Hot potatoes in fact. Yes, we do.
As a child, we stood in a circle and played the hot potato game. Usually the ‘potato’ was a ball or sometimes a water balloon. Whenever it was thrown to you, you need to throw it to someone else as quickly as possible. Lots of laughter always accompanied the game as people would react dramatically adding flair to the game.
As adults we keep playing the game but we switch the ball for issues that are difficult to discuss or tackle. We quickly pass off responsibility to another person or team as quickly as we receive it. And yes, some of us still add lots of drama to the experience. Sometimes we even change the analogy and call it the elephant in the room.
But here’s the thing.
We’re in the same room. We’re standing in the circle. We’ve joined the game. And while we may not want individual responsibility, by playing the game we have agreed to collective responsibility.
Part of the fun of the ‘hot potato’ game is to see how long the collective can keep the ‘potato’ off the floor collectively. So you need to pay attention to both catching and throwing. No one in the group takes the potato and simply throws it away from the group. No, that would ruin the game. We throw it to each other, collectively managing it.
Unfortunately as adults, we tend to forget about the collective and think only of ourselves. As long as we are not ‘holding’ the tricky issue, we are pleased. We forget we’re part of the collective.
What would happen if paused the ‘game’ for a few minutes and asked how we collectively can address the tricky topic. Together.