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Are You Self-Made?

When Was the Last Time You Handwrote a Card?

If you think that you are self-made, think again!

This morning I received my dose of DarrenDaily (Daily Mentoring with Darren Hardy). His question was, “Are You Self-Made?” In his video, he shared a story about a successful business owner who claimed that he was self-made. As you listen to his story, I think that you will agree that he wasn’t!

Darren closes the story with the fact that this person wrote over 3,000 “Thank You” notes to his employees. Which got me thinking about a story that I share in my book, “Liberating Your Leadership Potential“.

In 1999, I had the privilege of running a call centre here in New Zealand. We were the ‘As Seen on TV’ company. My team was responsible for answering the calls that flooded in after the infomercials ran on TV. Due to the volume of calls we received, we would need to get all hands on deck just to ensure we didn’t lose too many because of lengthy call queue times.

One particular product we had was so popular that we needed to get help from every department. With the blessing of the other department heads, we arranged training for staff members who came in to help from our warehouse, retail centre, and accounting department. Training was intense, but effective.

The onslaught was concentrated, and the staff absorbed the calls over the hour-long period. Considering the lack of exposure many of our helpers had to call handling, they all did an exceptional job. The chatter was audible as they departed the floor and returned to their ‘day jobs’. Giggles were heard as they high-fived my team in recognition of their accomplishments.

That evening, I took the time to write out personal handwritten messages to each volunteer, and late into the night, I completed my task by addressing their envelopes and delivering them to their desks where they would receive them in the morning.

Early the following day, I returned to the office to catch up with my administrative tasks. With my head bowed down, focussed on the task at hand, I never saw the person heading towards my office. My first sense of her impending arrival was through the tremors that her purposeful and determined steps brought to my office.

The power of a handwritten thank you card.

I looked up in time to see her walk through my open door. With a resolute shove, she closed my office door behind her. Tears had already welled up in her eyes, and she didn’t need an invitation from me to sit down. I was concerned that I had done something unintentional to offend her, so I asked whether there was anything I could do.

Through her tears, she confessed that the note I had written to thank her for contributing to our successes the previous day had touched her on a deep and profound level. In nearly twenty years of working, she had never received a note that thanked her for her contributions!

Little did I know this simple gesture could have an intense effect on others.

What have you done recently to acknowledge someone’s contribution? When did you last handwrite a personal note of thanks and gratitude to a colleague? How did you feel the last time you received a handwritten letter through the post?

Nsanz GSF