Elephant in the Room. How Relationships Make or Break the Success of Leaders and Organizations. The Jossey-Bass Business & Management Series

  • ID: 2218256
  • Book
  • 320 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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Praise for The Elephant in the Room

"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, 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–intuitiveinsights are as refreshing as they are useful. You′ll savor The Elephant in the Room from first sentence to last."
Douglas Stone, lecturer on law, Harvard Law School; and coauthor, DifficultConversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most

"Pick this up and you won′t want to put it down. This fascinating book combinescommon 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, 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, The Leadership Challenge; and the Dean′s Executive Fellowof 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 and CEO, Grand Circle Corporation

"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, The Skilled Facilitator

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FOREWORD ixPeter Senge

PART 1 Understanding Relationships 1

1 Present and Unaccounted For 3

2 The Life and Death of a Relationship 17

3 It’s a Matter of Perspective 47

PART 2 Strengthening Relationships 67

4 Using the Heat of the Moment 69

5 Mapping Relationships 89

6 Focusing Investments, Managing Costs 119

PART 3 Transforming Relationships 131

7 Navigating Change Over Time 133

8 Disrupting Patterns 143

9 Reframing Each Other 173

10 Revising What You Know 197

APPENDIX A: A Guide to Behavioral Repertoires 231

APPENDIX B: The Ladder of Reflection 243







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Diana McLain Smith is the chief executive partner of New Profit Inc., a national venture philanthropy firm. Formerly she was a partner at The Monitor Group, a global management consultancy, serving as chair of Human Dynamics and Change in Organizations at Monitor University where she taught, consulted, and conducted research. She is also a founding partner of Action Design, which specializes in professional and organizational learning.
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