The Jar of Good

By Lindsay LaNore

More often than not, we don’t stop to recognize the good things that happen to our bank, employees, customers or communities. They tend to get lost in our day-to-day operations. So, why not get the year off to a positive start by embedding celebration into your culture?

A “jar of good” is a simple but effective way of keeping the good times in mind. This jar, or whatever you want it to be—it could even be a board or a wall—is a place to store successes, to keep them front and center, and, most importantly, to celebrate them. Studies have repeatedly shown that positive feelings invigorate us and that happy workers perform at a higher level and are more invested in their workplace. Happiness helps breed success, so much so that happiness expert Shawn Achor believes a positive, engaged brain is the greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy. Therefore, it makes sense to call out the events and achievements that bring us joy.

Start by getting a jar—a big one, of course—and placing it somewhere prominent. Leave a notepad beside it. Invite employees (and even customers) to drop notes into it documenting things to celebrate. Here are a few ideas to start with:

  • Bank achievements like a new product launch, system conversion or the establishment of new policies or procedures
  • Customer and community feedback, memories or discussions worth saving
  • Laugh-out-loud moments; the things that made the team laugh, either with each other or within the community
  • Special gifts given to or from the bank, such as awards or fundraising successes, or something intangible but worth a special mention
  • Great advice or ideas gleaned from any source, whether it’s a training course or conversation with local business leaders
  • Newspaper articles or stories about the bank or your customers that made you cheer or smile
  • Employee successes outside of work, such as the arrival of a new baby, a medical breakthrough or a marathon completed

Make sure to lead by example. Keep adding to the jar yourself, and make sure to share success stories from across the bank. Deliberately highlight each team member in some way. Encourage team members to celebrate the achievements of their colleagues. One person’s success, once shared, can be motivating and spark new ideas.

Think of how fun it will be to review these notes at the year-end strategy meeting or holiday party. Pass the jar around and take turns reading the notes aloud. Then start all over again for 2021!