A common concept in business is the value of goodwill as a buffer for those moments when things go a bit south. The accrued goodwill of the business acts as a buoy that keeps the business afloat. Goodwill is typically built in the moments that businesses act with integrity, treat their employees well, or help out individuals, families, or communities in need. This goodwill takes the edge off those less than glowing moments that sometimes happen and helps to balance the scales in the public’s mind. It is a reservoir of sorts that businesses should continually add to in the event they need it.
Really good businesses fill their goodwill reservoir as a matter of course – it is accrued as a natural function of how they do business. Other businesses may have to concentrate a bit more on the effort, but wisely ensure that it gets the attention it needs as a part of a sound business strategy. Some businesses don’t make any concerted effort to build goodwill and end up having a much more difficult time recovering from a debacle.
The smart money is on keeping your goodwill reservoir as full as possible. This applies not only in business, but in all different kinds of relationships. I believe that the older folks become the more likely they are to appreciate the value of maintaining a full goodwill reservoir. In most interpersonal relationships goodwill is a function of exhibiting good character, consistency, or kindness. These are the things we tend to value in such relationships…these are the things that provide folks a buffer when mistakes are made.
This past weekend my boyfriend Mike topped off his goodwill reservoir. He went out to my dad’s house in Kindred three separate days to do home repairs and yard work. Then he offered to return weekly to help with whatever projects my dad needs done. This eases my mind as I know there are many maintenance-oriented things that are becoming more difficult for my dad to do as he ages. I am grateful that Mike is willing to spend his spare time doing such things for my dad. His actions are noted and stored away in an appropriate place in my heart.
Mike may have his moments where he does things that I find maddening or annoying. God knows that Mike has sorely tried my patience at times, but he loves me and my family and it shows in the little things he does day-in and day-out. That means a lot to me. That kind of goodwill has to count for more than the little things we tend to focus on when picking apart folks.
As I have aged, I have learned that it is better to focus on folks’ goodwill reservoirs than negative moments or behaviors in isolation. I feel fortunate to have such a good soul in my life and I appreciate that he too chooses to focus more on my goodwill reservoir than my imperfections (yes, it is true…I have a few). Sometimes the trick in seeing folks’ humanity is in actively looking for it.
Day one thousand four hundred and eleven of the new forty – obla di obla da