Juggling Elephants in Improving Leadership

Juggling Elephants is a book that uses extended metaphor of a circus with three rings passing along some circus maxims, which can easily be translated to balancing personal and professional relationships just as much as putting into consideration an individual’s personal pursuit (Loflin & Musig, 2013). The ringmaster must be ready to accept the basics. The basics of the ringmaster include accepting the incapacity of being in all three rings at the same time, reviewing the next act before introducing it to the ring, possessing good acts in all the three rings, figuring out the ring to be in, and deciding which works to pursue. Therefore, for someone to succeed through the application of the three ring circus, he or she must compare to the ringmaster of the circus and accept to follow the basics.

The relationship between any person and the team impacts the success of the deeds and the circus (Loflin & Musig, 2013). Given the basics, it can easily be bargained that achievement of the team relies on performance and the factors affecting performance. Some of the factors include knowing the performance, explaining consequences and expectations, working with the personality of performers, giving reinforcements, and encouraging laugh and relaxations. This justifies that the relationship between the performers and ringmaster affects the quality of circus. Sensitivity to others, as one of the core cultural characteristics, is also displayed with the system aiming to meet the needs of the ringmaster, performers, and the customers.

Another concept as presented in the Juggling Elephant is the comparison between the next performance and the current circus. If this bit and intermission, with which is aimed at establishing a better circus performance, are jointly used to together, the two can be compared to the planning and do processes. For a better circus performance and time for intermission, a plan must be established. The plan should be created regardless of whether it is to be accomplished today, or it is a business plan.

Among the core cultural characteristics of any organization includes the interest in new ideas and the willingness to take risks. These factors can be looked at in the form of the big little things and trying simple things. The big little things, in this case, are compared to the small stuff that brings difference for someone or something to upgrade from ordinary to extraordinary (Loflin & Musig, 2007). Examples of these little things may be in the form of volunteering for a work project, finding opportunities to help, and saying hello. Giving close attention to the minute details of any operation can make the process seen as first class (Loflin & Musig, 2013). In trying something simple, there is no need to have multiple places for writing a plan. Interest in new ideas and willingness to take risks encourages creativity. Failure should not be punished, and instead, people should learn from mistakes. The ringmaster has to create a circus that allows for complete vetting of ideas from which anybody can give suggestions. As Loflin & Musig, (2007) says it, this creates a positive attitude whenever eating an elephant. Juggling the elephants has no use when no fun is experienced (Loflin & Musig, 2013).

In conclusion, the parable illustrates a variety of circus maxims that jointly translate to balancing personal and professional relationships and informs on how to coordinate the events occurring in all the rings efficiently. Juggling Elephants assists one to focus better energy and time such that they can enjoy mostly the most important things.


Loflin, J., & Musig, T. (2007). Juggling Elephants: An Easier Way to Get Your Most Important Things Done–Now!. Penguin.

Loflin, J., & Musig, T. (2013). Getting to It: Accomplishing the Important, Handling the Urgent, and Removing the Unnecessary. Harper Collins.

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