We all know the term “the elephant in the room”.
This phrase usually refers to a serious issue that everyone knows about but doesn’t acknowledge or mention because it’s difficult to discuss or deal with.
Examples of elephants hanging about in rooms are all around us. I bet some of these sound familiar:
- Work teams that have long running conflict which hampers results but is never dealt with
- Managers who have problem employees but never “get around to” addressing the behaviour
- Couples who can communicate well about trivial things but avoid discussing important life decisions
- People who want to move forward but don’t recognise the bad habits that are keeping them stuck
The problem is that elephants, wonderful creatures that they are, really don’t belong in rooms. They take up space, they make it difficult to move around, they break all of our good stuff and, if we’re not careful, we can end up getting squished.
There’s a 6-step process I recommend for getting elephants to go outside and stay outside where they belong:
- See the elephant clearly for what it is – not what it used to be, or what it might become.
- Talk about the elephant in the room in a calm, rational and clear way.
- Consider the various options for removing the elephant and agree on the best one.
- Carry out the chosen elephant-evacuation plan.
- Discuss what elephant-proofing needs to be done so no other stray elephants find their way in.
- Agree on what will be done if any more elephants do happen to sneak in.
Good luck shifting your elephants. I hope you enjoy the results!