Most of us have heard the expression “there’s an elephant in the room.” Elephants are those unspoken issues that hang around because no one wants to talk about them. They limit our ability to achieve intended results. Yet for a variety of reasons, people fail to address the elephants for fear of personal or professional reprisals. Ironically, expressing those concerns in a professional way can make a significant difference in resolving them.
While some may use the excuse, “it doesn’t matter” or “it’ll go away on its own,” elephants will monopolize and limit the results of any company, association and/or project when ignored.
Sensitive Elephants. If there is a topic that needs to be addressed that can be embarrassing or hurtful to others, have a private conversation with the few people who can resolve it. Don’t get caught up in recycling “ain’t it awful” or “it shouldn’t be that way” or “it’s too hard.” Come up with a workable outcome everyone can live with – even if everyone does not wholeheartedly agree.
Overwhelming Elephants. While the issue may seem enormous, start the conversation simply and slowly. Allow others the opportunity to voice their concerns without fear of reprisal. Many will find the elephant isn’t so big after all. Once everyone is on the same page, brainstorm solutions and create focused action plans to disappear the elephant.
Dancing Elephants. When you don’t tell the truth, the elephant will dance from one area of the company into another. Remember, the truth is required when addressing the details, creating new systems and adjusting attitudes of the people involved.
Get help from an outside business advisor to ensure the elephants in your company are no longer monopolizing its results.
©Jeannette Seibly, 2011-2015
It can be lonely at the top! An experienced business advisor, always accessible and at a nearby desk can make a positive and powerful difference for you, and your employees. My goal is to be your in-house advisor, your ally and sounding board as you navigate the complex world of your business!
(Contact: JLSeibly@SeibCo.com OR 303-917-2993)