The only obvious elephant in the room was the one in the Dali picture, the one with the naked woman, tigers and a pomegranate (and an elephant). It is a picture that is filled with religious guilt, or am I just being pretentious?
Our elephant is trust and it would seem we are well on the way to slaying the beast. Yes, there are still issues to be addressed between the management and leadership but at least they are now out in the Savannah. That is enough elephant analogies.
We had all met again to try and bring these issues to a conclusion, to try and unmask those things that never get said yet hold us back.
Dawn had warned me that she was going to introduce some psychometrics into the proceedings. You see, she knows my mistrust of such tools although it is their misuse rather than the tools themselves that I have an issue with.
Rather than getting us all to work through our own test in splendid isolation we talked through the different criteria that underpin the process and she asked each of us to indicate where we felt we were on the scale. She gave us an example of what it might mean to be at one end or the other for each of the five criteria.
From this we were able to build up a picture of how different people felt about issues and how we may approach situations from other perspectives. We were able to recognise who sees the world in a similar way to how we do yet in every example there were no two people who came to the same conclusion in every situation.
Being human means to be different. It is very difficult for us to be absolutely clear between right and wrong. Life is a gray scale, as gray as an elephant and it is most important that we recognize our differences in a way that is positive. We need to celebrate diversity of thinking.
Thanks to Dawn we are scaring away the biggest thing that stands in our way.
2 thoughts on “Elephants revisited”
Trust is something that fascinates me (on many levels) and seems to be becoming more and more relevant in the discussions that I have and the work that I do with clients. Having the courage to bring the issue of (mis)trust out into the open and have the determination to improve the trust between people as individuals and/or between ‘groups’ within teams is less common.
That’s because it is hard to do, even with an elephant metaphor to bring it to life.
That’s because it is scary being honest about your thoughts and feelings with someone you don’t trust…..why would you? Let’s face it, sometimes it is scary being honest with our thoughts and feelings with those closest to us and whom we do trust.
That’s because it isn’t straightforward. Take today as an example. How many of us are voting from a position of trusting the party we have chosen to do the right thing and deliver on their promises? How many of us are voting strategically to try and prevent the party we trust the least achieving or maintaining power? How many of us would say we trust the party’s manifesto but not the person leading it?
In the workplace, you might trust a person to be honest with you and not to call you behind your back – but not trust them to deliver a task to a high standard. You might trust them to do a good job….but wouldn’t trust them ‘as far as you could throw them’ personally. So how would you categorise this – do you ‘trust’ them? And if the answer is ‘no’, how do you improve this?
The competence element can be easier to tackle in a lot of cases. The character of a person can be a bit more challenging – but that shouldn’t stop us trying. Stepping into someone else’s world and learning to appreciate things from their perspective is a good starting point.
After all, as Steven Covey quotes ‘Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships’. That has to be worth the effort doesn’t it?
Wow Dawn, your comment was longer than the blog. It is hard but an interesting journey to go down, one that other organisations should explore more deeply. Thanks for your help.