Category: Leadership

The Power Of A “Thank You” Note

The Power Of A “Thank You” Note

It won’t take you much time, it won’t cost you a lot of money, but the long term impact will surprise you.  I started writing handwritten “thank you” notes several years ago, and it has been truly amazing the impact this has made.  I look for opportunities to write these notes.  It totally catches the receipt ends off guard.  To take time out of your schedule to write a “thank you” is not wasted time, but time well spent.

Handwritten vs. Electronic Messaging

I realize that this can bring about a debate.  So before you jump to conclusions hear me out.  When it comes to digital and electronic I’m all in.  Email, text message, direct message via social media does have its perks, however there is a personal touch that is lost in electronic messaging.  I use electronic messaging for communicating quickly and efficiently.  It is great to receive an email or text from someone telling me “thank you” for something, and I definitely appreciate those very kind messages.  There is just something about going to the post office or to the mailbox in front of the house and receiving a handwritten card.

I remember as a kid growing up in the 1980’s writing letters to grandma or grandpa, and then several weeks later receiving a response from them.  I was always excited to receive “snail mail” as we call it today in 2017!  I still have several handwritten letters from my grandparents, parents, and friends that I have kept down through the years.  When I read those handwritten notes, letters, and in several instances instructions from my late Grandpa Kitchell on how to put together a model train layout so many wonderful memories flood my mind.

The Power of a Handwritten Note

Recently I attended a pastors Stewardship/Leadership conference.  One of the speakers that spoke gave away a copy of her new book to those of us with a premium experience package.  I tried to find an opportunity for her to sign my copy of her book, but it just didn’t happen.  I left the conference and didn’t think any more about it.  Just over a week ago our church treasurer was leaving the office for the day, and noticed a package at the outside door.  She brought it in and placed it on my desk and asked if I was expecting a package.  I told her that I wasn’t expecting anything.  So the package sat on my desk for the next little while until I finished what I was working on at the time.  I looked at the package and noticed the address was from the company that had hosted the stewardship/leadership conference I had attended.  When I opened the package there was a copy of the speakers book I had wanted to get signed. This book I received was personally addressed to me by the author and personally signed by her.  Along with the book was a handwritten envelope addressed to me with a note inside from an individual inside the host organization.  The note simply stated that this individual had seen my request to get my book signed at the conference.  It went on to say that they didn’t know if I was able to get it signed, so in case I didn’t get it signed here was a signed copy of the book compliments of the author and conference host.  That simple act of kindness and someone willing to go the extra mile has caused me to tell many people that story, and now put it in this blog post that thousands will read.

You never know how a simple handwritten “thank you” note or handwritten note of encouragement could impact not just the individual to whom you wrote the note, but potentially hundreds if not thousands of people.  Start looking for opportunities to make an impact in someone’s life with this simple yet powerful tool!

What Is Driving You?

What Is Driving You?

Have you ever stopped and asked yourself the question: “what is driving me”?  What causes me to get up every morning and do what I do?  What drives me?  What motivates me?  I want you to pause for a moment and ask yourself this all important question: “what is driving me”?  That all powerful force, drive, motivation that is behind me is propelling me into my tomorrow.  There are one of two polar opposite driving forces that drive every single individual.  You may not realize it, but these two driving forces are very real.  These two driving forces are as different as day and night, a Volkswagen and a Lamborghini, a putter and a 4 iron, and as far as the east is from the west.  Simply put these two forces are: values driven and performance driven.  You are either driven by performance or you are driven by values.  It really does make a difference what you are driven by.


Performance Driven

In the performance driven environment you are focused on the “what” and the “how”.  It is all about “what” I do and “how” I do it that matters in this environment.  It is all about performance.  It is about shining under the spotlights.  If I can just out perform the competition I will be the winner.  This environment is all about winning no matter the cost.  As long as I am number one it doesn’t matter how I get there just as long as I get there.

Sadly there are many with this attitude.  Winning no matter the cost is the mantra of this environment.  Whether it is in your personal life or corporate life this performance driven environment will not last.  As long as I can get to the top it doesn’t matter who I wrong, who I hurt, what rules I break, because it is all about being number one.  We know the right words to say to get the promotion.  We know exactly how to do this or that in order to advance.  We are specialists with what we do and how we do it.  We have done this thing for so long we can do it with our eyes closed.  What happens is we fail to take advantage of opportunities because we are so laser focused on the mechanics of “what” we do and “how” we do it.  We fail to make a difference in our world or someones life because that is outside of our preconceived ideas of “what” and “how”.

Our culture today is all about performance.  We say things like “I’ve got to do this” or “I’ve got to go there” or “I’m in a hurry” and the list goes on and on.  Society has put an expectation on us to perform no matter what.  I am doing this particular thing because this is what I am supposed to do, and this is how I do it.  Performance becomes mundane and monotonous.  We end up just going through the motions of life day after day.  Like the rat in the wheel syndrome – a lot of performing but not going anywhere.  In the performance driven environment there is no clear purpose, and this is the reason so many get frustrated and just completely burned out.



Values Driven

A values driven environment is polar opposite of a performance driven environment.  In a values driven environment purpose is clearly defined.  The focus is on “why” I do what I do, not on “what” I do and “how” I do it.

In order for a culture to be created you must first clearly define your purpose.  The “why” has to be clearly defined before you can do anything else.  If you are struggling to clearly define your “why” I would recommend you read the book “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek.  Once your “why” is clearly defined, then you must set your values.  You need a value system in your organization, department, group, family, church, etc.

It is your values that drive you.  That value system of principles that govern your entire life is what gets you up in the morning to do what you do.  Each of us were created for a purpose.  You are not just “accidentally” here on planet earth with no purpose whatsoever.  No, you were fearfully and wonderfully made as the psalmist David put it.  When your purpose is clear it changes the atmosphere around you.  The “what” and the “how” become the byproducts of your “why”.  Discover your purpose, and watch how your life, outlook, and attitude change.  A performance driven individual says “do I have to go to work today?” whereas a values driven individual says “I get to go to work and make a difference today!”  When your values drive you; decisions are easier to make.  Start paying attention to places of business you go to, coworkers you work with, people you go to church with, and yes even family members and you will begin to recognize who is performance driven and who is values driven.

When you understand your purpose or “why” and you put in place a value system you will then see your life begin to change.  When you understand your “why” you can endure any how.  I challenge you to be values driven and not performance driven.  Uncover the purpose in your life, and make an impact on everything and everyone around you.

I close with the words of a very wise man who once told me that “a values driven environment will always outperform at performance driven environment”.



Fear is debilitating

We have all experienced the debilitating factor of fear.  Whether it is fear of heights, fear of being in a small tight space and feeling claustrophobic, fear of dying, fear of failure, fear of other peoples opinions, fear of the unknown, and the list goes on and on.  Fear has kept many from going to the next level, opening that business, getting a college education, making that investment, etc.  What has fear kept you from doing?  How has fear debilitated your progress?  You see each of us struggle with this thing called fear, and if we are not careful fear can keep us from accomplishing what we have been created to do.

If we let fear into the drivers seat of our lives it will cripple if not completely destroy that calling in our lives.  You and I have been created for a purpose.  We are not merely on this earth to occupy a block of time and space, but you and I were created to fulfill purpose.  Don’t allow fear to abort your calling or purpose in life.


Face your fear

Fear is a normal thing that each one of us must face.  Fear will be there, but it is how you handle fear that matters most.  Suzy Kassem states: “Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will”.  If you are going to win at whatever it is in life, you will have to get comfortable dealing with your fear.  In her book “Business Boutique” Christy Wright states: “Fear isn’t a sign that you’re doing something wrong.  It’s a sign that you’re doing something new.  Fear establishes the limits of your life.  The bigger your fear the smaller your life.”  Don’t allow fear to establish the limits of your life.  Learn to punch fear in the face.  Being a pastor I am compelled to share with you a verse of scripture that I quote found in 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

I quote this scripture when fear enters into my thoughts because fear will use voices to speak negative thoughts into my mind, and cause me to be afraid.  I combat those negative voices and thoughts with positive voices and thoughts.  By doing this I have learned to push past my fears.  If we wait until the fear is gone before we proceed we will most likely never accomplish what is before us.  Pushing past fear says if I fall down I will get back up again.  My dad taught my brother and I that “it is failure only if you stay in the dirt”.  Joe Sabah once said: “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great”.


Fear has only two choices

At the end of the day fear really on has two choices.  You will have to decide on one of the two choices.  These two choices create the pathway for success and the pathway for failure.  No one can decide which of these choices you will make.  The two choices come from the word FEAR:




The choice is in your hands.  I want to challenge you to make the second choice and face everything and rise.  Rise to the challenge!  Rise to the occasion!  Rise to the top!  Rise above your circumstances!  Rise from the ashes!  You can do it!

Creating a Championship Culture

Creating a Championship Culture

What is the culture of your organization?  Do those that you lead understand what the culture of the organization should be?  The word culture is being used a lot these days, but do we really understand what culture  is all about?

Culture Defined

Culture is the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.  It is the attitudes and behavior characteristics of a particular social group.  A leaders primary responsibility is to create a culture that gives the opportunity for others to succeed.

Look at the attitude and behavior of your organization, department, group, and yes even your family and ask yourself if those behaviors and attitudes align with your values and purpose.  In order for a culture to be created you must first clearly define your purpose.  The “why” has to be clearly defined before you can do anything else.  If you are struggling to clearly define your “why” I would recommend you read the book “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek.  When you understand your “why” you can endure any how.

Once your “why” is clearly defined, then you must set your values.  You need a value system in your organization, department, group, family, church, etc.  A very wise man by the name of Pastor D.G. Hargrove once told me “knowledge creates interest, interest creates values, values creates desires, desires create priorities, priorities create direction, direction creates destiny.”


The Coach

Think with me about the job of a “coach”.  I believe this is one of the most challenging professions a person could enter in to especially on a professional level.  The coach has an unbelievable job of taking superstars and getting to play as a team.  Superstars can be so ego driven that they become a detriment to the team as a whole.  The coach has to get them to understand it is not all about them as an individual, but the team.  The coach must communicate that the team has a better chance to be successful when they run the same play together, but from their respective position/role.

Each individual must be on the same page every single play in order for success to come. Setbacks happen when the individuals on the team are not on the same page.  If you are the “center” you can’t be the “wide-receiver” at the same time.  The success of the play boils down to each individuals success at their respective position.


A Championship Culture

When the player comes into alignment with the coach, and begins to embrace the culture that the coach is putting into motion, then what evolves is a championship team.  When coach, assistant coaches, players, and team personnel all get onto the same page great things happen.  Each individual has a specific job to accomplish.  If the equipment manager doesn’t do their job it greatly impacts the whole team.  No matter how unimportant you may feel your job is, if you don’t do your job with expertise you will impact the team as a whole.  In fact paying attention to the smallest of details is what creates a championship culture.

Clear alignment and accountability creates momentum and strength.  Championship teams, and organizations have a very clear and concise mission, purpose, and values that create accountability to everyone on the team.  There cannot be any gray areas in a championship culture.  Take guesswork out of the equation.  Be clear, concise, and straightforward.  You can create a championship culture.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes time.  Be persistent.  Be diligent.  The next thing you know you will look up and have a championship culture!