Thursday, July 5, 2012

Good will

"Good will" is an accounting term. It means, in effect, the intangible worth of something that is given a monetized value. You won't find good will on the balance sheet.  It comes up all the time when valuing a company for sale. Good will is the value of the relationship that a company has in the market place.

So, we aren't accountants here, so what's the point?

The point is that intangible value appears a lot in the value proposition of projects. And, good will comes up a lot in change management exercises. We often call good will "soft benefits". Soft benefits have a dubious cause and effect. Yes, we know there's some correlation (things move together) but one always wonders if they are cause and effect (A moves because B moves). What's the alternative? The alternative is a 'confounding factor': A is moved by C, but so is B, thus A and B move together.

This may be more information than you need.

Here's a change management example of 'good will' from one of my students:

The strong success that we realized came through recognizing the organizational significance of the 'front-line, Level 1 operations guys', whose positions had at one time been considered prime for outsourcing.

Once we helped leadership to recognize the breadth of these guys' scope, and good work and goodwill that they had facilitated, we were able to make the strong case that thier roles were much more critical than had previously been understood.

Making the case for these guys helped to bring their loyal support in terms of understanding the 'as is' and helping to drive out and optimize the 'to be.' Transparency prevailed and the outcome was definitely a win-win situation.

Win-win! You gotta like it when a plan comes together
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