By Joe Byerly
In 2005, my commander did something that had a profound impact on the next 14 years of my life: He wrote me a short note. He said that he appreciated my hard work, it was being noticed, and that he thought I was going to make one hell of a leader.
From that day forward, I realized that short handwritten notes can have powerful effects on people. This kind of thoughtful act can make people feel appreciated and that their contributions matter. It can pick a person up who’s having a bad day. And, the show of appreciation makes people more invested and engaged in the organization.
I’m not alone. Peyton Manning also learned the impact of a note firsthand. In a 2011 Los Angeles Times article he said, “I remember when I got my first handwritten letter from Bobby Bowden, telling me he enjoyed watching me play. Boy, it had an impact on me. He took the time to write that letter. I knew it wasn’t from his assistant.” Throughout his career, Manning wrote notes to coaches, teammates, fans, and retiring players. He said he learned the practice from his mom, who made him and his brothers write notes to thank relatives for gifts. The short video below highlights the appreciation from those who received his letters.