The Back Story

The Back Story

When I first started working with leaders, I was stunned by how many organizations faltered—not because their leaders failed to come up with the right strategy, or to grasp the need to change, or to inspire their troops, or to appreciate the importance of culture—but because their relationships prevented them from doing what they and their organizations needed to do to succeed.


In each case, these leaders all shared the same conventional wisdom. When things went wrong, they assumed that individuals alone were to blame.
No one entertained the possibility that they were each eliciting behavior in the other that harmed their relationship and prevented them from making progress on high stakes business issues.

What if?

That got me thinking: What if both people came to realize that they were part of the problem—and could become part of the solution? What if they both saw what they were doing to contribute to outcomes neither liked? What if they then joined forces to alter those patterns of interaction that produced poor outcomes?

Not only would that unleash their growth as leaders, I predicted, it would unleash the growth of their firms. No longer preoccupied with each other and how to guard against the other’s impact, they could focus together on making their business a success.


With that possibility in mind, I have spent years building, testing, and revising the ideas you’ll find in The Elephant in the Room. From what people tell me, the result is a set of tools for assessing, strengthening, and changing relationships that people find both practical and transformational.

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