Seek to understand others with very different opinions but be nice + Business is a force for good

by Simon Murdoch

For me the best of the Christmas or New Year Messages by far was Channel 4’s Alternative Christmas message from Brendan Cox – husband of MP Jo Cox who was murdered in June 2016. It’s not been widely covered which is a shame so I wanted to amplify it now.

It’s available at Channel 4 only until 24th Jan 2017.  It should be on Youtube but has been incorrectly loaded or perhaps hacked so if those links don’t work for you, there is a slightly abridged version at the Independent newspaper’s site.

Please watch it – it’s only 3 minutes long and the abridged one shorter.

brendan-cox-xmas-message

I don’t know Jo or Brendan Cox’s politics or backgrounds in detail but I expect I would be on the opposite side of them in most political discussions as she was a Labour MP. However the message he delivers in the short broadcast is clear and simple, and one any sane person should agree with: 2016 was a year when the noise, anger and hatred increased, whether in the UK referendum or the US presidential election.

Like Cox, I am sad that some people who shouted the loudest untrue statements won the elections (yes I admit the other side also shouted some untrue statements).

I recoil from the hate, the xenophobia, the aggression of the last few months. I don’t understand how any reasonable person can object to the content of Brendan Cox’s christmas message, yet he is subjected to a lot of abuse on Youtube and elsewhere, especially after his very reasonable tweet that blaming Angela Merkel for the Berlin massacre was “going a bit far”.

Shouting back in the same style doesn’t seem like the right answer either, e.g. see Dave McClure founder of 500 Startups on the morning after the Trump result.  Sure, he was in shock that morning at the Lisbon Web Summit and so could be forgiven his short term rage.

There has to be a better way. We do have more in common than that which divides us, but it is easy with social media and our busy lives these days to only hear the messages in our own bubbles – our own echo chambers as Cox calls them.

My resolution for 2017 is to help anyone understand that business can be a force for good. Yes, there will always be some bad apples who stomp on others on their way to financial success, but in my experience almost all successful business people play fair and make a positive difference in the world.

I don’t mind if entrepreneurs, public company CEOs (even bankers :-)) make millions as long as they play fair and do a good job for customers, employees and all stakeholders. Nobody complains about professional footballers, pop stars or movie stars making millions, so it should be ok for entrepreneurs and other business people to do so too. A rising tide floats all boats, i.e. if their companies are successful more employees earn decent salaries which can also rise faster than inflation.

So if you disagree with me violently or even just politely, let’s converse by email at sm at episode1.com. I will seek to understand you and persuade you that business is good – oh and I promise not to shout.

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