Thank-you notes were a common courtesy when I was growing up. I wrote a note when someone did something nice for me or gave me a gift. My mother would pester me until I checked it off her list. Today, she still let’s me know if I haven’t thanked her appropriately with a handwritten note. We play a game of “who can get their note out quicker” after Christmas. Luckily, this hasn’t rubbed me the wrong way and caused a rebellion against thank-you notes. With mom being 76-years-old, a thank-you text or email doesn’t seem to count in her mind. I sometimes wonder if she has a chest in her attic full of all the thank-you notes she’s received over the years?
When I was about mid-career in the advertising business, I started working for a group that actually said, “thank you” when I did my job well. I’d come from an abusive office environment—where the guy over-promised our job timelines, and we worked many long days delivering against impossible deadlines. We were lucky to have a job, in his mind. He never said, “thank you.” So, when I left to be part of the new team, their appreciation for doing great work was refreshing and actually made me want to perform even better.
Today, I notice when someone doesn’t say, “thank you.” I consider myself a thoughtful giver and I guess, when you put some time into selecting the perfect gift for a birthday, graduation or other special occasion, one would think the receiver could take two minutes and write a note. Even a phone call or text message would fit the bill for me—especially if the gift was sent without personal interaction. In some instances, I’ve wondered if the gift was even received. Is this expecting too much of people? I’m not giving to receive, here. Please don’t misunderstand. Being thankful is part of my core values.
One of the gals in our office, Dawn Travelstead of developware.com, keeps a stash of tiny cards and envelopes in her desk. She finds them on sale racks and continually replenishes her supply. They turn up on people’s desks with just a sentence of thanks or encouragement. It takes her a minute to brighten someone’s day. I’m often amazed at what she’s thanking us for. It can be for silly, little things like taking her recycling out for her (which I did because I was on my way out with an empty hand!)
At Current360, we have a way to show appreciation to people in the office when we see them going above and beyond their respective job responsibilities. It’s a quick form we fill out and drop in our “CurrentCell” battery. Every month, the person with the most Cells receives a $25 gift card and a chance to receive $500 at the end of the year. We each get a few Cells per month from various co-workers who we’ve helped out, or if someone caught us doing something extraordinary. It’s like getting a thank-you note, only in a different format.
We recently received a thank-you note from a client. She’d already thanked us several times via email—which was more than enough for what we did for her and her company. Then, I received a beautiful card with a very lengthy and lovely message about how we’d gone “above and beyond the call of duty.” I was blown away. It was so unexpected since I’m always feeling appreciative for the business we get from our clients and saying, “thank you” to them. To top it all off, this client also directly thanked our programmer with a separate note and gift card. Wow! I can’t tell her enough what that meant to us.
I’d like to see our culture be more appreciative and say, “thank you” more often. It’s two little words that go a long way in making someone feel great about a decision they made on your behalf.
Bill Bernbach and the Creative Revolution
Bernbach, along with James Doyle and Max Dane, founded DDB in 1949. He had left Grey Advertising in “an act of defiance,” taking one small