Isn’t it interesting that the word, “social‟ appears almost daily in CNN news, business magazines, and certainly networking sites such as, Facebook and LinkedIn. There are numerous uses of this word combined with other words, for example, social media, social engagement, social bonding, social justice, social relations, and social skills. It seems evident that our contemporary society, maybe even globally, has become very conscious of how we interact and collectively co-exist with all other living organisms. We view this as a thoughtful step in the advancement of emotional awareness and how we interrelate with others. This then, has led us to ask, what are your social contracts with family, friends, communities; and, workplace relationships‟? What do we mean by social contracts? Our definition includes these areas of focus:

The awareness of your engagement in each of these circles, and how you conduct yourself within each circle.

How you bond into each of these social circles. Bonding is the interactive process of attachment for family members, as well as, sincere friends. Bonding can also spring from working synergies found in intense development from startup companies or the service of comrades in the military or police forces. How you set internal boundaries for yourself and how you respect this person, or this group’s boundaries for meaningful exchanges. Deep decisions of what is important to protect as core values can be decided together as to what all parties believe they deserve as respectful behavior.

Some psychologists have used a similar term, personal engagement. The first scholar to define personal engagement was W.A. Kahn, as the “harnessing of organization members’ selves to their work roles: in engagement, people employ and express themselves physically, cognitively, emotionally and mentally during role performances”.
How do you establish and maintain your social contracts? Use these guidelines in your areas of interest:

• In the workplace, establish priorities so each individual knows they are not performing just, “busy work‟ and there will be no redundant procedures. Whatever final outcome the group is destined to deliver will be more productive when the competentices of each person are tapped and targeted to the end result. Whether family, friends, or a workplace agreement, be open to explore differences and establish working boundaries that honor all involved, especially if the venture you’re involved with will take months or years to complete.

• Use language that is action oriented. It is helpful to use personal stories to illustrate the degree of engagement you feel. Don’t hesitate to use “I‟ when you tell exceptional illustrations of your connectedness to the cause. You will find that stories that include words such as, “I did or we did‟, “I acted or we went‟, will go beyond your own interests, and tap some inner space for each person listening to you.

• Be mindful of boundaries, yours and others. Be vocal about what you will do to respect other’s limits regarding engagement and culture or religious borders. All relationships are based on trust and honor, especially where collective work teams or business units need to work as a whole system. Be ready for disappointment. The future cannot be guaranteed even with the best of strategic plans. Be certain that fall back plans are in place so there will be no finger pointing when progress is temporarily derailed. Blame behavior will not be helpful to regroup and become an efficient organization.

• Examine what the core of your engagement is for the effort at hand. Whatever driving principles you represent can be the initiative for other people to be involved in a single community or a single social effort. Don’t be afraid to state your core valves and acknowledge those of others.

What Are Your Social Contracts?