Friday, August 12, 2011

Book Review: The Elephant In The Room


Diana McLain Smith's new book, The Elephant in the Room, explains how relationships make or break the success of leaders and organizations.

It's not a light right.  For those who really want to understand relationships, however, this book, based on Smith's clinical research and a wealth of in-depth observational studies, is both insightful and worth the effort.

Smith explains that when people click or clash, we typically chalk it up to chemistry and leave it at that.  But, she knows there are many dynamics within that relationship that need understanding by a leader to create success.

In fact, she says it's possible to identify and analyze the seemingly mysterious ingredients that go into the makings of a relationship.  And, given the right tools, it's possible to understand what happens when a relationship forms, and then to actually anticipate what might happen next.  That anticipation is critical, claims Smith.

Smith also shows readers how all relationships evolve over a series of stages, as people adapt to each other and the circumstances around them.  She then demonstrates how to see, map and change the informal side of a relationship so it grows stronger, not weaker, over time.

Finally, a key point in the book is that:
  • to improve a relationship, you need to focus on changing the relationship, not just yourself or the other person.

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