Elephant in the Room or Mice Under the Door
As a leader of a business you must determine what are the hard issues that need to be dealt with and what issues are the most pressing to resolve.
Once an “Elephant in the Room” issue is verbalized, it’s easy to identify and discuss with staff about possible resolutions. Examples of these types of issues could be the need to raise prices on a product line, the need to diversify the business’s product lines or even an ownership transition plan. Once a decision is made and implemented for the elephant in the room issue, hopefully, it will be resolved and no longer needs to be addressed.
The “Mice Under the Door” are a series of smaller issues that seem to never go away, because business leaders think these types of issues are so small that they are not a priority. The issue is that mice under the door are the types of issues that never rise to the level of priority (in management’s mind) that require action, but instead could destroy the fabric of the business a little at a time for lack of attention.
What are mice under the door types of issues? Simple examples can be employees being unable to use a convenient printer, photocopier or slow internet service. Bigger mice may be perpetual overtime in a department, a poor supervisor that management ignores or no communication on the business’s direction or strategies, leaving employees to wonder about their jobs or even worse, having employees lose any emotional connections with the company.
The real question is why are business leaders failing to address the mice under the door? How hard is it make sure that printers, photocopiers and internet service work properly versus having employees just living with broken tools? Why is it that everyone knows the supervisor is a poor supervisor, yet the manager has never worked with the supervisor to improve their performance or put them on a performance improvement plan or terminated them? There are times when the business needs employees to work overtime, but if overtime is considered the standard for a department, why are the business leaders failing to hire a new person or evaluate how the job functions in the department can be performed to reduce overtime? Why is it business leaders are unable to communicate the business’s strategy to employees? Is it because the business leaders have no business strategy or have the business leaders accepted the status quo?
The mice under the door issues are generally why people leave the business versus elephants in the room. So, what are you doing as a business leader at your company to address the “mice under the door”?