Fur balls, fairness, equity & you

‘But that’s not fair!’ was a frequent refrain of mine when I was a child.


I was the oldest of 3 & the only girl. I noticed how I was treated differently than my brothers were.  So I laughed extra long & loud when I saw this monkey’s reaction to an unfair situation.


At first, getting pieces of cucumber is fine for the fur ball …. when her buddy is getting the same. However when her buddy gets grapes, well, let’s just say she’s far from pleased.


Take a look at this video clip & see for yourself..

Today, when I’m teaching team building workshops – how to help teams work better together – the issues of equality frequently comes up.


What’s one mark of a high performing team?

A mark of a high performing team is understanding the difference between equality & equity.

Equality is treating everyone the same. Sounds good in principle but if it means expecting an elephant to climb a tree like a monkey, we’re in trouble.

Equity is acknowledging differences & treating everyone fairly.

‘When Everyone Is Different, Fairness and Success Also Differs’, saysAmy Sun from Everyday Feminism.


Like the monkey in the video, teams watch how members are treated.

 And it makes a BIG difference.

Professor Dave Ulrich’s research shows that for the NBA, World Cup & Stanley Cup, a surprisingly low 20% of the top scorers are also on the winning team.

How many of the 20 “Best Actor/ Best Actress” Academy Award winners in the last ten years were also in the “Best Picture” for that year?

You guessed it, only 20%.


How this relates to your team

The good news?  Dave says that a strong organizational culture lifts up those that may not inherently be strong performers.  If you have a healthy organizational culture and high performers you’re riding the wave.

The bad news?  Grab your life jackets, it’s sink or swim time because a negative organizational culture, also brings down normally high performers. 

And bringing it full circle, an important part of that organizational culture is how people are treated.

Think about how your team members are treated. Is equity a part of the equation? If not, think about how to plant some seeds & add it.

Think about things like:

  • New parents with young kids (Oh how I remember the ‘daycare dash’ – madly trying to reach the daycare on time to pick up my kiddos at the end of a long day)
  • Sick or disabled staff or staff with sick, disabled or special needs kids
  • Sandwich staff (those taking care of elderly parents & young kids)
  • Including staff’s religious/spiritual needs (for example syncing break times with prayer times)
  • Staff of colour (how reperesentative are the images in your marketing is a simple place to start)
  • Women (I just watched I am not an easy man, a French film where gender roles are completely reversed. Such a great mind bender.)
  • LGBTQI staff (the UN here in Nairobi celebrated the International Day Against Homophobia, Transpohobia & Biphobia for the first time ever)
  • Staff who may have literacy issues


Our desire to be treated equally is built in. With a little more work we can treat folks equitably. Strong teams & healthy organizational cultures sit up & take notice. Just like our other furry friends.


Annnnnnnd take action


  • Grab a coffee with a co-worker & talk about how equity is or isn’t addressed in your organization.
  • Check out my cultural elements worksheet & map your own culture – above & below the water line from last week’s post. It can help you identify some equity issues that may be hiding.
  • Didn’t get a chance to join us for Fiona Jarvis, Canadian High Commission, recent roundtable session on Making Decisions in High Stake Situations? Don’t get your knickers in a knot – you can access the video here (scroll down to the May 2018 meeting resources).
  • Find out more about what drives you by taking this 4 question motivation assessment I designed based on Nat Geo’s research.



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2 Responses to “Fur balls, fairness, equity & you”

  1. Before you call the cops … | Rock.Paper.Scissors.Blog Says:
    June 6th, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    […] Grab a coffee & a colleague & talk about how equity is or isn’t addressed in your organization (feel free to borrow some tips from last week’s blog post). […]

  2. Before you call the cops … - Rock Paper Scissors Says:
    August 3rd, 2018 at 12:46 am

    […] Grab a coffee & a colleague & talk about how equity is or isn’t addressed in your organization (feel free to borrow some tips from last week’s blog post). […]

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