By Jim A. Luff
I took a few weeks off to prepare for a large gathering at my house for Thanksgiving as well as to give thanks to those I am thankful for. More on that below.
Thanksgiving has since become a distant memory. I find myself to be in post-traumatic shock syndrome. As an only child, Thanksgiving dinner consisted of my Mom, my Dad, myself and a four pound turkey. Now, Thanksgiving dinner consists of our four adult children and their spouses, two grandchildren, my parents, the in-laws and assorted single employees with no where to go. We ended up with twenty two people at my house for Thanksgiving. That’s stress! It was indeed an enjoyable time though.
On the following day, I was asked to speak at an event put on by a charity group of which I am president. I arrived at the country club at 10:00am as instructed. I had a little speech prepared to tell the people in attendance what our charity group was all about and what we do with the money we raise. I asked the person in charge how long I was expected to speak. She looked puzzled. She asked what I meant. I told her I had not been informed if they wanted a five minute speech or thirty minutes. She advised me I was to me the emcee and I would be at the podium for nearly three hours! This was the first shock of the day. I then asked her who comes to the event and what exactly we were going to do. She advised me that the event was attended each year by about 350 women. What a shock. Me and 350 ladies. Perfect! More stress.
On a more serious note, I really did take the time to make sure that every employee in our company knew how thankful I was for them. This meant writing a personal letter to each of our employees over the course of a few days. Each letter specifically addressed an event or situation that was personal between the two of us so they knew they were not getting a form letter. I also asked them to keep this letter confidential between us to indicate this was a personal letter between the two of us. I praised them for their work, their dedication, their commitment to the company and any specific good deeds they have done this year. I gave that letter to them with their paychecks on Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. I had no idea how much of an effect it would have. I have lost count of the number of employees who came to me and thanked me for the letter and the opportunity to work for our company. This simple act seems to have rejuvenated our entire crew with a renewed commitment to the company and our long term success.
I hope that all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well. I am wishing everyone a great holiday season filled with many holiday light tours, safe rides for corporate Christmas parties, Winter Formals and all the other extra work we get this time of year. With this economy, you know we need it!
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