What do you need to be talking about in your organization that is only discussed behind closed doors? Last week I attended the Power of Self Leadership program and participated in an exercise called "Naming Elephants" based on the book of the same name. You've likely heard the saying that "there is an elephant in the middle of the room and no one is talking about it." The elephant is the obvious problem that we all know exists, yet don't mention, often because we fear retribution or embarrassment.
Some common elephants:
- It becomes normal to deviate from the rules. Everyone knows the meeting starts 10 minutes late. The deadline is not the real deadline. It's ok to run over budget; in fact it's good. You will get more money next year!
- Not walking the talk. A leader says that he values all opinions, but tunes out or retaliates when an opposing view is expressed.
- Arrogance becomes the norm. The company has a policy about expenses. Some adhere; others do not. Leaders claim a high level of ethics, but accept perks from vendors.
- Clever talk is valued over action. The "game" in the organization is to sound smart, tear down other's ideas, use the biggest words. Results are underappreciated.
- The system is broken. Top leadership does not set the vision or micromanages rather than developing managers. Those whose job it is to serve customers, don't know what to do. Middle managers are pulled in multiple directions, accomplishing little.
What elephants roam your organization? Here's a hint, what do people talk about behind closed doors? In the coffee room? On texts or emails during a meeting? Leave a comment or drop me a note. I would love to hear from you and share some common elephants on a future post.