Most of us have heard the expression “the elephant in the room” as a metaphor for a significant issue or problem that is obvious to nearly everyone yet still get’s ignored. These are usually emotionally charged issues that are hard to deal with so it’s easier to pretend they are not there.
Some of the elephants I see on the loose include:
- People talking at each other but not really listening
- Passive aggressive conflict between individuals or departments
- A long-term employee who no longer fits
- Projects in trouble beneath the surface of a rote status report
Elephants are big, cumbersome and leave a mess behind them. Doing nothing just lets that mess get larger and harder to clean up. Of course first you have to identify the elephant. It’s a good idea to go on ‘safari’ periodically and sit in on meetings with fresh eyes and ears. If it’s your meeting, then perhaps a fresh look in the mirror (or a safari guide) might be appropriate.Getting rid of the elephant in the room frees up a lot of space and energy for more creativity and productivity. The sooner you face the beast and deal with it the better.