Communication problems present themselves through a variety of symptoms, and when we don’t recognize or do anything about it those symptoms grow into elephants in our conference rooms.

The concept of everyone getting along all the time is false. It’s the skill sets of the team that indicate where communication problems will (and already do) exist. One role of leader to recognize and hold the teams objectives and bring disagreements, ideas, and friction together to achieve the common goal. What happens when business leaders don’t do that are elephants in the conference room. Listen in on Jessica Dewell and Scott Scowcroft discuss purposeful action, content and context of communication.

Program 78 - Elephants in the Conference RoomStarting the Conversation:

  • How clear are we in communication?
  • Team qualities – functional and dysfunctional.

Host: Jessica Dewell

Co-host: Scott Scowcroft

Transcript of Program: Elephants in the Conference Room

What You Will Hear:

Self-awareness, communication, and getting in our own way.

The two parts of communication.

Motives and emotion.

Agreement on communication process (and what to do when problems are exposed).

Challenging the idea that we all need to grow in the same direction.

Assumptions (are subjective) and must be put in check. Communication pokes holes and finds them.

When we look up, we trip.

Purposeful action is a plan to do what we want and get what we want.

Process to effectively communicate (and minimize the elephants in the room).

Notable and Quotable:

Jessica Dewell: If I hold up a mirror and think about the way I communicate, it becomes obvious that I’m not always as good of a communicator as I think I am.

Scott Scowcroft: Don’t use jargon when talking to people [and stakeholders] outside of the organization.

Scott Scowcroft: Details can be data, details can also be intuition.

Jessica Dewell: The practice of problem solving and empathy illuminate when our emotions drive motives and are getting in the way.

Jessica Dewell: Speak up when people are making decisions from emotion – when we don’t we’re also culpable.

Scott Scowcroft: Recognize for what [it] is and decide what to do about it.

Jessica Dewell: When involving the team in finding a solution, be ready to include them through every step of the process.

Jessica Dewell: Culture is what we know to be true even if they fly in the face of what’s said.

Scott Scowcroft: Ability to apply underlying values to whatever situation arises.

Jessica Dewell: Say it out loud [even when its obvious].

Jessica Dewell: Recognize what we are looking for, and our response to it.

Scott Scowcroft: Content of communication is the plan.

Jessica Dewell: Strife and conflict can make the outcomes better.

Jessica Dewell: When we don’t say what’s on our mind, people will fill it in for us.

Scott Scowcroft: It’s up to the leader to determine what is a well balanced and run organization.


  • Elephants in the Conference Room

Elephants in the (Conference) Room

Tags: communication, action, motives, principles, business, content, context, emotions, details, values, culture,  productivity, assumptions, relationship, purposeful action, plan, choice, adaptable, process