How to give a meaningful ‘thank you’
Forget the empty platitudes. Your star employee is not a “godsend”, he is a person worthy of apprec i at i on a nd r espect, who deserves your frequent acknowledgment. When was the last time you thanked him, really thanked him?
In my line of work, I often communicate with CEOs and their executive assistants, and nowhere is the need for gratitude more clear.
After one CEO’s assistant had been particularly helpful, I replied to her email with: “I hope your company and your boss know and let you know how valuable and special you are.”
She wrote back: “You don’t know how much your email meant to me.”
That made me wonder: When was the last time her boss had thanked her?
Such instances happen regularly. A few years ago, I was trying to get in touch with one of the world’s most well-known CEOs about an article. His assistant had done a great and friendly job of gatekeeping. So when I wrote to her boss, I included this: “When I get to be rich, I’m going to hire someone like your assistant – to protect me from people like me. She was helpful, friendly, feisty versus boring and yet guarded access to you like a loyal pit bull. If she doesn’t know how valuable she is to you, you are making a big managerial mistake, and you should know better.”
A week later, I called his assistant and said: “I don’t know if you remember me, but I’m just following up on a letter and article I sent to your boss to see if he received it.”
His assistant replied warmly: “Of course I remember you. About your letter and article. I sent him the article, but not your cover letter.”
I was sure I’d messed up. Haltingly, I asked why.
She responded with the delight of someone who had just served an ace in a tennis match: “I didn’t send it to him, I