Credit Union leaders spend spend much of their time thinking about ways to grow their credit unions and solve the problems they are experiencing.

Their conversations often take place on the run, at a conference table between meetings, or sometimes over lunch (when they have time to grab a bite to eat).

It’s not uncommon at some point in these conversations for someone to grab a pen and a napkin, business card, or tablet to sketch out their thoughts and explore solutions.

That’s the core premise behind Dan Roam’s book The Back of the Napkin.

Roam points out the most people are visual thinkers, so when they explain their ideas they rely on pictures. Though many argue that they are not good at drawing, they nonetheless reach for a pen and paper to map out their thoughts. Their goal being to show the listener how they came up with their idea and why it will work.

In The Back of the Napkin, Roam suggests there is much more to this simple process of sketching ideas on napkins than we may realize. He reveals its power by showing us how we think and revealing the role that pictures play in our thinking.

Along the way, he outlines a straightforward approach to becoming more effective in solving problems and selling ideas with pictures. Best of all, he shows us that there are only a few basic shapes one needs to learn to draw in order to become an effective visual communicator.

Dan Roam is founder and president of Digital Roam, Inc., a management consulting firm that helps executives solve problems through visual thinking. His client list includes Google, eBay, General Electric, Walmart, Wells Fargo Bank, the United States Navy, and many others. The insights he reveals through the examples he shares make the book a great reference for improving visual communication.

ACTION ADVICE: Pick up a copy of The Back of the Napkin and give it a read, then put it in an easy to reach place for reference. The ideas are solid and useful, and applying the concepts of visual thinking will improve your problem solving, decision making, and selling of ideas.