A room full of naked elephants …

One of the complaints I hear again and again from most people in business is the amount of time that they waste each and every day in business meetings.

These are meetings where the truth is never told, where decisions are never made and where everyone plays along until the meeting ends so they can rush off to their next meeting.

It’s a very rare business meeting where one finds that there’s not an elephant lurking in the room.

My own experience has been that in nearly every business meeting the room is so full of elephants that there seems hardly enough room for those in the meeting. And, what’s more, the elephants are all naked!!

I’m planning to shortly publish an article called Elephant Spotting: The Art and Science of Spotting Elephants in the Room

DFQ:  In your next meeting, instead of paying attention to the ‘Agenda’,  you can see if you can find how many elephants there are in the room.

16 thoughts on “A room full of naked elephants …

  1. Hi Arthur,

    I am thinking elephant means someone who/where: truth is never told, where decisions are never made and where everyone plays along until the meeting ends so they can rush of to their next meeting.

    This happens alot, I will be sure to check this out at my next few meetings!

  2. Arthur

    In addition the link above provides the meaning

    Elephant in the room” is an English idiom for an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss.[1]

    It is based on the idea that an elephant in a room would be impossible to overlook; thus, people in the room who pretend the elephant is not there have made a choice. They are choosing to concern themselves with tangential or small and irrelevant issues rather than deal with the looming big one.

  3. Arthur

    People use the phrase “ignoring the elephant in the room” to describe situations where people are talking about everything except the one thing that they should be talking about and which everyone knows they should be talking about.

    Imagine a family where the mother and father had a huge row the night before where all kinds of horrible things were said. The family is having breakfast talking about the weather, the day ahead, etc and ignoring the elephant in the room.

  4. Chris – the moose on the table. I like that.

    It wouldn’t work so well in Scotland where a “moose” is a “mouse”.

  5. the more you look the more elephants you will find,
    how many do you want,there always there,includeing the biggest one present [agenda]rarely gets adressed.

  6. The meeting agenda usually discuss about obvious issues, problems or initiatives – the naked elephants. Due to the full meeting agenda of these typical elephants, there is not much room for exploring other issues, problems or new ideas- the clothed elephants. Too much room for the CVS and too small room for the BVS.
    Let see how many can raise or are allowed to raise the ‘clothed elephants’ that are not listed on the agenda at next meeting…

  7. This is a great metaphor for paying attention to what is important. to be aware, awake and attentive to what is going on around you. This would apply equally well to personal as well as personal life. To see things as they are not as we wish them to be.

  8. The problem is not really the elephants so much ( after a while you can really get to like them) but more what they leave behind for others to clean up…

  9. I’ve recently retired, after almost 35 years of pointless, stupid, time-wasting meetings. I’ve lost count of the number of ridiculous suggestions, thoughtless comments and moronic utterings by people who have the imagination and intelligence of the average suet pudding. The trouble is that most of my colleagues think exactly the same as I do and yet we all play the same game and give the ‘morons’ ample leeway to bore us to death. If it weren’t for the fact that I have a photographic memory and could remember the whole of the Goon Show 1956-61 I would have gone insane. Some of the things we were asked to discuss (and these are not jokes) – whether management should have keys to toilets; if we should use coloured paper to submit work to secretaries and ( I kid you not) whether the canteen should serve porridge with sugar or salt. I’ve only ever met one manager who had any intelligence – and he was fired after 12 months! Why? Because no-one could understand him! Of course not – his meetings lasted 20 minutes and we made decisions.

Leave your thought

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.