Good will, I’ve learned from colleagues who practice the mysterious art of business valuation, is not an easy thing to quantify. There are standard guidelines, but each seems to have a unique recipe or method for assigning a number to intangible assets, and sometimes they even agree. But not often. Especially when they are on opposite sides of a negotiation.
I’m going to leave that variety of good will to the experts because, to me, it’s just another number that might describe how much of something good is going on, but not whether it’s actually making a difference.
Those of you who know me well know I’m always looking for change. Positive change. Enduring change. Change with the potential to expand and cascade into the beginnings of a better world. For everyone.
You know – or can probably figure out – that recent events in America, as well as abroad, have caused me to question whether I can hope for change any more. (Maybe my tagline should read ‘Hoping for change since the sixties and still not giving up.’)
So I thought, what if we went back to the non-financial definition of good will. As in ‘Peace on Earth, Good Will to All.’ Where good will is based on action – something you give to, or do for, or nurture in others; not just a number.
What if – instead of counting our LinkedIn connections, Twitter follows, Facebook friends, or blog subscribers – we started counting our acts of good will? And what if, instead of counting our calories, or steps, or unanswered emails, we counted the number of people we touched with caring? What if all that really counted in our lives were acts of charity, of kindness, of love?
And what if, eventually, we could no longer count good will because it became one continuous action? One way of life?
Then, perhaps, as the holiday refrain goes, we really could sing in perfect harmony: celebrating our interdependence, and our differences, while serving something bigger than our small selves.
It would be a start.
Let’s let 2020 be the time to start. Together. Because change, like everything else that makes a difference, takes a team.