Have you written a fan letter lately?

Taking the time to recognize the efforts of your peers, colleagues, or clients could make all the difference.

11/15/2013


I am a San Francisco Giants fan. I became one when I married a lifelong Giants fan a few years ago. My wedding vows went something like this: “To have, to hold, and to be a San Francisco Giants fan for the rest of my life.”

To be honest, while I enjoy watching the occasional baseball game, most weeks I don’t even know where the Giants rank in the standings. But something brilliant happened this week that really caught my attention. The president and CEO of the Giants organization sent out one of the best thank-you letters I have ever seen written—EVER to anyone—to the fans. The Giants did not make the playoffs, but the letter Laurence Baer sent out made the disappointed fans in my house feel great about the year. In one short letter, he managed to specifically and personally call attention to all that the Giants organization had observed from the fan base. And, in a very personal way, he thanked them for their support.

This simple fan letter really made me think about how taking the time to communicate thoughtfully and graciously can go a long way in building relationships with colleagues and customers. So what constitutes a thoughtful thank-you letter or note?

  • It is personal: The best way to make it personal is to hand-write the note—it shows you took extra time and attention to share your thoughts with the recipient. While e-mail may be more convenient or efficient, it looks like every other communication a person receives in a given day. However, if you are uncomfortable with a handwritten note, e-mail can be made personal if you use the subject box to make your note stand out. Consider using “A Sincere Thank You” or “With Much Appreciation” to catch the recipient’s attention.
  • It is specific: Tell the recipient specifically what he or she has done that you value so much. This combines both the power of positive reinforcement and the power of recognition of when an individual goes the extra mile on your behalf.
  • It is timely: This one should be obvious. Make a point of expressing your appreciation to the recipient immediately following the event. If you are looking for a rule of thumb, send the note within a two-week window of the event.
  • It is unexpected: Take the time to recognize the contributions of a colleague for what he or she does every day to help you or the firm. It does not always need to be associated with a major event. In fact, choosing an occasion not tied to a major event or project can show that you do not take the colleague for granted.
  • It is sincere: Don’t go overboard in your praise or thanks. Keep your remarks simple and genuine. 

And who should you consider sending one to?

  • Interviewees for a new job or new position within your firm
  • Your teammates who covered for you while you were out of the office
  • Your business leaders when they have given you a promotion or a bonus
  • Your employee or team member who has demonstrated strong performance in a challenging environment or on a difficult project
  • Your repeat clients for continuing to trust you with their projects
  • Your new clients for either a new project or for final payment on a completed project
  • Your mentor or career adviser for helping you navigate your career decisions
  • Your current employer when you leave to take a new job outside the firm. 

In today’s business environment, many of us are just moving from one task or project to the next, just trying to keep up. Deadlines rule our lives. However, taking the time to recognize the efforts of your peers, colleagues, or clients could make all the difference during those times when a frustrated employee is thinking of leaving, a disappointed client is questioning its decision to work with your firm, or a colleague is annoyed with something you did or did not do that day. A well-thought-through fan letter is not just about being thoughtful, it’s about building and reinforcing strong professional relationships.

What are you waiting for? Let someone know they are on your fan list.


Jane Sidebottom is the owner of AMK LLC, a management and marketing consulting firm that provides market development and growth expertise to small- and medium-size firms. She has 20 years of management and leadership experience in both consulting engineering and Fortune 100 organizations. Sidebottom is a graduate of the University of Maryland.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
World-class maintenance: The three keys to success - Deploy people, process and technology; 2016 Lubrication Guide; Why hydraulic systems get hot
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Improving flowmeter calibration; Selecting flowmeters for natural gas; Case study: Streamlining assembly systems using PC-based control; CLPM: Improving process efficiency, throughput
Putting COPS into context; Designing medium-voltage electrical systems; Planning and designing resilient, efficient data centers; The nine steps of designing generator fuel systems
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me