A blueprint for dealing with problem avoidance in organizations.
The title of executive coach and debut author Wilson’s nonfiction debut addresses the metaphorical “elephants in the room”: the many ways that people tend to avoid dealing with seemingly unsolvable issues in businesses and other organizations, which only allows those problems to worsen and multiply and cause unnecessary tension and stress. As Wilson notes, the signs of such elephants are many and unmistakable: People become quiet, organizational team members make knowing eye contact with one another, questions about issues go unanswered, and so on. She goes on to detail the different types of elephants, which represent avoidance, blame, deflection, and other unhelpful behaviors. The book aims to propose strategies for understanding signs and smoothing out the underlying problems that they bring to light. Humans bring emotions to everything they do, she notes, and owning up to this is a key element of her strategies: “When we can acknowledge and own our part of creating the elephant, even if it is tiny, and share that with the other person or team,” she writes, “we create an invitation for them to see and own their part.” Wilson’s book is tremendously compassionate and engaging, full of whimsical, uncredited cartoon images to illustrate its points and text insets for easier reading and discussion. The book often circles back to its strongest central tenet: self-knowledge. “In my experience,” Wilson writes, “exploring and owning your role is the hardest of all the questions to explore.” Readers dealing with tangled organizational or team problems will find a good deal of cleareyed good sense in these pages.
An upbeat and insightful guide to confronting behaviors that hinder success.