How Good Are You, and How Much Good Is Your Company Doing?

When you hear the word “good,” what do you think of? How do you define it?

The natural inclination is to describe “good” as the opposite of “bad,” but independent policy advisor Simon Anholt has another definition – “good” as the opposite of “selfish.” And that’s the definition he uses in his new Good Country Index.

Watch this brilliant TedX video given by Mr. Anholt for more details. It’s well worth your time.

The “goodest” country contributes the most

Anholt describes the index more fully on this website, explaining the purpose of the index is “to measure what each country on Earth contributes to the common good of humanity, and what it takes away.”

Why do I bring all this up? Not only do I think it’s fascinating in its own right, but also out of deep pride.

As revealed in the video and shown on the website, Ireland is the number 1 “goodest” country (in Mr. Anholt’s terms). And long-time readers of this blog know that I am Irish.

Doing good when times are tough

In the video, Anholt says:

The winner is Ireland. No country on Earth per head of population or per dollar of GDP contributes more to the world than Ireland. In the depths of a very severe economic depression, I think that’s a really important lesson. If you can remember your international obligations whilst you’re trying to rebuild your own economy, that is really something.”

Setting aside personal pride for a moment, what’s the lesson for all of us from such a macro index?

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Perhaps it’s as simple as this: when we are all at our most busy, our most stressed, our most concerned about our own deadlines, we can do the most good (for ourselves and for others) by looking outward to the needs of others. If we collaborate with others on their needs, we can likely find solutions to our own.

How would you score?

Think about your company, your department, your team. If you were to assign a “good index” number – e.g., how well people think more about the good of the entire company than the good of the immediate team or their own individual needs – how well would your team score?

How would you score personally?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their company culture. As the Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek helps clients — including some of world’s most admired companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Intuit, KPMG, and Thomson Reuters — leverage recognition strategies and best practices to better manage company culture, elevate employee engagement, increase retention, and improve the bottom line. He's also a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Contact him at


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