Make a note of it
Dan, the production coordinator for a steel distribution center, told our Performance Team Leadership class:
“My wife, Michelle, is an accomplished seamstress. She makes an average of four wedding dresses a year for friends and other ‘word of mouth’ clients. The middle of summer found her involved with making the wedding gown and bridesmaids for Amy, a friend’s daughter.
“Amy insisted she had mailed all the measurements for the bridesmaids dresses to Michelle, but as the days rolled by, the information didn’t arrive. Then, about a week after we expected the measurements, they arrived. Amy had addressed the envelope with not only the wrong street, but the wrong zip code as well!
“There was a short note from our mail carrier explaining that she was sorry for the delay, but it had taken her a little time to figure out where to deliver the envelope. Michelle was delighted; the measurements would have been very difficult to replace because two of the bridesmaids were out of the country and not expected back until just before the wedding. Naturally, it would have been difficult to make the two bridesmaids’ dresses in the four or five days that would have remained before the wedding.
“At my suggestions, Michelle wrote a note to our mail carrier thanking her for the ‘beyond the call of duty, extra mile’ service. The next day, we got a short note from our mail carrier thanking us for the acknowledgement.
“We didn’t think anything more about it until an official looking envelope arrived. Our first thought was that somehow we had caused some trouble by writing the note and leaving it in the mailbox. We were
both relieved and pleased when we opened the envelope and read a letter from the Director of the Post Office thanking us for our note to his employee. His letter went on to say that, in keeping with his departments’ quality efforts, our mail carrier would be awarded with a letter of recognition to be given in the presence of her peers.
“As Michelle and I talked about it, several things came to mind. First, I think anyone who ‘goes the extra mile’ should be rewarded with the courtesy of a ‘thank you.’ A written note takes little time and can have far reaching benefits. At a time when my own company was struggling to adopt the total quality concept, I was pleased to see that our Post Office was working along similar lines. It meant a great deal to Michelle and I that the manager of our Post Office thought enough of our actions to write us a letter thanking us and telling us what actions he would take to recognize his employee.
“This all sounds like a big, elaborate deal, with letters and notes going back and forth, but it really only takes a few moments to acknowledge a job well done.”
Thanks, Dan, for a great example! Now take out a note pad and write a note to someone - your mail carrier, your janitorial service, a coworker, a supplier or a friend, maybe even your boss. You may make their whole day!
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