I began the year talking about Challenges.  I want people to view a challenge as something positive that they want to achieve.  This weekend though, things happened that offered more to think about.

The Grander Scheme

We experience many challenges to overcome that aren’t things we necessarily want to achieve.  The loss of #Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and his other friends this weekend (1/26/2020) will bring many challenges for his family, friends, and community to overcome.  The #impeachment trial in the Senate, regardless of the outcome, will bring new challenges for the country and likely the world.  Today’s #Holocaust Remembrance Day brings to mind challenges for all of humanity to overcome.

Please keep this in mind…throughout our history, we have all been able to surmount these and many other difficult problems.   We surmount challenges especially well when we pull together to help each other out.  Even in the height of tragedy and despair, our challenges result in positive growth.

Balance and fairness

Going forward, what do we want to achieve?  I’m certain we all have different lists.  But let’s think about challenging ourselves first to do better with balance.  As I think of balance, it includes wellness, work/life, and fairness.

Fairness:  pay gaps and wealth inequality

We should be paying people fairly and equally for the work we ask them to do.  Last August, CNBC reported that “since 1978, CEO compensation rose 1,007.5% for CEOs, compared with 11.9% for average workers, according to the Economic Policy Institute.”  Good critical thinking forces us to examine the source.  Both CNBC and EPI lean politically to the left.  In many instances, I’m certain the pay is fair for both the CEO and the hourly worker, but the numbers themselves suggest growth rates like that aren’t fair.   Is this contributing to a widening wealth gap?   The Cato Institute, which leans politically to the right, dispels a couple of wealth myths but lands hard on cronyism.  It’s a well-written piece that will help in your overall critical thinking about these things.

In the Federal Reserve Study of the widening wealth gap, there is also growing disparity in pay for white verses minority workers.  There also seems to be a persistent gender pay gap.  Women only earn 82% of what men earn according to AAUW in this recent article.

I believe there are lots of factors that influence pay decisions that organizations make.  Many of them are poorly defined but well within the organization’s authority to change.  Of course that change requires the will to change.

Critical Thinking

I simply want to urge more critical thinking around policy making and decision making in government and organizations.  Maybe that should be my challenge to you:  Before making any decisions that affect other people, gather as many perspectives as a reasonable amount of time will allow.  I found and scanned through all these cited articles online within an hour.  Layout the options and share them with a few others.  Try to include some who are outside of your current circle and who you know will think differently.

It really is up to us in workplaces around the world to have better conversations and better dialogue about things that affect us.  We certainly can’t do it on Facebook or Twitter where civility goes to die.  With our apparently hardening political differences, if we don’t learn to dialogue more effectively, I think we’re in for some far worse problems and greater challenges.