When it comes to strumming the heart strings at work (or anywhere else), nothing beats a personal, hand-written note of thanks, praise, or gratitude–especially in these hyper-digital days of texts and email.
Maybe it’s because of the manifest, tactile, 3-dimensional nature of ink and paper; maybe it’s because of the subtle presence of the writer’s DNA. You can hold the paper. Feel the fibers. Keep it as tangible evidence of your positive influence on others. Whatever the reason, there’s no denying the impact of the literal pen on the human heart.
When was the last time you received a note like that?
More important, when was the last time you wrote one?
As I write this post, I have on my desk a beautiful letter from a participant in a leadership workshop I was facilitating. He handed it to me on the last morning of an intensive, 4-day offsite at an executive retreat deep in the wilds of Michigan. But I’m just the letter’s custodian because he wrote it to my son:
To: Steve’s Son
I understand that you are curious about what your dad does when his job takes him away from home. I’ll bet it’s tough on you, sometimes, to have him away when you’d like to have him home more than he is.
As one of his students this past week, I thought you might like to know what he did to help me and others in the class which he taught. Your dad has a lot of valuable knowledge about how businesses work and how to make them work better. Even more importantly, he helps people to make their lives better and happier. And he teaches all of this in a fun way so that the time we spend with him in class is really enjoyable.
I just wanted you to know that we really appreciate your sharing him with us this week. And, if he’s anywhere near as good or as fun as a father as he is as a teacher, you’ve got yourself one fine dad.
One of Your Dad’s Students
That note is still sitting on my desk on this 24th day of September, 2014.
Carl English wrote and handed it to me at the end of a Leadership Challenge Workshop for the senior executives of Consumer’s Energy on April 17th, 1997.
17 years ago.
And I will keep it forever–that’s the power of this simple yet profound human gesture.
Who’s holding on to your notes?
Unless, of course, you write one.