristics. Show me an enrollment report, and undoubtedly I will have 20 questions whereas you might have none. Show me a pencil and I might ask if it is a #2, but otherwise I would have no further inquires for the Pencil Enterprise staff. 

A job of the leader is to help those around you see those fine distinctions and know more questions to consider. Share your expertise in areas where you have it, and ask experts in other areas to sharpen your knowledge about points you can’t even fathom.

beth triplett

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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