The goodwill account

The concept of a “goodwill account”, ways in which colleagues can either debit or credit this account, and its potential utility in understanding and addressing annoying behaviors in a professional environment.

Lucas A. Meyer


July 7, 2021

One of the most helpful team-building exercises I participated in was very simple. It was called the “goodwill account”.

The exercise was for each team member to write 2-3 things that your colleagues can do that debit their goodwill account with you, and three things that your colleagues do that credit their account with you. We would then share these around the team.

For me, the debits were: - scheduling a meeting without looking at my free/busy - scheduling a meeting with me outside of work hours and canceling it last minute - surprising me with an urgent deliverable request

And the credits were: - being efficient in meetings: having an agenda, pre-reads, action items - giving me visibility of projects I might be involved in at some point in the future - giving me feedback on how I could do things better

It was also helpful to learn about things that annoyed my colleagues that I did without realizing.