Chances are that you met with a lot of family members this Diwali. Chances are that there were a lot of conversations at the dinner table. What is more, it is entirely likely that the elephant in the room never came up - after all, its so big and can cause such a mess!
Debut author, Amit Nagpal talks about exactly this phenomenon. In his book ‘The Elephant at the Dinner Table’, which is all about acknowledging conflicts and finding a way out of them.
To be fair, he acknowledges all that came before him liberally; Daniel Goleman and emotional intelligence for instance. At the same time, he argues that ‘emotional intelligence’ is given ‘step-cousin’ treatment and bracketed among soft skills. But because relationships are at the heart of a successful business, the intelligence to address and resolve conflicts has become vital.
Lets highlight a few key discussions and propositions outlined in the book.
1. How's this for a start? 'When you have got the elephant by the hind leg and he is trying to run away, its best to let him run.'
2. The story of an elephant at an important American Express meeting- yes, you heard me right- is frankly an eye opener.
3. Two sayings are repeated again and again- “An elephant never forgets’ and “Leaders talk.” The author drives home the point that unresolved issues grow to become roadblocks and that its vital that leaders engage back when important issues are discussed.
4. We find it hard to admit mistakes because…. (Fill in the blanks). This is a very important chapter in the book and as a reader, I found that I was mulling over my reasons. The author talks about this quite candidly, including a reference to an article called ‘The Art of Manliness’ that explains quite simply why we struggle to own our mistakes.
5. Extending the above, the author equates those incapable of adaptability- as those who may never address the elephant in the room at all. Living in their own rigid cages, they miss the fact that something completely outside their thinking could well be true.
The book is easy to read and I found that the book was able to touch aspects of my personal as well as professional life. Its a well meaning book. And don’t miss the ‘relationship poem’ called ‘Threads.’ Its absolutely worth your time!
Note to the publisher: This is a very reader friendly book. The QR code and additional resources at the end of the book are a wonderful addition to an invested reader.