Graham Birkenhead, September 20 2022

Stay in touch with your Inner Elephant

Those elephants just sneak into the room with you, hide in plain sight whilst tucked away in corners, and cause havoc with your company’s performance.  If only we could do something about that.   

Humans have an amazing ability to see and notice things that are different or changing, but we are generally less good at seeing things that don't change.  Issues that exist within our organisation have often grown very slowly and been around for quite a long time.  They often become part of the infrastructure or culture.  We build many of our practices and processes around them - all without being aware that they are there.  A bit like gravity, we just build it into our way of working.  And because it has become such an engrained part of our operation, those members of staff that do become aware of the elephant seldom mention it because it might offend, or be told 'why did no one say something before?'  So, not putting the spotlight on the elephant also becomes part of the culture - yet another elephant in your increasingly cozy room. 

The issue with this subliminal compensation for invisible elephants and the resulting workarounds that they necessitate, is that this makes your organization incredibly inefficient. Inefficiency impacts many things including productivity, quality, morale, and of course - bottom line. 

Human beings often have an inner voice, we can call it intuition. It's our subconscious mind constantly scanning the environment picking up signals and raising flags for things that aren't quite right.    And yes, our subconscious mind knows exactly what and where those elephants are. 

Business leaders should consider intuition to be one of their key skills.   Listen to those nagging voices telling you that something isn't right.   The more you listen, the clearer you will hear, the more coherent the message will become, and the sooner you will see the elephant for what it is. 

We create these elephants through our own behaviour; we must own them 100%. As a business leader, lead your team to expose the elephants and the real issues that they represent.  Some are easy to deal with, such as those resulting from unclear messaging, but some can be deep and culturally engrained - those may need more sensitive treatment. 

And the first elephant is acknowledging that you have a room full of them, and that you need to deal with them. 

Companies that want to improve their internal processes are often hamstrung by these un-seen elephants. If you are struggling to achieve the improvements you need, we can help you by objectively assessing your operations and helping you identify and deal with your elephants. 

See you out there


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Written by

Graham Birkenhead


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