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May 5, 2022

The Façade Mentality

The Façade Mentality

What is a façade?

There are two definitions. One as it pertains to buildings and another as it pertains to illusions. I’m focusing on the latter. A façade is an illusion that things are better than what they truly are. For instance, I have a car that I want to sell to you. It has a pretty paint job, the tires are fairly new, and the interior looks fairly decent. I tell you the car works great; we take it on a test run for a few miles and make it back to my place.

In your mind, you’re thinking, this is really a great car. So, you buy it, but as you get it on the highway, the steering wheel shimmies, the engine smokes, and the transmission slips. You call me heated, “I thought you said this car was great?”

“Well, it was for the three miles we drove it…I just left off the parts about it needing an alignment, a new radiator, and transmission.”

You’re pissed because you feel tricked. And you should be pissed. This is how a lot of people enjoy going through life. They like to see things on the surface, presenting the best parts, but not truly addressing the internal issues that require attention.

I’m not the kind of person that enjoys blowing smoke up anyone’s hind parts. If we get together to discuss an issue, I’m not about to sit and pretend everything is good when the building is on fire. There are people that will literally dance around issues just to bring up two good things that have nothing to do with fixing the current issue.

Like, I don’t care if two years ago, you bought donuts for the team, that has nothing to do with why the toilets are all stopped up and the bathroom smells like shit.

I don’t believe in sprinkling sugar on shit and telling folks it’s ice cream. Because as soon as you put it to your nose…the truth of the matter will be revealed.

For instance, there are a number of issues within various communities that need to be addressed. Since I’m black American, I’ll use us for example. If we spend too much time talking about how awesome, creative and talented we are but not truly talking about the issues in our community that we can control to make it better…we are living an illusion.

Yes, we are beautiful creative intelligent beings. Now, can we really discuss the issues in our neighborhoods to help make them safer and better? We already know no one is coming to save us. We have to save ourselves.

What methods within our control can we do better to make these things happen? We have to look within ourselves and be willing to admit where we aren’t doing so great and make adjustments.

This also happens in the workplace when supervisors only want to focus on two areas where things are going great, meanwhile, workers have mentioned twenty issues that need attention. Managers will go into full tap dance mode or start with word vomit. Then nothing gets resolved. It’s the let’s put a Band-Aid on a gaping wound approach. Then when the stinky stuff hits the oscillating device, its full crisis mode.

I’ve seen this at various organizations. I’ll see an issue. Bring it to a manager’s attention. They say they’ll do something about it or laugh and say…this organization is less proactive and more reactionary. Like what?

Look, I’m not saying that small accomplishments don’t deserve applause or celebration. I’m saying don’t get distracted from the bigger picture. Riding on a cloud of everything “going great,” when you know deep down things are not, is a recipe for disaster. It’s knowing you have a hole in your roof and ignoring it, but once all the wood gets dry rotted, you look surprised when you have sheet rock, and tiles on your floor.

Instead of paying a few hundred dollars to repair a section of a roof, now you have to spend thousands to repair the whole roof.

The key takeaways are:

  •  It makes it better to be proactive than reactive
  • Control what you can control
  • Take accountability
  • Lean into feeling uncomfortable…we grow more
  • Use time wisely and expeditiously. Don’t waste breath with a bunch of flowery words when that time can be used to hit the key points of why you are meeting in the first place.
  • Do not get offended by someone telling you where things need improvement. How can you get better if you don’t know what you need to work on?
  • We all need improvement. It’s a perpetual cycle

Every day, we should be striving to do better.

If we aren’t, at a minimum, in our minds we should know we are capable of doing better. There will be days when we don’t feel like it, however, we should not pretend as if we are in a state of better when we know reality paints a different picture. We either make a conscious decision to do better and fix issues or we remain content with the state of those issues we don’t resolve.