Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thank-You Note Cards


In the spirit of US Thanksgiving, I thought I would tell a little tale of gratitude.

I went to some training for work in October.  It was "new manager orientation".  Since I have been a manager for a few years, I remember saying to another manager attending, "If I learn anything at this course, then I've been a bad manager!"  Lo and behold, it was not about the work or the workflow as much as it was about the soft skills.  Soft skills are so rarely well trained.  Long story short, I was impressed by the content I had not expected.  None of the ideas themselves were new to me, but the best take-away from it was the real world application.  Implementation is always where the greatest of plans and intentions fall down.  This course was full of implementation guidance and that's where the real value was.

I am thankful that the firm where I work invests in its people's soft skills.  Working in a service industry, people are what make your firm go round and not just the people you service, the people you employ too.  Even before we merged, I once had trouble with a client and I had been struggling with either bringing it up or quitting because quitting was easier.  The partner first thanked me for trusting him enough to come forward with the matter.  He said, "I would never want to lose a good employee over any client.  There are always more clients to get, but if I don't have good employees, I don't have a business."

I am lucky to work in a firm where people matter.  Sure, some days I feel like I don't matter and I sense my replace-ability more closely.  Sure, there are days when it really is only about "getting it done".  Those days, thankfully, are the minority.  The value of the people is constantly reinforced and that corporate culture is what has kept me in place for more than a decade.

Back to the soft skills course...
The key speaker mentioned in one of his many real world examples, that he likes to reward his clients with a real thank-you card: just a little note to connect with another person and remind them that they are important to him.  I decided right then that I was going to make little thank-you cards for the two key speakers and send them to them to give to clients or employees or whomever their hearts desire.

So, I rifled through my strip scraps and came up with the following designs: Simple, effective, masculine (since they are coming from men).

Click for larger view.
The leaves are a Hampton Art set I got at Michael's on sale.  The sentiment is Stampin' Up!  I used a border punch on a few.

Click for larger view.
In my last Christmas card to my pre-merger firm, I wrote in it a note of thanks for training me from scratch all through University, trusting me with challenges, and providing me guidance from mentors who actually are interested in seeing you develop.  I don't know what I'm going to do this year yet, but I still have a month or so to figure it out!

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