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The Elephant in the Zoom

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I was sitting in a board meeting the other day. It was on Zoom. I was engaged, as this was a critical moment in the business’s future, but could not help returning to one attendee and wondering why they were there.

There was an Elephant in the Zoom.

What was it doing there? What was it thinking?

Eventually, I had to ask who they were.

The Elephant: Well, it’s obvious isn’t it?

Me: Not really.

The Elephant: I’m the Elephant in the Zoom.

Me: I thought I’d got rid of you.

The Elephant: Nope. Still here. Just that now I’m virtual.

Me: So, urmmm, what do you want?

The Elephant: Well, I’ve noticed that you’ve been avoiding something.

All of us waited, looking expectantly.

The Elephant: You’ve been avoiding me.

CEO: But we don’t know you and don’t need you.

The Elephant: You think so?

CFO: You’re not a part of this Board.

The Elephant: You think so?

CRO: We can’t talk to you.

The Elephant: You think so?

This went on for a while, and then …

The Elephant: You do know you are falling off a cliff, don’t you?

We all sat back, wondering.

The Elephant: You’ve been running on fumes for months and you haven’t acted or done anything. It is time for change.

There was a pregnant pause.

CEO: Look, everyone knows that times are tough. Interest rates are rising. Funding has dried up. So, don’t tell me something I know.

The Elephant: Do you know that you are about to be acquired?

Everyone looked at each other in shock.

CEO: Yes.

The Elephant: So, why haven’t you shared this with your colleagues?

CEO: Because we are in early stage discussions.

Everyone looked at each other in shock.

The Elephant: Who with?

CEO: XXX (our greatest competitor).

Everyone looked at each other in shock.

The Elephant: And why didn’t you tell your colleagues?

CEO: Because I knew they would be unhappy about it.

Everyone looked at each other in shock.

The Elephant: I can leave now but, before I do, I want to tell you something. If you cannot be open with those who are friends and colleagues, why would you be open to enemies?

The elephant dropped off the zoom call. We all sat in silence. I was just shocked to find out that not only was my old friend alive and kicking, but there was now an Elephant in the Zoom.

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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