Monday May 7, 2012 by George Roberts - Venture Partner, OpenView Venture Partners
When you look up the phrase “the elephant in the room” in Wikipedia you get:
“Elephant in the room” is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss.
The first quarter ended and now is when board season begins for founders and or CEO’s, their investors, and independent board members. Board meetings begin and board meetings will end, and unfortunately many of them never get around to talking about that prickly pachyderm, “the elephant in the room.”
What could be going unaddressed? Examples include:
And the list goes on and on…
At OpenView, it is our objective to make sure this does not happen in the board meetings with our portfolio companies. After all, nothing impedes an expansion-stage company’s progress more than an elephant in the room that does not get addressed, talked about, and remedied.
Everyone who is involved at the board level needs to make it their responsibility to talk about the elephant, or, more likely, the elephants in the room (because when you have a company that is growing rapidly and trying to scale there is often more than one) during the board meeting. If you’re not, a simple but effective way to make sure you do is make to it the last item on the board agenda for every meeting. You owe it to yourself and everyone in your company to discuss problems and issues no matter how uncomfortable they might be. Otherwise, you risk never living up to your potential, or, worse yet, you might just become another company that does not succeed in the market place.
Think about it…
All the best!
George Roberts is a Venture Partner with OpenView Venture Partners. You may find this post, as well as additional content on OpenView's blog located here. You can also follow George (@GeorgeJRoberts) on Twitter by clicking here.