Elephants In Hiding
Going on Safari in Africa is an amazing experience because you get to see animals outside of a traditional zoo setting. You can see prides of lions enjoying a nap, troops of hippopotamus wallowing in muddy water, and herds of elephants.
On my first safari, I was surprised how often elephants hide. These are big animals – typically weighing over 13,000 pounds and standing over 10 feet tall. They are the “gentle giants of the jungle” with no real predators, but they often prefer the comfort of not being fully visible.
I snapped this one photo of a hidden elephant:
And I thought about the hidden elephants in the organizations I have worked with. Sometimes, the hidden elephant is the staff, board member, or volunteer who does amazing work but never seeks accolades or recognition. They work quietly and relatively obscurely – – – and they are the unsung heroes of the nonprofit sector.
Who are some of the hidden elephants in your organization, and how can you recognize them?
Of course, organizations also have “bad elephants” hiding as well. In order to sustain themselves, elephants eat 2000% of their weight every year (that’s over 120,000 pounds of foliage every year). Consequently, they can easily turn savannas into grasslands, cause erosion, and harm biodiversity.
Most organizations also have these hidden “bad elephants”. People who are often unintentionally but quietly doing a lot of damage. Perhaps the person is passive aggressive, quietly starting fights between others. Or perhaps the person is underperforming. And truly aggressive, anti-social elephants must be removed for the good of the herd and the organization.
When you look closely, do you have any destructive elephants hiding in your organization? What can you do to remove them or eliminate their ability to cause damage?