The pathway for spreading goodness through good leaders had me in Los Angeles for most of last week. While breaking a sweat on my morning walk, I had one of those blast from the past, “Shazam” moments. While walking up the dramatic (and strenuous) staircase outside the L.A. U.S. Bank Tower, I was overcome by gratitude for the all of the help and encouragement provided by my friends at U.S. Bank to research and finish the How Goodness Pays book project.
Inspiration from Grandma
The research and book project was initially inspired by a conversation I had during the U.S. financial crisis, with Richard Davis, who at the time was CEO of U.S. Bank, one of the nation’s 10 largest banks. “I’m inclined to support this project because of what I call the ‘grandmother clause,’” Davis explained. He credits the grandmother clause as one of the reasons that U.S. Bank avoided the self-inflicted missteps of similar banks that were deemed “too big to fail.” He explained his meaning of the grandmother clause.
“I’ve always asked our bankers to run their ideas and our products through an ethically-narrow filter: Would we sell this to our grandmothers?” Davis said. Together, we both labeled that idea “goodness,” and I set the goal of writing the first book about how goodness pays financially in business.
The first focus group was sponsored by Chady AlAhmar and Mark Jordahl from U.S. Bank’s Wealth Management group. We hosted a Goodness Dinner with a small group of their clients in downtown Los Angeles to learn whether or not the subject of goodness was relevant as a strategy for leadership and business. One of the people we met in that focus group – Charles Antis, CEO of Antis Roofing – is highlighted, along with Richard Davis, in chapter one of the book.
A Long and Winding Path
Well, it’s humbling to recall that first Goodness Dinner was four years ago! What that means is this book took me as long to complete as my four years of undergraduate studies at Gustavus Adolphus College. And similar to college, the pathway involved changing my areas of study, leaning on the help of mentors and friends, and standing my ground as we marched toward publishing How Goodness Pays. The research and advice in this book will pave the pathway for how we build the future of our firm.
Later in October, we will share the Executive Summary via this blog, and sometime in November we’ll have hard cover books. What I’m looking forward to the most is hand-delivering the first book off the press to Richard Davis – because his blessing and encouragement paved the pathway forward.
Good leaders persevere with patience, positivity, and single-minded focus on projects that are long and difficult. And they celebrate the people who provided the encouragement and energy required to finish.
Please share with me: What pathway forward are you building?