I came across this very interesting talk by Marco Alvera on TED. I suggest that you may want to consider taking the 14.07 minutes to watch this talk and the extra 2.25 minutes to watch the embedded video on how fairness sand kindness are hardwired into our psyche. Especially so, if you are a business executive, owner, entrepreneur, parent, or just a good old member of society - basically, anyone and everyone will benefit from watching it.
Being fair is paramount for all relationships - and might even define what makes a person human! And it is more applicable in all aspects of life - at home, work, sports, society and not just for individuals - for companies and organizations. Fairness is hardwired into our psyche - as multiple experiments with children have shown. One such experiment is referred to in this talk. It is also mentioned in another of my articles - True Power vs. Forced Falsehood
This is the video of how being fair and kind, is hardwired into our psyche!
A quote that I keep stating repeatedly is Will Durant's summation of Aristotle's work on Excellence. It is a very profound and telling statement. That, to me, defines the core what makes one a good person. For those who might not readily recall, here it is:
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
My personal choice is to substitute "appropriately" instead of "rightly." Given that Aristotle would have written in Greek, the appropriate word probably would have probably been appropriate. Incidentally, I have all along been under the impression that this was a translation of Aristotle's words in Greek. And in searching for the original words, came to realise that this is actually Will Durant's summation of Aristotle's words on the subject. And in the research, I came across another quote, which I have been using my own version of - as Ralph Keyes wrote, “Clever lines routinely travel from obscure mouths to prominent ones.” (I have one such experience in my own life - where my words are better received when I attribute it to a better known public figure!)
Regardless of the origin of the quote, the import and meaning are what make it important. Acting appropriately is most important. To me, Integrity is the most important and powerful of all characteristics that a human being ought to demonstrate at all times. Sanskrit probably is a lot more capable in being able to convey some things - for example, the word "Dharma"and "Dharmic" probably do not have an equivalent in other languages (at least not that I am aware of - and happy to learn from anyone who knows more about this)
Integrity to me has the following definition:
Appropriate behaviour, in the appropriate manner, at the appropriate time, with the appropriate beings (including humans) that ensure the greatest benefit for the greatest number of "dharmic" beings!
And so, being "dharmic" and integrous means that one MUST be fair, always! it is impossible to be dharmic and integrous without being fair. And in that sense, to me, integrity is more important than honesty. Integrity has inbuilt in it, appropriateness. Honesty is binary and might not always be appropriate. And to clarify the reason for that statement: when someone prepares something to eat and they ask, "Do you like it?" And if one does not like it, the honest answer would be "No!" However, and appropriate answer would be "Yes!" even though it is not the truth!
And here again, another quote from Aristotle (yes, again!) probably says it well:
At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.
Here again, I choose to construe the "law and justice" as being integrous and appropriate, rather than just what the words convey. Sometimes, language is extremely limited and it is very difficult to convey one's thoughts appropriately. For example, a research by Daniel Goleman and a few others, supported by the Dalai Lama, concluded that there were 34,000 physiological sensations or feelings that could be experienced in the human body. However, with a combination of words, we can at best explain a few of them. In fact, most people cannot label more than 12 of these 34,000!!!
David Rock’s SCARF (Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, Fairness) helps enhancing relationships between people, especially between leaders and the led, parents and children business and customer!
Status ensures that the persons in question feel an equal status to others. Certainty is clarity about what’s expected of them. Autonomy is the freedom to choose and provides a sense of control over events.Relatedness is safety and a sense of belonging. Fairness is being dealt with fairly and consistently. Practiced with awareness, SCARF helps people perform their best.
SCARF ensures that people feel that they’re treated with kindness and compassion. This leads to an environment of safety & trust. This helps enhancement of values, self-respect & self-belief. I have used the SCARF model in my coaching and have found that those who are aware of how they interact with others, on these 5 parameters have had their relationships greatly enhanced. I actively practice the SCARF model in my interactions with people. And I suggest that anyone who does will find themselves being more inspiring in all their relationships. And a key component of being inspiring is being "Fair!" (If you would like to know more about using SCARF in your life, please reach out!)
So, where does one need to be fair? Pretty much every moment of one's life is the simplest answer. Being fair however means that one must be aware of their actions, and be able to evaluate them from multiple perspectives. Constantly inquiring if one's actions are appropriate will make it slightly easier.
Whom does one need to be fair with? Well, with everyone, starting with oneself! And then close relationships, extending outwards towards those whom one might not have a direct relationship with.
Does being fair apply to businesses? Most certainly it does! The businesses that thrive are those that practice fairness always. Fairness is being appropriate and hence this applies to all - customers, clients, employees, associates, partners, vendors, principals, government and society. And fairness does not certainly mean pandering to all requests made by any of those constituents. It is about being appropriate - even to the extent of "firing" some customers. And any sort of selfishness is a clear indication of a lack of fairness!
Does it apply in sport? Of course it does! Because playing is never always ONLY about winning. It is about winning, and enjoying the process and being appropriate. Golf is as close to a "self-policing" sport as it gets. Except at high profile and televised tournaments, the player and co-players are to keep themselves honest. The rule book of golf has this right at the beginning: Play the ball as it lies, play the course as you find it, and if you cannot do either, do what is fair. But to do what is fair, you need to know the Rules of Golf. The key word here is "fair" and to do that one must be aware. Look back at all the sporting icons who are known for their fairness and integrity and will most certainly feel a sense of calmness and appreciation for them.
I once had the chance to meet one of my role models in life - G.R.Viswanath (GRV or Vishy as those who follow cricket would know him). I told him, "Sir, I have told people that if I live my life the way you played your cricket - with integrity, commitment and passion, I would have done something great." His response was the epitome of all that made him so great - "I only did what I thought was right! And you are already great! You are a Happiness Coach and probably bringing more happiness to people than I ever could have!"
So, practice fairness in all aspects of life. As with everything else, in the long term, you are the greatest beneficiary. And being fair means being kind, gentle and yet assertive. And yes, being appropriate!