Presentation on theme: "The Thin Book of Naming Elephants: How to Surface Undiscussables for Greater Organizational Success Author: Sue Annis Hammond & Andrea B. Mayfield Presenter:"— Presentation transcript:
The Thin Book of Naming Elephants: How to Surface Undiscussables for Greater Organizational Success Author: Sue Annis Hammond & Andrea B. Mayfield Presenter: Dave Reazin
Working with a Client The future of the company depended on people behaving very differently. If they didn’t change, they were going to go out of business.
Look For The Saying/Doing Gap
Look For The Saying/Doing Gap Multiple Realities
Look For The Saying/Doing Gap Multiple Realities The Undiscussables
Undiscussables Subjects become undiscussable to “avoid surprise, embarrassment, or threat” (Chris Argyris)
Key Leverage Points “Paying attention to what people talk about and what they don’t talk about is often an overlooked key to organizational success”
Naming Elephants 1.Success breeds hubris
Naming Elephants 1.Success breeds hubris 2. The normalization of arrogance – Arrogant people at the top – The Screamer / Abrasive Manager
Naming Elephants 1.Success breeds hubris 2. The normalization of arrogance – Arrogant people at the top – The Screamer / Abrasive Manager 3. The Smart-Talk Trap
Discussion What are some “Elephants” that you have experienced?
How do you name Elephants? Identify what is undiscussable Surface the underlying assumptions Learn how to have constructive dialogue involving Tops, Middles, and Bottoms.
How do you Surface Assumptions? “I assume that _________ because_________” Many organizations do not have a way to surface and compare assumptions.
Constructive Dialogue “People talking to each other in a respectful manner that allows information to be shared and acted on”
Constructive Dialogue 1.Get the right people in the room 2.List all assumptions – brainstorm 3.Approach each assumption as if it were not valid 4.Assign a devil’s advocates or contrarian role – rotate role 5.Formalize the norm that every person is expected to speak.
Strategies to Name Elephants Start small Pay attention to “leemers” (gut feeling) Create cross-checks Avoid the Blame Game – Examine the impact of your action/inaction
Discussion What strategies do you use to name “Elephants?”
Strategies to Encourage Others to Name Elephants Understand the value of relationships Default to the curious, not the defensive Listen/be open to new ideas No news is bad news Dealing with arrogance
Discussion What strategies do you use to encourage others to name “Elephants?”
Leadership Strategies to Promote the Naming of Elephants Institute a Name-the-Elephant Award Establish an Ombudsman Role Create a Naming Elephant Website Use the power of a “Fundamental Surprise” Revise and reassess
Leadership Strategies to Promote the Naming of Elephants Don’t drift into hubris – Fine line between confidence and arrogance Assume incomplete communication Explore the Saying/Doing Gaps Learn from your success The real price of passivity: Losing opportunity
What you can do today “Organizational change begins with you. If you don’t have the authority to make the decisions, you certainly have the authority to challenge the decisions”