The term “Elephant in the Room” applies to an obvious truth that’s being ignored or to a problem that no one wants to discuss. Elephants exist in every business or home.
While they exist in strategy and other aspects of business, the biggest elephants often relate to people and interpersonal issues, such as…
- Poor Performers – That person everyone knows needs to be fixed or fired.
- Broken Relationships – People who don’t get along but no one wants to bring it up.
- Failing Projects – Initiatives that working but nobody wants to attack someone’s else’s pet project?
- Leadership Gaps – A lack of leadership or direction that requires someone to point out the “naked emperor”.
- Is It An Elephant?
Make sure others agree that it’s an unspoken issue before you bring it up in public. You might end up making an elephant where one doesn’t exist. Get at least one ally in advance to join you in “calling out” the elephant.
- Make a Plan
Don’t just fire off about the elephant whenever you feel like it. Plan the timing and prepare for the emotions you and others will experience. Make notes and stick to them – keep cool and don’t let emotion derail your genuine push to address the elephant.
- Be Completely Honest
Directly name the elephant and cover all it’s aspects. Don’t fudge or hide the parts you personally don’t want to face. Ask everyone to contribute to the naming and description of the elephant and its impact on the group. Keep everyone contributing.
- Get Closure
Make sure everyone knows that the elephant is no longer a taboo topic and that brighter days are coming as it gets addressed. Pay attention to emotions as they dictate whether people will actually work to eliminate the elephant. Like any successful initiative, take notes, make plans and act!
At White Tower Strategies, we are experts on “room elephants”. If you think you have one (or perhaps even a small herd), give us a call.