Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Sharing Something

I worked at three different companies and a school. Beyond my own education, these were the main communities I have been involved in. In the workplace, 'Culture' is one of the key things the executives sweat over. What is it that ties people together? What is it that they are working towards? Community at its heart is the sharing of something (beliefs, dreams, resources, risks, passion). The main vehicles I have seen doing this revolve around the world of work. 

The challenge is that our work filters broader society. We don't hire by lottery. We have elaborate interviews and resumes to whittle down the 'type of person' we need to admit. Ideally those people are already like-minded. They already share the goals of the community, and have some skills to add. Even if there are processes to reach out to other areas to 'upskill', the goal is that the people that are hired eventually have been morphed to fit the culture. This self-reinforcing process is unlikely to even recognise the strengths of those not already involved.

As work expands to fill up the time allocated to it, there isn't that much space to give energy to the task of community building beyond the companies we are involved in. Our biology completely limits our ability to have perspective. Our world is not the world. It is the world we see, hear, smell, taste and experience. The civil war in Sudan does not exist for most of the world's population. Thankfully, even Donald Trump doesn't exist for most of the world's population.

South Sudan tops the 2015 Fragile States Index


I am not arguing that we shouldn't have areas of focus. I am not arguing that we shouldn't ignore some things. I do think we should try better understand the obstacles that get put in place. We should try understand the paths between our areas of concern. Most importantly, we should understand the path to those who are being left out. The path to their passion that we are losing.

The idea of the 'Veil of Ignorance' is that if we didn't know which character we were going to be, we would still be happy to play the game.
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