This is the question that has been running through my mind all week.  I was invited to a breakfast event earlier this week to hear a Minnesota writer, Patrick Mader, discuss his book: Minnesota Gold.  Patrick isn’t your typical writer; he is a retired teacher, as well as a sports enthusiast, or what I might call a savant. 

He can recall sports stats, records, years and individuals like no one I have ever seen, or at least as it relates to Minnesota sports.  You must also know that I am the opposite of a sports enthusiast, but I really enjoyed his session and took away something I have been pondering all week…..are we over processed? 

Patrick told many stories of Minnesota Olympic athletes and their path to the Olympic Games.  There were so many stories that began with humble beginnings.  Even a story of an athlete who took up his sport and two years later was an Olympic qualifier. 

Now, I know this blog would be much better if I could recall the names and sports as well as Patrick, but really that is not my point.  I envisioned Patrick writing the same book 20 years from now.  How many of them would start out talking about the one set of skates the family owned and his passion for skating that lead him to the Olympic Hockey team? Or the strong desire that lead these athletes to fix practice into their normal school and work schedules in order to fund their own trip to the games?  No, I can see maybe a story going something like this:  At the age of three my parents put me in local training school (substitute whatever sport you want here).  By the age of five I was playing said sport three days a week for four hours a day and traveling the state.  Soon after my parents had to enroll me in an alternative school so I could keep up my practice schedule.  I never attended a Saturday afternoon birthday party for a friend because it conflicted with my practice schedule.  But by 16 I made the Olympic team with two corporate sponsors behind my name. By 21 I retired with a much worn out body. 

Now, I am not throwing stones, this is coming from a mom who spends her Saturdays running kids around from practices to open gyms (and to birthday parties).  Are we over processed?  I wouldn’t be the banker that I am if I didn’t also ponder the correlation this question has within business.  A couple of years ago myself and a few colleagues from the bank had the opportunity to attend a workplace culture conference at Zappos in Las Vegas.  I remember Zappos had (and maybe still has) a concept called PEC (Personal Emotional Connection).  Every employee was required to stop work and get in 15 minutes of PEC time each day.  This was 15 minutes of time where they were building relationships with their coworkers and cube neighbors.  I couldn’t help but think isn’t that the old water cooler time?  Copier room run-ins? Are we so structured in our lives that we have taken the basic concept of socialization and created a process for it and named it???? 

Fast forward to 2014 when our Bank put on an annual Business Breakfast seminar.  That years’ topic was about using social media within your business regardless of your size.  Our presenter, Jorg Pierach from Fasthorse, a 20 year customer of the bank, unbeknownst to any of us told the story of coming to Sunrise Banks.  He was a young kid with ambition and an idea. Rick Beeson, President of St. Anthony Park Bank at the time, took a chance on him.  In that moment, and ever since, I can’t help but think…what stories are we making now and will they be worth telling in twenty years?. 

Has this regulatory environment we exist in eliminated our ability to create these stories?  Are we over processed in our process that good organic opportunities won’t make the cut?  I heard a similar story from a customer just a few nights ago while attending a women’s business event.  This time the receiver of the compliment was our business development officer, Terri Banaszewski, but the story was the same: You took a chance on me and I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for you.  What an awesome thing for someone to say. 

Are we over processed?  I can’t provide you any answers to my questions but rather lead you to ponder how will an organic and authentic interaction from today become the stories of tomorrow?