Just Say Thanks

August 31st, 2009

Some say how you act as an adult is determined when you are a child. If that’s the case, I’m amazed many leaders have forgotten one of the best lessons they learned at a young age. It’s something one of my business mentors convinced me to adopt as a habit long ago: send a hand-written thank you note whenever you have the opportunity.

Of course, in this instantaneous world, it’s easier to type an e-mail, leave a voice mail or key in a text. Do you even remember the last time someone sent you a hand-written thank you note? Do you have any idea the last time you sent one to an acquaintance? I receive them so rarely that I keep them in a shoebox.

Rick Baker is the president of the AT&T Cotton Bowl. Following every meeting with him during my previous career more than a decade ago – whether for a casual lunch or a formal business session – I received a personalized thank you note in the mail. One time I asked about the process. He carries the notes in his car, he told me, and as soon as the meeting ends he writes them. When he returns to the office, his assistant hands him the address, which he writes on the envelope. She adds a stamp and sticks them in the outgoing mail. Three minutes of his time made great impressions on me…and likely everyone else he meets.

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