WILL IT BUILD GOODWILL AND BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
When most people think of goodwill, they think of a kindly feeling of approval and support. A businessperson also defines goodwill as the value a business attains through its brands and its good reputation. Goodwill is measured as the market value of a company over and above the value of its tangible assets.
In 2016, Microsoft acquired LinkedIn, which had a balance sheet value of $4 billion. Microsoft’s purchase price was $25 billion, the difference all classified as goodwill. Today there is more than $2.5 TRILLION in goodwill listed on corporate balance sheets. Goodwill is an intangible asset. But for many corporations, it is by far theirmost valuable asset.
Integrity is the father of goodwill. Reputation is its mother. And as Warren Buffett noted, it takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. And unlike your other assets, goodwill cannot be insured. The only way to retain it is to keep building it.
How do we build goodwill? The answer is the Rotary motto: Service above Self. If goodwill is defined as a kindly feeling of approval or support, what better way to create a kindly feeling of approval or support from others than to put service to them above you?
But Goodwill is more than warm fuzzies and ballooning balance sheets. There’s a practical value to goodwill. Rotary has tapped its goodwill to vaccinate children against polio where no one else would be allowed to do so. Rotary has tapped its goodwill in this effort, but it has created far more than it has used. When polio is eradicated, the most important tool in that effort will not be money, but the goodwill Rotary developed over more than a century. Goodwill saves lives.
An Oxford anthropologist recently surveyed 3,300 people on their use of Facebook. These people had an average of 155 friends, yet they said only 28% of them were close friends, and they would only turn to four in a crisis.
Responding to these numbers, the anthropologist said, “Seeing the whites of their eyes from time to time seems to be crucial to the way we maintain friendships.” Social media may be great for keeping up with friends and family, but it’s not a substitute for face-to-face contact.