ATLC #20 – Write a Leader’s Note

At that time, Jack was famous for his personal leader’s notes. In business, Jack Welch was the most famous advocate of cvs2bvs in the US.

Jack used cvs2bvs at GE to help him change the culture of a 100-year-old manufacturer to the most valuable company (at the time he left it) in the history of the world!

I was invited to GE soon after he became chairman and CEO. In the 1980s I spent several years, at his request, installing the cvs2bvs brain software at GE. He wrote to me saying,

“I would love to have a management team that really understood the cvs2bvs algorithm. It’s the ‘value-added’ role in the management process”.

In his book about his time at GE called, Jack (Warner Books 2001), he wrote, “It would make each of us wake up with the goal of “Finding a Better Way Every Day”. It was a phrase that became a slogan, put up on the walls of GE factories and offices around the world”.

Jack also used cvs2bvs in crisis management situations and on one very serious occasion involving a crisis between GE and President Reagan’s Defense Secretary, Caspar Weinberger, Jack asked me to meet with him privately, in Manhattan, to apply cvs2bvs to finding a solution.

He also told me that it helped him design new concepts like ‘Boundarylessness’ and ‘Work-Out’. He wrote, “Suddenly, “Finding a Better Way Every Day” wasn’t just a slogan. It was the essence of boundaryless behaviour, and it defined our expectations”.

As my Dad used to say, “Nobody’s perfect!” and Jack had his share of setbacks but he was a genuine strategic thinker and one of the most accomplished business leaders of his time.

Jack was famous for the little hand-written notes he would send to people. He sent me several and the one I prized the most was, “Michael, you are a friend of our company”.

Hand-written notes are a very personal and powerful communication. I have known several leaders who use handwritten notes with great effect.

I first was taught to use ‘The Leader’s Note’ in the Army and I saw recently where the Duchess of Cornwall (who is Royal Colonel of the 4th Battalion The Rifles) sent handwritten notes to all the soldiers in her regiment who were wounded in Iraq.


Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Sanders, commander of 4 Rifles, said,

She bled with us throughout the tour. She wrote by hand to all the wounded and the families of those killed. She gave each of the wounded presents – whisky or hampers. We feel incredibly lucky to have her as our Royal Colonel. At a time when people in England did not really know what we were going through, she did.

entrepreneurs-writing-handwritten-thank-you-notesDFQ #20:

PTO: Write a Leader’s Note!

On a postcard, engraved writing paper or special paper for the purpose (not email), write a short personal note of encouragement (around 10 to 100 words) to someone who sees you as their leader or mentor.

Post that you have completed this PTO within the next 24 hours saying who, when, where etc:

251 thoughts on “ATLC #20 – Write a Leader’s Note

  1. I sent a postcard to a friend of mine. I don’t think she get much validation in her life for who she is and for her fabulous talents. I shared with her a quote from Wayne Dyer’s New years message about living in the moment. She has become excited about some big plans she is making and I hope that these words might encourage her to keep going.

  2. To my mentor (the first mentor in my life who deceased but who will always live in my heart): Thank you immensely for encouraging me, believing in me and making me more confident and better, for sharing your life stories, wisdom with me. I have a feeling that I am in the place where I should be to fulfill my life assignment. I am not afraid to admit whenever I am wrong. I try to be honest with myself and people. I know I am guided by the good.

  3. Who: My Wife
    When & Where: Drafted and left a hand written note this morning before I left for work for her to read when she gets up.

    The note was to thank her for providing the foundation stone for the family that we are all able to build our lives upon as a result of her unwavering and selfless dedication to us all everyday.

  4. Who: my class mate, was having problems with lectures
    When: last semester
    where: Midrand graduate institute

    To be sent by post tomorrow

    Congrats for passing the exams with distinction, it was tough semester but you had confidence in me to help.
    That gave me confidence and encouragement, I thank you.

  5. I’ve written a note to my wife. She is embarking on an intense 6 month training program and I am an integral part of why she decided to do this training as well as being a part of the team coaching her.

    The note was one of encouragement and acknowledgement of her leadership in this decision to elevate herself well beyond her current status.

  6. I have posted a note to a team member who has completed a tough project that had a 1/1 go live date.

  7. who: a high school student that was teased by others when expressing an interest in a medical career.
    when: as a substitute twice in the last few months.
    where: a local high school
    To be delivered to office next time I’m at the school.

    Thank you Lin for taking what I taught you and putting it to use. It is rewarding when I learn that students put what they learn to work. Keep up the good work and encourage you fellow students to use what you have learned. I’m sure with your attitude you will achieve your goals.

  8. I sent a hand written note to my son Adam who is turning 18 in a few short days. I laid the note on his laptop overnight while he was asleep. This way, he would see it first thing in the morning when he sits down for school work. The note expressed how proud I am of his effort and provided encouragement for his journey ahead.

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