Leaders will always say that the most important part of their company is their people. People-first philosophies abound. Don’t believe it? Look at the plaque on the wall extolling the value of people.
But often the saying on the wall is not reality on the floor. It’s far too common to see people judged strictly on today’s achievements and not by their integrity and compassion for others.
Anthony Tjan’s new book, Good People: The Only Leadership Decision That Really Matters, is about defining goodness as a skill that can be learned and mastered, about the culture that’s created when we focus on people in a completely different way. I recently spoke to him about his philosophy. Anthony is an entrepreneur, strategic advisor, and venture investor.
“Practicing goodness isn’t just a pleasantry..it’s our duty.” -Anthony Tjan
Understand True Goodness
The “Good People Mantra” is a powerful and simple summation of your philosophy. Would you share it with us?
Of course. The Good People Mantra is about five principles and commitments that define what true goodness really means. Think of this as a sort of Hippocratic Oath for leaders to follow. It begins with always being people-first. Make your decisions with this filter in terms of how will the outcome affect my people? Second, recognize that goodness is really defined in terms of how you can make others feel and become the fullest version of who they are. When you are in their presence do you do that? Or when you are in the presence of someone else do you feel that? Third, goodness is something much bigger than competency – it requires character and values. Fourth, goodness requires one to be balanced against the tensions and realities that fight against it. We need to be self-aware of these tensions and ask the right questions to make us better at finding balance. Fifth, do goodness not only when you are morally tested or trying to avoid being bad but, rather, do goodness whenever you are in a position to do so. Real goodness comes from those who practice being good whenever the situation allows. And recognizing that this is a life-long pursuit and intention.