Based in Switzerland, “Social Collaboration” is a blog by Martin Geisenhainer, dealing with issues around new work and social collaborative learning.

Fairness Manifesto - just a wish for Christmas

Fairness Manifesto - just a wish for Christmas

Again, Christmas is approaching. And again, there is the wish for peace and love and all this kind of Christmas stuff. But what kind of peace and love are we longing for? In the utmost cases it is the rare kind of peace that reigns, when there are no more wars or no more oppression against people. The kind of peace, me, you and we cannot actively contribute to.

But what about the everyday kind of peace? The one, we all, each of us can participate, every day, wherever we are and whatever we are doing? The kind of peace, that is not longed for once a year only.

This kind of peace is not just about being friendly to family, neighborhood and colleagues. This kind of peace is not just a question of behavior but of attitude. It is a question of generosity, of sound altruism. Explaining this in my circle of friends and colleagues I see nothing but lack of understanding. Not because this might be completely out of scope. Rather as we are not used to thinking this way. We surely are not missing the "why", we are missing the „how“. Of course, everyone enjoys a peaceful live, being surrounded by friendly faces, love and care. But finally we seem to have forgotten, that it's up to us, starting this. Again and again. It's just the same as with sharing. If you want somebody else to share something with you, you will have to start giving. But why is that so hard to do? Actually, it's so easy. A little smile, a gentle nod, a friendly word. When we behave like this, our friendliness will be returned as a rule. And that feels good. What weans us off being more gentle, friendly, kind, just because?

Well, I do not think, there is an easy answer to that. And for sure, it doesn't affect all people equally. But I get an idea, what hardens us, when I look at common rules in economy and society. Small children learn asserting themselves over the others already. They learn it from their parents and their peers. Education does not support people learning together at eye level, it promotes competition and turns social beings into lone fighters. Companies do even worse. It's not just, that they reward those, who are best adapted to the society of ellbows. They themselves behave ruthless and selfish and expect and create this attitude at their staff as well.

How do employees develop their attitude towards their company and its business, when they get aware of the fact, that it's playing rough and makes big profit under use of unfair means. What does this do to their inner attitude? How about the kind of peace, just mentioned some lines above? Pretty difficult. It's a gap, not easy to bridge for the individual.

But there is good news – of course, it's Christmas! Things can be changed. As far as we want to and do change them. In other respects we have made progress yet. We are starting to do our work differently, for instance. We defined new rules, that help us, to turn away from command and control and rigid hierarchies and work together in more equality and on eye level. There is something like an agile manifesto, that helped us, to describe, what value shall be leading for what we do and how we do it. So – coming back to my Christmas issue – how about a fairness manifesto, that may lead us to more decency and honesty in what we do and how we do that? It could be pretty easy, let's try it a little.

How about "responsibility over profit"? I like it. Or " social compatibility over increased efficiency"? Why not! How about you, any help for me on that? Maybe you have some ideas for a fairness manifesto and would like to share them as a Christmas gift to all of us? I would be very grateful.

Wishing you merry Christmas (or wonderful holidays, if you are no celebrating Christmas) and a happy, and fair new year.

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Learning by doing

Learning by doing