Book of the month – May 2023
Elephant in the Room: Engaging with the Unsaid in Groups and Organizations by Lotte Svalgaard
Lotte Svalgaard’s book, “Elephant in the Room: Engaging with the Unsaid in Groups and Organizations,” offers a compelling exploration of the challenges surrounding difficult conversations in group settings. By delving into sensitive topics like power structures, and controversial decisions, Svalgaard provides readers with invaluable tools and strategies to navigate these conversations effectively and respectfully.
Central to the book is the concept of acknowledging the “elephant in the room”. The unspoken but glaring issue that demands attention. Svalgaard emphasizes the need to create a safe space for open communication and dialogue, where individuals can voice their thoughts and concerns without fear of judgment or retaliation. By engaging with the unsaid, participants can uncover underlying assumptions, biases, fears, and concerns that hinder communication and problem-solving, fostering transparency and productivity among team members.
A crucial aspect of addressing these hidden issues is the role of a skilled facilitator. Svalgaard highlights the importance of a facilitator who can establish a supportive environment, encouraging everyone to contribute their perspectives. Techniques such as deliberative interactions, open dialogue, and addressing language and power differentials can help individuals feel comfortable sharing their experiences, further promoting a climate of trust and understanding.
Furthermore, Svalgaard introduces the concept of double awareness. This term was derived from Harold Bridger’s notion of the “double task.” It underscores the simultaneous attention required for both action and process in group settings. It encourages individuals to reflect on the psychological and social dynamics unfolding alongside the primary task at hand. By practicing double awareness, group members can gain insights into the underlying processes that impact their collective efforts and address any unaddressed issues hindering effectiveness.
Who would benefit from reading this book?
In essence, the book argues that open communication is fundamental to effective collaboration and problem-solving in any group or organization. By addressing the hidden issues through facilitated discussions, teams can cultivate transparency, empathy, and trust among their members. With its practical strategies and insightful concepts like double awareness, this thought-provoking book serves as a valuable resource for individuals seeking to improve group dynamics, foster effective collaboration, and unlock the full potential of their organizations. Lotte Svalgaard’s expertise and guidance provide readers with the necessary tools to navigate challenging conversations and create a more inclusive and productive work environment.
This book can be purchased in print in your favourite bookshop. There is also a Kindle version available on Amazon.
If you want to check our previous Book of the Month selection, you can find it here: