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 have now written 4 of these notes to people I think deserve them the first 2 to my kids, the second two to to my senior staff who have been working very hard since opening the new store.

  2. Written – will send today. Sending to a person that has been with company for a while in a management position and is currently in a flat spot.

  3. Completed task

    Written and given to the youngest member of my team who continues to surprise me with his great work ethic.

  4. Went to a working in my company saying that’s she has done a great job over the last couple of weeks as we have had a lot of staff away on leave.

  5. Wrote a note to a person in my team who is leaving for personal reasons and will be sadly missed. I wrote to wish him well in his future endeavours and hoped he will stay in touch.
    It is difficult sometimes to verbally say things you want to say without emotion getting in the way.
    I found this a good way to let him know things which are important to be said.

  6. With out having a leadership role and being young in my team, I chose to write a note to my two and a half year old daughter. We sat down together and read it and discussed everything she could think of about the note. Having a personal touch does make messages and emotion easier to pickup when receiving information.

  7. I just encouraged my 2ic to keep up the good work and lead by example to the team on F7 ing orders that I know he does not agree with as he sees hypocracy and the lack of keeping it simple in his actions.

  8. I sent a note to a friend who is experiencing financial troubles and gave what I thought was sound financial advice,will follow it up in a couple of weeks .hopefully it has helped.

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