• Leigh Gerstenberger

The Power of the Pen

Updated: Nov 9, 2020






I’ve known for years that it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference. I was reminded of this recently when I read an article written by someone who had recently flown into New York’s LaGuardia Airport on Delta Airlines. As the plane landed and was taxiing to the gate, the flight attendants came around and gave each passenger a handwritten note, thanking them for flying with them that day.


Isn’t it interesting how the smallest of gestures can make a large impact? Years ago, my wife and I had a dear friend who was a note writer. Every so often we’d receive a note of encouragement, congratulations or just one that expressed her gratitude that we were in her life. While our friend is no longer with us, we still have many of the notes she sent us, so her memory lives on in our lives through her letters.


One of the most prolific note writers in modern times was President George H. W. Bush. Condoleezza Rice who served as an advisor to President Bush on Soviet and Eastern European affairs stated that she would, “frequently receive thank-you notes from the President for a job well done, and that his kindness and courtesy made it a joy to work with him.”


Rice also mentioned that President Bush would send notes to other world leaders which often set the stage for his asking them to do something that they would find to be difficult. Notes were a powerful tool that Bush used to build relationships. The president’s notes, while not always serious were always sincere. To Frito-Lay, he wrote a, “sincere thank you for all those pork rinds!”


On several occasions when I’ve left positions in organizations to move on to other companies or when I retired from the financial services industry several years ago, I received personal, handwritten notes from colleagues who shared with me the impact I’d made in their lives and on their careers. Those thoughtful expressions of appreciation are keepsakes in my “memories file” and today are some of my most cherished possessions. So, send a note to someone today, even if it’s just to thank them for the pork rinds!


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