Imagine what it would be like if you were to write a personalized note to every member of your company.

By Steve Moran

I find that as I get older I get sappier. I don’t know why, but those “tug at your heart” stories make my eyes get a little wetter the older I get — something I thought would go the other way as I aged. It is pretty embarrassing. True to form, I had a pretty powerful reaction when I came across an article titled Teacher writes personal letter to each of her students after almost losing one to suicide.

This is one of those articles, with a powerful leadership message for senior living.

The Short Version

Brittni Darras, a school teacher in Colorado Springs, had a student attempt suicide and never wanted it to happen again if she could help it. (I know the feeling only too well. A few years ago I officiated at the memorial service for a young-adult woman who took her own life, that had been an active member a church youth group I led.)

When Britni learned about the suicide attempt, with the permission of the girl’s mother, she wrote a letter to the girl telling her how special she is. She got to thinking about it and decided to write personal letters to each of her 100 or so students telling them about how special they were.  

Our People

Most of your team members spend more time awake at work than they do at home. Whether true or not, many — maybe even most — feel as if they don’t really have much value as anything more than just a housekeeper, care aide, cook, dishwasher, laundry worker, nurse, marketing person. Even Executive Directors question their value at times.

In fact many of them may feel like the only attention they get is when they do something wrong, even though it may not be true. This is not good.   

Make Their Day

Imagine what it would be like if you were to write a personalized letter or card in which you talk about what makes that person special in your life as a leader, in the life of residents and the lives of families. Most will save that card or letter. Most will walk a little lighter. Most will like you and your organization more. Most will work harder and will tell others what you did.

It takes only a little time and I would suggest mailing them to their homes. If you are flying to a conference, do it in the air. You can do 5 or 10 an hour and in a few days or weeks you will hit every single person who works in your organization.   

Aaron Koelsch, CEO of Koelsch Communities, has been doing a similar thing for years. He writes a personal note to everyone he meets both in and out of his company. I have been the recipient of one of those notes and it was really appreciated. You can read the story here.

I am going to end this here . . . mostly because I myself have several notes I need to write over the next few days.