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Masquerade Ball. Masks. Costumes. Deceit. … A few days ago, we had the opportunity to attend a masquerade ball as part of the Beautiful Cebu Movement and in cooperation with the Provincial Government and the City of Cebu. It was a fund raiser for a beautification effort aimed at helping improve and maintain local infrastructure to global standards of cleanliness and beauty.
The people of Cebu who attended the fund-raiser were beautiful! Evening gowns & tuxedos. Sparkling new shoes. Fresh haircuts for the men. New hairdos for the ladies. Live music – piano, violin, etc. Jugglers. World-class singers. Dancers. Exquisite food and table settings. Truly a remarkable evening bringing together fashion, beauty, fun, entertainment, and fund-raising for a wonderful cause.
So why Deceit… In a word, masks! Yes, masks! A core component of any masquerade ball. There were big mask and small. All colorful and artistic. Men and women. Some had feathers, sequins, glitter, lace, more feathers, paint, beads. Some, I can’t even describe. Clearly, there are some talented mask designers and mask artisans hiding out here in Cebu. But the purpose of the mask is to hide the person behind the mask- albeit it in fun. And, in practice, not always very effective. I doubt my fellow attendees were truly surprised who was behind MY mask! … Nonetheless, the purpose of the masks is to deceive others. To confuse them. To make them wonder. Again, I must reiterate, all in good fun.
Ever notice that behave differently when wearing a mask? They do things they might not otherwise do. There was even “mask-switching” – the practice of trading masks with another for a period of time. People behaved differently depending upon which mask they wore. Me too!
While masquerade balls and MASKS are great fun and provide a wonderful method for raising money for a charitable organization like the Beautiful Cebu Movement, in the world of organizations and leadership, masks can cause trouble.
As leaders, if you hide behind a mask, you can confuse others. You might be tempted to behave differently wearing a mask. People will wonder which “you” is true and real. People will be confused. You will send mixed and different messages.
To achieve its goals efficiently and effectively, an organization and its leaders need to build trust, confidence, and credibility. You need to “walk the talk.” You need to send consistent messages. You need to align your strategy, organizational structure, messaging, and actions. Failure to do so, leads to chaos, inaction, anger, and despondency.
Please, enjoy life. Go to a masquerade ball and wear masks. Donate to worthwhile charities. Make an impact. … But when you’re leading (an organization, a team, or a family), don’t confuse people. Don’t wear different masks. Be consistent. Be transparent. Demonstrate alignment and congruence. From your strategy, to your structure, to your messaging, to your actions. Doing so, will build trust, credibility, confidence, and effectiveness.
At work, are you wearing a mask? What about those around you?
As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.