‘The elephant in the room’ is that unseen creature that everyone knows is there. It is a harbinger of bad and distasteful information. Authors Steven Vannoy and Craig Ross use this elephant idiom to describe all of the bad practices so beloved by even the largest of corporations. Using their experience as management consultants within a very diverse set of industries they share their techniques and strategies for creating corporate cultures that are harmonious, creative, and forward headed in direction.
In general I do not like business books, they tend to be very dry and coma inducing. Stomp The Elephant is a little different. They have included some aspects that I can only call masterful, many of the concepts they explore are also explained in the home life setting. Dealing with kids, dogs, wives, and all of the other things that life includes. You don’t have to be a captain of industry to take advantage of these concepts.
This cleverly avoids the big mistake that many books make, the concepts may be sound but they seem to only apply to the CEO, what about the poor guy slogging away in the mail room?
In fact I liked some of the concepts in Stomp The Elephant so much that I decided to take them out for a test drive. I won’t go into the details, but it did involve an important, well at least to me important, business situation. So far the results have been spectacular. I guess I am a convert!
I hear you ask, is this more ‘Snake Oil’? I would say no. In fact the best way I can describe it is in a quote by Patrick Swayze from the rambunctious movie Road House, â€œBe niceâ€. Be nice to folks around you, be nice to yourself.
OK Stomp The Elephant is a little more complex than my two word summary, but in my mind that really is the crux. Pointing fingers, assigning blame, and having a negative reaction is what most people do when faced with a problem, change, or challenge. However this reaction is wrong, it does nothing to solve the problem, but much to compound it, this is a destructive direction to move in. Don’t dwell on the problem, but focus on the solution. Don’t fixate on what failed, rather explore what aspects worked.
In some ways this is rather like the Roman God Janus. Janus is the god of gates and doors, and is represented by two faces, one looking forward through the door, the other looking backward at the gate. We too have that ability, we can focus of the problem, which is looking backward, or focus on the solution which is looking forward.
Things will happen that take you by surprise, the question is how will you react? Will you take the low road and be negative, or take the high road and find the solution?