When you’re a kid, basic stuff can bring great joy. A cardboard box could be transformed into a castle or spaceship. As a kid I had a trampoline; well, it was a big inner tube from a truck, with a piece of leather strapped around it. Nothing like ones today, but it was everything I needed. I could put on my superman suit and launch into the sky or lift it over my head pretending it was a boulder. The simplest things meant so much. As you get older, some of that can get lost and when days are filled working instead of playing, it can be hard to stay in touch with the child inside, but not impossible.
I think work can be fun. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Days can be long, goals can seem unattainable and people can be challenging. Despite that, I believe we can find happiness along the way if we try. Sure, there’s a potential downside in fostering a business culture with that in mind. There’s a risk you won’t be taken seriously, or the atmosphere may get too relaxed and people will lose sight of why we’re here. It’s all about balance. There is a time and place for formal and informal, for playfulness and professionalism. Freedom is a business that provides an important service to our members and the community, but the Freedom experience is about what we bring to it, our personality and letting a little of that youthful exuberance shine through with each interaction.
“Don’t walk too far away from the child within you, and never abandon the sense of wonder that magnifies the smallest of things into mountains of joy. For one day, when you lose sight of happiness, that child within can guide you back to the things that once nourished your heart.” ~ Dodinsky
I was walking on the trail a couple days ago when my son Face-Time’d me from Portugal. It was just to touch base and let me know everything was fine. From 3,500 miles away it was like he was right next to me. That still amazes me. On the flip side, I made a call the other day from my office phone and had to leave a message. In that message I asked they call my cell phone and left that number, three times, only to have the call returned to my desk phone because that’s what popped up on their caller ID. Forget that I left a detailed message with specific instructions to call my cell. Their systems provided a number so why actually listen to my message?
Technology can be great. It can make life easier, convenient, help get things done faster, and so on, but it can’t replace good old-fashioned human interaction and attentiveness. We have the capabilities that allow members to do pretty much anything they want without interacting with a human being, yet they continue to do so. They call on the phone, they come into the branch, they send emails because they have a need.
Sometimes the technology alone can meet a need, but other times the need is more than transactional or informational. Members want understanding, compassion, someone to give advice or talk over options with. We are more than order takers; we are financial representatives, experts in our field, people that help our members make better decisions that can have a positive impact on their lives.
There are tremendous benefits to technology. We all need it, and depend on it; but we never lose sight of how important our members are. A cell phone can’t shake a hand or show appreciation; a PC can’t help you deal with an unexpected life change; a loan system can’t explain the benefits and risks of a purchase. There is an art to conversation and a physical and emotional benefit to engagement. Technology is just one tool we use to create the Freedom experience, but we never lose site of the importance of conversation.
“Primum non nocere” is a Latin phrase that means “first, to do no harm.” It’s a phrase associated with the medical profession; an oath taken by doctors. What if we all took that oath and lived our lives dedicated to not hurting others; essentially eliminating all forms of violence, aggression and abuse. That’s probably a utopia we’ll never see, but we should certainly work towards this ideal and, until that day comes, try and make sure the ones who don’t want to harm outnumber those that do.
There’s another equivalent phrase found in the Hippocratic school: “…either help or do not harm….”. I think this speaks to what we do at Freedom; helping and/or preventing things from getting worse. At Freedom, our priority is certainly to serve the needs of our members, but we can also help improve their financial condition by providing education, reducing expenses, creating budgets, helping build savings, and so on. There is more to Freedom than just cashing a check or approving a loan. We can help members avoid problems or prevent a worsening financial scenario. In this regard, Freedom is not only a financial institution, but a financial health provider.
Stop by for a checkup.