Merge's Blog

Build synergy and goodwill – the metaphor of compound interest

YogaClassThere is a classic Aesop’s fable about the value of synergy – when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  I was reminded of this fable when my yoga instructor said something to our group while in practice the other day that caught my attention, and stayed with me long after the hot and exhausting session was over.  She said to think of every practice as a deposit into your metaphoric health bank account.  And as sequential deposits build up the total balance, the impact of the compounding interest becomes increasingly visible.  As I reflected on this, it occurred to me that it’s very true, but not just in the context of physical health; it also applies in the workplace environment.

Think about workplace relationships.  When you invest time and energy into building individual relationships with your staff and co-workers – show empathy, lend a helping hand when required, offer a kind ear when it’s needed the most, engage in meaningful small talk – you essentially build goodwill.  Ergo, you make deposits.  And when you make many deposits, the value starts to compound and the goodwill you build grows exponentially, much like compound interest does in a financial bank account.  And goodwill matters!  When you need your co-worker to help you at the last minute with a proposal that’s due tomorrow, the goodwill (think compound interest) that you’ve built up with this person will determine whether (or not) you get the assistance you need.  When well-laid business plans go awry, the goodwill (think compound interest) that you have with your staff will decide whether they’ll roll up their sleeves and take full ownership for the problem (or shrug their shoulders and wait for you to drive the bus).

As leaders, we need to be thoughtful about making frequent and steady deposits into our relationship bank accounts in order to reap the benefits of the synergy that comes from compounded goodwill.

So as you can likely tell, this metaphor really resonated with me.  But what do you think?  Is there value in making sequential deposits into our relationship bank accounts?  Have you observed the positive impact of compounded “interest”?  Please add your comment below.

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