Jimmy Fallon Knows

At a recent National Sales Meeting for a global pharma company in San Antonio/Texas, two Sales Directors rehearsed their main-stage moment.

They projected a video clip of Jimmy Fallon, newly minted host of The Tonight Show, reading a few of his bitingly funny Thank-You notes.

They proceeded to enact their equally boisterous pharma-specific twist on these notes.

Yes, I thought to myself as I watched them, the Thank-You note is back.


In an article titled “The Found Art of Thank-You Notes,” Guy Trebay celebrates the Jimmy-Fallon note-writing comedy routine and credits Fallon for heralding the return of the Thank-You note (NY Times, 4/6/2014). Tongue-in-cheek though the notes are, they have made the formal Thank-You note fashionable again. They are, according to Trebay, a trend.

Truth is, Thank-You notes never went out of fashion.

Some people just forgot.

Last November at a CEN Leadership Summit in Jacksonville/Florida, Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbell Soup, shared his leadership insights with an audience of 80 CEOs. He ended his speech by telling a poignant story about a serious car accident he had toward the end of his tenure at Campbell.

I almost didn’t make it, Conan said. But here’s what happened. I had always made it a point of writing Thank-You notes to folks within Campbell. And not just my direct reports. No, anyone who I thought had somehow gone the extra mile. I did this every week. So during those weeks when I was in the hospital, I was overwhelmed by the amount of notes I received from people at every level of the organization, all over the world. They just kept coming. And I “got it.” I got the power of the notes. When I left Campbell a year or so later, one person after another told me how meaningful my Thank-You notes had been to them.

My agent Shawnie has drilled it into me. Written Thank-You notes after each keynote address. Written. Every time.

Yes, Shawnie. Got it.

I hope this is self-evident. The 5 minutes invested in writing a heartfelt Thank-You note unleash a potent stream of positive energy that is unending. It ignites good will. It fosters a culture of gratitude. And it plain feels good.

You want that, right?

I propose a little experiment. Just for this week.

Write 1 Thank-You note a day. 7 for the week. 1×7. That simple.

And then notice what happens to the energy around you!