What is Goodwill for a company? When you strip it down, Goodwill is the value of Trust.
Goodwill is an intangible asset (a future benefit that you can’t touch) which exists because stakeholder’s trust the company: they trust what the brand stands for, they trust the company’s collective judgement and they trust in the attributes of the company’s products, services, and policies. This trust creates a value of future benefits that exists beyond the accounting of cash outlays.
That was the Accountant in me talking and now for the Coach:
As you consider your approach to leading your company, taking a Servant Leadership approach can facilitate trust with your employees, your customers and all stakeholders that interact with your company. Servant Leadership promotes trust which, in turn, creates Goodwill.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Servant Leadership, the idea is that a servant leader’s primary purpose is to serve first. The desire to help other people over-rides self-interest. This concept has its roots in ancient philosophies but an essay written in 1970 by Robert K Greenleaf entitled “The Servant as Leader” is widely credited as the introduction of the concept to modern day leaders. I first heard the term from the marketing consultant, Andrew Kolikoff who promotes the concept with his networking group, The Secret Sauce Society in the Phoenix Metro area.
When I relate Servant Leadership to the concepts of Energy Leadership that I live my life by, I identify the energy as Level 4: Caregiver Energy which is a highly anabolic energy that places other people’s needs before your own.
Servant Leadership can be incredibly beneficial to foster Goodwill for your company but the key to creating this win-win dynamic is to truly unconditionally serve without any presumption of reciprocity. Stakeholders’ can easily see through attempts to appear altruistic while simultaneously looking to profit from a situation. This is the paradox of Servant Leadership as a path to a successful company but right now I am seeing an amazing amount of Servant Leadership that appears genuine and undoubtably will result in Goodwill for those companies in the long run.
The founder and CEO of Zoom, Eric Yuan exhibits Servant Leadership. It is amazing to see the path of Zoom, the videoconferencing company that has become a household name during this pandemic. An article just published in the May edition of Forbes Magazine entitled “Zoom Kaboom!” explores Zoom’s rise to prominence. The Zoom name is so widely used that it is already becoming the generic term for videoconferencing much like the household names of Google and Kleenex. Zoom has always been generous with its platform by providing complimentary 40-minute video chats but as the pandemic unfolded, Zoom began to provided unlimited free access to schools shut down by the response to the virus. The cost to provide the free service is immense but the gesture reveals Servant Leadership. The Forbes article reports that Yuan says he wakes up in the middle of the night worrying if Zoom is doing enough. It certainly sounds like his purpose is to serve first. Securities analysts know the value that is being created. The Forbes article goes on to quote RBC analyst Alex Zukin who says “They (Zoom) are not looking to take unfair advantage. We think that goodwill carries a long way.”
Another example of Servant Leadership during this crisis are the restaurant owners around the country who are donating their food to help healthcare workers. Restaurants are arguably one of the industries that have taken the biggest hit from the social distancing guidelines of the Pandemic and yet many Restaurateurs are still giving to those in need. A long-time client of mine, Dave Andrea and his Old Town Scottsdale Restaurant, The Brat Haus have provided 1,700 meals to Honor Health Osborn Scottsdale hospital workers over the past weeks. He would like to continue the program but needs help to do it. If you would like donate, he created a Gofundme.com site to keep the program going for another 2 weeks.
In times of stress, it is very hard not to fall into a self-preservation mode that puts your own personal interests to the forefront but as the principles of Servant Leadership dictate, if you can maintain a service first mindset, it will help other people and also may benefit you in the long run.
If you would like me to explain why Servant Leadership leads to win-win situations from an Energy Leadership standpoint, please message me in LinkedIn or contact me at email@example.com to set up a time to talk or Zoom. If I may serve you in any way during this time of crisis, I am happy to see what I can do free of charge.