Category: Leadership

Customer RelationsLeadership

Will Work for…thank you notes

“You did a great job with the board meeting today. You added real-life and relevant insight that we would not have had otherwise, and you presented that insight very well. Thank you.”

 

This is a simple thank you. Depending upon how it shows up on your screen, it may just take up one line.

It was in my inbox the other morning after I had presented briefly during a board meeting. I was just one of many guests. Did everyone receive this in their inbox? Do I care? How did I feel at the moment I saw this in my inbox?

Overwhelmed. Happy. Grateful. Special. Even a little embarrassed as I remembered all of the imperfections of the experience. But, I also was stunned. Stunned that our new president had taken the time to write it. It was followed by a thank you note from another leader that was at the meeting. That same day I received an indirect verbal compliment from my boss.

Three compliments in one day. What is a woman to do?

I’m motivated to come up with more innovative ideas. I’m re-motivated to contribute to my organization. I want to make others feel the way that I feel. I’m committed to helping the new leadership have success in our environment. I am grateful to be appreciated.

The notes are now taped into my current work notebook. Yes, I’m admitting it here. I carry around the thank you notes with me. There are so few. Yet, so powerful in changing my attitude and my behavior.

Free, thoughtful, small, thank you notes can do that to someone. 

When I was a little girl one of the activities my parents engaged us in on a regular basis was note writing. Most of the notes went to our grandparents, but some were specific thank you notes for nice things people had done for us. I carried the habit with me to college and as a resident assistant I had many opportunities to write thank you notes and stick them in the mailboxes at the dormitories.

 thank you

 

Over the years I’ve written thousands of notes. Some get to the intended recipients and some do not. Slight logistics issues like having an address handy, or a spare stamp, often get in the way. Sometimes I’m just too embarrassed to actually send the notes. But, for the most part they get delivered.

I feel like it makes a difference in me as well as the recipient.

A Simple Act of GratitudeThis past year I found a book called “A Simple Act of Gratitude: How Learning To Say Thank You Changed My Life” by John Kralik. On a whim I picked it up hoping that I’d get nudged with a tip or two. I was not disappointed. The author had gone through a point in life where he was down and out. Someone told him to write thank you notes as a way of bringing gratitude back into his life. It was hard at first, but it grew on him. He realized how many people he interacted with on a daily basis and what a blessing they were in his life. He not only gained gratitude, but he essentially gained happiness, success, and relationships back that had been missing in his life.

 

One of the tips I took away from the book was his idea to track all the notes he’d written in a spreadsheet. He’d include their name and why he had written the note. He’d look back and reflect on the names and reasons periodically.

I decided to start tracking my thank you notes this year. I’m 50 days into the process and I’ve written 48 thank you notes. It is shocking how many opportunities there are to express a small thank you. People actually do kind small things each day. They do it just because and don’t expect much in return because, let’s face it, we all don’t think to give anything in return.

A few months ago I let a woman use my desk while she was visiting the office. The woman left a written note. I put it on my cork board. It is still there.

 A year ago I wrote notes that I just barely delivered to some co-workers this past month (oops!). Even though my delivery was delayed, each person came over to my desk to say that the note made their day.

I received the email from our President above most recently. I almost wanted to frame it. Seriously. No other president had ever thanked me. I had worked on over 100 projects worth millions of dollars over the past few years. I had never received a note and I don’t remember any praise.

Do you want to see a behavior change in a family member, a friend, a co-worker, a boss? Do you want to improve your work or home environment? Do you want to be more grateful? 

It’s time to start thanking on a more regular basis – in person, in email notes, in handwritten thank yous.

What I didn’t say at the beginning of this post, is that I had walked into that meeting with a job offer to go to another organization. It came out of a the blue, as a result of helping others and thanking them. It was a dream job. But, something hadn’t felt right. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to consider it further. The next day I left the board meeting knowing the answer. And, then I received a thank you note. I’m staying with my organization and politely declined the other offer.

You can’t tell me that thank you notes don’t make a difference. A few kind words periodically change me. It isn’t that hard. Getting a raise felt good for a few minutes. But, a compliment or a thank you note will change my performance for a month.

Paychecks are nice, but I’ll work for thank you notes.

Leadership

Truth can hurt – will you allow it to change you?

panel of peopleSometimes the truth is hard to take.

Today I led a meeting where I facilitated a discussion about some key issues, lessons learned and proposed action plan to move forward on improvements.

Usually I have a pretty good read on how the meetings turn out, but I’m a bit tired and it felt a bit more serious than normal. I wondered if I had been too bold, taken the right approach, or perhaps not bold enough on a few items. One of the key leaders expressed concern that he didn’t know a certain area had as many issues as I had pointed out.

Later in the day I went to him and said I wanted to know how he felt about the discussion. He said it went well, but he was still bothered about some of the items that had been discussed. He was making it a priority to go and address them.

Sometimes we have to lead the hard conversations. Sometimes the people we share the truth with will take it hard. In the process, we might need to re-iterate what is going right, but still come back to the fact that something needs to change or improve.

At first I wasn’t sure how to feel about his reaction. Had I gone to far?

As I think about it a bit more, I’m actually pleased. He’s going to make some changes and support us in an effort to improve.

Sometimes the truth is hard to take. But, discomfort can lead to necessary changes that will improve our business, our families, our friendships, or our idea.

