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The Power of the Written Note

Posted at 8:33 AM on Sunday, November 29, 2009

You've heard it your whole life, and your mother probably taught you too.  Handwritten notes are important and say something about who you are and your sincerity in regards to the message in the note.

You heard it again with thank you notes after interviewing for jobs.  You've heard it as a key "strategy" in networking and building relationships.

All of it is true, and yet, I observe fewer and fewer people doing it.

I've not received thank you notes from gifts.   I've not taken the time to send hand written notes in a variety of situations, choosing instead to send an email or even a tweet.

The value of a handwritten note is universal - for any part of our life, in any role that we play.  And while I know it, and have taught and written about it, I don't do it as well or as systematically as I should. 

And I'm betting you are much like me.

If any of this rings true for you, watch this video of teacher Dan Stroup (the video link is embedded in the story) who will set an inspirational example for you, and prove to you that if it is important, you can do it.

The story will inspire you, but I hope it does more.  I hope it prompts you to begin sending more handwritten notes, regardless of the reason.

Because when you do, you will make a difference in the lives of others.

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A Leadership Litany - Reasons for Leaders to be Thankful

Posted at 6:52 AM on Thursday, November 26, 2009

As leaders, we have many reasons to be grateful and to give thanks.  I've written alot about gratitude and giving thanks over the years, but on this Thanksgiving morning, I am thinking specifically about my role as a leader and all I have to be thankful for.

It is written in first person on purpose.  Please read it as if you wrote it, rather than casually observing it in third person.  It won't be perfect for youbut I hope it spurs you to adjust and add to the list for yourself.  So put on your leadership hat and read on.

. . . . . . .

As a leader, I am thankful for so many things . . .

 . . . for my team.  Without a team, I'm not able to learn and lead and make a difference.  They are part of the reason, source of some of the challenges and more of the joy.

 . . . for Customers.  These people pay the bills and allow us to do what we do.  You call call them whatever you want, but  without those to serve, there is no need to lead.

 . . . for opportunity.  Sometimes we make opportunities and sometimes they are given to us.  I am thankful for every leadership opportunity, even when they don't look like one at first.

 . . . for responsibility.  There is no question that leadership is a responsibility - some days there is more than I wish I had!  But with responsibility comes rewards and a chance to grow towards my potential.

 . . . for peers. They provide support, encouragement, and an example for me.  They make life easier and more fun.

 . . . for mentors.  Some I knew or know well, some are unknowing mentors.  Each has provided me examples, encouragement and more.

 . . . for thought leaders.  Carnegie, Drucker, Peters.  Kouzes, Posner, Bennis.  Roesler, Bock, Say.  This list is impossibly incomplete, but my gratitude is overwhleming.

 . . . for learning.  This goes beyond the mentors and thought leaders for in the end, I must make new ideas, techniques and approaches my own.

 . . . for goals.  They are the life blood of a leader.  If there are no goals, where are we leading? 

 . . . for ideas. For ideas give us new ways, approaches and opportunites to reach our goals.

 . . . for energy.  To produce the human capacity for growth, change and a better chance we can change the world.

 . . . for purpose.  Which gives me reason to do what  do, gives me focus to keep me on track, and reminds me what really matters.

 . . . for values.  To keep me grounded, and reminding me that from these foundational ideas come my strength, abilities and many of the other things on this list.

 . . . for family.  For without them all of the goals, effort and time wouldn't be worth it.

 . . . for God.  Who made all the rest possible and who has given me more blessings than I can even fathom.

I'm sure my short litany won't cover all of your list. It is my hope that it inspires you to stop, be thankful, and add to it as appropriate. If you feel led to add to this list in a comment, I, and everyone else that reads this, will be thankful too.

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