Good People Book Summary - Good People Book explained in key points
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Good People summary

Anthony Tjan

The Only Leadership Decision That Really Matters

4.2 (27 ratings)
25 mins

Brief summary

Good People by Anthony Tjan is a guide on how to find and attract the right people in life and business. It highlights the importance of values, character, and caring for others in building successful relationships and organizations.

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    Good People
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    Goodness in competency differs from goodness in values.

    If you think about the word “good,” your mind probably grasps at various definitions and forms a stew of multiple associations. After all, does a “good” dog really have anything in common with a “good” idea? “Good” has become so overused that it’s lost any clear meaning – and things get even messier in the world of business.

    If you call your coworker “good,” are you referring to her well-balanced personality and core values or do you mean she’s competent at her job? Often it's the latter. In fact, an employee’s goodness is predominately measured by skills and competencies – not by their human nature, values and moral code.

    That’s partly because measuring someone’s goodness in competency is easy. From technical skills to academic accolades, goodness in competency has plenty of measurable markers to choose from. Think about your last job interview. Did any questions try to uncover your core values or conception of humanity? Chances are, the interview was based solely on things like your industry knowledge and spreadsheet skills.

    These are important, but goodness in values – instilled in employees and wider business culture – is even more crucial to corporate success. It’s a mistake to view the principal tenets of goodness – truth, compassion and wholeness – as “soft skills” that can be neglected. Workplaces that genuinely incorporate these values display happier, more productive workforces. These values cause positive change in the world and benefit the bottom line – there’s nothing “soft” about them!

    This makes sense, because stripping away a company’s margins and market share leaves nothing but a group of people determined to achieve a common goal. Financial health is contingent on the relationship between people, their values and the workplace’s culture. Why wouldn’t you want these things to radiate goodness?

    Just consider the WD-40 Company, a popular manufacturer of household products. It is uncompromising in its people-first philosophy. WD-40 views its staff as their top priority, and mentorship at the company is taken quite seriously: a WD-40 supervisor’s sole responsibility is her team’s well-being and success, and thanks to this, the approval ratings for superiors is regularly around 96 percent! The financial impact? Today, WD-40 is valued at over $1.5 billion, and staff turnover is three times lower than the national average.

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    What is Good People about?

    Good People (2017) restates the case for goodness in the cutthroat world of business. By redefining goodness and good people as crucial elements of a successful enterprise, Anthony Tjan challenges the notion that we can only succeed through our skills and competencies.

    Best quote from Good People

    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference. – Reinhold Niebuhr

    —Anthony Tjan
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    Who should read Good People?

    • Businesspeople seeking a work-friendly definition of goodness
    • People looking to become more well-rounded
    • Mentors hoping to supercharge their leadership skills

    About the Author

    Anthony Tjan is an author, entrepreneur, business consultant and CEO of the Cue Ball Group – a US-based investment firm with a people-first philosophy and a focus on human capital. Previously, Tjan co-authored Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck: What It Takes to Be an Entrepreneur and Build a Great Business (2012).

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