The Real Calculations of Goodwill

Who says that you don’t learn something new every.single.day? While working on the Imagecurriculum of a college accounting test, I learned how Goodwill is calculated, in the accounting sense. Basically, it means “an intangible asset of a business, and can include trademarks and patents, employees and their skill sets, the brand name and logo recognition, customer lists and relationships.” Then, there is a very specific formula for figuring it all out.

However, goodwill in a larger sense can mean so many different things! It can be a store, non-profit, attitude, or action… and probably many more. So, how does one calculate the impact of goodwill? How do we know if our personal investments of everyday and not-so-everyday goodwill is effective? Just like a company, our goodwill can also have a negative impact.

After much thought, my conclusion is that measuring our goodwill is certainly important. We must reflect from time to time if our actions are having intended (or unintended) impact, whether is positive or negative. Whether it’s a specific calculation to measure our own carbon footprint (thanks, Nature Conservancy!) or logging the numbers of hours we volunteer each year. It’s also important to do the “heavy lifting” too. While quantitative measures are important to measure impact, reflection, securing feedback and conversations about our impact are just as, if not more, important. Only then you can truly figure out if your intentions and goodwill actions are met with a positive impact, negative reaction, or perhaps… even possibly starting a greater goodwill than you never imagined!

 

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