“Nothing short of fantastic. I would recommend, without reservation, Bob's program to any other sales professional.”
~ Allen L. Howard, CLU, General Manager, New York Life Insurance Company
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Long before the rise of email and social media I was extolling the virtues and value of saying “thank you” with handwritten notes. While certainly not an original idea (whose Mom didn’t make them write thank you notes for gifts?) they remain — in my opinion — one of the best ways to express gratitude and make another person feel genuinely good about themselves and the value they provide.
I’m often asked, “But with email so accessible and so much easier to write than a handwritten, hand-addressed, hand-stamped envelope, isn’t it so much easier to just send emails?”
Absolutely! That’s even one more reason why handwritten, personalized notes are so much more effective. Talk about distinguishing yourself — and your message — from others!
Whether sending a thank you note to a service person, their employer, a customer, your salesperson, a team member, and especially to those people who typically don’t receive acknowledgement, not only do they feel great about themselves, they feel great about you, too! No, that isn’t why you do it — it’s simply the natural result.
When speaking about this during sales and leadership conferences I’ll often hear from successful audience members who do this regularly. One of the most common stories is their discovering that many of those to whom they’ve sent these notes…have kept them!
Yes, people often keep them! Why?
they’ve been acknowledged;
they’ve been acknowledged in a powerful and personal way;
they received something from you they most likely have never received before.
In his excellent book, Creating Magic (highly recommended!!) former Executive Vice President of Operations for the Walt Disney World® Resort, Lee Cockerell — an avid note writer — shared a very touching story of a team member who had his note framed…and hung in his home!
While I have a specific format for my personalized notecards, there’s no one correct way.
What’s key is forming the habit of sending them, and sending them often.
Have you experienced something similar either by being on the giving or receiving end of a personalized, handwritten thank you note?
I’m not particularly “cool.” And, when I say not particularly, I mean not at all. Hence, I was probably one of the few people not very familiar with singer/songwriter/entrepreneur/humanitarian…and leader, Sarah McLachlan.
Yes, of course I’d heard of Lilith Fair. However, I didn’t know anything more about it than that it was a massively-successful, all-women musical tour. (Refer back to first sentence.)
In 1997 Sarah founded Lilith Fair in response to the sexist world of radio and concert promotion that would not feature two female artists in a row. Why not, I don’t know. But in our often strange world it takes a pioneer; a leader to break through and set things right.
First, she booked a successful tour with fellow singer/songwriter, Paula Cole. Then, she launched Lilith Fair which turned out to be hugely successful both creatively and financially.
The vision and the guts to lead the field into unchartered territory, directly bucking the establishment is a great example of leadership right there…but let’s look at something else.
Stumbling upon the below video during a YouTube musical journey, I came to understand her magic and why she is so loved by everyone.
Take a look at this video from one of the latter Lilith Fair performances; this in 2010. She has just called the participants from that evening’s event to join her onstage. Based on many of the posts and interviews we’ve featured on this blog, what do you notice as some of her impressive leadership qualities?
Here’s what I saw:
It wasn’t about her. Yes, she was the promoter. Yet, like the great leaders we study, she took the spotlight off of herself and placed it upon the others.
They felt welcome. Sarah greeted everyone as though they were the most important person in the world to her. She most likely created that environment from the very beginning of her communication with them.
She made the little girl feel special. My apologies; I don’t know who the adorable little girl onstage is or the context for her being there. However, I can only imagine that being onstage in front of all those people and with those luminaries — at that age — could be a bit intimidating. However, Sarah danced and sang with her, allowing her to feel totally comfortable.
Acknowledgement of the audience. When she thanked the audience and advised them to drive home carefully…I got the feeling she really did care.
Inclusivity. Perhaps more than anything else what came through for me was the energy of inclusivity that she inspired.
These five points alone can increase the effectiveness of any team or business, large or small.
So, Sarah has definitely joined my list of leadership heroes. What lessons have you taken from our brief look at this musical icon?
And, is there someone you know (or know of) who has done something similar within their own field of expertise?
“An entire sea of water can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside. Similarly, the negativity of the world can’t put you down, unless you allow it inside your heart and mind.” ~ A. Nonymous
This makes a lot of sense. To believe we don’t live in a world filled with negativity would be to delude ourselves.
Of course, there’s also much positivity but there’s a difference:
When you drink a glass of clean, pure water it sustains you, but it doesn’t generally cause a feeling one way or the other. We simply accept it — often unconsciously — for what it is.
However, put just a little bit of poison in that water and the consequences are profound.
Fifteen nice, decent people might not have much of an effect on your day. After all, people are supposed to be nice and decent. We simply accept it.
However, what happens when one miserable, insulting creep crosses your path? One’s entire day can change for the (much) worse…
That is, IF we let that negativity get inside us.
Two ways to keep it from sinking our ship:
Choose not to take it personally. This takes a lot of work on an ongoing, consistent basis. For an excellent guide in this regard, read Don Miguel Ruiz’, The Four Agreements.
Surround yourself with positive. Read, watch, and listen to good, positive, uplifting materials on an ongoing, consistent basis. And, hang out with good, positive, uplifting people as much as you can.
