Elephant in the Room

Leadership Coaching with Mel Brown

Don’t Ignore the Elephant in the Room

One of the things which I have learned over my years as an organizational consultant attempting to equip individuals and organizations to accomplish their visions, missions, and goals, is that every organization has what is commonly referred to as “an elephant in the room.”

What is an Elephant in the Room?

Exactly what is meant by the term, “elephant in the room”? According, to Wikipedia.com, “the term refers to a question, problem, solution, or controversial issue that is obvious, but which is is_there_elephantignored by a group of people, generally because it causes embarrassment or is taboo. The idiom can imply a value judgment that the issue ought to be discussed openly, or it can simply be an acknowledgment that the issue is there and not going to go away by itself.” For the sake of our discussion, let’s break down the specifics as to what that means. The word “elephant” suggests that the issue or problem is so big and so heavy that no one wants to confront it or try to move it. By virtue of its size, it takes up space, energy, time and productivity. The phrase “in the room” suggests that the issue is so large that no one can help but notice it. Since it is in the middle of the room, it means that people have purposely avoided it, walked around it, and pretended it is not there rather than deal with it.