Masque Soiree

Pacific SymphonyAll right, so now that I am back in the hunt, here is something of what I have been up to. And if I keep complaining about being busy, do something about me.

What is there about the mystery and intrigue of a mask? At this event the other night, the cream of Orange County society was there in full array. En masque. There were a few I couldn’t recognize, surprisingly. People I knew. Others, quite easy to recognize. Some, like my wife, had masks on sticks.

It was a delightful evening of music, mystery and merriment. I sound like Nigella Lawson. And we had big Kindle Living lamps to mark the Mardi Gras procession to the theatre after dinner, courtesy of our new company, Lavuu.

Kindle Living by LavuuA Venetian Carnival mask is kind of a lame disguise, though. Not like a stocking pulled over your head or a ski mask. It has personality. Art. An extravagance that is expressed through a carefully crafted, artistic exterior.

At work, we managers have to deal with masks all the time. The challenge is trying to recognize who is behind the mask. Sometimes we don’t recognize people we know, due to the drama or impact of the mask. Sometimes, it’s more casual or episodic, like the one on a stick. But sometimes we fall for the mask and miss the mark when we aim for it. Because it is a mask, not the person behind it. And if it is a scary mask, like the stocking, our fear can get the better of us and really mess things up.

This shows up in everyday workplace situations, whether it is an email dialogue that went awry, a misunderstood comment, glance or gesture, a misplaced interpretation. Is it real or is it the mask?

Masks give people special powers. Remember Jim Carrey? Shocking and hysterically funny, but amazing what can be accomplished. All right, so it’s imaginary, but consider it an exaggeration to make a point.

To find out what is behind the mask first involves recognizing that it might be a mask. Then, careful observation and listening for patterns. Patterns that fit, things that seem disconnected. And then, this is most important. You need to want to deal with the real person. See, some are ready to write off the mask. Label it, judge it, move on from it. It is more of a challenge to try and find the real person, then to deal with them accordingly. It is the only way to get genuine, lasting, successful results. And done right, it can transform a business relationship into something thriving and vital from a frustrating, irritation that needs to be tolerated for the sake of duty.

Dozer the PumpkinThis is our new puppy, Dozer, on Halloween, in his pumpkin mask . So, what do you think? Is it a pumpkin or a puppy?

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