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Is there shame in being an F’n Do-Gooder?

Our signature book launched in November, and it’s been a joy ever since. But it didn’t start out smoothly…

It’s been 5 months since Paul Hillen and I launched the How Goodness Pays book. It wasn’t easy in any way, shape, or form. It took two years to get the funding, and three years to research and write a credible book. And since the book launch he and I have been traveling east and west talking about the joys and tribulations of tackling the subject of “goodness” in business. Here’s how my journey started, as written in Chapter 1:

It was an email that hardened my resolve to prove how goodness pays. The subject line simply said: “COMMENT.”

The body of the email: “What are you an F’n Do-Gooder?” – that’s all.

So, how does it feel to be an F’n Do-Gooder?

Because the sender’s name was unfamiliar, I replied back and asked, “What do you mean?” All that came back was an AOL bounce-back message – a dead end. The hollow exchange sparked a self-talk debate inside my head:

“Am I an F’n Do-Gooder? Probably. Why does it feel weird to say?

If I’m not, then why not? Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?

If I’m not an F’n Do-Gooder, then what does that make me, an F’n Do-Badder? That just sounds bad.”

Goodness grows, and goodness pays

That was nine years ago. Since then, we have built a thriving leadership development business through coaching, writing, and speaking about how goodness pays for our clients.  The word “goodness,” applied to leadership, creates a polarizing response in most people – hardly anyone is neutral on this term. Skeptics like Paul Hillen, at first dismiss the concept of goodness in leadership as too soft, weak, or religious. But the vast majority of successful leaders endorse goodness as a motivator for their ongoing business success. They just may not call it goodness, or even realize they are doing it.

The message is spreading through keynotes, workshops, and coaching engagements by Paul Hillen (left), me, and our coaches.

Definition of Goodness:  Goodness in business is when people thrive together through a culture of encouragement, accountability, and positive teamwork.  Goodness is an others-focused approach that creates and sustains business momentum, even in uncertain or difficult business environments.

So, the book is an unapologetic statement, supported by data, to show how goodness pays in business.

 Making the Case: How Does Goodness Pay?

For more than eight years, my firm has been collecting input from leaders in a variety of forums – meetings, retreats, and conventions – about goodness as a catalyst for business success. What have we learned? Four out of five leaders surveyed through audience response technology say they believe goodness pays in leadership and business. And yet only two out of five of those same leaders are happy with the consistency of their financial results. The book, How Goodness Pays, closes that gap by specifically teaching those who believe goodness pays how to achieve consistently positive financial results following goodness practices.

How Goodness Pays helps leaders work on their leadership approach to improve business results.

In short, we identified Five Goodness Pays Factors. In other words, leaders who radiate goodness and create consistently positive financial growth have these five things alive in their organizations:

  1. A compelling plan that energizes employees
  2. The belief that profitability is healthy for everyone – not just owners and executives
  3. A team-based culture that’s not dominated by a few superhero leaders
  4. Timely and transparent decision-making that gives employees what they need, when they need it
  5. Magnetic ethics, created by high standards that leaders role model

What’s remarkable about what we’ve learned, is that none of these five factors are “remarkable.” It’s simple common sense. And that begs the question: Why is common sense, not common practice? Are you asking yourself that question right now? Because you are not immune.

In future blogs I will explore insights about the Five Goodness Pays Factors. And we will dive into the answers behind Why is common sense not common practice?

If you haven’t gotten your copy of this book – our manifesto – you can get one here. Thank you for spreading goodness in your leadership. The world needs you to radiate goodness.


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