A meaningful thank you or compliment can go a long way. And if they come from someone whose opinion we respect and value, they can last a lifetime.
I’ll confess that I frequently save encouraging emails and voice mails. With all of the criticism and negativity in the world, it is important to hold onto those snippets of kindness. They are often few and far between. But never doubt the power and meaning of the hand-written note.
It’s probably been 25 years since a Vice President in my company at the time wrote the words “You do good work” and signed his name on a yellow sticky note attached to the final copy of a project we had done together. I still have that note and I remember what it meant to me then and now.
He had been my boss at one time but a company reorganization had moved me to a different department. When this project was given to him with a one week turnaround time, he asked my current boss if I could work with him on the project. It was important to the company so my boss gave his approval.
We spent long days preparing our plan, writing, typing, formatting, proofreading, and editing. These were the pre-Internet days and word-processing programs weren’t that sophisticated either. While he had the overall strategy for the work in mind, he asked and valued my opinion on the details. It was such high priority that the company President paid me a visit the day before it was due, asking me if we were going to finish on time and making it clear to me just how important it was (no pressure!)
We made the deadline (there was no emailing it or uploading it to DropBox – FedEx was our friend – and if we hadn’t made the FedEx pickup I would have been driving it to Dulles from Central Virginia so that was added incentive!) We HAD done good work! In addition to his note, I still have a copy of the final document.
He had high standards and was very demanding. I remember being honored to be asked to work on a project with him and a project that was so important to our company. His words meant something. They still mean something. How often do your words mean something to someone else? Do you take the opportunity to challenge others in a meaningful way and support them as they meet that challenge? Would anyone say that your words meant something to them 25 years later?
Do you have an example of a time when someone’s “thank you” stuck with you?