Happiness Mentoring Self Managed Company

“THANK YOU”, the Most Important Words in Human Language?

Thank You for Reading my Blog

“Thank you for reading this article, it means a lot to me.”

“Thank you for visiting, I hope you find it useful and informative.”

See what I mean, it just feels good to be thanked. No matter where you are a sincere thank you means a lot to your friends, family, co-workers and customers. As with anything there is a right and wrong way to say thank you. In this article I hope to give you tips and ideas that will take your thank you message to the next level.

Start with being grateful for what you have.

If you are truly grateful for what you have, saying thank you becomes easy. For many of us, your job includes the task of going out and thanking customers. For some this task is a chore. The result is a half assed thank you message, honestly you are almost better off not talking to the customers at all.

If you think about it your customers are one of the main reasons to be thankful, because their buying power is your business. The best Thank You’s are a sincere and grateful sharing of positive attention. I suggest that you do the following:
1. Before you begin to say thank you, think of why you are saying it. Then share the why with your customer, friend or co-worker.

“Ted, Thank you so much for coming in today, we really hope we have exceeded your expectations.”

2. Shake hands and hold eye contact while saying thank you.

“Laurie, you really did a great job on that report. Thank you for making my job so easy, you are a awesome person.”

3. Listen to them after the thanks. This maybe basic, but I see it all the time at restaurants where the manager is required to say thank you, but then does not stick around to actually listen to the customers concerns.

Say Thank You in Public.

Saying thank you in a meeting or at a party for the whole group to hear has the added bonus of positive peer pressure. Great managers reprimand in private and congratulate in public. The same holds true at family gatherings.

“Everyone, I just want to say thanks to my wife Mary for preparing this awesome meal. She has a knack of whipping up a dinner for 20 without breaking a sweat. Thanks Hon.”

It is Never to Late to Say Thank You!

When weeks go by, it feels weird to send a card of thank you, but in reality it is never to late. I recently received a thank you after a year and quite frankly it was a relief because I was feeling a little under appreciated. You simply start by saying things like. “This thank you is long overdue, what you did for my family in May was over the top” or “a month has past since you visited me in the hospital, and upon reflection, your visit meant a lot to me.” You get the idea.

Why a thank you note should always be hand written?

Everyone loves a hand written note, especially if it is hand written. I use a blue pen as a rule and usually type out what I’m going to write first so I can get the feel and spelling right. I have ruined many nice cards before I made this step a rule.

• Nice card stock is another important factor. I like to go to Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, because sometimes you will get lucky and find amazing card stock at the $1-5 price range.
• Use blank card stock. I know there are lovely thank you cards out there but the idea of a true hand written thank you should be in the body of the letter not on the cover.
• Three Sentences is a rule that I have used for many years. Just writing the words Thank You and posting it does not convey a true thank you. Put some thought into it.
The wedding gift you and Mike gave us was so thoughtful and caring. Every time we have a glass of wine using your glassware, we will be thinking of you.
We really enjoyed your company at the reception, and the kind word you said about us during dinner was over the top.
You are a true friend, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there for us.
Your pal,

Use Only Positive Sentence Structure.

Bad example: “Thank you for dinner, sorry I was late.” Wrapping a thank you letter with an apology is not good etiquette in my opinion. Simply stick to the positive of the thank you and keep the sentences uplifting.

“The dinner was so nice and the restaurant was amazing. Thanks for taking me there on my birthday, you are so thoughtful. Love K.”

Sign with a flourish:

John Hancock is still famous hundreds of years later because his signature was so flamboyant. Don’t be afraid to add your own flare to your signature line. Don’t take the look of your signature for granted.

What are some thank you gift ideas?

1. Gift cards: Gift cards are a sort of sterile way to say thank you. Lets say you are looking for a gift for your child’s teacher or babysitter. While I think gift cards are the “Safe” gift, they do not elicit the appreciation you are trying to convey. Gift cards for me are a way to help someone out. An example of this is: a Wegmans gift card to someone who just lost her husband and is struggling to pay the bills.

Smiles all around when you give flowers2. Flowers: You really can’t go wrong with flowers, especially if you have them delivered. The important thing is the note, make sure you get the extra pop from saying the right words on the card.
3. The Spa: Giving the gift of being pampered is truly a great gift because it has special feeling of caring that many gifts do not give. It is important to make sure that the spa is close to their work or home. Use the Spa gift as a great apology gift or as a belated gift because the wow factor is priceless.
4. Personalized Stationary: Everyone loves stationary and if you take the time to personalize it with their name or with a quote that they use, they will be thrilled.
Wine: If they are of drinking age, wine is an awesome gift. I like to go on line and look up the winery and find something special to say about the winery or blend. You can even print out the about us page from their site and include it with the bottle. If you are looking for that $100-ish gift, a case of wine can be a great WOW. I like to find wines in wooden cases that sell for $9-$12 per bottle then after the case discount, we are right at the $100 level.

