You are experiencing the worst economic times in recent history. You have just invested in a complete online employee survey program. The results have been painstakingly analyzed and reviewed, and you have a plan for action. Your entire team is scheduled for a nearly unprecedented early morning meeting to give the consulting team ample opportunity to address the issues identified through the survey process and your entire staff shows up ………………in pajamas. Would you be?
If you were Bill Ferrence, Manager of the Boulder Dam Credit Union, the words tickled, delighted, overjoyed, humbled and grateful would never be enough to describe the significance of this gesture. This was not a sign of protest, but one of solidarity to the core principles that make BDCU a special place to be part of for absolutely everyone – Whether you are a member of the staff, the Roto-Rooter man, who would not take a fee for cleaning the drains before a Saturday company picnic, or the member who waits patiently at the door to see a friendly face and, while he is there, conduct some kind of financial transaction.
In case you have not guessed, this is not your average Credit Union. It looks like many others – tellers, vaults, loan officers, and unfortunately a couple of repossessed RV’s outside – but that is where the similarities end. I am lucky; I know the stories, I know that the PJ’s and curlers were a re-enactment of an audacious morning meeting many years ago. Bill had arrived for an uncharacteristically early morning meeting in his three-piece brown corduroy suit greeted by wide grins smeared in cold cream, framed in curlers, and bedecked in vibrant flannel. This was impertinence at its best, but not to Bill, his position, the members or the challenges before them; but rather irreverence to fear.
The BDCU currency of choice is not one of dollars and cents, but one of love and respect. Ask the young woman who lost her mother and, without resources, was unable to pay for the funeral. In just three hours, the staff donated the anticipated funeral expenses of $900. However, this is not the end of the story. When you give abundantly, you receive abundantly. Recognizing the generosity of the BDCU staff, the Boulder City Family Mortuary donated their services, and more than $500 remained to help the daughter provide for urgent needs.
For those of you cynical enough to be searching for the bottom line consider just three facts:
1. The BDCU has virtually ZERO turnover. New team members come as a result of those that have retired or left the community. 70% of BDCU employees have been with the credit union more than ten years, and 30% more than twenty.
2. 82% of employees rate the credit union either a 4 or 5 as a fun place to work, (5 being “it is so much fun I would pay THEM to work here!”). Compare that to the average work environment where only 20% are enthusiastic, 54% are disengaged, and another 17% are actually working against the system.
3. BDCU has more than 22,000 members in a closed membership community of just 15,000, which means more than a third of their members have kept their membership even though they have left the community.
Seven lessons to put the power of BDCU to work for you: These are not things to add to and check off your “to do” list. We already “do” too much and understand too little. Dis-ease is not a call for action, but for understanding. Once we understand our “why” we will each find our own unique “how”.
1. We each operate everyday out of a mindset of scarcity or abundance, fear or love. Whatever you extend to the world will be returned to you. Give that which you wish to receive.
2. Become aware of the stories going on inside your head. Notice whether they give you pleasure or pain, and realize you are the author. If you don’t like the story, turn the page and begin again.
3. Do not write yourself into others’ dramas. Each of us is the star, playwright and director of our own personal plays. All of the other characters are merely projections of the main character. When someone attacks or belittles you, realize they are only attacking themselves. Leave their play on their stage; go, and enjoy some popcorn.
4. We are not thinking beings that have feelings; we are feeling beings that have thoughts. Whether you are leading a business, volunteer group, family or just yourself, “priming” good feelings is your most important role.
5. Cultivate an irreverence to fear. We live in a culture fascinated with failure and dominated by drama. Choose to believe that all things are possible and that will be true for you.
6. Don’t waste time TRYING to be positive. You are, under all the dysfunction, at your core, an eternal optimist. Observe a child learning to walk or a youngster with their first bike. This is who you are beneath the unconsciousness. Change does not require effort, but awareness.
7. Efforts to resist negativity only create more discontent. Instead, become conscious of your choices. Don’t judge, blame or criticize; simply observe how you feel and notice how you think. We feel the way we feel because we think the way we think
P.s. It may now not surprise you to know that the girl in the story above is still wearing the class ring purchased for her by the BDCU staff when her family could not afford to buy one.