Is Your Company Just A Facade?


While playing golf at a small local course a couple of weeks ago, I observed some interesting items that got me thinking about the health of their business.

In the span of my round, here is what I witnessed:

  • The clubhouse and surrounding area was clean and maintained well from a harsh winter
  • The flags on the pole were crisp, clean, and untattered
  • The landscaping was nice and neat
  • The three holes surrounding the clubhouse were green and fairly lush, well maintained
  • The course owner was caring for some flowers and mulch around the first tee

Everything indicated that the course and business was in good shape. But upon playing my round I found otherwise:

  • The remotest holes had dry patches throughout
  • One green was sandy, brown, and dry
  • The only water hole had a man-made pond that was 1/3 full and looked neglected
  • The owner was arguing with the groundskeeper for him to do their job the way the owner said

I came away wondering “If so much focus here is on the front side, then what do all these observations behind the scenes mean?” It reminded me of how many organizations and leaders present themselves as one thing that is in stark contrast of who or what they really are.

These facades of leadership and company culture are harmful to the vitality of any organization.

When any person or entity is not transparent to be the same through and through, they lose credibility, confidence, and customers.

Note some of these scenarios as examples:

  • A leader who has an “open-door” policy but doesn’t really listen to their people
  • A company that has an “employee bill of rights” and does not foster the support to validate those rights
  • An organization who wants to be big and create internal legends, even if those legendary stories breach sound ethics
  • A senior management person that asks for mutual accountability, until they are the one being held accountable
  • A healthcare facility that cuts services to allocate costs elsewhere other than direct health-related treatment
  • A company that states customer service as a value but establishes cumbersome systems that create a poor customer experience
  • Restaurants that aren’t clean until the health inspector is due to arrive
  • Organizations that claim to train, have adequate staffing, and value their people, yet their staff knows otherwise

The fallacy of many leaders and companies that foster this type of culture is that they believe no one will notice. But people – customers, employees, and smart leaders – do. They will seek careers or service elsewhere if things aren’t changed. A person can only forgive these discrepancies for so long before they reach a point of no return. And an organization can only bear these so long as well before they, or their leadership, or both, cease to exist.

Look closely at yourself and your organization. Are there any facades that need tearing down? Are you as transparent a leader as your people would like? Do you over-promise and under-deliver to your customers and staff?

Be real. Forego the facade. Be authentic. Be who you say you are. Everyone else already knows.




About Paul LaRue

My goal - To encourage you to lead & influence others with positive impact.

Posted on June.7.2015, in Leadership. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Josh Dragon, P.E.

    An easy way leaders create facades unintentionally is by being disconnected from their operations. If a CEO has not spent time out on the manufacturing floor recently (or the back 9), they might be unaware of the current state of affairs. That’s why it is so important for leaders to be connected to the bottom as well as the top.

    Thanks for the good read.


  1. Pingback: Serving Others No Matter How You Lead | The UPwards Leader

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