A week after the Grenfell Tower fire, the word ‘cladding’ is casually familiar to us all.
The Tower had been ‘improved’. It had been covered, or clad, to modernise its appearance. No modernisation or improvement had taken place inside, to the building itself.
A horrible metaphor emerges.
To cover something up, or disguise its state, does not just fail to address any genuine needs or gaps in performance or function: it actively makes the entity being disguised more dangerous than it had been in its uncovered state.
So powerful are the possible meanings in this metaphor that we can see as we read and watch the news and aftermath unfold that outrage, anger, a sense of deeply ingrained injustice and a feeling of fatalistic cynicism is washing through the situation in rhythmic waves.
Amongst so many ‘lessons’ is a profound and simple one applicable to us all in any situation in which we find ourselves, personal or professional.
Do not attempt to prettify or cover up. Face what is there.
Nothing can be changed until it is faced.