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On the importance of thanking customers

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OK, gang: Raise your hand if you’ve received a hand-written thank-you note from Richard Anderson.

The CEO of Delta was talking about the importance of thanking your customers in a Q&A in the Sunday edition of the New York Times. We might have missed it altogether if it hadn’t been for the headline on the Times' home page: “He wants subjects, verbs and objects." (Oooh! A story about punctuation? Nope, a conversation with an airline executive about the right way to put together a PowerPoint presentation.)

Anyway, the feature is called "Corner Office," and the idea is to get CEOs talking about leadership and management.

Anderson, who comes off calm, cool and collected in the interview (he doesn’t lose his temper, he likes to get beyond the résumé in hiring decisions, etc.) had this to say about business lessons learned:

"You’ve got to be thankful to the people who get the work done, and you've got to be thankful to your customers. So, I find myself, more and more, writing hand-written notes to people. I must write a half a dozen a day."

And …

"If you just focus on getting your job done and being a good colleague and a team player in an organization, and not focused about being overly ambitious and wanting pay raises and promotions and the like, and just doing your job and being a part of a team, the rest of it all takes care of itself."

PS: One more on communication:

"And a lot of what we do in communication, when you write e-mail, you need to express yourself very clearly so people understand whether we’re going to L.A. today or we’re going to Boston today."

Um … yeah, what he said. 

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