20 Awesome Ways to Say Thank You!

1. If it weren’t weird, I would have sent you a picture of myself. Because I look totally grateful right now.
2. Great gooey gratitude. Thanks so much for your gift!
3. This Thank You is So Important I’m not sending it from my iPhone.
4. You are my superhero. Thank You.
5. Two words: Endless gratitude & Thank you. Ok four words.
6. You score phenomenally high in the kind-o-meter. Seriously, I checked.
7. Your version of shine is a searchlight. Thanks for spreading so much good.
8. You’re kind of a big deal. Don’t believe me? Ask anyone.
9. You = awesome. Me = grateful.
10. Move over Gates and Buffett, there’s a new philanthropist in town, thanks for the donation.
11. Start practicing your autograph, you’re a RockStar
12. Thank you kindly for your gift.
13. Amazed. Inspired. Grateful. That’s how your generosity makes me feel.
14. When it comes to making an impact, you rule.
15. Thanks for igniting something amazing.
16. a) A peach b) Bee’s knees c) Cat’s pajamas. You’re d) All of the above. Thanks for your bigheartedness.
17. You’re what making a difference looks like.
18. You’re a lifesaver. Literally. And thanks for believing in someone you don’t even know.
19. Is there no limit to your awesomeness? Thank you!
20. You can’t see me but I’m totally doing a happy dance.

There is a word for thanks in every language.

Mentoring Odd Stuff

Top 10 Reasons Smiling is a Superpower

“I will never understand all the good that a simple smile can accomplish” Mother Teresa

smiling is a superpower1. Smiling Boosts our Immune System

You hear about cancer hospitals bringing in clowns and comedians to help put a smile on the face of their patients. This is not just for the fun factor; it is proven in study after study that smiling helps the immune system to work better. When you smile, immune function improves possibly because you are more relaxed. Prevent the flu and colds by smiling.

2. Smiling Changes Our Attitude

Next time you are feeling down, try listening to a comedy channel. (I like, simply pick comedy, then start laughing)  There’s a good chance your mood will change for the better. We now know that smiling can trick the body into helping you change your mood.

3. Happyness Is Contagious

We all know that yawning is contagious, but did you know that smiling is actually more contagious? When someone is smiling they lighten up the room, change the moods of others, and make things happier. Now that I mention it, a laughing person brings smiles all around. A smiling person brings happiness with them. Smile a lot and you will draw people to you.

4. Smiling Relieves Stress

As we get older we small less and less, in fact only 30% smile more than 10 times a day, but children will smile as much as 500 times per day. Stress can really show up in our faces. Smiling helps to prevent us from looking tired, worn down, and overwhelmed. When you are stressed, take time to put on a smile. The stress should be reduced and you’ll be better able to take action.

5. Smiling Makes Us Feel Attractive

“You used to be happy” is a common statement long term couples say to each other. That is because more then you realize we forget to smile at our spouse.  But in more then one study we have learned that we are drawn to people who smile. There is an attraction factor. We want to know a smiling person and figure out what is so good. Frowns, scowls and grimaces all push people away.

6. Smiling Helps You Stay Positive

Try this test: Smile. Now try to think of something negative without losing the smile. It’s hard. When we smile our body is sending the rest of us a message that “Life is Good!” Stay away from depression, stress and worry by smiling

7. Smiling Releases Endorphins, Natural Pain Killers and Serotonin

Studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins, natural painkillers, and serotonin. Together these three make us feel good. Smiling is a natural drug.

8. Smiling Lifts the Face and Makes You Look Younger

The muscles we use to smile lift the face, making a person appear younger. Don’t go for a face lift, just try smiling your way through the day — you’ll look younger and feel better.

9. Smiling Makes You Seem Successful

Smiling people appear more confident, are more likely to be promoted, and more likely to be approached. Put on a smile at meetings and appointments and people will react to you differently.

10. Smiling Lowers Your Blood Pressure

When you smile, there is a measurable reduction in your blood pressure. Give it a try if you have a blood pressure monitor at home. Sit for a few minutes, take a reading. Then smile for a minute and take another reading while still smiling. Do you notice a difference?

