Thursday, May 17, 2012

Shall we Talk About the Gorilla in the Room? How About the Sacred Cow?

                                                           Photo Courtesy of Benjaman Pollhein


I find it curious how often the most obvious and painful problems are ignored and overlooked by teams working to create change in their organizations.  It is almost as if the teams fear the "Gorilla in the Room" will jump up and bite them if they dare talk about it!  The fact of the matter is the Gorilla likes this...it allows the problem to just keep biting whomever he wishes, whenever he wishes.

Ever seen this in your work....in your home....in your volunteer organization?  I have found also that the "Gorilla in the Room" has another dysfunctional relative he likes to hang out with....The Sacred Cow.


Together, these two are responsible for inhibiting progress everywhere.   It often sounds like this:

  • "Oh we can't change that!  The VP will get upset!"
  • "You can't talk about that crappy MRP install!  That's forbidden!"
  • "Let's stick to the things within our control.  That (insert Gorilla or Sacred Cow name here) belongs to  Harry and he won't ever let us change that!"
  • "What Gorilla?"
If you are trying to create meaningful change, you will encounter these two ornery critters eventually.  When you do, the best way to deal with them is to look them squarely in the eyes and politely ask them to leave.  Most people are so afraid of these two that they do not realize is that once an organization decides it does not want them around and makes that known, they usually just leave!  Take the bull by the horns and remember:


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