Thank You Revolution: The Unexpected Impact

Thank You Revolution Header

Sometimes, when life is grand, the stars are aligned, and the bluebirds are singing, you can write a thank you note and magic happens.

Sometimes, it’s like when Greg turned one thank you note into a $265,000,000 dealOr it’s like Mary, who credits the Revolution with transforming (and perhaps saving) her company.

More often than not, though, the reaction is rather ordinary. But, over time, the effect is pretty amazing.

Sometimes, the reaction is downright disappointing. Or is it…

A fellow Revolutionary named Chris, wrote this to me recently. I’d spoken to their company’s 40th anniversary celebration and afterward, he shared something from the event:

The night before our 40th Anniversary Celebration, I stayed up and wrote many different types of thank you cards and notes to everyone (whether an employee or not) that was involved in the celebration.  That is the first time I have written thank you notes to any of our employees.  I placed all the notes in their areas or desks with their names on it.  I received a couple of acknowledgements of the notes, but really didn’t have the impact I had hoped for.  Since then, I have done a few more with little response.

Perhaps you’ve done the same thing. You’ve written some notes and expected miracles like Mary’s or Greg’s. Well, look what happens when you continue to write them…

I’ve come to realize, is that sometimes the sender’s acknowledgement or appreciation comes from other people or areas.

This past weekend, I stopped by the Fire Station to drop off another copy of the dvd they requested.  As we talked, they asked if I would like to attend an annual course for Firefighter leadership.  I asked what the curriculum was and was this exclusive to firefighters.  After they filled me in on some of the details and they told me this is a course by invitation only and to leaders in the fire department, I was struck with amazement that they would show me that honor.  I told them how appreciative I was of them even asking and trying to make that happen.  They just replied by stating how much leadership and appreciation I show for them, they wanted to give me some back.  Obviously, I was speechless, and amazed.  I guess my point is Matt, I thought my co-workers would be the ones to appreciate the time I spend on the notes, etc, but sometimes appreciation comes from other areas but because of what we do in all areas?

You see, Chris did get a reward. It just wasn’t from the people he expected.

Another example is that I frequent a couple of restaurants in my area.  A couple of years ago, I started sending emails to establishments appreciating the service or food.  I have received calls from the managers as well as the waitresses appreciating someone taking the time to acknowledge them rather than just for complaints.

Your continued reminders of the “thank you revolution” is awesome and makes an impact on many.  I’m sure you don’t hear it often or near enough, but thanks for the time and effort you put into your blogs, books, and emails.  They make a difference.  Like all of us, we may not see the difference first hand, but instead it goes through many before returning.

You’ve heard it said a million times, “what goes around comes around.”

Sometimes, in the Revolution as in life, the “come around” comes from those you least expect it to come from.

Keep writing.

Keep sharing.

Keep changing the world. One note at a time.

Until next week…Viva The Revolution!

With Gratitude,

Matt McWilliams

Tiny Prints Thank You Cards


  • An interesting result for sure. I think it’s important to realize our motives in writing the thank you notes. I’m sure we all want people to respond positively. We want to create a culture of gratitude in our companies. But what if it comes down to a more fundamental reason? I would argue that we need to express gratitude, because it is the right think to do. There may be positive outcomes as a result of our thank you notes, but we need to be okay if we don’t see those outcomes. We are still doing the right thing. Being a leader means doing the right thing even when no one notices.

  • David Mike

    In an attempt to lift the funk from my work place, I wrote 13 thank you notes yesterday. I wrote them to all my teammates whether we get along or not. Trying to be the change I want to see in the world.