WATCH: SCARF Fairness: Why your brain hates unfairness

Today, I’d like to talk about the last item in the SCARF Model. The SCARF model was developed by David Rock and it’s a great way of understanding a number of the primary threats that will affect us and cause a great Stress Response and also Reward response, if you know how to manage these things properly.


Humans have a great way of being finely tuned to Fairness

Sofairness is a very interesting human characteristic that we’re very finely tuned to things being fair, and that there’s equity within the group.  And if something is unfair, it actually triggers the same part of the brain as disgust. As if you’ve been shown some rotten food and told now eat this!”. It just makes us feel completely disgusted And if you think back to when the early part of the pandemic whenthere were a lot of people who were hoarding all the toilet rolls, and swiping all the stuff off the shelves.  When there was no need for that, that other people were then left, especially maybe the health workers, who would come in in the evening and find the shelves empty. And everyone was like“That’s just so unfair!”. In factthe supermarkets had to change their policies and say you’re only allowed one or two items of a particular type. Because that created a huge amount of unfairness about the people who are behaving badly. Soas humans, we all have a great way of being finely tuned to Fairness.


What do you need to do in order to maintain a sense of fairness?

Nowwhat do you need to do as a managerin order to maintain a sense of fairness with your group  with your people. Especially during this very difficult and unusual time. You need to have clear Policies and Procedures. You need to have clear Guidelines to say, this is the way we approach this situation. This is the way we approach this type of question. And then everybody gets to say“Ah right, everyone is being treated in the same wayBecause it’s very easy if we get a Threat Response to feel that someone is, that some little thing is unfair. Will quickly make us feel that a lot of other things are unfair as well.  And can rapidly escalateespecially with an impolite email or something like that. People will quickly take offense. They’ll quickly feel attacked. And it can all go rapidly downhill. Sothink about how you need to be able to communicate your policies and procedures to people. Especiallyif there are things like redundancies happening. Sothat people can see it’s a fair processI’d also like you to think about what you can do to stay calm and relaxed during this period.

Andwhat I’d like to offer you is the opportunity to do some deep relaxation. Using the deep relaxation exercisethat, I’m giving away for free via the link in this post. 

So, when it comes to Fairness, Stay Curious! 


I would be interested to hear your thoughts and opinions about any of the above so drop me a line at

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Remember . . . Stay Curious!


With best regards,

David Klaasen 

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©David Klaasen – 2014