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. Went to a party for a relative who has had some quite tragic experiences sent a note thanking her and telling how much I valued the time with her. Left the note so that received it before she was alone. It felt very personal and touching – a way to show I cared.

  2. I feel being the youngest in my workplace and more often than not the youngest at any event and in groups, so as such I do not have somebody who see’s me as their leader or mentor. Well not that I know of anyway.

    So instead I will use the opposite.
    Each year at the end of the year my general manager gives the whole division a personalised hand written notes and I remember the feeling when I first read one, it was extremely powerful.

  3. I wrote a note to my wife, as she is currently going through the interview process for a new job and she is questioning the move to a new city and her valve to the company.

  4. I just wrote to an old friend who is having difficulty and has chosen to take help from me. His difficulties are personal, and have resulted in his doubting himself. Gently presenting the world view and philosophy we’ve both been practicing for almost 40 years, I’m hoping that this encouragement will help him not only weather the storm, but go forward in a positive way.

  5. Completed, Given to my 21 year old son, saying well done on his achievements so far and how proud I am of him.

  6. A note was sent to a dear younger friend who has received a degree and is working in family counseling. This is challenging work which is rewarding and needed. I’m so proud of her diligence having her own young people in colleges and/or the workplace. It was a joy to write this note.

  7. For my students who are hardworking and committed, to each and every one of them for not giving up in their learning. “Dont give up for your perseverance will one day pay off, you can do it.”I will give this note to my students when I meet them in my next IT class.

  8. To my step-son who had a rough beginning. How proud I am that he overcame many obstacles to get his degree and that one step follows the other in the walk of life.

  9. I wrote a note to a new staff member as encouragement and congratulations after commendation was received from a customer. Also to reinforce she is doing really well and to offer ‘my door is always open’ for assistance in any matters, as she is new and needs a mentor.

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