A blog about reputation, marketing and employee morale.

What is The Power of Goodwill?

Posted by Janet Smith on January 23, 2009

The Power of GoodwillA lot of people wonder about the name of my company–The Power of Goodwill. To me, the word ‘goodwill’ is powerful in many ways. But in particular, it is goodwill that sustains an organization through a crisis or a difficult period. When something goes wrong, it’s goodwill and only goodwill that allows a reputation to endure and potentially rise again. That’s the power of goodwill…assuming, that is, that a sufficient amount of goodwill has been generated before the problem/difficulty/crisis started.

So goodwill is like a savings account. You generate goodwill during the good times, and it helps you out during the tough times.

As it applies to the workplace, allow me to introduce one of my Seven Laws of Employee Morale: The Law of the Jar of Goodwill.  Imagine that there’s an invisible jar on the desk or in the workspace of every employee. All of the positive things the boss and the organization do to provide a good work experience go into the jar, such as being pleasant, treating employees equally, providing challenging work, caring about employees as individuals, listening to their concerns, and so on. You know-the stuff I blog about all the time!

The level of goodwill in those jars must be extremely high at all times. Because it’s goodwill that not only creates high employee morale…it’s what keeps employees loyal and willing to hang in there on the inevitable days when things are not so good. Like when you-the boss-are stressed out about a deadline and pass that stress along to the people who must help you meet it. Or when the network goes down and customers are complaining. When co-workers get irritated with one another or a major client withdraws its business or an employee doesn’t get the promotion she thought she deserved. There’s an endless list of less-than-perfect things that can and do happen in every workplace—because that’s life.

Every time something negative happens on the job, some goodwill comes out of that invisible jar. If it’s something relatively minor, just a little goodwill comes out. When it’s something big—or something minor that won’t go away—larger amounts of goodwill drain out. Probably almost every day, some goodwill comes out of the jar.

So when inadequate quantities of goodwill are generated, the jar will eventually drain completely and you’ll have an unhappy employee (or a whole staff of them) who feels disenchanted, disloyal, disenfranchised, and disappointed.

But keep making deposits into the jar, and your employees will weather the storms, big and small.

That’s the power of goodwill.

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