How old were you when you opened your first bank account?

I was about 15. I had a paper route and my earnings were adding up. I asked my father which bank he used, but he wouldn’t tell me. Instead, he suggested I visit three banks close to our home and choose the one I liked best.

If The Clock Is Wrong, What Else Is Wrong?

The next morning, I walked to the first bank. Immediately, I noticed it had one of those fancy time and temperature signs out front. I had no idea what I should be looking for in a bank, but I liked that sign! The time read 9:02am, but when I pulled on the door handle, it was locked. I peered through the glass door and saw one of the bank tellers. She pointed to her watch and yelled, “Sorry! We’re not open yet!” This was long before smart phones and although my watch read that it was just about 9am, all we had to go on was her watch and the accuracy of the sign out front. I figured if they couldn’t even get the sign right that I’d chosen the wrong bank. So I left.

As I crossed the street to the second bank, I double-checked my watch: exactly 8:58am. Figuring they weren’t open yet, I sat down on the curb and waited. To my surprise, a woman unlocked the door and (smiling) said, “Good morning young man!” I was confused. “Good morning,” I said, “The bank isn’t open yet, right?” She said, “We open at 9 or when we see our first customer. You’re our first customer so come on in!”

She helped me open my first account.

That afternoon, I told my father how the first bank made me feel like a second-class citizen but the second bank made me feel like a king. He shared some frustrations he had with that first bank as well because it turns out that was the bank where he and my mother had their accounts! He ended up switching the family accounts to that second bank. Not only did that first bank lose my small earnings, they lost my family’s account too.

purpose task missionAre You Cutting Stone Or Building a Cathedral?

So what’s the difference between the two banks? Both could have easily opened my account and processed my paper route earnings and my family’s mortgage. But only one of the banks went out of their way to make customers feel welcomed. One bank was task-driven. The other? Mission-driven. One was focused on the transactions while the other was focused on the experience.

It reminds me of the famous story of the three stonecutters. When each was asked what they were doing, the first man replies that he’s making a living. The second replies that he is striving to be the best stonecutter in the land. The third replies (with a twinkle in his eye), that he is building a cathedral. The first two were singularly focused on their job tasks; but the third? He was connected to something higher than himself. The third stonecutter was on a mission and was connected to purpose.

Inspire Employees To Be The Third Stonecutter

One of the key principles that our team teaches to clients is how leaders can help every employee (clinical and non-clinical) to see beyond their daily job tasks and what’s written in their official job description and instead, connect to their purpose, their role in the healing environment. To become cathedral-builders.

We’ve worked with sterile processing teams who thought of themselves as “glorified dishwashers” until they were reminded that they provide clean, sterile tools and instruments that heal.

We’ve worked with food and beverage employees who thought of themselves as “tray passers” or “delivery people” until they were reminded that they provide food and drinks that help patients heal.

And, we’ve worked with housekeepers and environmental services teams who thought of themselves as trash collectors, bathroom cleaners, or bed-makers, until they were reminded that they provide safe, clean spaces so patients can heal.

Connecting people to purpose is absolutely vital. When everyone knows their role and everyone is connected to their purpose, then everyone is working toward the same goal of delivering a world-class experience for patients, employees, and one another.

(By the way, to this day, I always look at the time and temperature sign outside of banks. If it’s snowing out and the sign says it’s 52 degrees, you can bet I’m not taking my money there!)