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Elephants and Hipsters in the Workplace

March 9, 2011

I’m writing this blog post in reverse.

Usually I write the post and then find a picture or some other visual rendering that I feel fits.  But this time, I found the picture first.  Not a clue what I wanted to write about, I just knew I desperately wanted to use this picture.

Initially I thought of the Aesop’s Fable about The Elephant and the Rat; the one with the moral “Because we are like the great in one respect we must not think we are like them in all.” I had a momentary vision of using that to talk about leaders and management style in the workplace.  But then I thought it might be more fun to just indulge in some random, free-flowing thoughts.

Needless to say, as our focus here tends to be on HR and the workplace, I figured I at least better find some “fit” to the Schoolhouse so, let’s see what we can come up with:


  • Elephants never forget and have good memories
  • Organizations can create and sustain memories by the sharing of organizational histories, myths and legends
  • Organizational storytelling can be practical or visionary – ranging from “how we landed that big customer” to “how we’ll look in 5 years”
  • The goal of organizational storytelling is to compel people to take action
  • No one wants to talk about the Elephant in the room.  Ever.
  • Sometimes you just have to have enough courage to be the one to start that conversation
  • Elephants have thick-skin;  “pachyderm”’ comes from the Greek word meaning thick-skinned
  • It can require a thick-skin when one DOES call out the elephant in the room
  • Big Buddy Holly glasses make everyone look smarter
  • Why do hipsters always wear those big Buddy Holly glasses?
  • God, I hate hipsters


Pretty fun.  And I didn’t even mention having visions of pink elephants when over-imbibing.

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