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Because I’m Happy!

Posted by on June 22, 2016

Be honest, when you read that, did you sing it? Pharrell Williams created more than a song. He captured a moment in time when people are known to get up and clap, dance, sing, and… be happy.

But, what does being happy have to do with banking? Work? Isn’t productivity, achieving goals, working hard–working even harder–lead to even more happiness? Science says no. In fact, if you are always striving for more, then you may never achieve being happy. It’s always ‘just on the other side of success’.

I’m reminded of a Ted Talk by Shawn Achor from 2011 with the title “The happy secret to better work.” He nailed it on general terms but he also captured the culture that all of our employees have crafted at Bank of Ann Arbor.

Sure, it’s important to like your job, your community, your co-workers. I’m not talking about that. I am suggesting that being happy, right now, is even more important. How do we foster that? Encouraging staff to give freely to do good work in their communities. To be physically active and create positive brain chemistry BOAA built a state-of-the-art exercise facility in our Ann Arbor headquarters. To relax and be centered we also built a yoga room. To represent the Bank at different functions, seeing our many other community friends in a non-work environment.

In 2016 BOAA will also begin the installation of gallery-quality original art in and around our headquarter as part of the renovation project. Curiosity, mindfulness, expectation, passion, courage. Some of the ingredients of being truly happy. Happiness only comes from within so we can only do so much. Listening, understanding, reacting is what we do.

Fortune Magazine did a study in September 2015 that found there are five things that make people truly happy at work: Challenging Work, Sense of Progress, No Fear, Autonomy, Belonging. Makes sense, right? It does to me. It’s our “secret competitive advantage”.