A ship fortified to that degree simply cannot be sunk.
What are some of the ways you protect the ship that is your mind?
An expanded edition of The Go-Giver has been released. It includes a Discussion Guide and a Q&A section. Check out http://bit.ly/tggnew. And, if you’d like to give the book as gifts to the special people in your life…you can also get some of your Holiday shopping done early.
“We really care about our people.” “Our people are what matter most.” “We believe in building our people.”
However, if you were to ask most of those employees if that’s how they felt you’d most likely receive a “no” and a strong one at that.
Please don’t get me wrong. Indeed, there are a number of good companies out there. Their leaders truly do care, their people do matter, and they build their people. These companies also tend to also be very highly profitable. And, they are to be congratulated for both sides of that equation…the immense value they provide to all their stakeholders (including customers, service-providers and shareholders) as well as their profitability. Both matter.
However, here we have a “Go-Giver Company” on steroids!
As you might know, I love reading books on leadership. I learn from all of them.
This one not only touched me on a very, very deep level; it caused me to feel that business — even big business — could actually be this way.*
The person you are going to meet in this discussion, Bob Chapman, has the key to unlock this door in a huge, huge way. He and his company, Barry-Wehmiller have been doing it for nearly 20 years. And, they just keep continuing to prove its validity. This company is ALL about their people…and their financial success happens to be immensely healthy, too!
A Leader’s Leader
Chairman & CEO, Mr. Chapman believes that, “We have a crisis of leadership.” He says, “we have over 130 million people in our workforce who go home every day feeling they work for a company that doesn’t care about them. That is 7 out of 8 people in the workplace.”
To hear Mr. Chapman, talk about it, you can sense his anguish at this problem and his passion about spearheading the solution. And, spearhead it he has. The Guiding Principles of Leadership his company has implemented has resulted in a workplace consisting of people who feel good about themselves, about their jobs, and about the contributions they are making to its success. And they take that good feeling back to their families and communities.
He imagines a world full of caring work environments in which people can realize their gifts, apply and develop their talents, and feel a genuine sense of fulfillment for their contributions. The heart he has for people, making the world a better place to work and, as a result, live, is inspiring beyond measure.
And, it might be the type of business you’d least expect it to be. A manufacturing company; a privately held manufacturer of technology consulting and packaging machinery with more than 8000 employees worldwide.
In his foreword, Simon Sinek writes, “A lot of leaders talk about this. See what happens when you actually do it.”
Some of the topics in this fascinating discussion with Mr. Chapman include…
Defining the leadership crisis
A most unlikely place for an epiphany
What happens at Barry-Wehmiller University…doesn’t stay there.
The premise of Barry-Wehmiller’s Guiding Principles of Leadership
What happens when a leader DOES take a hit, along with his team members?
Can you see why I’m a raving fan of Bob Chapman and the company he leads?
Barry-Wehmiller’s tagline is, “Building a better world through business.” That’s their tag line. And, that’s exactly what they’re doing. In other words, “Everybody Matters” isn’t just a cliche on a mission statement; it’s the bedrock of the company’s success!
*Take a look at this quick video with bestselling author, Simon Sinek and Harvard Business School Professor, Amy Cuddy. It says it all.
Quotes from Everybody MATTERS
Below are just a relatively few of the many quotes within the book I felt the need to include here. Please know they merely scratch the surface:
“We first have to radically change the way we think about business, about people and about leadership. If we do so, we can build thriving organizations that bring joy and fulfillment to all who serve them and depend on them.”
“I had grown to understand that my responsibility as a CEO transcends business performance and begins with a deep commitment to the lives of those in our care–the very people who time and talent make the business possible.
“The key pillars are establish a shared long-term vision, fostering a people-centric culture, developing leaders form within, and sending people home fulfilled.”
“In the end, it is about truly caring for every precious human being whose life we touch. It is about including everybody, not just the fortunate few or exceptionally talented. It is about living with an abundance mindset: an abundance of patience, love, hope and opportunity.”
“Everyone wants to contribute. Trust them. Leaders are everywhere. Find them. Some people are on a mission. Celebrate them. Others wish things were different. Listen to them. Everybody matters. Show them. We don’t just need a new guide to leading in times of change or adversity. We need a complete rethink, a revolution.
“One great truth we’ve learned is this: The people are just fine it’s our leadership that’s lacking.”
“But deeper insights had come from a simple question we had started asking people: ‘How did it make you feel?'”
“We have 7000 people, and each and every one of them is somebody’s precious child.”
“Our responsibility as leaders, be it in the military or in business or in government or in education, is to create an environment where people can discover their gifts, develop their gifts, share their gifts, and be recognized and appreciated for doing so–which creates an opportunity for them to have a meaningful life, a life of purpose in which they feel valued and get a chance to be what they were brought onto this earth to be.”
“If leadership isn’t about fighting fires, what is it about? We believe it is about lighting fires.”
“If more than half of your communication with any individual is negative, it’s an oppressive relationship.”
“Business growth and people growth aren’t separate ideas; they are complementary pieces in creating value.”
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