How to smile


Be a Mentor not a Tormentor

The fine line between being a coach or a tyrant.

As a manager, holding people accountable is an important task. You can write up procedures and processes until your fingers are sore, but if you don’t follow up to see that your team is actually doing the work, the end is in sight.

“Delegate then investigate” unknown.

All to often though, the manager gets frustrated and over time either gives up on the employee or gets angry.  They find themselves setting standards based on their own work ethic before actually teaching their own work ethic. Then as frustration leads to contempt for the employee, there is no turning back.

Somewhere along the line you have heard the line, “people quit managers not companies”. This statement can be translated to:  “Failing an employee is the number one reason people quit companies.”

“Watch that the Mentor does not becomes the Tormentor” Kevin B. Leigh

All too often we blame the employee before looking at ourselves, and asking:

  • Did we teach them how to do the task or process?
  • Before they left the class or meeting did they actually show you that they can do the task or process?
  • Did you check up the next day to insure that they still know how to do the task or process.
  • Did you investigate their work to be sure that they are actually doing the task or process?

Before the above is complete, you cannot blame your employee. You have to understand that everyone has a different learning curve, and process information in a different way. For many, they have to perform an action over and over to be sure they can do it.

As a former IT guy, I can relate to this.  I was so busy that I don’t stop to actually teach the person how fix or use their computer. Instead I would grab the mouse and just fix the issue, then wonder why our employees called IT on the same issues over and over. It took me quite some time to understand that they needed to be thought how to fix issues so they could fix it later without help. It took me some time to understand, that a true manager does not do the work, he or she teaches others how to do for themselves. Once I understood this I instituted a plan to teach then follow up the next day to see how they where doing. We saw results right away.

The biblical parable about “teaching a man to fish” is so poignant for managers.


“Give a man a match, he shall be warm for a moment. Light a man on fire and he shall be warm for a day. Teach him how to make fire and you have changed his life”


inspire-teach-changeMore than just teaching them how

For the most part, I would guess that you are pretty good at teaching the team how to do things and my guess is, if you are reading articles like this you must want to succeed. So let me jump to it.

In my humble opinion the secret sauces for mentoring are:

Check up often to be sure they are doing the work

  • Make sure to review with them that you have looked at their performance.
  • Positive feedback is more important then negative. Pick your top 2-5 performers and congratulate them with a specific example of how well they have done. Then identify the bottom 2-5 and again with specific examples show them how to improve.
  • Be sure the bottom performers are actually sticking to the process.
  • Ask the top performers how they have changed the process and update your process using their suggestions.
  • If you are like me, deadlines push my performance to a new level. So use deadlines to your benefit. As a manager
  • Set self-imposed deadlines by putting a required finish date on important tasks. I believe to-do lists without expiration dates are just “someday maybe’s” to quote David Allen of book Getting Thing Done.
  • Even the best salesperson, accountant, programmer or HR person can find himself or herself stagnant on the job. As their managers we need to set new higher goals and create projects for them to achieve. If you can run a 4-minute mile, a good manager would want to see you run it in 3:50.
  • Whatever their task, increase the about of times they do it.
    In hockey (by the way I am not a sports guy at all, so I should not be making sports analogies) one of the things tracked is SHOTS ON GOAL. Find out what are the shots on goal for your employees, and ask for an improvement in that task.

Ask them “when they can expect to have the project done?”

Push their limits

I will write more on this topic over the next few weeks because it really is important to be a great mentor to your team. They really deserve the best from you, and you should require the best from them.

11/13/2011 by Kevin B Leigh


Bootstrapping, a Definition of Lean Business

Bootstrapping a startup refers to starting a small business by funding it yourself only with the profits from the business as start up cash.

broke_startupThis is how most emigrants grow their business by starting small and only expanding the business with funds on hand. In other words; without getting any bank or VC loans.

Locally we have a restaurant called Ted’s Hotdogs, on the walls of their locations you will see  historic photos of their first hot dog cart, then stand, then second location etc. This is classic bootstrapping

Boot strapping is challenging, as the start up is almost all sweat labor from the owner or founders but with 100% of the funds coming back to them the opportunity for large income is great, assuming the business takes off.

Boot Strappers tend to work hard and play hard. They get up early, they rarely complain, they expect performance from others, but they expect extraordinary performance from themselves. Repeated, high-level bootstrapping starts with a recognition that hard work pays off.

9/14/11 Kevin B Leigh

Also by Kevin Leigh the Young Adult Novel Gollup the Woods