Early in my career I was in a staff meeting and felt that a critical issue was being danced around without anyone addressing it. I got more and more agitated until I finally interrupted and pointed out the elephant in the room.
However, I must have had my metaphor wires crossed that day because what I came out with was something like:
There’s a big hairy baby in the middle of the table and none of us are talking about it!
As you might guess, this caused great hilarity and I think my face turned purple. It did get the issue out there, though, and we dealt with it.
You have to put the hairy baby on the table and talk about it if you really want to make a difference. Ignoring these tough issues is often what gets an organization into deep trouble over time.
In my previous post on entrepreneurship, the Drucker quote starts with ‘everyone who can face up to decision making.’ Making decisions is critical to actually creating value. No decision, no action. A tremendous amount of my work in consulting and coaching essentially boils to down to helping my clients identify and make important decisions.
Point out those hairy babies, talk them through, and make sure a decision is made. It is one of the most valuable things you can do in a meeting or planning session.