Baby Gorillas Can Be Anywhere. Even in Your Office.

Raffa Financial ServicesRaffa Financial Services on 10/01/2018

Do you have strange potentially dangerous things happening in your organization? Are there issues you are constantly working around, ignoring, or just plain hiding from?

Perhaps your problems painfully obvious, like an 800 pound gorilla.

Or maybe your issues are more like little baby gorillas. They aren’t causing too much trouble yet, but you know they have the potential to. Instead of chasing them out of the office, are you letting them hang around, hoping they’ll stay small and manageable?

Whether you’re dealing with an underperforming sales team, an absent leader, or a cranky customer service rep, you may think these it can’t possibly put your entire organization at risk. But if you keep allowing any one problem to grow and get bigger, eventually it can become a threat.

It’s time to get to work

They say the first step to fixing a problem is recognizing it, but what really matters is what you choose to do after that point.

Labeling a problem (baby gorilla!) and then simply ignoring it only enhances your chances of a big, hairy surprise.

So what should you do instead?

1. Shine a light on it

If you don’t bring up the issue, it won’t be addressed.

And yet how many times have you brought up a concern only to have it rationalized as temporary, not worth fixing, or not as bad as you think it is? Sometimes, you might even get sent away with a little pat on the head. “Relax,” they say, “That’s not actually happening.”

Finding the courage to speak up can be difficult, but it’s important to point out behaviors and processes that are causing harm. If you don’t, who will?

Maybe you’ve heard that others have tried to fix things in the past and have gotten nowhere. This might be true, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you should keep quiet or stop trying. Sometimes a problem needs to be identified multiple times, by multiple people before it becomes a priority. You could be that person who tips the scales or addresses the problem in a way that finally hits home. Or maybe you’ll just get lucky and catch the right person on the right day.

2. Don’t wait until it’s too big

Your wellness coach says you should let the little things go, and this can be great advice! But when you’re talking about bad business practices, little things can become big things very quickly.

If your company’s policy is to look the other way and let things slide, there could be serious trouble ahead. Not just for you, but for the entire organization.

If little things are piling up or turning into big things, they need to be addressed. A baby gorilla is one thing, but a mama gorilla is a force to be reckoned with.

3. Work on your delivery

No one likes a tattle-tale, but everyone loves the UPS man. Why? Because he delivers the stuff you need, when you need it.

Simply pointing out weaknesses or ranting about everything that’s been bothering you since the dawn of time isn’t the method you want to use. Approach your conversation in a professional manner, and put some thought into ways to fix the problem or improve the situation before you start the conversation.

Deliver your message like the UPS man would: quickly, efficiently, and with the best intentions.

Create a gorilla free zone

If you see dangerous behaviors happening in your organization, find your inner fortitude and speak up.

Identify your concerns and the effects they’re having— or could potentially have. Then offer ideas for solutions. If you’re a company leader, listen to what your staff is saying, then summon the courage to make those difficult, but much needed changes.

  • Create and track performance indicators to get that sales team back on track.
  • Re-train your cranky customer service person.
  • Reel that absent CEO back in— or help him write his resume.

Make this your new normal now so you can avoid running into dangerous situations later. You’ll save your team a lot of time, trouble, and bananas.


Need a better ROI on your corporate employee benefits? At Raffa, we’re not interested in finding you a policy solution for this year. We’ll create a long-term, employee benefit strategy designed to help you become an employer of choice. Want to build a better future for both your business and your employees? Get in touch with Raffa.


Photo by Leonardo Spencer 

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