The Power of Thank You

the power of thank you

When I started Floricane more than two years ago, I made a commitment to myself to regularly write thank you notes – to prospective clients, lunch and coffee dates, people who’ve lent a hand along the way.

I just ordered my third 500 count box of envelopes, and am racing to catch up with a large handful of recently completed clients and coffee meetings.

For all the electronic communication Floricane does – emails, PDF proposals, e-newsletters, a variety of social media – all of us are steadfast fans of a hand-written notes.

A thank you in any form is a powerful thing.

Last month, in Floricane’s regular newsletter, I congratulated Cara McDaniel on her first year with the team; she received a half-dozen congratulatory emails from clients, strangers, my own mother. Cara was surprised, pleased and a bit flattered.

During a recent series of wrap-up sessions with the staff of the Library of Virginia, one of the employee work teams referenced a desire for the Library to create a “thank you” culture. On a whim, as we wrapped up the first session, I asked everyone in the room to take out a piece of paper and a pen.

“Think about our last six months of strategic work,” I said. “Think of one person who has made a difference, connected with you in a meaningful way. Write down their name.”

When those gathered had written down a name, I asked them to write a note of thanks to the person whose name they’d written. Create a culture of thank you today, I said.

More than several people at the Library have commented since on their surprise at receiving a note from a coworker.

I was unable to free my schedule recently to do work with one of my favorite organizations in town – the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement at the University of Richmond. Instead, I met with the Center’s Amy Howard and Sylvia Gale to design a two-day staff retreat that both reflected on the Center’s 10-year history and its future.

One small slice of the retreat involved thank you notes.

I ran into Amy at the South of the James Market recently, and asked her about the retreat. She said several people decided to write personal notes to every person on the team, lingering long after the session ended to pen their appreciation. The letters were sealed, and Amy dropped them in the mail last week.

On the home front, Nikole had the ridiculous idea to ask that we appreciate each other nightly for at least one thing that we did for the other during the day. Six years later, I can count on two hands the number of evenings we’ve missed – and cannot imagine our marriage without this evening ritual.

In our rush for the next thing, to accomplish the next task, how often do we miss the opportunity to appreciate the moment we just left?

Who do you need to thank? What’s getting in your way?