Elephant Sightings

By , September 24, 2010 3:40 pm

by Karen Helde

I recently stumbled onto one of the Elephant Posts from 3 Geeks and a Law Blog. I started reading all the posts, in reverse chronological order, remaining oblivious to their original concept until the end. While reading, I decided that the elephant in the title must refer to “the elephant in the room” – the thing everyone knows but no one will discuss. I thought this was a brave and interesting theme for a series of blog posts. When I finally got to the the original post, I learned they were indeed thinking of those studiously ignored elephants parked in law firm hallways, but were also referencing the parable of the blind men and the elephant.

My memory of the parable was that it was a cautionary tale, but as I read about it, I learned that (ironically) the story has different messages depending on who’s telling it. In other words, one tradition sees the part of the story which illustrates the validity of differing perspectives, while another tradition focuses on the pitfalls of blind adherence to individual versions of reality.

The reading that worked for me in regard to this series of posts was the idea that in a work setting, projects and problems can be large, multi-textured beasts which appear very different to individual groups or departments. Sometimes those beasts are of the “elephant in the room” variety, sometimes they’re just plain old elephants. While broaching the un-acknowledgeable may be more than we want to do on a regular basis, any of us can find ways to improve the way we deal with garden-variety elephants. Maybe it means sitting down with involved parties before planning a project to get everyone’s perspective on what they think the project actually is. Maybe it means recognizing when our problem-solving is hampered by an overly narrow focus on the scope of the issue. Maybe it means getting more external input before setting priorities.

I encourage you to peruse the 3 Geek’s Elephant Posts, both for the content and for the reminder about the faceted nature of workplace experience.

One Response to “Elephant Sightings”

  1. Jan Lawrence says:

    This was a great post. Thanks for pointing out the “elephant sightings”.

LLOPS is powered by WordPress • Panorama Theme by ThemocracyLog In