Embrace it!

Customer NeedsLeadershipNudge

Negative Nudges – with positive results

angry man

Ok, this week I felt like I received some personal nudges that were a bit negative.

One was actually negative – a one star review on one of my online courses. I already wrote a blogpost about that one.

The other wasn’t actually negative, but it did force to get to clearer on my purpose for Nudge Village. Come to think of it, I actually wrote a blogpost about that one as well. You know, the post about “burning the ships?”
Day 39 :: my own worst enemy
Obviously, those “negative” nudges ended up being pretty powerful for me.

Why?

  • Embarrassment – They embarrassed me just a bit. After all, I’m a “Chief Nudger,” and a “Nudge Strategist.” I want to do good work and make a difference.
  • Lead by Example – Most of my day job involves leadership, management and mentoring. Yet, I couldn’t get my own website and products to clearly meet the needs of my audience? Practicing what I preach would be a first good step toward leading by example.
  • Prioritize It – I’ve been incredibly busy. Too busy. But, I have so many ideas. Why not follow them all at once? Right? Wrong. Instead of starting multiple disparate projects, it is time to get clear on 1-2 and …finish them.
  • Focus – What will the 1-2 ideas be? I’ve got to push aside what all the voices are saying (no, not in my head – all the social network voices) and decide what fits me and what fits my audience. Who is my audience anyway? Exactly. Focus.

 

Thank you shout out to the Negative Nudgers

So, I must say thank you to the negative nudgers today. They embarrassed me. I’m now back to leading by example. I’m prioritizing. I’m focusing. I re-arranged my website. I burned some ships (in the form of confusing webpages). I’ve included some new tips in my Authenticity on Twitter course. I’ve had new ideas about what to offer within my more focused website.

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p class=”impact-text”>Don’t disregard them in the future

They may embarrass you. They may make you angry. But, emotion can be good. It can lead to self-improvement. It can lead to more insights and reflection. It can lead to more blogposts on your blog about how the negative nudge changed you. Ha.

I’d say “bring ’em on,” but I have a feeling there will be more negative nudges that will come all too naturally.

For now, I’m going to use them as turning points that keep me on a growth path.

Onward and Upward…..

Screenshot of the Entreleadership website
InspirationLeadership

The EntreLeadership Podcast – Dave Ramsey

If you don’t know about it already, check out the EntreLeadership Podcast from Dave Ramsey.

It’s really a great new series.

One of the Nudge Villagers told me about it a few months ago and I downloaded one podcast, enjoyed it, and then got busy with life.

However, this week I drove a few hours to a meeting for work and I downloaded a whole slew of these podcasts for the road.

Screenshot of the Entreleadership website

I expected to hear Dave Ramsey talk, but most of the podcasts were interviews with great leaders and authors like the president of Chick-fil-A, Jim Collins (author of Good to Great and related books) and a few other people that were obvious motivators/experts in their fields.

Zig Ziglar often talked about turning your time in your car into an “automobile university” because of the focus and reflection that can take place in those moments (or hours) of commuting, traveling, etc.

Lots of good leadership stuff out there and this is another great resource to take with you on the road.

http://www.daveramsey.com/entreleadership/podcast

Picture of a boy sticking his head out of the sand on the cover of Anything you Want
BooksIdeasInspirationLeadershipMarketing

Anything You Want!

Just finished a great book. Remember? It is the book I ordered directly from Seth Godin’s blog post without even finding out what it was about, who the author was, etc. Now that shows Seth’s influence!

It is a cute little book. You can read it in an hour.Picture of a boy sticking his head out of the sand on the cover of Anything you Want

By Derek Sivers – Anything You Want!

Derek is the founder of CD Baby, an extremely profitable business that enabled any musicians to get started in the world of sharing their music instead of waiting for a big name to pick them up. He’s since sold the business…and the story about that is also in the book.

Why do I love his little book?

Derek is REAL. He made mistakes and shared them. He doesn’t pretend to be this power CEO that must hobnob with the big boys. He encourages all entrepreneurs to follow what makes them happy. And, that will be a different answer for each one.

He is open in sharing that you will have to make decisions along the way that may make you less money, but will make you more happy. It takes guts to run a business this way.

So many great little thoughts, but one I really liked was “Being, not having.” So often we think we need to make more, grow bigger, and have widespread influence. Instead of trying to grow big fast, focus on enjoying what you do and creating value for your customers. Figure out what you really want to spend your time doing – do you like being out and about all the time networking or do you like to keep it small and manageable and immerse yourself in the actual work? “To each his own” so to speak.

One of his business mottos was to do whatever it takes to please the customer. Derek shares the story of how he changed his feedback forms to include a space for customers to ask for whatever they wanted. Someone asked for some cinnamon gum. So, CD Baby had a worker pick up a pack at the store when they ran an errand. They included it in the customer’s order. Another asked for a squid. They complied.  How awesome is that! You think you are just filling space with some weird request to get a reaction and the company actually gets it for you!

I’d venture to say that those customers are still with him. (-:

Go buy the book! It is under $10 and worth the read. Plus, who wouldn’t like a book with this cover? A cute kid stuck in the sand.

Reminds me of a picture of my own, but I wasn’t so happy. (-;

Link to the book Anything You Want on Amazon