Dealing with the Elephant in the Room

Dealing with the Elephant in the Room

I was facilitating a planning meeting yesterday with one of my clients. Towards the end of the day, we were discussing what the company needed to achieve in the next 90 days, to be able to say, with any credibility, they had a good quarter. At this critical point, the energy in the room began to dip, and everyone started to look uncomfortable. The reason this happened: there was “an elephant in the room”.

The elephant was an issue that was being alluded to but not directly addressed.
Fortunately, the leader of the company stepped up and called out the elephant in the room. As a result, the whole meeting changed, the energy picked up, and they began to focus on how to deal with the issue.

If you’re the leader of the organization and you know the elephant is in the room,
show some courage and call it out, because all progress begins by telling the truth.

Three things happen when you call out the elephant in the room:
1. You demonstrate personal integrity and people have more confidence in you as a leader.

2. The elephant in the room is usually a person. When you call out the issues surrounding that person you can then have a conversation with them and address the problems. There is an opportunity for that person to change and grow.

3. As a result of those awkward conversations, the company itself can improve and grow and develop.

My clients ended the meeting with a clear 90-day action plan; I’m looking forward to congratulating them on a successful quarter.

If you run a construction company, of over $10 million in annual revenue, and think you may benefit from engaging a meeting facilitator, go to my web site,, give me a few details, and I’ll reply within 24 hours.