What People are Saying

What People are Saying
“Smith brings to center stage the Three R’s of leadership: Relationships, Relationships, and Relationships. One of the most brilliant and original books I’ve read, illuminating a theme, almost universally ignored, and, ironically, the indispensable core of successful leadership.”
Warren Bennis Distinguished Professor of Management University of Southern California and author of the recently published:
Still Surprised: A Memoir of a Life in Leadership
“If you’re burned out on business books, this one will wake you up. Its non-intuitive insights are as refreshing as they are useful. You’ll savor The Elephant in the Room from first sentence to last.”
—Doug Stone Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School, and coauthor of Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most
“Pick this up and you won’t want to put it down. This fascinating book combines common sense, great stories, and practical advice about how to approach relationships in the workplace. While my job is to provide healthcare for two million people, all the interactions that matter are one-on-one.”
Nick W. Turkal, MD President and CEO Aurora Health Care
“Leadership is a relationship. And it’s the quality of your relationships that will ultimately determine your level of success. No one understands this better than Diana McLain Smith. Her new book, The Elephant in The Room, is extraordinary. It’s one of the most insightful and discerning examinations of interpersonal relationships at work I’ve ever read. Buy it, read it, use it.”
Jim Kouzes Coauthor of The Leadership Challenge and The Dean’s Executive Fellow of Leadership Leavey School of Business Santa Clara University
“An exceptional book about how to navigate a terrain most leaders leave to intuition, and few know how to discuss. No leader or aspiring leader should operate without it because, at the end of the day, every organization’s success is due to the people within it.”
—Alan E. Lewis Chairman & CEO Grand Circle Corporation
“Vivid and practical insight into the relationship dynamics central to effective leadership and sustained organisational success.”
Ashley Unwin UK Consulting Leader PwC Consulting
“Smith could help the proverbial three blind men not only correctly identify their elephant, but engage it, teach it to talk, and transform it into an organizational asset.”
Roger Schwarz Author of The Skilled Facilitator
The Elephant in the Room is as wise as it is practical. The “relational perspective” will change how you think about leadership effectiveness. You’ll soon see that the way executives interact with each other is more important to the success of an organization than their qualities as individuals. Drawing from her own consulting practice and accounts of famous work partnerships, Smith provides compelling stories of relationships between leaders—famous and not so famous—that influenced business and government outcomes in profound ways. The inescapable conclusion is that a relationship-based concept of leadership is long overdue.”
Amy Edmondson Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management, Harvard Business School
“It is very rare for someone to write a book of this kind based on real-life experience that is both sensitive in human terms but also practical and hard-edged.”
—Lord Dennis Stevenson banker, former Chairman HBOS, plc
“No matter where you are along your professional journey, you’ll wish you had read The Elephant in the Room earlier. Diana Smith’s insights into what made some contemporary and historical business and political relationships succeed and others fail will make you pause and reflect. Most important, her frameworks and insights on what you can do to make your relationships successful will become part of your professional toolkit.”
Paula A. Sneed Chairman and CEO Phelps Prescott Group and Retired Executive Vice President Kraft Foods Inc.
The Elephant in the Room shows you how to navigate even the trickiest business relationships. Drawing on stories from decades of research, Smith lays out the skills we all need to develop to succeed as leaders today. An invaluable handbook for anyone seeking to get results through others. “
Marilyn Paul author of It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys
“Priceless insights into what it takes to develop and sustain healthy, productive relationships. A must-read for anyone who wants to be a successful leader.”
Gerald Chertavian Founder and CEO of Year Up
“Practical strategies for building constructive relationships in a fast- moving business context. A must for leaders as well as HR professionals.”
Jens R. Jenssen Senior Vice President People and Organisation Statoil


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